Safe cleaning Alcantara / Microsuede interior trim

What is Alcantara/ Microsuede?

Alcantara, Ultrasuede and Microsuede are the brand names for a type of microfibre, made synthetically to replicate the soft, luxury look and feel of old, natural suedes and other cloth trims of decades gone. Used in many luxury and performance cars nowadays, it gives a lovely, sophisticated feel to many of these vehicles. As tough as it's been engineered however, you cannot use normal generic fabric cleaners on them, especially anything solvent based, as they can easily damage the material and lose the softness and texture that makes it look and feel so good.

 

Our compatible cleaner

Our Fabra Cadabra cleaner was created to be compatible for cleaning this delicate type of suede trims, a solvent free formula that is literally magic for cleaning marks off it. Still there are a few great tips and tricks to doing it right, which we'll share with you here. 
 
 

Safe techniques

Generally the areas that require cleaning have the material looking dull and the pile lying flat, held down by the grime and sweat that builds up when you drive. You'll most commonly find this on the steering wheel and the seats.   

The first step is to vaccum the entire fabric surface, to remove any dust, dirt and heavier particles. For effective cleaning, use the crevice tool held at a slight angle away from the suface. 

Now closely inspect the fabric, look for potential stains and other marks in it. You want to identify and remove these marks first, as you don't want to be rubbing any grime from them further into or across the material (called stain migration) while you're cleaning it. 

Work on small sections at a time, like a seat bolster, one side of the steering wheel etc, before moving on to cleaning the next section. You can do the entire fabric surface for the last two stages in this article (vacuuming and brushing).

Important steps for application

One of the most important things to remember is don't ever spray the Fabra Cadabra directly onto the fabric surface, as this can over-saturate and negatively affect the material. Here are our three best ways to clean the fabric, depending on what it's affected by. 

For Removing Stains & Heavier Grime.

If it's liquid or other bad stains, first apply a couple of sprays of Fabra Cadabra into a microfibre applicator pad like our Square Bear. Gently place on the mark and blot it, then pull the stain out using an action like you would be picking it up in the pad. Inspect the pad after each application and turn the pad to a clean side as soon as you see any grime appearing in it, as you don't want to keep transferring it back into the fabric. Apply 2 sprays of Fabra Cadabra to the other side of the pad and continue. 

After both sides of the pad are used, hand rinse in fresh water, doing your best to gently rub the grime out of it. Wring out as much water as you can, apply 2 sprays of Fabra Cadabra and continue, this time wiping the pad over the stain in one direction to remove what's left of it. Then wipe with the low pile side of a folded Plush Daddy microfibre cloth, again moving it across in one direction to help dry the material. 

For Removing Lighter Grime.

If the mark is a lighter stain (like makeup) or more grime related (on an area affected by sweat, like a steering wheel), you can spray Fabra Cadabra into a round detailing brush, like our Soft Details brush, and gently agitate it into the area. Then wipe it clean using the low pile side of a folded Plush Daddy microfibre cloth, move the cloth in one direction, folding and turning the cloth each time you wipe, so you don't transfer the grime back to the material.

For a Quick Freshen Up

If you feel your trim just needs a quick freshen up, or you wish to clean the rest of the material around the stain you've just removed, you can apply the Fabra Cadabra into a folded Plush Daddy cloths' low pile side and wipe it over the entire section of fabric you're cleaning. Again, wipe in one direction and turn the cloth often to a fresh side. Then wipe the whole area down with a seperate dry and fresh Plush Daddy cloth. 

Steering Wheels, Shifters & Handbrakes

Many steering wheels, shifters and handbrakes are usually clad in a lower pile fabric, that allows for a more simple approach to cleaning them. 

Apply 2 sprays of Fabra Cadabra to a folded Plush Daddy's low pile side of the cloth and lightly wipe the surface in a side to side motion. Turn the cloth often to a clean side, re-applying the Fabra Cadabra and continue cleaning till it's done. Then gently wipe dry with a second clean and dry, low pile microfibre cloth. Then follow the next two steps to finish it all off. 

Drying, a Great Tip

Now for one our favourite drying tricks, get your vacuum cleaner and using the crevice tool, once again run it over the fabric surface in straight lines. Put your finger at its tip, so it doesn't quite touch the fabric surface, pulling all the fibres upwards and outwards, as well as picking up any final particles you may have released in your cleaning. 

Now leave it to sit, with the car doors or windows open for it to totally dry. In warmer conditions this can take 30 mins, in cooler climates leave it a bit longer. 

For That Professional Finish

Once it's all dry, you can do what the professional detailers do - run a soft bristled brush like our Plush Brush over the clean and dry surface, always move it in same direction to bring back that uniform, factory fresh look to the material. 

A Before & After

A quick before and after shot of the trim we were cleaning here. Our system of products has worked a real treat. 

Any questions?

You can find Fabra Cadabra at all of our supporting retail stores on our stockist page.

If you have any questions about this product or how to use it, please feel free to drop me an email dan@bowdensown.com.au or call our office on 1800 351 308.

Love your car,

Dan Bowden


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