Got leather seats? - Beware of cheap valet!

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  1. Got leather seats? - Beware of cheap valet! 
    #1
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    I just wanted to warn everyone who has leather seats in their beloved machines - DON'T use cheap car valeting services.

    In fact, don't use ANY valeting that you are unsure about. Do it yourself, properly - or face the consequences.

    I had my car pressure washed, waxed & valeted for 25 quid. I asked them beforehand "Do you use proper leather cleaners, etc.?" - "Yes, yes, of course, we only use good car cosmetics".

    But when they finished... My god, it was a disaster. They cleaned it alright on the outside, but the interior...

    Firstly, it REEKED of some foul artificial fragrance that was meant to be citrus, but it actually smelled like a revolting chemistry lesson I had to drive with my windows open for a week after that, otherwise I would have either heaved or choked.

    Secondly, they totally RUINED my leather. I think they used the same stuff on the dash as on the seats, because they became very shiney, hard to touch, and made this leathery rubbing noise (not sure how to describe it) every time I moved. The foul stuff also made them slippery - not a funny thing when you're as skinny as I am and the seats are a bit too big!
    It took me hours of work to clean it off to the point where I could at least get into the car without wanting to get out of it straight away. I actually took me a few weeks and two more thorough cleans to restore its previous luxurious matt softness.

    Also, the stuff they used on the dash... I hated it, with a passion. It gave it the cheapest glossy looks imaginable. And made it slippery. And made my steering wheel slippery - which I hated even more, because it's a leather Mtec2, wonderful to drive with - but only if you can get a proper hold of it!

    Bottom line: if you want it done properly, do it your own self!
     
     

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    Unlucky mate, feel sorry for you - lesson learnt the hard way

    I always prefer to do things like this myself, but it can be down to time sometimes. The only other option I would take is getting a detailer to do it, some of them do interiors as well.
     
     

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    For all the folks out there who don't know how to look after leather seats, I thought I'd put together a little guide:

    1. Cleaning.

    You need:

    - a hoover
    - a piece of cloth or two
    - leather cleaner
    - clean water
    - soft brush (optional)

    Firstly, you need to hoover any dirt, especially from the seams and where the leather folds. Any major soiling needs to be removed mechanically, as carefully as possible, using a bit of water if necessary (but no chemical cleaners!).

    Next, apply the leather cleaner to the seat, dampen the whole surface with it. Leave it for a minute or so before giving it a good rub. If your leather is a bit neglected, you may need to use a brush (but be extra careful if the leather has cracks). Apply more cleaner if necessary, but use it sparingly, as the next step will be cleaning the cleaner itself off the seat. Wipe it off with a wet cloth (not too wet - be reasonable). Rinse the cloth and repeat until you can see or feel no cleaner residue.

    Wipe it lightly with a dry cloth and leave it for a while to dry (you can do the other seats in the meantime). After it has dried, you should be able to notice that the surface of the leather has lost all its luster. This is normal, we will restore its natural slight sheen in the next step.

    2. Conditioning / Feeding

    You need:

    - one small dry cloth
    - one or two large cotton cloths - dry and soft
    - leather care cream

    Shake the bottle with the cream. Start by applying it onto your cloth and then rub it gently onto the whole surface of the seats. Be quite generous with it, especially if your seats haven't been conditioned for a long time. Leave it for a few minutes to absorb (do the other seats in the meantime).
    You may notice that the leather absorbed the cream completely - in this case feed it a bit more and leave for a couple more minutes.

    After that, take your big cloth and wipe off any conditioner still not absorbed. Turn the cloth frequently. Then use another cloth and go through it again, and then give it a final buff. Paper towels will work ok instead of cloths, but you will waste a lot of them in the process, as they don't seem to absorb the cream very well.

    Of course, this procedure will work on any leather components you may have in your car. If you have a leather sofa, this should be a perfect way to look after it also. In fact, it seems to work ok on the dash too (although there's no point waiting for the cream to absorb in this case lol). The leather cleaner seems to be a good overall cleaner too - I washed my carpets with it and it worked a wonder.


    A few important points:

    1. Do use proper car cosmetics. If you can't afford them, then sell your leather seats, get fabric ones instead and feel like a complete loser afterwards.

    2. You need separate cleaner and conditioner. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either an idiot or a liar.

    3. Washing-up liquid is NOT suitable for leather seats (contains too much salt). Soap is NOT suitable for leather seats (dryes the leather). Saddle soap is NOT suitable for leather seats (it's meant for SADDLES, which are made of much harder leather). Again - if you can't afford the proper stuff, sell your seats and stop bothering me.

    4. With leather care products, you get what you pay for. End of story. There are no cheap "miracle" products.
    My personal choice is Autoglym Leather Cleaner and Autoglym Leather Care Cream. I chose them for a number of reasons:
    - the cleaner is gentle, but works very well (and is versatile, as mentioned above)
    - the cream leaves your leather soft and does NOT give it cheap luster that most car care products would. It makes it look exactly the way it was when new.
    - I LOVE the way my car smells afterwards. It is a vague fragrance that is hard to name, but to me, it smells of luxury, and it does make my car feel somehow special.


    I hope this helps you guys. Please feel free to add if I forgot about something.
     
     

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Quiver For This Useful Post:

    Joe9087 (03-08-2009),xXNealXx (03-08-2009)

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    Unlucky mate, feel sorry for you - lesson learnt the hard way
    I gave it a try and it didn't work. Shit happens :P

    I'm only grateful that I did manage to restore the leather to its original condition.
     
     

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    Thanks for the heads up Quiver. Lesson learnt I suppose
     
     

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    The funny thing is, I actually sort of like cleaning my seats (I definitely like the results!). I just thought I might let some "professionals" have a go at it.

    As it seems, I am much more of a professional myself!

    But you know what is the worst thing in the story above? The fact that there are many people (in fact, most of them!) who will think, that the way the valeting guys did it, is how it's supposed to be!
     
     

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    I just thought id give my opinon here i work for a rather large car sales company as a valeter. I cant name names for "legal" reasons and the fact if i do tell you how terrible they are i would be dissmissed form my job and in these hard times i can't afford that not if i want to keep my pride and joy.


    Anyway i agree with what Quivers is saying .The products were expected to use are terrible we use cheap products. As for wen it comes to leather cleaner we dont have it or conditioner. we're told to use multi purpose cleaner eather that or the silicone spray you use on the interior plastics. I have leather seats in my 323i and i use auto glym cleaner and conditioner as it leaves the seats looking great.


    Another Tip ive learned if you have any stubbon stains that the cleaner won't shift try a little bit of shaving foam (it sounds silly but it works) and a tooth brush apply a small amount to a inconspicuas area to make sure it wont damage it. Spray a bit onto the stain give it a scrub with the tooth brush leave for about 30 seconds and remove once removed apply a small amout of conditioner to the area just incase its died out the leather.
     
     

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    Nice one, w33_uan. The tip with shaving foam isn't that silly - it's meant for human skin, which in essence is fairly similar to leather (leather used to be some poor mammal's skin after all ).

    That silicone spray you mention is about the worst thing you can apply to leather. It gets stuck in leather's pores and effectively ruins its wonderful properties.
     
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiver View Post



    A few important points:

    1. Do use proper car cosmetics. If you can't afford them, then sell your leather seats, get fabric ones instead and feel like a complete loser afterwards.

    2. You need separate cleaner and conditioner. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either an idiot or a liar.
    Firstly can I agree that leather needs to be looked after and fed on regular occasions and examples of where this hasn't happened are quite obvious.

    However, I may be reading your post in the wrong context but from what I see is that anyone with fabric seats and not leather is a 'loser' and the fact that I use Turtle Wax Leather Cleaner and Conditioner (All in one) from their Platinum Series I'm an idiot! Does this mean that I can not afford to look after my upholstery correctly. Well my decision to use this cleaner/conditioner came about on the basis I prefer Turtle Wax products and I'm happy with paying MORE than I would for Auto Glym for this privilage.
    Last edited by mattbish; 03-08-2009 at 18:19. Reason: type error.
    320ci M-Sport, Leather, Sat Nav, 18" MV1's, (Looking for CF Roof)
     
     

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    Why are you getting so defensive? If you like the result then use it, by all means.

    All I'm saying is that using two separate products (two separate high-quality products) will give better results. Ask your girlfriend if she would use an "all in one" cleaning product instead of soap and proper hand cream afterwards?
     
     

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