Did you know that automobiles can be far dirtier than homes? A study even found vehicles to harbor 17,000 times more bacteria than the average house! That makes cars far germier than many other spots in the bathroom, such as the toilet.
All that should be good enough reason to clean your ride regularly, from inside to out. That includes your car seats, which you may be using not only to carry people but dirty objects, too.
Fortunately, a car upholstery cleaner can help keep your seats in pristine condition. Such products can get rid of even tough stains without you having to remove the seat cover itself.
To that end, we came up with this guide listing some of the tips for using upholstery cleaning solutions. So, read on to discover their proper and safe use.
1. Vacuum Your Car Seats First
If you wipe down dirty car seats with a liquid upholstery cleaner right away, they can end up with ugly smear marks. Worse, you may end up dragging grit all over your upholstery, which can then damage the material.
So, be sure to vacuum your seats before using any cleaning solution. That way, you can remove dirt, debris, and grit lodged in the upholstery’s fibers and threaded seams.
2. Give Your Seats an Initial Wipe-Down
After vacuuming, you can use upholstery cleaning wipes to remove surface contaminants. Doing so can also help reveal stains that may require deeper cleaning or brushing.
Just be sure to use cleaning wipes that are safe to use on your car seats’ upholstery material. For example, cleaning wipes that contain some alcohol are okay for cloth upholstery. However, it’s best not to use the same on leather seats, as alcohol can damage them.
Instead, go for cleaning wipes made explicitly for leather materials. These don’t contain alcohol or bleaches but rather natural oils that help buff up leather.
3. Use an All-Purpose Cleaner for General Cleaning
Some of your all-purpose upholstery cleaners include Biselle, Woolite, and P&S products. You can use them as a general cleaning solution for the entire surface area of your car seats. They can cut through dirt, grease, and grime and even remove mild stains.
Best of all, those products also work on other upholstered items, such as couches and sofas. You can even find carpet and upholstery cleaners that you can use for both your car seats and your home carpets.
4. Apply Spot Removers on Stubborn Stains
Unfortunately, those liquids contain natural pigments that can cause difficult-to-remove stains.
For example, fruits like mangoes, oranges, and tomatoes contain carotenoids. These natural compounds give them their yellow, orange, or red colors. For the same reason, stains from such foods are hard to wash off linens and upholstery.
Although soaps can still remove food stains, it often takes repeated washes. That can be pretty tedious, so you might want to use a dedicated stain remover instead.
Stain removers have varying directions for use, but most have a set-in period. That means you have to pre-treat the stains with the product for a specific length of time. Check the cleaning solution’s label for the exact directions to ensure they do their job.
Depending on the solution you use, you may not have to blot or brush the spots away. However, you might have to do that if the stain is too deep or old. You can use a microfiber towel or a soft-bristled brush for tougher stains.
5. Pre-treat Leather With a Conditioning Solution
Leather conditioners are products containing natural oils that help nourish leather fibers. For example, they can strengthen the protein bonds between leather fibers. That then helps keep the material flexible and resistant against cracks and creases.
That’s also why it’s best to pre-treat leather with a conditioner before focusing on stains. Doing so can help dissolve oil-soluble stains faster. That includes unsightly marks left by foods with carotenoids.
In addition, a conditioner can add a moisturizing buffer to the leather. You want that extra layer of protection as stain removers can dry out some of the natural oils in leather.
Just keep in mind that pre-treating leather upholstery also requires a set-in time. Check the conditioner’s label for directions on how long to let it sit before applying a cleaner.
Once you’re ready to use a leather-specific cleaner, make sure to apply it to one section at a time. Then, use a soft cloth, such as a microfiber towel to rub the cleaning solution onto the upholstery.
From there, use a clean rag moistened with water to rinse off the cleaner. You can then wipe the area dry with another piece of cloth.
6. Finish up With a Stain Guard
To help protect your car upholstery from future stains, you can spray it with a stain guard. It’s a product that forms a barrier on the external surface of the upholstery. As a result, it allows the sprayed seats to repel most liquids and stains.
However, it’s imperative to choose a stain guard designed for the type of upholstery you have. Most commercial products are safe and gentle on fabrics but not on leather. So, if your car has the latter, go with a stain repellent specifically designed for leather.
Freshen up Your Seats With the Right Car Upholstery Cleaner
There you have it, the top tips you should keep in mind when using a car upholstery cleaner. However, the most crucial thing is to apply a product designed for your seat cover’s material. That way, you don’t have to worry about damaging your precious ride’s upholstered seats.
As a final reminder, choose a non-toxic upholstery cleaner. The last thing you want, after all, is to transform your car into a dangerous gas chamber.
Did you like this article? If so, then feel free to check out our other guides!
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