Alcantara Cleaning Guide

How to clean your alcantara

Here at Auto Finesse detailing products and car care we understand that keeping the outside of your car detailed is essential, however its inside the cockpit where you spend most of your time, and with manufactures using more exotic materials such as alcantara we feel its time to share some tips and tricks on cleaning alcantara.

Assessing what your working with

Before you dive straight in and start scrubbing away at your nice alcantara its essential that you have a look over what your going to be cleaning. Commonly missed out, this stage can be crucial as you may notice marks or areas of wear that you haven’t noticed before that you may need to avoid or even pay more attention to.

alcantara cleaning, total interior cleaner,

The cleaning process

Now you know what your working with its time to get on and clean your alcantara. Here we are detailing the interior of a BMW M3 CSL. This interior has three main surfaces covered in alcantara: the seats, steering wheel and the handbrake handle. These three parts are subject to heavy use when driving and easily become matted down and dirty. More often than not it can be this matting affect that makes your alcantara surface appear dull and dirty as the fibres have worn flat over time and use.

alcantara cleaning, total interior cleaner,

Start the cleaning process with a bottle of Total interior car cleaner. Total is a pre-diluted surface cleaner that is low foaming so its perfect for this situation where lathered up product is not necessary to aid the detailing process. Lightly mist Total over your working area, however be sure not to drench the surface as this may damage the alcantara. We recommend that you stick to one area at a time, whether this be a side bolster, head rest or a lower bolster. This will help you keep track of what your have cleaned and also make sure that any excess product that you may have sprayed onto the surface doesn’t dry out. Once you’ve misted over your work area its time to start cleaning. A soft bristle interior brush is all thats need for alcantara cleaning. Its best if you have a longer bristle brush as these bristles will get into all of the tighter areas and crevasses. Using light pressure work your interior brush over the misted area in back and forth motions.

cleaning alcantara, total interior cleaner

brushing alcantara

Once you have worked the product onto the surface grab a fresh microfibre cloth and wipe away the dirt that was trapped within your alcantara’s fibres. Again light pressure is all it takes as now your are removing the dirt and grime you lifted to the surface with Total. Once you’ve removed the dirt you will have a clean surface that should be dry to the touch.

dirty alcantara, cleaning alcantara

Although now clean, your alcantara may still appear dirty due to the matting on the fibres however don’t fear as this is easily resolved.

Using the crevasse attachment on your vacuum cleaner lightly hover over the surface. A top tip at this point is to use a finger in-between the vacuum end and the seat to insure the vacuum end does not come into contact with you alcantara surface. This process will lift the fibres back up ensuring your seat looks factory fresh once again.

Vacuuming alcantara

cleaned alcantara seat


Steering wheels, gear knobs and handbrakes

Although your seats may have the most surface area of alcantara on them, be sure not to forget the interior surfaces you may have which are trimmed in alcantara. Most commonly this is steering wheels, gear knobs, and handbrake covers.

Your approach to these areas should be very similar to your seats, where by you’ll have a look for and marks or staining prior to cleaning. However next is where you make your change. As you wont be able to effectively clean these surfaces with an interior brush, swap your brush out for a fresh clean microfibre cloth. Lightly mist your cloth with Total and work your way around the area you are covering.

clean alcantara steering wheel

cleaning alcantara

cleaning steering wheel

Once again light pressure is all thats needed as any more may cause your surface to matte down further. Once you’ve worked the area you will see the dirt transfer onto your cloth. Finally flip your cloth over and using the clean side brush over the fibres to lift them back up.

cleaning alcantara

As you are using less aggression on these ares you may need to go back over the area for a second hit to ensure its fully clean and factory fresh.

This technique of Total and a microfibre cloth will also work wonders on tired handbrake leavers and gators as shown below:

how to clean alcantara

clean alcantara


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