The first important step in caring for items is to identify whether you have leather or vinyl.  To safely care for either leather or vinyl products vastly different cleaning methodologies and products will be needed. Keep in mind, that a majority of upholstered furniture and automotive seats will have leather seating areas, but may also have vinyl trim on the sides or in other areas. This makes the job of identifying your material a bit more difficult. Leather feels softer, warmer, more natural. Vinyl, by comparison, feels colder, stiffer, and artificial. This may be easy for some to determine the difference, but others may have a very difficult time in making the decision in this manner.

For definitive evaluation, look on the underside of the material. This can be done easily if you have a cut or hole all the way through the material or you can determine which you have by lifting up a small section and looking at the back side of the material. If you see a cloth like material that appears to be glued to the backside of the fabric, then you are looking at a piece of vinyl. Sometime this backing will be of a white colored "fuzzy" nature. Leather has no backing material of any kind, only "rough" or suede looking (usually of the same color as the surface).