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What interior dressing/protectant do you pros use.

Greg Pack

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OK Guys, I know this is a pro forum, but I am asking this as a guy with a new toy that wants to keep it looking that way.

I've got a 2014 Mercedes that I bought through their certified pre-owned program. I was impressed when I picked it up. That baby looked new. It's got leather, and some suede like material (alcantara, a synthetic ) in some spots like the A-posts.

The car inside was clean and looked like it came off the showroom- the leather was supple, but not greasy or slick, and no detectable artificial scent that you would expect in a used car. I meant to ask the clean up guy what he used, but I forgot.

Anyway, do any of you guys have product recommendations for interior car care products from the pro lines? In addition to the normal mail order suppliers we use in the industry I do have access to supplies from a local meguirs/malco distributor, and will be placing an order with autogeek soon.

thanks!
 

Greg Pack

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Waxman, I have notice in the past you have mentioned the griots garage products. Have you tried their leather care?
 

rph9168

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Griot's offers good products but is way overpriced. Probably not a bad choice for you since you probably don't need much.
 

Greg Pack

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Thanks guys. I'm also hearing that Zaino's leather in a bottle is good and uses real leather oil to help retain the leather smell in your car. It too is also expensive.

Again, I'm really babying right now. By this time next year I'll probably be eating tacos in it while driving and slathering the seats with armor all.

I do think this new car is beneficial for my business. I've been driving a 15 year old F250. It has changed my perspective a bit as I'm looking at my washes from the standpoint of a new car owner. So, I'm looking for improvements.
 

Greg Pack

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Well, I learned a lot concerning care of leather upholstery from reading a couple of threads with reps from the leather care industry.

Here's what I gather:

95%+ of the leather in automotive applications is coated with pigment and clear topcoat.

Most of the damage that breaks down leather is abrasive in nature. Once the abrasion takes place and penetrates the topcoat, potential degradation process starts to occur. So, the most effective thing to keep leather looking good is a frequent wipedown with a damp cloth to remove debris from the surface.

leather "likes" a lower ph of 3-5. Ideally cleaners should be neutral. However, as we know dirty stuff requires some cleaning punch. Alkaline all purpose cleaners and even degreasers containing caustics are often used by pros on tough jobs. Woolite at 6:1 seems to be a popular trick for many consumers. Regardless, these cleaners should be followed up with a wipedown or two to remove potentially sticky detergent residue.

Because of the topcoat, leather conditioners may be a waste of time and money, and may actually contribute to attracting dirt that will break down the leather surface through abrasive action. The possible exception to this is perforated leather. One leather care expert said the leather surface should be "squeaky clean".

Protectants may be beneficial, but even their benefit is disputed to some extent due to modern auto glass offering its own UV protection.

And shoot, I just bought $40 worth of expensive leather care goodies.

Well, at least my car will smell like new leather :)

So does anyone disagree with any of this?
 

Pro-Techt

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A vehicle's interior isn't shiny/dressed when it's new, why would you want to alter that look to try and keep it looking "new"? Unless there is fading or surface scuffing, dressing/protectants shouldn't need to be used. Shops need to start educating their customers on the correct way to care for their interiors rather than selling them some pie in the sky "protectant" service.
 

rph9168

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I think it depends on the customer's preference. As a detailer you should take their preference over yours. Some want a shiny dash and interior while others don't. There are some products that produce more of the flat look over shiny. To make a blanket statement "Shops need to start educating their customers on the correct way to care for their interiors rather than selling them some pie in the sky "protectant" service" is way off base. It is appropriate to ask what their preference is and if a customer wants their interior shining it is not the detailer's responsibility to try to talk them out of it or "educating" them. It reminds me of the saying "I asked the guy what time it is and he told me how to make a watch."
 

Washmee

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There are plenty of products that protect and restore plastic surfaces back to factory look. Aerosol products like Pro Shine are the best in my opinion. Any detail shop using Armorall needs to get into the 21st century and use more modern methods and products.
 

Waxman

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There are plenty of products that protect and restore plastic surfaces back to factory look. Aerosol products like Pro Shine are the best in my opinion. Any detail shop using Armorall needs to get into the 21st century and use more modern methods and products.
Armorall is just a silicone emulsion in water. The vinyl dressing we use is this:
https://www.kleen-ritecorp.com/p-4587-kleen-shine-interior-dressing-vinyl-leather-conditioner-5-gallon.aspx

we dilute ours with water and the result is a satin finish. not shiny, not matte; right in between.

also, some of you guys are way off base with these arguments. i have never, in all my years of detailing ( since 1985 guys), had a customer comment on the level of shine on an interior that i detailed. when we are finishing up a vehicle, the final touch step includes an extra dry wipe down of all interior plastic, vinyl and leather. this gives each job an even, finished look.

and also, what a new car looks like is a result of the detailers' processes at each car dealer. 'new cars' don't get delivered to the customer straight from the assembly plant. if they did, customers would likely be very disappointed with their purchase, because there is a reason new cars at a dealership get 'prepped for delivery'.

maybe you should base your opinions on real world experience in owning and operating a detail shop and not some idea you came up with of how a car should look 'detailed'.
 

Pro-Techt

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so no tire shine either? how about wax; skip that cuz cars are clear coated???
I didn't say anything about tires did I? That's about the only item *I* fell should be altered in most applications. It's also the standard operation on pretty much every detail since the industry has been around. But please don't promote dressing tires as if it "protects" your tires as it really doesn't. Especially against UV.

As far as wax......in all actuality, wax isn't required for clearcoated cars. There's no documentation proving that waxing paint will prolong the life expectancy of your paint. There's millions of cars that are multiple decades old that aren't waxed holding up just fine. The real benefit to waxing/sealing is to provide ease of cleaning, slickness, gloss/darkening and a sacrificial layer to very low level contaminants.
 

Pro-Techt

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I think it depends on the customer's preference. As a detailer you should take their preference over yours. Some want a shiny dash and interior while others don't. There are some products that produce more of the flat look over shiny. To make a blanket statement "Shops need to start educating their customers on the correct way to care for their interiors rather than selling them some pie in the sky "protectant" service" is way off base. It is appropriate to ask what their preference is and if a customer wants their interior shining it is not the detailer's responsibility to try to talk them out of it or "educating" them. It reminds me of the saying "I asked the guy what time it is and he told me how to make a watch."
Many customers have been tricked into thinking that dressings are beneficial when they really are the opposite. Many of them claim "UV Protection" when in fact it's false. It's been a misnomer in the industry for decades. It's a total fallacy to think that applying a dressing to a leather, vinyl or plastic interior component is actually going to protect it. If anything, applying these products will cause rapid resoiling due to their silicone content.

If a customer requests it, I simply try explaining to them what the product is and does as well as does not do. I don't take their order or give them a preference. I haven't had 1 instance (since 1990) where my approach didn't at least curve their way of thinking. If a person still insists, I'll do as they request, but still preach that it's not recommended. Same thing goes for just waxing a car that is swirled up without 1st polishing the paint. As long as you've explained to them what the swirling is caused by and go over their options then as someone who's in the service industry I have no issue giving them what they want.
 

Pro-Techt

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There are plenty of products that protect and restore plastic surfaces back to factory look. Aerosol products like Pro Shine are the best in my opinion. Any detail shop using Armorall needs to get into the 21st century and use more modern methods and products.
How do you protect a plastic surface back to a factory look? It's not like a protectant product is reinstalling plasticizers back into the surface? And there isn't a product that will prevent the outgassing of plasticizers either.

And again, applying a product (especially an solvent based aerosol) is simply just smearing a layer of silcone over the surface. Silicone is pretty sticky in raw form, so I don't think using a product like this is a good idea unless there is already a substantial amount of fading/marring.
 

Pro-Techt

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and also, what a new car looks like is a result of the detailers' processes at each car dealer. 'new cars' don't get delivered to the customer straight from the assembly plant. if they did, customers would likely be very disappointed with their purchase, because there is a reason new cars at a dealership get 'prepped for delivery'.
Several car manufacturers offer factory deliveries on their vehicle - Corvette / Porsche / BMW / Mercedes / Ferrari to name a few...

It's not like a new car porter at a dealership is doing all that much for the prep process. They're not waxing them? Not even the high end and exotics. Wash, windows, decal removal, etc. Some dealerships don't even believe in applying tire dressing.

also, some of you guys are way off base with these arguments. maybe you should base your opinions on real world experience in owning and operating a detail shop and not some idea you came up with of how a car should look 'detailed'.
My experience is based on my 25+ years of being a legitimate shop owner and doing extensive research on the indutry including products, processes and business fundamentals. Here's a normal day at our 6500 sq ft shop:




 

rph9168

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Many customers have been tricked into thinking that dressings are beneficial when they really are the opposite. Many of them claim "UV Protection" when in fact it's false. It's been a misnomer in the industry for decades. It's a total fallacy to think that applying a dressing to a leather, vinyl or plastic interior component is actually going to protect it. If anything, applying these products will cause rapid resoiling due to their silicone content.

Because they provide a "barrier" dressings do provide limited UV protection. It does also afford some protection as any coating might however it should never be applied to leather or to any surface that has not been properly cleaned. The question is not what dressing does or doesn't do. The question is that is it necessary. Personally I say no but if the customer wants it it does not do any harm as you suggest. Years ago I helped develop a professional detail line for popular branded company. We developed one of the best paint sealants available at that time. Due to my personal bias and knowing Teflon did absolutely nothing to enhance the performance of the product I chose not to include it in the formula or in any of the product information. The product was a flop. We then added Teflon to the sealant and marketing and it sold like hotcakes. I learned back then that including personal biases was not the way to go. If a customer believed Teflon was good for their vehicle what I thought or knew made no difference to them. Give them what they want and as long as the product doesn't harm anything the choice is theirs.

I have no idea how silicone content would lead to soiling as you say. As far as "curving" their opinion all you are doing is doing so with your opinion as someone they view as a professional. What a customer needs to hear are results of the services you perform. There is nothing wrong with telling them putting wax over swirls or defects will cover up the problem and let them decide what they want to do. Maybe they do not want the extra cost of buffing out the swirls or defects. The bottom line is that what they want is what they should receive. If they like a shiny dash or interior that's what you should give them. Are you any different talking them out of it than one talking them into it? I am sure they understand that it would cost more to have it done. As long as you explain the results of whatever services you perform and let them make the decision that is about as far as you should go without injecting personal opinion or "facts".
 

Pro-Techt

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Many customers have been tricked into thinking that dressings are beneficial when they really are the opposite. Many of them claim "UV Protection" when in fact it's false. It's been a misnomer in the industry for decades. It's a total fallacy to think that applying a dressing to a leather, vinyl or plastic interior component is actually going to protect it. If anything, applying these products will cause rapid resoiling due to their silicone content.

Because they provide a "barrier" dressings do provide limited UV protection. It does also afford some protection as any coating might however it should never be applied to leather or to any surface that has not been properly cleaned. The question is not what dressing does or doesn't do. The question is that is it necessary. Personally I say no but if the customer wants it it does not do any harm as you suggest. Years ago I helped develop a professional detail line for popular branded company. We developed one of the best paint sealants available at that time. Due to my personal bias and knowing Teflon did absolutely nothing to enhance the performance of the product I chose not to include it in the formula or in any of the product information. The product was a flop. We then added Teflon to the sealant and marketing and it sold like hotcakes. I learned back then that including personal biases was not the way to go. If a customer believed Teflon was good for their vehicle what I thought or knew made no difference to them. Give them what they want and as long as the product doesn't harm anything the choice is theirs.

I have no idea how silicone content would lead to soiling as you say. As far as "curving" their opinion all you are doing is doing so with your opinion as someone they view as a professional. What a customer needs to hear are results of the services you perform. There is nothing wrong with telling them putting wax over swirls or defects will cover up the problem and let them decide what they want to do. Maybe they do not want the extra cost of buffing out the swirls or defects. The bottom line is that what they want is what they should receive. If they like a shiny dash or interior that's what you should give them. Are you any different talking them out of it than one talking them into it? I am sure they understand that it would cost more to have it done. As long as you explain the results of whatever services you perform and let them make the decision that is about as far as you should go without injecting personal opinion or "facts".
Please explain how applying a thin layer of silicone oil over a surface provides a barrier? Any company advertising that their product "blocks UV" is altering the truth. No product can add any measurable amount of UV inhibitors to an interior. Besides that, your vehicle glass blocks out most of the sun's harmful rays anyways. There are also built in plasticizers that help too. I've discussed this with multiple Chemists at length. It's purely a marketing ploy like your example of Teflon fortified paint sealants. So bottom line it isn't necessary/needed and as a professional Detailer it's your responsibility to explain this to a customer. They obviously trust you enough to allow you to perform work on their vehicle. It's your duty take on the proper, up to date training (both products & processes) and give them your unbiased opinion that I'm sure they will find valuable.

Applying these silicone based products do indeed cause rapid resoiling. Because this chemical is sticky in nature, it picks up the dirt from your cloths as well as your skin and accumulates increased surface degredation. Basically, the best thing you can do to maintain your vehicle's interior is wipe it with a damp towel and leave it bare. Of course after it's been properly cleaned of course.
 

rph9168

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"Please explain how applying a thin layer of silicone oil over a surface provides a barrier?" A fine layer of anything provides a barrier. How much it helps is debatable though. Most interior dressings dry as hard as the surface they are applied to and should not attract soil any more than the surface itself. In fact they do offer some protection against spills of liquids that could possibly damage the surface. "it picks up the dirt from your cloths as well as your skin and accumulates increased surface degredation" Not likely, especially the degradation statement. For years in this industry protectants have been accused of damaging interior surfaces. I agree that solvent based ones should not be used in the interior but I have never seen a water based dressing cause damage as you suggest.

"So bottom line it isn't necessary/needed and as a professional Detailer it's your responsibility to explain this to a customer." This may be your way of offering your services but it doesn't mean all shops should operate that way. It's the customer's opinion and desires that count. Give them what they want or ask for unless the possibility of harm is indisputable.

You obviously run a successful shop. It is a tough business that probably has a higher rate of failure than car washing. I commend you for that. My point is that does not mean it is the only way. Your initial posts seem to question anyone doing it any differently. This forum allows all to express their opinions - some good, some not so good. I think it is important for one to distinguish between their opinion and documented facts. I think offering opinions as blanket statements of facts defeats some of that openness. You are certainly entitled to your opinions as I am of mine but where I disagree is when opinions are made out to be facts. My purpose in continuing this discourse was more in defense of those that operate differently than you do than to "bust your chops" and to discern between opinion and fact. I think I have made my point as have you.
 

I.B. Washincars

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You should also explain to the people that they shouldn't buy those black cars with black interiors. The extra heat built up because of the color will cause the interior parts to degrade faster. You should only buy white or silver cars with light colored interiors.
 
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