Seat health often puts us in a sort of catch 22. Most of us want to protect the seats as much as possible, but we often forget about it. The moment our eyes are turned, they become carriers of stains, gashes, and stress or puncture marks. Some of us do a better job at keeping our seats clean than others, but still end up with mysterious damage or odors when we least expect it. A factor many don’t take into consideration is the effect of airborne moisture and condensation. Depending on what kind of seat you have, you may need to increase your level of protection with a car dehumidifier.
Leather is one of the most vulnerable types of seating when it comes to moisture. It’s a fairly porous surface, which promotes the trapping of water. Over long periods of time, mold and other bacteria can form in deep pores that can’t be cleaned out without a deep scrub, which is damaging to the seat. Leaving leather in humid conditions for long periods of time will wear it out faster as well, resulting in stress marks on the surface of the seat.
Vinyl is more resistant to water than leather, but it’s still not invincible. This material tends to crack easily over time. Sometimes the damage is visible, while other times it’s hidden along seams or at the base of the seat. When cracks are present, moisture can wreak havoc on the life of the seat, as well as be breeding grounds for bacteria.
Not many car seats are made of polyester, but several brands choose this material for seat covers. If you live in a humid environment, using a polyester seat cover is ill advised. The material absorbs and slowly expands with moisture. Likewise, it slowly expends the water it has collected. Stored moisture will find its way between the cover and the seat below. If there is damage underneath, this leads to even more problems.
This generally is a safe choice. Neoprene is a water resistant material, and so as long as the entire seat is encased with neoprene there is little risk of moisture being absorbed by the seat.