Interior Care: How Auto Detailing Pros Clean Leather & Fabric Seats

auto detailing career

While keeping a car’s interior clean is beneficial to both the eyes and noses of its passengers, it’s also much better for their health, as bacteria tend to accumulate inside unclean vehicles. That’s why students pursuing auto detailing careers will learn about all of the best practices for efficiently cleaning the interiors of cars during their training.

Automotive experts know that cleaning an entire car can take several hours, since there are many steps involved. In fact, the interior alone could take an auto detailing professional more than one hour to clean. Since every vehicle’s interior is made from different materials—from fabric to leather and beyond—knowing the proper techniques, and using the right equipment and products is very important.

If you’re considering a career in auto body detailing, read on to learn the cleaning best practices for various types of vehicle interiors.

Auto Detailing Professionals Know Leather Should Be Handled With Care

Auto body school teaches students that a vehicle’s leather interior should always be treated with the same care one would give his or her own skin. While most people know that leather must be conditioned regularly to protect against aging and cracking, auto detailing professionals know that vacuuming and a thorough cleansing must come first before administering a conditioning product.

Over time, leather can become more susceptible to damage that’s caused by dirt, oil and the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Once you have completed your courses and secured work in an auto body shop, your first detailing job will come quickly. Here are three key steps you will follow when cleaning leather:

  1. Using a microfiber cloth, along with a commercial cleaning solution, carefully wipe down all of the vehicle’s seats.
  2. With a soft-bristle brush and the cleaning solution, brush the seats thoroughly to ensure that all of the dirt and grime comes to the surface of the leather.
  3. Wipe the seats down with a dry, clean microfiber cloth. Once this is done, the cloth should be full of the dirt and residue that has accumulated in the leather.

Once cleansed, you can condition the leather. Leather conditioners are used to keep the material soft and flexible, protecting it from signs of aging for years to come. After applying a pH neutral conditioner to a car’s seats using a fresh microfiber sponge, it’s important to let it sit and absorb for an hour—preferably in a dark environment. After the conditioner has soaked into the leather, you’ll buff the seats with a microfiber cloth using a circular motion.

Auto body pros don’t use lotion-based products on perforated leather, since it can get stuck in the holes.
Auto body pros don’t use lotion-based products on perforated leather, since it can get stuck in the holes.

Cleaning & Removing Stains From Fabric Seats In Your Auto Detailing Career

A good auto detailing course advises students that while cleaning leather seats can take longer, cleaning fabric can be a little more challenging as it requires more manual labour. This is mainly because fabric is more prone to visible stains than leather, and such stains are hard to remove.

Of course, no matter the material of a vehicle’s interior, it should always be vacuumed before you begin cleansing. If there are stains on the seats, you will need to use an upholstery cleaning agent to remove them. The body shop for which you work will likely have a go-to brand for cleaning products; however, some popular choices include Turtle Wax and Scotchgard.

After spraying the cleaning product directly onto the stains, you’ll need to scrub them out vigorously, wiping the product off with a soft cloth once the stains have been removed. Next, you will need to clean the rest of the seats using the same product as well as a soft cloth. When all of the car’s fabric has been cleaned, you will wipe down the seats with a dry cloth and allow them to air dry.

Are you interested in pursuing an auto detailing career?

Learn more about earning your diploma at Automotive Training Centres by visiting our website and speaking with one of our expert advisors!

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