Tips & Tricks

HOW TO CLEAN LEATHER AND VINYL


Rubbing alcohol or denatured alcohol are always a good first choice. These solvents are gentle enough for leather and vinyl and will effectively strip residue from oil, grease, many types of adhesives, and slimy residue from ArmorAll and detailer dressings. Water-based cleaner-degreaser-dewaxers (we like Flite) are also an excellent choice. If in doubt, work in tandem with both water-based cleaners and solvents to remove an array of dirt, grease, and chemical residues. Use with a soft nail brush to remove dirt from the fine lines of the material's "grain". 


Do not use caustic or antibacterial cleaners.

Do not use these methods to clean suede and nubuck. Instead, try white vinegar and a soft cloth.

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

Solvents like denatured alcohol or lacquer thinner (not acetone) are very effective and probably in your garage. 3M Adhesive Cleaner is also great, but do not use it on delicate painted surfaces like wallpaper. For delicate painted surfaces, 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 PATCH FABRIC, VINYL OR LEATHER

Check out our FREE leather and vinyl repair instructions.


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. If the stain doesn't disappear within a few minutes, add a little sodium carbonate (washing soda or soda ash) to the mix.

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.



Southern California's Finest Interior Restoration Artists

Serving the Aerospace, Marine, Automotive, and RV Industries since 1987

Serving Southern California's Inland Empire since 1987


Vinyl Ladies
Post Office Box 315
Running Springs, CA 92382 USA
mobile: (909) 553-3891
office: (909) 867-4062