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Cleaning: The Bhr Legacy


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#1 ///BHRpowered

///BHRpowered

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 05:27 PM

Alittle knowledge is a dangerous thing...
So is alot.
Albert Einstein

*in assistance with styleteg*

In edition to whats listed below, a product known as "tuff stuff" does wonders for light stains all over the car, just do not get any on glass.


by Ross Johnson (StyleTEG)

The basic areas of cleaning your car's interior are broken down to carpet, fabric, vinyl, and console. During the winter seasons, sometimes the only thing we car enthusiasts can detail is the interior due to the bad weather. Even in the summertime, an interior that looks like it came right off of the showroom floor will make everyone love your car.

The first step is basic cleaning. This means getting as much dirt and dust out of your car as possible. The best way to do this is using some diluted Simple Green and a soft bristle brush. I find that old toothbrushes are great for this. To get light dust off of the dash and other areas, I only use water. Most of the time, dust is most prominent on the dash and in the vents. A quick wipe-down of the dash with a wet cloth will clean up most of the dust. Using a damp toothbrush works well with hard-to-reach areas like the vents. The pedals of your car can also be quite grimy. These often require heavier cleaning and are the only part where I spray cleaner directly on the surface and not on a towel. A thicker brush will loosen up the mud stuck in between the pedal crevices.

Most cars have quite a bit of carpet in them. While the floor mats are designed to keep the factory carpeting as clean as possible, very often spills, dirt, and grime will find their way past them. Luckily, it is fixable! The most effective way to clean any carpet is steam cleaning. Unfortunately, most of us don't have access to a steam cleaner, nor want to deal with the hassle of renting one. Luckily, there is a good way to get most stains out!

Shampooing the carpets will get almost all stains out and leave your once-worn carpets looking great again. Do a heavy vacuuming before shampooing to get as much loose dirt out of the car as possible. Before shampooing your carpet and fabric, it is best to attack the heavy stains individually. For this, use a good spot remover like Eagle One Zap Spot Remover - this will help break up the stains and allow them to be vacuumed up in the final steps. Next, get a carpet shampoo and mix the correct amount with water as marked on the bottle. This will create a sudsy solution not unlike car wash shampoo. Using an upholstery scrub brush, work the shampoo into the carpet and fabric, using the brush to agitate the dirt and raise it to the surface. For best effectiveness, try and use the suds only, and apply as little water as possible. Wipe off excess suds with a terry-cloth cotton towel.

Once you have gone over the whole interior, get a bucket of warm water and dampen a terry-cloth towel with it. You don't want the towel soaked, just damp. Use the towel to wipe down the whole interior, and remove the dirt and extra shampoo.

Using a wet-dry vacuum (most coin-operated washes have these), vacuum down any areas that were shampooed to suck up as much water as possible. Finally, do a final drying stage using a hair dryer. Be careful not to hold the dryer to close to any fabric as it may cause burn marks.

The other option in cleaning carpet and fabric is to use cleaning foam. These products are effective and will leave your carpet clean, but unfortunately are not quite as powerful as a good shampoo. Two positives is that they are easier to use and quicker. It is a simple process. First, spray the cleaner onto the fabric. It will start to foam. Once you have enough on the area, use a brush to work the foam into the carpet. Allow adequate time for the foam to dry. While it is drying, it will loosen the dirt embedded into the fabric, and raise it to the surface. Once the fabric is completely dry, use a vacuum to suck up all dirt that has been broken loose.

If you want to go the extra mile, then you can protect your fabric and carpet as well. 303 brand or 3M Scotchgard are quality, fabric protection products. After all, the best way to be stain-free is to prevent them all together. These products help water bead on top of the fabric, much like wax does to paint. This prevents the water and dirt from soaking into the fabric, and will keep stains and dampness to a minimum. To apply, make sure the fabric is completely dry and free of dirt. Spray the area lightly with the product. The idea is to get the fabric damp, but not wet. Two light coats is much better than one medium coat. Not only will this keep your interior looking great longer, but it will prevent the fabric from fading and keep it looking factory fresh.

Leather is a very luxurious material that provides extra comfort due to its soft nature. With the comfort and class that leather provides, it also provides slightly more work to keep good care of. Leather is a very porous material - after all, at one point it was on a cow, and much like our own skin the pores were used to sweat out water. Now the leather works the other way as well - it will absorb dirt and perspiration into its pores, which will eventually cause it to harden, and shrink.
The two-step leather-cleaning process starts with mild cleaner. You want to only use leather-specific cleaning agents on leather. Any harsh soap may damage the fragile leather. Spray the cleaning agent onto a clean towel, and work it into the leather.
It should create a slightly sudsy solution. On really dirty applications, and to get into cracks, use a soft bristle toothbrush.

Once the leather has been cleaned and rid of dirt, it needs to be conditioned. Leather conditioner should leave the material very soft, and replenish its natural oils. Many leather conditioners have a nice scent as well. When it doubt, it is always better to make two light passes with cleaner and conditioner than on heavy pass. I have found that Lexol leather products are the safest and most effective products available.

After all the fabric and carpet has been cleaned, vinyl is the biggest area to tackle. The vinyl in your car is important to take care of, and most modern cars have lots of it used in the interior. The area that needs the most protection and care is the dashboard. The dash gets exposed to lots of UV light, which can quickly cause damage and fading. Cleaning it and keeping it protected should be done twice a month. To clean it, use a mild soapy water solution. I use warm water, and let a bar of Ivory soap sit in it for a few minutes. Dampen a towel with the solution, and wipe down all areas of the dash. Follow up with a dry towel. Any areas that have stains or are particularly soiled, use leather cleaner to remove.

Once the dash is clean and dry, its time to use protection. What to use comes down to personal preference. What you should stay away from are any products that use silicone oils and/or petroleum distillates. These chemicals, often found in cheaper vinyl dressings like Armorall, will cause your dash to dry out and crack. While most products don't list every chemical used, the best way to avoid these harmful chemicals is to only get high quality vinyl products. The products I like, and that are the safest, are Lexol Vinylex, Aerospace 303, or Eagle One Protectant Lotion.

What product you use depends on how you like your dash to look. Vinylex has a very high-gloss shine - if you like a deep, shiny dash than there is no better product to use than Vinylex. If you prefer a rich matte feel, Aerospace 303 is your choice. It gives the vinyl factory richness, without the blinding shine that other products can produce. Eagle One Protectant Lotion is somewhere in the middle - not too glossy, but still with some shine. It is also very easy to apply without accidentally splattering it all over, due to it being a lotion and not a spray. Finally, some people prefer to use a leather conditioner. While this doesn't provide as much protection, it does leave the dash looking and smelling nice. A good combination is Aerospace 303 with Lexol leather conditioner on top.

To apply your vinyl dressing, apply a small amount to a towel or rag. The key to a good-looking dash is to apply the product evenly. You don't want some areas soaked in it, and others just barely touched. Make several light passes over the entire dash, and do one area at a time until it reaches your desired saturation level. Once you have gone over the whole dash, let it dry for an adequate amount of time. Then, follow up with a terry-cloth cotton towel, and give the whole dash a light buffing. This will remove any excess and leave you with an even finish.

Once finished with the dash, continue on to all the other vinyl areas. Most cars have a lot including the headliner, shifter boots, door panels, sun visors, and door posts. Doing an even job on all the vinyl in the car looks absolutely stunning.

Next, it is time to treat the plastic areas. This includes the center console, the clear plastic bezel over the gauges, and the vent surrounds. Your best bet in keeping plastic clean and in good condition is to use a good plastic polish/cleaner. 3M makes a great polish and cleaner product, as does Plexus. Apply the product just like you would car polish - put a small amount on a towel or cotton swab and work it lightly into the plastic until it buffs out. Wipe off any excess with a terry-cloth cotton towel.

For areas like the gauge bezel, you want to only use a good plastic polish. The use of other cleaners or solvents may scratch the plastic, leaving a cloudy haze and making it hard to read the gauges. When polishing this area, work only in a diagonal up and down motion - no circles! A scratch is most visible at a 90-degree angle - if you polish in a diagonal fashion, any scratches will be barely visible when driving.

The polish will leave all of the plastic looking rich and shiny again. Plastic polish can also be used to remove scuff marks on plastic or vinyl surfaces. Common places where this works well include the plastic shield over the steering wheel, the front kick panels, and the door sill covers. The plastic polish should remove some of the scuffing and reduce the visibility of it. While some scuffing is too extreme to remove entirely, it can certainly be helped.

Finally, all glass should be clean and free of oils. A great technique used by detailers for years is newsprint - that's right, your normal, everyday black-and-white newspaper! The ink in newspaper, when used with a light lubricant, acts as a fine glass polish. This polish lightly removes weather damage and embedded dirt, which then clings to the paper itself providing even greater cleaning action. Using a light glass cleaner such as diluted Windex and newspaper does wonders. Make sure, however, that you never use this technique on the inside of a rear window. This is due to the thin wires of the defroster, and any abrasives from the ink could damage them.

Now the inside of your car should be looking great. The vinyl should be clean and protected. The plastic should have depth to its original color, and the carpets should be spotless. The only thing now is to wait for the next person who gets in your car to ask, "Wait, how old is this car?"
Mazdaworld Federation - General/"Underboss"

2000 Millenia S...It's a car with stuff in it
2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee...4.7, Limited, Quadra-Drive, Loaded.
2005 Audi S4...V8, 6spd, miltek
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee...5.7 Hemi, Overland, '14 LED headlights coming soon
2005 ZX-6rr...Muzzy, power commander 3, bixenons
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QUOTE(SKI @ Apr 27 2006, 01:26 AM) View Post

First of all, we are smart enough to know that BHR doesn't really exist, he is an illusion in all our minds....

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#2 SirMakesALot

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 09:29 PM

when i had leather in my milly and my i30, i used to use murphy's oil to clean it. put a little bit in a bucket, add some water (i think its supposed to be warm.) dip a wash cloth in the bucket, and get to work. no need to scrub real hard, moderate at best should work. this is also really good to use on the steering wheel and gear shifter and other parts that get real dirty. i then use a seperate towel to dry off the excess water. when im finished, i apply some sort of leather conditioner. some peeps like lexol, although ive never been a big fan. i suggest meguire's. just a side note for bhr - when you sweat, you lose a lot more than just water - wink.gif
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