Southern California's Finest
Interior Restoration Artists
 
serving the Aerospace, Marine,
Automotive, and RV
Industries since 1987

Tips & Tricks

For years Vinyl Ladies have used the following tips and tricks to solve a variety of cosmetic problems and avoid unnecessary and costly repairs. We share these methods with the hope that it will be helpful to others. When in doubt, however, consult a professional in your area. Vinyl Ladies are not liable for any damage incurred by attempting to use these methods.


How to clean leather and vinyl

How to remove grease and rubber marks

How to remove glue
How to remove gum from carpet or fabric
How to remove leaf stains from marine vinyl

How to repair wrinkling vinyl wallpaper

How to repair linoleum or vinyl flooring

How to patch vinyl, leather, or fabric

How to repair holes in linoleum, corian or formica

How to remove scratches from wood laminate flooring

Easy cosmetic wood repair

How to remove wax from carpet or fabric

How to remove rust stains from carpet

How to remove watermarks from carpet or fabric

How to repair burns or holes in carpet

How to conceal stains in carpet

How to remove ink marks

How to correct yellowed headlights


 HOW TO CLEAN LEATHER AND VINYL
Don't be afraid to aggressively clean your vinyl or leather. A nail brush and cleaner degreaser like 409 or Clorox Green Cleaner will make a vast improvement. We prefer Flite Cleaning Solutions. Whether diluted or concentrated, it removes water-based and oil-based stains without damaging the surface or leaving residue. Do not use these products on suede or nubuck leather.


 HOW TO REMOVE GREASE AND RUBBER MARKS

Lacquer thinner (not to be confused with paint thinner or acetone) can remove rubber marks on vinyl, linoleum, wood and tile floors, as well as black grease from carpets and ink from ultrasuede/microfiber (but keep it away from real suede). Lacquer thinner also removes rubber marks and many scuffs from your vehicle's exterior body paint, but work quickly, and don't linger. It can damage the clear coat. Immediately follow with wax.


 HOW TO REMOVE GLUE

Try Flite Cleaning Solutions first. It's a mild water-based cleaner but is known to remove adhesive. You can also try solvents. 3M Adhesive Cleaner is exceptional in removing adhesive and glue, but do not use it on delicate painted surfaces like wallpaper. Instead, try Acrysol.

 HOW TO REMOVE GUM FROM CARPET OR FABRIC
Warm some white vinegar and gently rub it on the gum. The gum should easily peel off.

 HOW TO REMOVE LEAF STAINS FROM MARINE VINYL
This trick comes from Eric Rector in North Carolina. Make a paste of bleach and baking soda and use it to gently scrub the stains. Avoid getting the paste on any permeable surface (fabric or carpet). Do not use Soft Scrub or other abrasive cleaners, which can damage the surface of the vinyl and create a bigger problem.


 HOW TO FIX WRINKLING OR BUBBLING WALLPAPER

Lightweight vinyl wallpaper (like the kind found in RVs or prefabricated walls) can wrinkle, bubble, or peel away from paneling. Often this is caused by the friction of an adjacent trim piece, cabinet, counter, or silicone caulking. Attempt to loosen or remove any source of friction. For silicone caulking, carefully use a razor blade to make a smooth cut, separating it from the wall. You won't see the razor cut, the caulking will be preserved, and the wallpaper will stop being pulled away from the paneling by the counter. Heat the area with a hair dryer (or a heat gun on low setting). Most of the wrinkles or bubbles will disappear on their own. Immediately follow the heat gun with a damp cloth, pressing firmly. The heat will reactivate the adhesive on the wallpaper.


 HOW TO REPAIR LINOLEUM OR VINYL FLOORING

Cuts or gouges in your linoleum floor?
First, clean the surface first to remove any dirt or grease. A multipurpose household cleaner works well for dirt. Black grease will require a solvent like mineral spirits or lacquer thinner.

If the tear has wrinkled and buckled, use a heat gun set to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the heat about six inches away from the floor. Heat until any wrinkles or kinks begin to relax. You can also try using a hair dryer if you don't have a heat gun. A hair dryer can be held up to an inch away from the linoleum. Do your best to uncurl, stretch, and relax the tear to its former shape. Make sure the subfloor all around the tear is clean and level. The smallest gouge or bit of debris will look and feel like a crater or mountain. If necessary, fill the subfloor with a bit of wood putty and allow to dry.

Re-warm the linoleum as needed to maintain its flexibility. Practice laying the tear back into place, taking note of which edges lay on top of others and get a feel for which end you should begin gluing. Once you glue it, you can't go back.

When you are confident with piecing the linoleum as flawlessly as possible, apply super glue to the subfloor around the outer edge of the tear. You want a thin but evenly spread layer of glue. A palette knife or even a toothpick works well for this. Then apply super glue to the subfloor directly under the tear. Carefully set the tear as you practiced. Use a board to apply some even pressure. Immediately check to see if any super glue has oozed from the tear onto the surface. If so, remove the glue from the floor and the board with a paper towel and immediately reapply the board and stand on it with your full body weight for at least 30 seconds, allowing time for the super glue to completely bond. If the surface feels rough or sharp, you can hand sand it with some 320 or 220 wet-or-dry sandpaper.

Wipe the surface with water to remove any dust. You can fill any remaining lines or gaps with many layers of nail polish. Translucent flesh tones look more natural than opaque colors on lighter, off-white floors. More opaque earth tones will do better on darker floors. Don't be afraid to mix colors or use different colors in different layers.


 HOW TO PATCH FABRIC, VINYL OR LEATHER

Check out our FREE leather and vinyl repair instructions.


 HOW TO REPAIR HOLES AND CHIPS IN LINOLEUM, CORIAN OR FORMICA
Large holes in linoleum, vinyl, wood floors and gouges in Corian or formica counters can be filled using products like QuikWood and WaterWeld (found at hardware stores), which are kneadable two-part epoxies. QuickWood has a pinky tan color while WaterWeld is a pale grey. All will get good adhesion on wood or plastic surfaces (especially for cosmetic repairs). Choose one that will create a similar color to the surface needing repair. Use water to smooth the surface and keep your fingers from sticking and peeling it up in the process. Allow half an hour to an hour to dry. It can be sanded for a more level finish. Just be careful not to damage the surrounding surface.


 HOW TO REMOVE SCRATCHES FROM WOOD LAMINATE FLOORING

Wood laminate floors are very durable because of the aluminum oxide coating. However, if this coating is penetrated or scratched, the damage will be very unsightly. If the scratch is superficial and does not go beyond the aluminum oxide coating, it will appear white. Remove the scratch with a 320 grit wet-or-dry sandpaper and polish with a 500 or 1000 grit. The scratch will be gone, but the surface will have a whitish haze. Use an automotive clear spray paint (we like Sherwin Williams Automotive Kut-In Acrylic Clear) to refinish the surface.


 COSMETIC WOOD REPAIR

Need a quick fix for gouges in real or faux wood? We like Mohawk Finishing Products' Quick-Fill Burn-In Sticks, essentially wood-colored crayons. Rub the stick into the gouge and use a hair dryer to warm the surface and smooth it with a palette knife or business card.


 HOW TO REMOVE WAX FROM FABRIC AND CARPET

Use wax paper and an iron on the lowest setting to pick up much of the wax.

Any remaining wax can be removed by carefully trimming each fiber. In this process, patience will be rewarded.


 HOW TO REMOVE RUST STAINS FROM CARPET

Folex is the only thing we know of that will remove orange rust stains from carpet and fabric. It is also an exceptional all-purpose cleaner for these materials.


 HOW TO REMOVE WATERMARKS

If cleaners and solvents won't remove stains in carpet or fabric, they might be watermarks, which leave bold, ringed edges, often orange or brown in color, from the mineral deposits.



Try spraying white vinegar directly onto the surface. Use a cloth, soft toothbrush or nail brush to scrub the area. The vinegar smell will evaporate. You can accelerate this process by vacuuming, blowing, or using a clean cloth to absorb the liquid. Windex can also minimize watermarks. Don't be alarmed by the blue color; it dissipates with the ammonia.

 HOW TO REPAIR HOLES AND BURNS IN CARPET

To repair cigarette burns in automotive carpet, cut away any burn residue. Shave some fibers by holding a razor blade nearly parallel to the carpet. Put a drop of flexible glue (like LocTite Vinyl, Fabric & Plastic Flexible Adhesive, $3 at most hardware stores) in the burn and use the razor blade to “chop in” the fibers. This method looks best on automotive carpets with no nap, but it can still improve the appearance of unsightly burns in household nylon or polyester carpets, as well as fuzzy-looking fabrics.

 CONCEALING STAINS IN CARPET

Take a few carpet fibers to the cosmetic aisle and pick a sparkly eye shadow in a similar color. Rub it into the stained fibers. The mineral oil in the makeup will stick to the carpet, and the metallic sparkles will mimic the luminosity of each fiber.


 HOW TO REMOVE INK MARKS

If you have an ink mark, try removing it with hairspray or Acrysol. Sometimes a quick swipe of lacquer thinner will also work. Do not use any of these solvents on suede or nubuck. Never use acetone or paint thinner on any interior materials.


 YELLOWED HEADLIGHTS

Clean the surface and mask off all surrounding body paint and chrome. Work with a spray bottle of water and wet sand the headlights, starting with 500 wet-or-dry sandpaper and working your way up to the finest grit available, minimally 1500 grit. Follow with a piece of flannel and 3M Plastic Polish. Put some muscle into this last part, as the polish restores clarity. The more elbow grease, the better the result. You can also spend $20 on Mother's PowerBall, a drill-mounted polisher.



Vinyl Ladies
Post Office Box 1526
Running Springs, CA  92382
USA
mobile: 909.553.3891