When it comes to interior cleaning, your average garage or roadside valeter won’t spend as long or pay as much attention to cleaning your car as a detailer or professional valeter would. The first step is to remove everything that isn’t bolted down, allowing full access. Detailers will sometimes even remove seats and interior trim panels in order to access more of the car – particularly for show car details, odour removal, and leather repairs.
All soft surfaces are then thoroughly vacuumed including the parcel shelf and head lining. Detailers use specialist high powered vacuums with a variety of fittings to reach into the crevices and corners. Carpets are steam cleaned which will eliminate any bacteria or other nasties while also removing unwanted odours.
Before focusing on any leather or upholstery, air vents are cleaned using a small brush and the switches, handles and buttons are also cleaned. If the vehicle has a leather interior this will be cleaned using the correct leather cleaning processes. Any mistakes in cleaning or repairing leather can be disastrous, so this is one area where the experience of a detailer really shines through.
The vast majority of leather interiors use sealed material – real leather that is covered with a synthetic polymer coating. As a consequence, leather feeds are pretty much redundant as they are designed for unsealed hide was only used in cars up until the early 1950’s.
Contra to popular belief, detailers can repair quite significant damage to leather without having to visit the trimmers – anything from discolouration to burns can normally be fixed.
It could be argued that interior detailing requires even more knowledge than paint correction as there is a greater mix of materials and an even wider range of equipment available to aid the process. Just as with external detailing, interior surfaces can be protected by a range of products – be that hydrophobic coatings for fabrics to protect against staining, or anti-static layers on hard surfaces to stop dust build up. New products and equipment are being released regularly, and many are featured in the Pro Detailer Magazine.