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Auto Detailing News and Tips , Issue #003, February 2014, Carpet and Upholstery cleaning.
February 01, 2014 Issue #3

Welcome to the third issue of the e-zine! Each month we will be providing tips and product reviews to help make the detailing process easier for you. If you have a picture of your latest detailing project we invite you to submit it with a small description of your process and products used for the job. Each issue we will choose one submission to be showcased in this e-zine!

This month I will be discussing carpet and upholstery cleaning. There are a few methods available. The first being a basic vacuum. The second being spot cleaning, and the third being shampooing.

Vacuuming is by far the easiest method of keeping your interior fabric in good shape. Sometimes its not easy fit vacuuming into a busy daily schedule, but really taking 10 minutes once or twice a month will make a big difference. Vehicles that have been ignored for months or even years will obviously take longer to detail. If you take a vehicle into a detail shop in poor condition, the longer it takes to clean the more they will charge you!

Spot cleaning is for interior fabric that doesn’t require a complete shampoo, there are simply minor imperfections. For instance if there is a spill on the seat or some dirt ground into a small area of the carpet. Spot cleaning can be done with a diluted all purpose cleaner, there are also foaming carpet cleaners available. With the foaming cleaner simply spray the area and let the foam dissolve the spill. Once dissolved, wipe the area with a clean towel or micro fiber cloth. Some spills may require agitation with a brush but I don’t recommend brushing aggressively on seat fabric. A stiff brush can damage the fibers.

An example of foaming carpet cleaner.

Seat and carpet shampooing is usually a big job but it does yield the best results. Shampooing can truly make your interior fabric look like new. If you decide to tackle the job yourself, count on spending 3 hours shampooing depending on the vehicle. Make sure you overlap your passes when shampooing seats and carpet. You may find you need to repeat your passes a few times in order to remove the stain or dirt completely. Like spot cleaning, use a brush to agitate soiled areas but be careful with the seat fabric. Drying the interior is extremely important, if using portable fans or heaters, count on another 3-5 hours to dry the fabric. Use caution especially when using heaters to avoid your vehicle catching on fire!

Product Review: Bissell Auto Care Pro Heat®

Industrial type hot water extractors are very expensive. If you aren’t interested in starting your own detail business, these type of machines are not practical. Why spent 1500-3000 dollars on an extractor you are only going to use a couple times a year?

The Bissell Auto Care Pro Heat® is your answer! When I first got one of these to play with I was very sceptical. I’ve been using the industrial machines for 11 years, so looking at this tiny carpet cleaner I wasn’t feeling too confident in its capabilities. The large extractors I use have big water tanks which don’t need refilling often when shampooing a vehicle. This Bissell however has a super tiny tank that needs to be refilled often!

What is cool about this machine is it comes with a built in heater. Hot water is a big factor in successfully cleaning fabric, so I was impressed it had this feature. Included in the box is also various carpet cleaning tools. Compared to a large hot water extractor, this machine will take twice as long to clean an interior but for the money I was more than ok with this!

Here you can clearly see where the Bissell has been and where it hasn’t!

Aside from the small water tank size, a fairly short vacuum hose, and not the strongest suction, this machine does a great job. Just remember to work slowly. For someone that wants to clean their vehicle themselves without it costing a huge amount of money, I highly recommend the Bissell Auto Care Pro Heat®. I have now shampooed 4 cars with mine, by taking the time this machine needs, it produces results as good as the large industrial hot water extractors. For roughly 130 dollars, this machine is a real bang for the buck!

The Bissell is very easy to use, just pull the trigger and the vacuum sucks up the moisture as you go along.

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Next month I will be talking about different types of micro fiber cloths.

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