Start by vacuuming if the car really needs it, if it’s in need of a light vacuum, don’t bother yet, we’ll get to why later on.
I begin with the details, vents etc. I use a mixture of low pressure compressed air, about 20-40psi to blow out vents, I don’t force air down some vents if I think it may damage components. For some reason I’m worried about vents like these which are part of the Benz air scarf system. They may lead to a blower motor in the seat and compressed air and debris might damage them, so prefer to clean manually, slightly wet, by brush, then cloth. That’s usually all they’ll need. I use Interior Cleanse.
I then attack the leather with Leather Clean Gel and, for the on detailed bits, a Hand Pocket Applicator, concentrating mostly on any stained or heavily soiled areas and stitching. Stitching is where most of the dirt collects, stitching cleans your clothes and pulls all the junk of them and them holds onto that stuff, it builds in the stitching and then the stitching is forced loose and breaks of the seam sags. My point, concentrate on stitching.
Leather Clean Gel is concentrated, use it sparingly and be especially frugal with the product on perforated leather, forcing chemical into the perforations isn’t useful.
Any Vinyl I use Interior Cleanse, but if I have an applicator already loaded with Leather Clean Gel I use that because why not, it’s an efficient way of using what you’ve already got.
Always remove the residual with a slightly damp Interior NanoFibre. Try to remove all traces of any chemical you apply to a surface, chemical residual is slightly tacky and that attracts dust, so surfaces free of chemical remain cleaner for longer.
Don’t forget to clean every bit of material, even gloss or matte plastics, speaker grilles, rubbers etc. They’ll be streaky, but clean, we’ll fix the streaks later. Rarely and if you have the tools, touch up any sections of glossy timber or cleared carbon, paint trim etc. with polish, this can really make a difference, especially instrument cluster covers and any gloss black trim. If it has to be masked or removed, do it, don’t risk pushing polish into materials such as plastic, rubber, leather or fabric.
This is where you vacuum. Now that all the dust has been dropped onto the floor, get it as clean as possible before dry cleaning. For stubborn fibres such as dog hair, use a tool to agitate the fibres.
Wet & Dry Extraction
Most fabrics should be dry cleaned [SL bolster], which is spraying chemical lightly and directly on to the fabric or on a cloth, then pulling that cloth along the fabric to break oils and allow the cloth to collect the oils. You can also use a tool here to agitate the fabrics and spread the chemical around. When you’ve got all the dirt you’re going to get out of the fabric, apply Purity to the fabrics and use a clean cloth to pull the chemical residual into it, leaving behind no chemical and allowing the anti-microbial action of Purity to attack any bacteria. Purity will also help your fabric dry more quickly.
Any Alcantara or generic versions usually called microsuede should be cleaned this way also.
Wet Extraction commonly (incorrectly) referred to as ‘Steam’ Cleaning can be used for more heavily soiled fabric.
Complete the dry cleaning step, then add a spray of water followed immediately by a strong vacuum (by a machine designed to suck water). The trick here is not to inject water at high pressure and this is a common mistake made by improperly trained detailers. Injected water at high pressure pushes the water, dirt and the chemical you were going to extract beyond the layer of fabric and into the foam underneath it. The foam is exceptionally difficult to extract water from and so will hold onto a lot of it. That water will grow bacteria and the cabin will forever smell musty which isn’t a good sign. Almost no amount of ozone, ventilation, heated fans etc. will ever solve the issue.
It’s completely unnecessary to have more pressure at the nozzle than 10 psi, some machines produce 100-1,000 psi, some of these machines are designed to clean houses and the pressure is required to push the water (or a solution) through tens of meters of hose, from a truck mounted system into a house and out a double or triple nozzled head. Some detailers use that pressure with a metre or two of hose and through the single nozzle in most crevice tools designed for cars interiors.
After a wet-extraction, Purty is a good process, again, it will help dry the fabric and provide some anti-microbial action to help keep the cabin free of any odors.
One of the last things to do is glass. We use the Glass System and almost never use our glass cleaner (Optic). The Glass System uses two cloths in a two step system, step one is a dark green NanoFibre, step two is light green.
The darker cloth we use slightly damp and that cleans the glass and pulls the oils into it leaving it very clean, the lighter cloth we use dry and wipe over the glass to atomise the water particles, this leaves an immaculate surface free of any streaks. Don’t dry the glass with the second cloth, just break those water droplets down into microscopic particles and the water will evaporate without any visible residual for crystal clear glass.
This works great for fingerprints and humidity as well as general grime, but if the glass hasn’t been cleaned in a long time or is very dirty, some chemical may need to be used in which case you’d apply it before the dark green cloth (step 1).
The last step is to return to those streaky sections and give them a going over with a Paintwork NanoFibre and Boost, also treat screens this way, screens can scratch easily, so use a paintwork cloth which has a higher gsm and thus is less likely to mark and Boost which lubricates the surfaces, that’s what it’s designed to do. Boost also leaves a film behind to help keep the surfaces from fingerprinting and dusting as easily and they feel slick and look wetter. It’s matte surface compatible too.
You can now add a puff of Musk or your other favourite fragrance to the floor mats if that’s your thing and your set. A pristine, clean, fresh smelling and feeling cabin.
Add a little something with a puff of Musk or similar, some customers don't like fragrance, but usually a subtle scent can really make the cabin an even nicer place to be.
That's it! Enjoy detailing :)