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5 Types of Car Upholstery and How to Clean Them

5 Types of Car Upholstery and How to Clean ThemYou and your family spend a great deal of time in your car – probably a lot more than you think! From going to school or work, or taking a trip to the shopping mall, or picking up some groceries, you’ll be sitting in your car for at least an hour a day. That is why it is so important that your car seats are always clean and protected.

There are several different kinds of car seat upholstery, so check first what your car seats are made of before you begin cleaning. The cleaning methods and materials you’ll need to use can vary, and some cleaning agents are particular to the upholstery material.

Nylon Upholstery

Fabric car upholstery is generally of two kinds: nylon or polyester. Nylon usually appears as fabric, and is one of the most common materials used for car seat upholstery. It is a very durable fabric, but also very porous. Use a vacuum to pick up loose dirt and dust from your car seat. Afterwards, put some mild detergent into the hot water pail and mix it in. Avoid making bubbles while mixing. Dip the sponge into the hot mixture and use this to scrub the car seat surface. Once you are done scrubbing the seat, dip the second sponge in cold water and scrub off the detergent from the fabric surface. Finally, let the seats dry.

Polyester Upholstery

Next, polyester is most commonly used as car upholstery in the form of microsuede. It is a soft fabric that mimics the texture of suede leather, which makes it very comfortable. This quality also makes microsuede polyester a bit more difficult to clean; not only is the material porous, but its texture also makes it prone to stains and dirt. Still, it is a fairly straightforward DIY cleaning job. Using a wrung-out damp cloth, wash the microsuede with a cleaning agent specific to microsuede. If you do not have any on hand, a low-PH soap such as baby soap or baby wash will work just fine. Be sure not to get the material too wet, as microsuede tends to get water stains. Alternatively, you can steam-clean microsuede polyester.

Vinyl Upholstery

Vinyl is another common car upholstery material. Unlike fabric upholstery, vinyl can generally be wiped clean with a clean damp towel, as it is non-porous and pretty much waterproof. You’ll only ever need to use a cleaner specific to vinyl for stubborn residue.

Faux Leather Upholstery

Faux leather is a popular car upholstery choice for car owners who like the leather look and who are on a budget. Like vinyl, faux leather is waterproof and takes minimal effort to wipe clean. Use a feather duster to take off loose dust and dirt, and then follow-up with the vacuum. Mix the detergent into the water, taking care not to produce bubbles. Dip a clean cloth into the mixture, wring out the water, and then wipe down the faux leather surface. Using another damp cloth, immediately wipe off the detergent, and then just as quickly wipe down the wet surface with a dry cloth. For stubborn stains or residue, you may need to use a toothbrush or a faux leather cleaning agent.

Leather Upholstery

Unlike the previous materials, leather must be cleaned with care and with the right products. No going cheap on this clean-up job; using any cleaning agent not meant for use with leather could strip the leather of its natural oils and cause it to dry up and crack. To clean leather, first remove any lingering dust or oils that may be present on the leather surface. A clean cloth should be sufficient. Be sure that the leather is completely dry before applying any upholstery conditioner. Apply upholstery conditioner using liberal amounts, but make sure that you don’t leave clumps over one area. Apply it as evenly as you can and really rub it into the leather, so the leather absorbs the oils. Place your car in the shade overnight to keep the conditioner away from UV light exposure.

Watch this comprehensive video about the different types of car upholstery and how to clean them properly.

For additional deodorizing of all kinds of car upholstery, you can sprinkle baking soda on the newly-cleaned seats, leave it overnight, and then vacuum and scrub the residue off the following day.

Keeping your car seats clean should always be your regular auto-cleaning habit. Not only will your car’s interior look better, it will also feel and smell cleaner.

If you find this task a bit daunting, or if you just want to make sure that the clean-up work is done right, then contact DetailXPerts today and schedule an appointment with us. With our experienced staff, we’ll be happy to help you clean your car seats!

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3 Responses to “5 Types of Car Upholstery and How to Clean Them”

  1. […] to remove stains from car seats? It starts with identifying the material of your upholstery and knowing which stain remover suits it […]

  2. […] or a slice of pizza? Oils stains get soaked into upholstery very quickly, making them one of the toughest stains to get rid of. But if you act fast and follow these guidelines on how to remove oil stains from car seats, those […]

  3. Anu says:

    Thanks for the information.


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