coating on your leather.

¦ Do use a soft sponge and specialized leather cleaner. Buy it at most leather furniture retailers—but, for serious problems, your local Fibrenew franchise can help.

3) Nail polish: You try out the new bright red polish hoping to look good on the beach but end up polishing some of the car seat.

¦ Do not use nail polish remover because it will take all of the color out of your leather and leave a bleached spot bigger than the nail polish spot.

¦ Do, once again, use a soft sponge and leather cleaner. However you will most likely have to call a professional for help to get rid of this stain.

4) Animal scratches and picks: Fido the dog gets all excited when you get to the rest area and scratches the car seat jumping out the door.

¦ Do not touch up the spots with shoe polish or markers because it makes an

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ugly, sticky mess.

¦ Do try to reduce the visibility of

the problem by snipping off the cotton interior strands that often get pulled out when leather gets picked. Do use a hair dryer and massage minor scratches with leather cleaner to try to rub it out. Call a professional to fix larger scratches and holes—this is not a DIY kind of job.

Once you get home, it is a good idea to clean out the car, especially if you have been at the beach. The sand and salt from the beach cannot only damage your leather and vinyl seats, over time it will be ground into the carpet and become almost impossible to remove. That means the salty sea smell will stick around as well. Use the leather cleaner mentioned above on the seats. In most cases, a good vacuuming will remove the sand and salt. If sea water found its way into the car and really soaked the carpet, it might be wise to get the carpets washed as well.