Kids and pets can mean that your car goes through a lot, with food drippings, stains and other kinds of damage. But even adults can be dangerous to their vehicles, especially if they have the habit of smoking while driving. Not only is the risk of the car smelling of cigarette higher, but you might even accidentally burn your seat. A burn hole can happen quite easily, as even falling ash from your cigarette can create a hole.
A coffee stain or other kinds of spills are easy to clean, but a burn on the car upholstery will be tricky to deal with. Although they are small and easy to ignore, ignoring them might mean the damage gets worse over time. Moreover, trying to repair it is risky as well since a mistake can also make the hole bigger and much more noticeable. Stains and other similar kinds of damage might be normal for a car, especially for owners with small children, but it does not mean you should just live with that. It will bring down the value of your car significantly, and it looks unsightly to anyone who sees and rides on it.
Various Kinds Of Seat Upholstery
If you drive a lot, then the type of car upholstery you have influences greatly how comfortable your drive will be. Dirt, stains, and holes in it can affect your driving experience, which is why keeping it clean is a great idea.
Car seats are available in different materials, which is why knowing which one you have is the first step in cleaning it. The same cleaning agent might be damaging to another material, so you might be unknowingly leading to more damage instead of cleaning it.
Here are 5 Common Kinds of Upholstery for Cars:
Upholstery that comes in a fabric is classified into 2 – nylon and polyester. Nylon is actually one of the most common fabrics used in cars. It is because of its durability, plus it is also quite porous. Because of its make and material, it is quite easy to clean up.
To remove dust and loose dirt, you only need to vacuum it and if you have any stains, you just need mild detergent. Mix it with hot water in a pail, but make sure to avoid creating bubbles. You need to dip a sponge into the hot water and detergent mix and scrub the surface of the car seat. Afterward, dip a second sponge in cold water and scrub off the soap from the surface. Lastly, let the fabric dry completely.
Polyester car upholstery is typically made of microsuede. It is quite soft and feels like suede leather, making it a very comfortable choice for a car seat. Unfortunately, it makes it a bit tough to care for, plus the texture means it is easy to get dirt and stains.
Despite this, cleaning polyester yourself is uncomplicated if you know how. You only need a damp cloth, make sure to wring out all extra water. Then wash it with a cleaning agent that is appropriate for microsuede. You may also use low-PH soap like a baby wash or soap. The most important thing is to not get it very wet because this material is likely to get some water stains. Another option is to steam-clean the upholstery.
This is another commonly used material in car upholstery. Compared to fabric, it is not porous and is mostly waterproof. This makes it a good option for those with kids and pets because it does not get stained as easily. Moreover, cleaning it is so easy, all you need is a cleaner designed for vinyl to take care of any residue that you cannot easily wipe off.
4. Faux Leather
Some people want car seats that have the same feel and look of leather, without having to pay the premium for it. Like vinyl, this material is actually waterproof and all you need to do is to wipe it clean. A feather duster is perfect for removing dirt and loose dust then vacuum it to get the job done.
For stains, mix some detergent with water, making sure you avoid producing bubbles. Use a clean cloth and dip it into the mixture, wringing out all extra liquid, then wipe the surface. Get another damp cloth, wiping off the detergent. Wipe down the wet surface with a dry cloth. For stubborn stains and residue, you can also use a toothbrush or a special faux leather cleaning material.
Of the 5 different kinds of upholstery, leather is the most expensive and care-specific. You need to pay extra care cleaning it and use only the right products. If you try to use something else, or a cheaper agent to clean it, you might strip it of its natural oils and it might get dried up and cracked.
To clean it, you need to remove whatever dust and oil is on the surface, using nothing more than a clean cloth. You need to make sure you only apply upholstery conditioner when it is very dry. Use the conditioner liberally, but you need to avoid leaving any clumps anywhere. Instead, make sure you apply it as evenly as possible and work it into the leather, so that the leather will absorb the oils. You would then need to leave the car under the shade overnight because you need to keep the conditioner away from any exposure to UV light.
Dealing With Burn Holes
While cleaning different kinds of car upholstery is more straightforward, dealing with a cigarette burn hole is more complicated. Like choosing the right cleaning agent, it is important to consider the material when trying to repair the hole.
The next challenge is to actually repair a tiny hole because any mistake can make the hole bigger. You will end up with a bigger bill trying to restore the upholstery.
If you prefer to do it yourself, there are tons of repair kits that you can buy online and plug any burn holes in your car upholstery. However, not every kind of material is easy to fix. For example, a burn hole in leather car seats will require a professional to repair it, especially since the risk of damaging it further is high and will be expensive to restore.
On the other hand, fixing a vinyl car upholstery is not as complicated. You simply need a repair kit, which includes a vinyl liquid patch. You just need to apply it to the burn hole and it will bond with the vinyl so that the hole is covered. In some cases, you need special grain paper to make sure that the texture evens out. This is an easy way to repair vinyl car seats and the best part is, these kits are inexpensive.
Repairing Fabric Car Upholstery
If you have a burn hole in a nylon or polyester upholstery, then repairing it is easier.
First of all, if the damage is tiny or if you have antique fabric like in a classic car, then reweaving is a good option. This allows you to keep the original upholstery without having to repair any part of it. This is also the best option if you have plain tweed or any fabric that has a loosely woven thread. All you need to do is to trim the edges with small scissors. Then, use a matching thread, weaving from half-inch away from the edge and over the hole. Knot the thread on both sides and continue weaving until the burn hole is fully covered.
The second option is to glue a tiny patch to cover the hole in your car seat. This is a great option for velour upholstery because you just need to scrape the surface with a razor blade a little until you get some fuzz. You need to apply a drop of superglue over the burn hole and press the fuzz into it with the tip of a pencil. Use more fuzz until you have completely covered the hole.
The last option is to sew an actual piece of fabric into the seat to cover the hole. This is the best option for holes that are bigger and more visible. You will need a small patch of the same fabric and you will need a special needle to make it easier to sew it onto the top of the hole. Moreover, because it is sewed in, it is more durable, making it the best method for covering holes in the heavily used parts of the seat.
There are many repair kits available to take care of burn holes in your car upholstery, but you should be careful in choosing the right kit and using it. You should try to read reviews or feedback on it and study how to use it. If the holes are bigger, on the other hand, or if you are dealing with a sensitive or expensive material like leather, then it is a good idea to approach a professional compared to doing it yourself.