An extractor is used for the deep cleaning of carpets; it forces hot water and detergent deep into the nap of carpet, and then draws it out with a powerful vacuum.
When heated vapour molecules come in contact with cooler surface micro pores it causes them to expand, and it force the dirt and bacteria to the surface, and the steam vapour sanitises interior surfaces and kills germs and bacteria. Steam vapour contains very little water ~ 5%); so surface (seating, hard surfaces and carpets, etc.) are able to dry quickly
A system that produces a high temperature, low moisture vapour (VX 5000 Steam Vapour System, approx. 750 USD) that contains only 5% to 6% water and is much less dense than air, a steam vapour system is equipped to safely produce thousands of gallons of live dry steam using only about 1.5 quarts of water per hour.
The use of a vapour steamer for the vehicles interior materials is a helpful addition. Steam vapour introduces very little moisture into the fabrics and materials, however wet vacuum ‘extraction for use on heavily soiled fabric, mats and carpets cannot be bettered. Be cognizant that when working with upholstery / foam too much moisture will allow the foam to remain wet deep down and this affects the mild steel within the seat as well and prolonged contact with the stitching, which may cause it to rot.
Steam vapour is also hygienic when used to kill bacteria and germs, disinfect surfaces as it kills mould spores, musty smells, bacteria and the smell of tobacco nicotine and smoke. Steam vapour is able to reach many places that a wet vacuum / extractor cannot access.
Apply a cleaner to a sponge, work up foam and apply to the surface, then pass the steamer just above the top of the area just cleaned and lightly agitate with a micro fibre towel, then wipe dry. Steam vapour helps to emulsify the grime, while the foam encapsulates it. Steam when it cools turns to condensate (water) which helps to re-hydrate leather upholstery
Use the stem nozzle for the HVAC vents and areas of the dash and anywhere that are inaccessible with a vacuum. For carpets, upholstery, dash and the headliner; use the triangle attachment with a micro fibre or terry cloth wrapped around it secured with a rubber band, once towel becomes too soiled change for a clean, fresh towel.
Always adjust the steam output dependent upon the material. Most materials used on a vehicles interior do not need a lot of heat; do not hold the nozzles too close
Steam can also be used on the wheel surfaces to remove brake dust and tar deposits, especially useful for hard to reach areas. Steam is a very effective degreaser and lends itself well to engine cleaning. It’s also great to use on wheels that have baked on brake dust that is in hard places to reach. Steam can also be used to clean the exterior paintwork, same guidelines apply, i.e. keep the nozzle moving and do not get too close to the surface, and this is especially true around exterior ‘rubber’ seals and trim.
Steam is a very useful tool that can be used for many cleaning tasks, but like all tools if used incorrectly can do more harm than good
Steam Vapour advantages -
• Can access areas that a carpet extractor cannot
• Clean between seats, consoles, dashes, cup holders, vents, door pockets, door jambs, seat tracks and more
• Will not leave moisture to soak materials as the steam vapour only contain 5 - 6% water moisture?
• Steam-vapour dries very quickly (unlike a carpet extractor) and therefore will not cause mould or mildew to form.
• A steamer will clean hard (vinyl, wheel and glass) surfaces that an extractor cannot
• A steamer can be used to clean leather upholstery quickly and more efficiently than standard methods and without the use of chemicals
Finished leather and Vinyl – a slight change in technique is required when working with finished leather. Place a cotton terry cloth towel (micro fibre tends to lift the pigmentation) on the area being cleaned and indirectly apply steam, this will emulsify oils and dirt; do not directly steam finished leather. Remove the towel and use a semi stiff leather brush to get into the creases and etc., wipe area with a clean micro fibre towel.
Alcantara – once surfaces have been vacuumed use a napping brush to raise the fibres. Place a micro fibre towel on the area being cleaned and indirectly apply steam, this will emulsify oils and dirt; do not directly steam Alcantara and do not over wet. Wipe area with a clean micro fibre towel and then use a napping brush to raise the fibres.
Fabric – use an upholstery brush to loosen any dirt and raise the fabrics nap, select a suitable stain removal cleaner (303™ Spot & Stain Remover ) and then use a solution of 20% stain remover and 80% distilled water, shaving cream or foam to remove stains from fabrics. Spray a small amount of the solution onto the stain. Wait for a few minutes, and then lightly scrub the stained area with a soft bristle brush or old toothbrush. Blot the area with a soft clean cloth, and then vacuum thoroughly and then use the steamer to clean the upholstery
Note- Once material has been cleaned use a suitable protection product
Caution - Steam can scald the skin so wear gloves and do not use too much heat with synthetics materials as it could cause them to melt
To be of real practical use, a subject like automotive detailing requires a great deal of research, and updating as new products become available. The advent of materials like detailing clay, micro fibre technologies and finely milled micro diminishing abrasives, suitable for ceramic nanotechnology paints are examples of why it’s so important to monitor the industries new products, chemical technologies and ideas that are constantly being introduced, as are the techniques for applying them, hence all of the in-depth articles will be up-dated and revised on a regular basis
Always be willing to learn; because the more you learn, the more you’ll realize what you don’t know. You should never stop learning, and your quest for information should be part of your everyday process. It is said that knowledge is power, with the caveat that it includes access to a reliable information sources. I would like to think that these articles become an asset to anyone who is new to detailing and to professional’s alike, as well as industry experts who seek to advance their knowledge.
I detailed my first vehicle at the age of fourteen forty plus years later I started to write detailing articles to share my experiences. For about fifteen years or so I started to contribute to various detailing forums answering questions posted by neophyte’s, enthusiasts and professionals alike. My mantra has always been Experience Unshared Knowledge Wasted.
About the author - http://togwt1980.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/about-author.html
This is not a product vendor’s catalogue, nor am I a vendor pretending to be an educator, as there are a lot of companies that are now sponsoring detailing forums, giving advice and preaching that only the product they sell or manufacture are suitable. In reality they are just advertisements, with the appearance of educators, mere salesman. Those who have something to sell can be very persuasive, often using marketing pseudo-science (i.e. blurring the distinction between science and fiction) to make a great case while completely ignoring meaningful facts, like their product adds nothing of real value.
I purchase all the products I use, so the endorsement is entirely personal and commercially unbiased, the product recommendation is based on "Does exactly what it says on the box" and it suits my detailing goals. The products mentioned have been personally subjected to extensive laboratory (using state of the art instruments and methodologies in some of the world's most prestigious labs) as well as field testing, and I have found that they will perform the task more than adequately, hence the personal recommendation, using the methodology and tools cited, which may or may not be the same as those recommended by the manufacturer.
I hope these articles are informative. They are based on the current status of technical development as well as my experience with the products.
By having some understanding of the ‘What’ and ‘Why’ as well as the ‘How’ along with a little science to help you understand how the chemicals we use react, you can achieve the results you desire.
I would appreciate it if you would share these articles as it helps other detailers further their knowledge.
As always if you have questions, I’ll do my best to answer; bear in mind the only stupid questions is the one that was unasked. Questions and/ or constructive comments are always appreciated
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