High Society Kustom Garage

Protecting your car’s upholstery

It’s what’s inside that counts

Dirty marks, stains, fading, and wear.  In your interior, few things will steal your attention more than imperfections when you’re out enjoying your ride.   We all know how to protect our car’s exteriors, but how about protecting the car’s upholstery?  Periodically inspect your car’s interior for any signs of wear and tear.  Address any issues promptly to prevent them from worsening.  Here are our recommendations for looking after your car’s interior.

Sun smart

Southeast Queensland’s (almost) year-round sunshine is a huge part of what makes it so easy to enjoy our car culture.  However, the powerful solar radiation is very damaging to a car’s upholstery.  This causes colours to rapidly fade and fabrics to weaken, making tears more likely.  As usual, prevention is easier than cure when it comes to protecting your car’s interior and upholstery.  Whenever possible, park your car in a shaded area to reduce exposure to direct sunlight.  This helps prevent damage to the interior surfaces. 

A couple more simple measures to consider are a sunshade and quality window tinting.  If you will be parked in the sunshine for an extended amount of time, these will reduce the amount of sunlight entering your car.  A quality sunshade will protect the dashboard, steering wheel, and seats from harmful UV rays.  Tinted windows will do more than protect the interior from the sun but will also keep the cabin cooler.

Clean up aisle 9

Regularly clean the interior to remove dirt, dust, and other debris.  Use a vacuum cleaner, soft brushes, and microfiber cloths to clean various surfaces without causing scratches.  You would be surprised how much damage that loose debris will cause in the crevices of your seats over time.  Once vacuumed, clean with water and a gentle detergent using a damp, soft cloth.  Once cleaned, they can be dried using another, dry, cloth.  Once dry, vacuum again.

Microfibre suedes (such as Alcantara) require gentle cleaning.  Use a soft brush or vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove dirt and dust.  When cleaning microsuede, we recommend avoiding water and soap unless you’re 100% sure it’s safe.  For many of these materials water and soap can leave water rings that can make your trim look even worse than before.  Keep an eye out for specialised microfibre suede cleaners available for purchase.

Once allowed to dry, you need to follow up to remove any debris left over.  Detergents loosen debris and stains, and that’s it.  Once loosened, go over the area with a soft-bristled brush, or a vacuum cleaner – to remove leftover debris and detergent left in your microsuede fabric.   Bear in mind the pile or grain of the material.  Be careful not to crush the grain, as you could permanently damage the fibres.

Protection racket

Another great way to help protect your car’s upholstery is to use an appropriate fabric, vinyl, or leather protector to spray the upholstery.  For leather seats, use specialized leather cleaners and conditioners.  These products help clean, moisturize, and protect the leather, preventing it from drying out and cracking.

These products are especially helpful to resist staining and water damage.  After applying the product, allow the upholstery to air dry before driving to prevent fresh marks on wet cloth especially.  Also, be sure that you only apply these products to clean upholstery.  Spraying them over a mark can set the stain, making it harder to remove.

For leather seats, use specialized leather cleaners and conditioners.  These products help clean, moisturize, and protect the leather, preventing it from drying out and cracking.  Vinyl surfaces can be protected using vinyl cleaners and protectants.  Apply these products to keep the vinyl soft and prevent cracking.  Avoid using products containing bleach or alcohol, as they can be harsh on vinyl.

Riders on the storm

Unfortunately, kids and animals are some of the worst perpetrators when it comes to damaging a car’s upholstery.  Do you regularly travel with pets or children?  Perhaps think about giving your trim a layer of protection with some comfy seat covers.  The best seat covers fit well and are made from breathable and durable materials.  Ideally, make sure pets travel in a carrier or the rear of the car if possible.  For clawed animals sitting on seats, thick towels or blankets are a great, lower-cost idea.

Floor mats are another great accessory to protect your car’s upholstery.  Invest in high-quality floor mats to protect the carpet from dirt, mud, and spills.  For high soil environments, opt for mats with raised edges to contain liquid and debris.  The other thing that you can do is minimize eating and drinking inside the car to prevent accidental spills and stains.  If you must eat or drink, use spill-proof containers and be cautious.

Clean up crew

If your car’s upholstery does become stained, you may have to have your car professionally detailed. If you choose this option, make sure that the detailer is aware of any stains so that they can make sure they treat them appropriately.  Of course, for badly damaged interiors and upholstery, a complete re-trim may be the best option.   It is certain to give the best results and make your car look like new again.  By following these tips, you can significantly extend the lifespan of your car’s interior and keep it looking new for a longer time.

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