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Detailing cloth interiors

Posted: Wed 03 Oct, 2012 5:14 pm
by tony
My W201 needs an interior detailing, even though I clean the mbtex door cards,dash etc. Because the seats are cream/beige check cloth, I considered a pro detailer. Talking to one,he tells me all Benzs with cloth seats have a wool based cloth which is a bugger to do( he says) using the regular shampooing with bad smells even after it has dried. He suggested drycleaning .(he don't do)

Has anyone been down this path and had a good outcome with drycleaning?

Thanks Tony
85 190E

Re: Detailing cloth interiors

Posted: Sun 07 Oct, 2012 3:56 am
by Moopere
Really interested to see how you get on.

I had my whole car detailed recently and watched part of it going on. They just steam cleaned, well, pressure/water cleaned, the cloth part of the seats. With the whole car shiny and the MBTex part of the seats looking clean, and the cloth still a bit damp it looked ok, but after it dried out properly I noticed that though cleaner then it was, it still wasn't really clean.

I asked the question on the forums a year ago in relation to a finding a good detailer in Perth ... nothing but silence. Even asked a couple of the dealers over here and they were really reticent to let me know if there was anyone around who you'd trust with your MB.

I can only assume that either everyone is doing the job themselves or else they are just using the yellow pages and choosing car-cleaning-company-of-the-day and hoping for the best.

Am now considering buying a small steam cleaner to see if I can do a decent job myself.

Re: Detailing cloth interiors

Posted: Mon 08 Oct, 2012 12:58 pm
by pastelgrey300D
I'd be very careful with steam cleaning - IMHO it is a bit of overkill, plus you have the risk of heat damage from the steam, and if you use too much steam, it will get inside the seat cushions, condense and then you could end up with damp and musty smelling seats.

I picked up an old vax vacuum cleaner (one of the original orange and black ones) and have used that on W123 wool carpets and also some other cars with cloth interiors with very good results. The original vax vacuums rely on the suction of the vacuum to draw the water through and then suck it up, so you don't have issues with the seats getting too damp or saturated with water. Whenever I have used it on my W123s I've done the following:

- Dry vacuum thoroughly to get rid of any loose grit, for carpet mats remove them and beat them with one hand (you'll be surprised at how much extra crud comes out!)
- Add 1-2 DROPS of wool mix and fill the reservoir of the vax with warm water, then go over the seats/carpets until you're happy with how they look. You hardly need any shampoo/cleaner at all, you don't want it to foam up or bubble (even a capful is too much) - otherwise you'll end up with shampoo residue in the fabric which will attract dirt very quickly. The washing action of the water flowing through the fibres combined with the gentle agitation of the nozzle is usually enough to get it clean.
- Re-fill the vax reservoir with warm water only and then go over one more time to rinse out the fabric
- Leave car with doors open in sunlight - it should be dry in a few hours (because only the surface is wet it dries very quickly - infact on the last car I cleaned the cloth seats were dry in just half an hour).

You should be able to find an old vax off gumtree or ebay. They are very useful to have in the shed!

Although I've never tried this on MB cloth seats (all my cars have been MB tex) - so it would be a good idea to test on an old seat or discrete area first!

Re: Detailing cloth interiors

Posted: Wed 10 Oct, 2012 8:48 pm
by Moopere
Good points - thanks for the suggestions. I'll see whats available on Ebay I think.

Re: Detailing cloth interiors

Posted: Tue 26 Feb, 2013 9:21 am
by 300TDT
What about removing the cloth covers and soaking/washing them with good wool washing liquid?
I know that's a big job (!) but ...
My cream seats have been thoroughly steam cleaned but still show the old stains.