When it comes to washing the outside of a vehicle, most of us are happy with a bucket of warm water, some car cleaner, a sponge to wipe with and a hosepipe to rinse with. The vehicle interior, however, presents us with a greater challenge.
Upholstery is a significant part of what makes a higher car trim more expensive and more exclusive. The use of choice fabrics and extreme-quality leathers can add a real premium, but also greater style, comfort and durability. Top notch those materials may be, but they are not immune from the need to be cleaned and detailed. For many, properly detailing the vehicle’s upholstery or a leather interior remains a mystery. It can be a costly mistake if you get it wrong, so why not follow our guide instead?
Here is some great advice from your local Roseville mobile detailing shop.
Tools for Interior Detailing
First, let’s make a list of tools to have on hand when you’re getting ready to go a thorough interior cleaning:
- A bottle of all-purpose car upholstery cleaner (a concentrate is good, so you can mix the strength to match your exact need)
- A heavy-duty spray bottle to mix the cleaning fluid in
- A scrubbing brush – not the softest, but not the hardest either – aim for the middle. A balance is needed. You’ll need a soft-bristled brush for leather.
- Microfiber cloths
Before we deal with that expensive leather trim you (delightfully) opted for, let’s first deal with more common upholstery.
Step 1: Mix up your car cleaner with the right amount of water depending on your need. A tougher stain will need a higher concentration of cleaning fluid. Use the guidelines on the bottle as a baseline. Mix directly into the spray bottle or separately and then pour in.
Step 2: Vacuum the seats before you apply the cleaning products. A lot of the unwanted material will be dust, skin and other larger particles that have found their way there over time. These are better vacuumed rather than scrubbed.
Step 3: Spray over the seat, adding a bit extra to where there are difficult stains. Take your brush and scrub firmly but not too hard (unless the particular dirt demands that). Afterward, use a microfiber cloth to dab up excess cleaning product.
Step 4: If the stain hasn’t come away fully, then repeat the process from Step 2.
In this process we have recommended an all-purpose cleaner, but the marketplace is blessed with many different products to suit different needs and different fabrics. Remember that a tight weave in the fabric will make stains harder to remove. Depending on how long the stain has been there, it may be impossible to remove entirely from some fabrics.
A full leather interior normally comes with either a higher range of car, or at least a higher trim level. You pay a premium, but for that extra cost you get the amazing comfort, stunning aesthetic and even a great smell. Cleaning leather seats isn’t difficult, especially compared with fabric upholstery, but there are some more things to take care of.
Step 1: Before you start cleaning, you need to check your leather for any holes, tears or other perforations. If you see any, be careful not to let any cleaning product seep down into them, as that will not do the seat any favors.
Step 2: Run the vacuum across the seats to pick up any bigger dust or dirt particles. Take extra care when pressing the vacuum attachment on the leather so as not to leave any abrasions or marks. You shouldn’t press as hard as you might do with fabric upholstery.
Step 3: Before you choose a cleaning fluid, you should consult your car’s manual on which product types to avoid. It may advise that you only use a certain kind. Once you have the right stuff, simple spray a light mist and wipe with a microfiber cloth, or brush with a soft-bristled brush if there is a dirtier patch.
Step 4: Use a water-based, pH-neutral conditioner to replenish your car leather’s natural oils. If it’s your first time using the conditioner, find an out-of-the-way. Less visible spot to do a little test with the conditioner to make sure it doesn’t discolor the material. If you’re choosing a conditioner for the first time, invest in a premium product with high-quality ingredients.
The key with leather is to be gentle and patient. Cleaning aggressively can do as much damage as the dirt and dust you are trying to remove!
Getting a nice finish on your upholstery is easy if you put in the work and maintain a regular cleaning schedule. We understand, however, that it can still feel like too much to do all by yourself. Lucky for you there’s a great Auburn interior detailing shop that can help! When you don’t have the time or energy, leave it to the professionals and let our skill and expertise work its magic on your vehicle interior.