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
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. Do not use these products on suede or nubuck leather.
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.
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.
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.
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.
to prevent a cut in fabric, leather or vinyl from getting worse? Subpatch it by cutting a denim
patch larger than the tear in both length and width. Round the
corners for easier insertion. Work it under the surface using
tweezers. Ensure it sits smoothly under the surface. Use a giant
needle or toothpick to spread some flexible glue (like LocTite Vinyl, Fabric & Plastic Flexible Adhesive - $3 at most hardware stores) between the
patch and the backside of the fabric or leather. Start in one area
and work your way around, pulling the other edges as much as you can
to minimize the appearance of the tear. Press firmly with a flat
surface like a small board or book until the glue is dried.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.