This article was written by Ram Iyer of Colourlock UK!
Car leather upholstery tends to be uniform in appearance, but there are some exceptions, including perforated leather, leather with metallic effects and Volvo’s Atacama interiors. Then there are the artificial leathers, such as Alcantara. The Colourlock range includes products to help keep all of these in tip-top condition.
Perforation involves punching holes through the leather at regular intervals to make an attractive pattern. This also has a practical purpose in making the upholstery more breathable and helps make seat heating or cooling systems more effective.
However, perforated leather is more liable to staining. The golden rule when cleaning is to avoid filling the holes with cleaning products because the moisture will cause the edges of the holes to swell. Also, any moisture will rise to the surface and cause staining.
The best course of action is to apply Colourlock Mild or Strong Leather Cleaner sparingly, using a soft lint-free cloth. If possible, start on an unperforated area. Remove any leftover cleaner with a slightly damp cloth. Should the area become too wet, dry it with a hairdryer before continuing.
Perforated leather should be treated every three to six months, depending on use. After cleaning apply a suitable Colourlock care product depending on the age and condition of the leather. For details on which care product to apply, check out our article “Colourlock: How to Clean and Maintain Leather Car Seats“.
A pearl or silver metallic sheen is common in some automotive leather upholstery. Our standard cleaners – Colourlock Mild or Strong Leather Cleaner – are suitable for removing dirt, while Colourlock Elephant Leather Preserver will protect the surface.
But you will need to take extra care when it comes to refreshing the colour. Two varieties of Colourlock Leather Fresh dye are required – a base color and then a transparent layer with the metallic effect. While the base tone can be applied with a sponge, this is not suitable for the transparent layer as it tends to leave smears. Instead, we recommend using a spray gun or airbrush.
Before coloring, you will need to degrease the area with Colorlock Leather Cleaning Spirit. Smooth rough areas with the Colourlock Leather Sanding Pad. Dry cracks and small tears can be filled and stabilized with Colourlock Fluid Leather.
It’s important to note that it is almost impossible to achieve the same metallic effect as the original. The alternative is to have the upholstery restored professionally but, even then, a 100% match is not guaranteed.
Named after the Atacama Desert in Chile, due to its orange-tan color, Atacama leather is unique to Volvo car interiors. They include the S60, V70, XC70, S80 and XC90 models.
It is full-grain aniline leather with a protective water-based coating. Hides are specially selected from the best beef cattle and, due to strict quality and production standards, no two car interiors will be the same.
The good news is that Colourlock can mix the right color for our Leather Fresh dye. Although due to the absorbent nature of this leather, the finish may appear a little darker to the original. This is ideal for repairing light scuffs, scratches and fading or stains that simply cannot be cleaned. Other products that will keep you in the driving seat with Atacama leather care include Colourlock Leather Cleaning Spirit, Colourlock Aniline Protector and Colourlock Waterproofing Spray.
It has the look and feel of suede but Alcantara is man-made from ultra-microfiber materials. While it is more resistant to soiling than suede, it still needs cleaning.
First, vacuum Alcantara to remove loose dirt particles. Normal dirt and stains can be easily removed using Colourlock Alcantara and Fabric Clean & Care Kit. Spray the product evenly and clean the surface using a sponge. Allow the product to sit for about 5 minutes. Then use a wet and dry vacuum with warm water and clean the entire area. Remember to clean the surface thoroughly and ensure no product residue is left on the surface as that will attract dirt much quicker. You should be able to see clear water flowing through the wet and dry vacuum to know that there is no product left.
If you don’t have a wet and dry vacuum, just use a bucket of warm water with a piece of sponge. Wet the clean sponge with water and use it to remove as much product residue as possible.
A downside of Alcantara is that it is prone to pilling. This is where the fibers develop into small balls of fibers as a result of friction. Providing it is not too serious, you can smooth it down with the Colourlock Leather Sanding Pad. But, if the damage is extensive, it may need to be replaced.
Many surfaces in cars are made from imitation leather (aka Vinyl, Vegan or Artico in Mercedes) and are generally easy to maintain. Simply remove dirt with Colourlock Artificial Leather Cleaner, using the Colourlock Leather Cleaning Brush to remove any ingrained soiling.
To prevent dirt penetrating the surface in the future and reduce friction damage, apply the Colourlock Artificial Leather Protector.
Over time, the paint layers tend to rub off or fade. You can repair the damage with Colourlock Leather Fresh. You need to dab it on the surface several times, drying it with a hairdryer between layers. Before applying the color, degrease with Colourlock Leather Cleaning Spirit and smooth down any rough areas with the Colourlock Leather Sanding Pad.
Any small cracks or rips can be filled and repaired with Colourlock Fluid Leather. Then add Leather Fresh to adjust the color.
If you would like further information about any of the above, visit our website or speak to one of our experts.