This section is divided into many different parts using sub headings in order to help you find the answer to your specific question quickly. Feel free to scroll down to the heading you are interested in. If you have any questions don't hesitate to subscribe, email, or call 636.231.5456 for the answer
DASH, CONSOLE, DOORS, ETC...
This specific area should not be over thought. Cleaning the dashboard, console, doors, and really all hard/textured surfaces inside the car can be very simple. This however, is a place where many detailers slack and ultimately give very disappointing results. There are so many cracks and crevices within these areas they are easy to overlook, and trust me... most detailers will! Again, I've found that they are much more interested in taking your money than they are in doing a quality job. That is where Revive Auto Detailing stands apart. I've have had years to grow and improve, and I've learned how to cut to the chase, not waste time, and provide the results that my customers are after.
Regarding problem areas with the textured pieces inside the vehicle, the main issue I've found that may be problematic for a do-it yourself person, is called a "scuff mark." Most of the time these will appear on the threshold plate, and the lower part of the door where people drag their feet. I've attached a picture below in order to help you visualize it. You can be sure if you have had your vehicle for any length of time, you will see them. Most detailers lack the knowledge and experience on how to remove these and thus, another area is over looked. Again, I have learned how to cut to the chase and provide the "new car look" that my customers are after without excessively separating you from your money!
If you are dealing with these frustrating scuff marks try a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
Apart from that, hard interior surfaces are generally not a problematic area of a vehicle. For the do-it yourselfers out there, an all purpose cleaner is a great tool for cleaning almost every single interior surface that exists (including fabric).
This is another one of the many areas Revive Auto Detailing stands apart. After I've finished thoroughly cleaning all hard surfaces within the car, I spend additional time going over those areas with a vinyl, rubber, and plastic protector that not only protects those areas from UV rays, but also restores their natural shine.
Leather seats in a vehicle, for the most part, have been wildly over-complicated. We've been taught to think of leather as a delicate and fragile material, when in reality, car leather could not be farther from that. As a rule, in this day and age all leather seats in vehicles are manufactured with a protective plastic coating that surrounds them much like the clear coat on the outside of your car. Even in the nicest of cars, and believe me, I've tested this "in the field" as I do get paid to do this... Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, even Rolls Royce, though the leather may be of higher quality, it all has the same protective layer on the outside. In many ways this is good news. It means that leather is MUCH easier to clean than if it were simply exposed leather. The problem comes when you hire a low budget, unskilled detailer to come and "clean and condition" your vehicles leather. Again, detailers often lack the experience and knowledge to properly clean, condition, and protect your vehicles leather.
A warning to the do-it yourselfers: the car leather cleaners that can be bought at your neighborhood Auto Zone, Auto Parts, etc... as a rule are very weak. This is because the retail product companies have to cover their backs, so they water down the product so much, that no one on earth could possibly mess up the materials in their vehicles by using it. I have listed some retail products below that, if you are trying to clean leather that is really dirty, will more than likely yield disappointing results.
With that being said, if your car leather is already clean, and you are looking for something to "condition" it, "shine" it, and "protect" it, then these products will work great. I personally recommend Meguiar's, as it is one of the products I use professionally to shine and protect leather (after I have cleaned the leather with some professional detailing products and tools).
This is a complicated topic that requires some explanation, so here we go. There are many different types of fabric materials that cloth seats can be made of, which makes this area especially difficult. For inexperienced and uninformed detailers, you can be sure that this will be an area where they will leave you unimpressed.
There are two main fabrics cloth seats are made out of:
#1) A fabric that is much like traditional carpeting, the fibers are not too tightly woven, and this kind is much easier to clean.
#2) The second type of fabric is one that is much more popular today. It is a very tightly woven fabric that could almost be described as rough, more or less. It is extremely popular in new vehicles manufactured today. Since the first type of fabric is pretty standard, and cleans much like any normal carpet, the second type is the one I will focus on.
I tell all of my customers who have the second type of seats, that I cannot promise perfection. Of course I will be able to improve them, but I absolutely cannot promise 100% perfection. Normal fabric is made up of thousands of tiny, loose fibers which dirt can be relatively easy to remove. This fabric however, is so tightly woven that the dirt/stain sometimes cannot be pulled out. Spills are especially tricky here. Again, maintenance is better than the cure. I tell all of my clients to regularly clean these seats, especially if you are looking to keep them in perfect condition (which is what I do as I have these type of seats in my own car). Carpet Extractior and/or a professional Steam Cleaner seems to be the only way to clean these type of seats to perfection when they get very dirty, and most people do not have a carpet extractor or steam cleaner on hand. That coupled with the right products, tools, and knowledgeable detailer will prove to be extremely successful! Here are a couple pictures of my work on these difficult cloth seats:
Again, not perfection, but you can see a dramatic difference. Not to mention these stained seats had sat for 8 years before I got to them.
Here is a great example of cloth seats that have been dramatically improved, but they're not perfect simply because perfection in this case was impossible. This is a coffee stain, which is especially difficult, and it was allowed to sit for a long time. Eventually, replacement will be the only way to perfection if that is what you are looking for.
CARPET SHAMPOO/STAIN REMOVAL
Another more complicated subject that will require some explanation, so buckle up. Traditionally carpet is made up of thousands of loose fibers that over time collect dirt. The dirt gets lodged between these loose fibers and can be brushed and vacuumed out. If it only were that simple and stopped there. Like most everything in life, not all dirt is created equal, and overtime, carpet gets stained, builds up excessive dirt, people spill things on it, and more.
Most people tend not to clean their carpets regularly, and instead call a detailer like myself to do some carpet shampooing after dirt has been allowed to sit for a very long time. I have learned how to clean carpet very thoroughly over the years with the right tools and products, however this is a perfect area to talk about managing expectations. Letting excessive amounts of dirt/spills to sit in vehicle carpet for long periods of time may result in permanent damage! I know this is obvious, but again, managing expectations. An experienced detailer like myself can dramatically improve it, far better than most detailers in fact. However, 100% perfection may just be impossible. For carpets that are not excessively dirty, it does not need to be over-thought. They can easily be shampooed and protected with the right products and tools.
Many newer vehicles today are being manufactured with something that I like to call, "the impossible carpet." It really is not carpet at all, and some of you may very well have this in your own vehicle. It would be more accurately described as felt, like the kind you'd buy from Hobby Lobby to do crafts. It's a rats nest of fibers connecting in every direction. One could spend literally hours, detailing and shampooing this to perfection, but most of my customers are not willing to pay what it would cost to bring it to perfection. The conversation usually goes like this; "I could spend hours detailing this carpet to perfection, but that's not really what you want, is it? You want the major stains removed, and the carpet to be vacuumed and shampooed, so I can bring this carpet to about 85% perfection. To go further than that would be unrealistic and unnecessary for a car that is a daily driver." The good news is that most of the time, this kind of carpet is limited to the trunk. A word of caution, getting sand or dog hair in this specific carpeting will be a nightmare. Just don't do it. Here are a few before and after pictures of some excessively dirty carpet that I have worked on:
As a quick side note: Ink spills on carpet are extremely tricky, and most detailers will not even know where to start. Fortunately I have done a lot of research, have a lot of experience, and am able to improve/fix many ink spills, however this may also prove to be permanent damage to car carpet. Again, even the best carpet shampoo only goes so far, maintenance is better than the cure.
Fabric protectors come in many different configurations, but whether you're using Scotch Guard, or some other well known brand, I've found that for the most part, they all work. Fabric protector is an area that most vehicle owners overlook, though it is an extremely important part of the equation if you want your seats and carpets to last. To clear up a misconception, when fabric protector is applied to carpet, it does not form an impenetrable layer of protection that keeps dirt from getting into the fibers. It simply makes the cleaning process much, much easier. Removing dirt and stains from a carpet that has been treated versus a carpet that hasn't been treated is much like night and day. Again, if your vehicle carpets/seats are treated with a carpet protector they will still get dirty over time, but when you go to clean them, they will quickly look as good as new!
For the do-it yourselfers who would like to protect their carpet (which I highly recommend, especially if you have a new car), but you are confused about which one to buy... don't over think it. This is another area where the industry wants to mislead you and take your money. One bottle says "Cloth Seat Protector," another says "Carpet Protector," and yet, another says "Ultimate Fabric Protector," trust me, just pick one and use it. I have found that they all work just fine. The one that says "carpet" can be used on your cloth seats, and vice versa. Of course Scotch Guard is a great brand, and very well known, however I've found that off brands really do the job just as well.
Door jambs are one of the most overlooked areas by low budget, inexperienced detailers. They either avoid them all together, or simply do not know how to clean them. It is relatively simple, however the right products are necessary. This section will be mostly for the do-it yourselfers. Because there are so many intricate parts in the door jamb itself, water will be necessary in most cases. It can literally be as simple as: a good degreaser (paint safe), a tooth brush, and a hose. Spray the degreaser, scrub all of the intricate parts, and simply hose off the degreaser with water. Possibly the only difficult part of cleaning door jambs is taking the time and having the discipline to clean every single part of the door.
This is another area where Revive Auto Detailing goes above and beyond. Most detailers will slightly clean the door jambs, hose it off, and move on leaving residue, and water spots behind. At Revive Auto Detailing, door jambs are degreased, steam cleaned if necessary, blown dry to keep water spots from forming, and finished with wax to protect and visually enhance.
For inexperienced detailers who lack the knowledge and products to correctly clean windows, this is an area that can be very, very frustrating. The main problem people find with the inside of their vehicle windows is a thick fog-like substance that forms on them over time. Even customers who don't smoke will find this film like substance. on the inside of their windows. This can happen naturally due to the dash and other plastic/rubber areas of the car off-gassing (especially during summer months). No amount of window cleaner like "Windex" or specialized vehicle window cleaner is going to remove this. I have several products in my arsenal that I use depending on the situation, but to make things simple, a 50/50 solution of water and rubbing alcohol will help you dramatically!
I've found that most of my customers, and car owners in general, do not understand that windows must be cleaned before window shine is applied. Though Windex and other brands claim that their product will "clean," I assure you, if you're trying to clean the inside of a fogged/filmedcar window, it will disappoint you. The simple fix is just to clean it first with rubbing alcohol and water, then use the window shine of your choice to bring it to perfection.
Again, this is one of the many areas that low budget detailers either do not understand, or lack the self discipline to provide superior results. They shoot some window shine on, and call it a day, and once again we see another frustrated customer who spent good money on a detail that they did not get. Much of detailing is nothing more than having the self discipline and patients to do a job correctly, and that is exactly what you get at Revive Auto Detailing & Paint Correction.
Unfortunately, this is an area not even the best detailer has a good answer for. Seat belts usually are not a big problem unless #1) It is an extremely old car, or #2) The driver is a smoker. In both cases, experience and research has taught me that it's best to either not get caught up in how your seat belts look, or just replace them. Can I improve dirty seat belts, even the ones that are in cars where the driver smokes? The simple answer is, yes I can. However it does take time, so instead of paying a lot of money for me to focus on the seat belts, I find that most of my clients simply do not worry about it. That being said, on clients that want them cleaned, I find that a professional steam cleaner is the route to go for the best results.