Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Leather Upholstery - Unfinished vs. Finished leather



Section through automobile leather upholstery

Prior to 1980 most automotive leather upholstery used was high quality top grain full grain leather with a pigmented solvent-based Nitrocellulose lacquer coating and their unstable plasticizers would easily migrate in the heat from sun exposure and again create 'fogging' on the internal surfaces of the windows. As a result of this plasticizer migration the use of oil-based products that contained solvents to keep them from becoming brittle and cracking, creams, waxes and oils were needed in aftercare products to try and bring the suppleness back into the leather

By applying an oil-based conditioner and allowing time for it to work in a heated environment. By covering the seats with a plastic bag to help retain the heat and them leave overnight will ensure the oils permeate the lacquer and reach the leather hide. This process can also be used for equestrian tack; bridles, harnesses’, saddle and leather chaps and riding boots

Automotive leather and finished leather surfaces have undergone major technological improvements over the past few decades. The leather used for automotive upholstery is finished leather; the ‘finish’ applied to the leather hide is a pigmented (colour) urethane protective layer and a clear abrasion resistant topcoat.

Unfinished vs. Finished leather

a) Unfinished leather - the appeal of this type of leather is its initial "natural" look and the soft, supple texture. The downside is aesthetic vulnerability; due to the porous nature of untreated leather, it stains easily and it is sensitive to ultra violet (UV) light, which means that the colour is subject to photochemical degradation (bleaching, (fading), discoloration, chalking, brittleness and cracking) all indications of UV deterioration. The porous nature of unfinished leather will allow a water- or oil-based solution to permeate the leather.

b) Finished or micro pigmented leather - is commonly used for automobile as these resins create a film that protects the leather. The water-based urethane pigmented (colour) coat and the clear topcoat provides abrasion and stain resistance. This type of leather finish is the most durable and easiest to care for but tends to be stiffer than both unfinished and micro pigmented leather. When Ford first introduced its King Ranch leather in their F-Series trucks it had unfinished leather, later they adopted a micro pigment type finish

Using advanced micro pigments this finishing technique makes the finish rigorous enough to stand up to the conditions it would be subjected to in an automobile. Generally speaking micro pigment style leathers come in very earthy natural colours, incorporating a small quantity of pigment (a thin clear sealant that provides a uniform colour and affords some protection) but not so much as to conceal the natural characteristics of the hide so it will still retain the soft hand of Aniline leather. This type of leather is also used for perforated leather finishes.

Top-grain premium Aniline leather is mostly used in prestige European automobiles; Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lotus, and Rolls Royce, US Cadillac and high-end German automobiles such as; Audi, BMW, Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche.

For some of these vehicles premium leather is standard OEM specified equipment, but for most it’s a ‘premium’ package that costs upwards of 2,000 USD . This is the niche market sector both Leatherique and Connolly were originally formulated for.

Be cognizant that most if not all OEM leather in these vehicles is now a semi-aniline (micro pigmented) finished leather Is a term used by the auto leather industry to better describe leather with a thin urethane layer of pigment coating, which provides an even colour and both abrasion and stain resistance. As opposed to the mislabelled Aniline leather (aniline is a dye (immersion) method not a leather type), which will absorb body oils and moisture and would be subject to abrasion unless it has been treated in some way.

I hope you’ve found this article both informative and helpful.

TOGWT® Autopia Detailing Wiki Articles

1. “Leather Upholstery Type Surface Identification” - http://www.autopia.org/forum/autopia-detailing-wiki/136895-leather-upholstery;-surface-identification.html#

2. “Leather Articles Hyperlinks” -http://www.autopia.org/forum/autopia-detailing-wiki/141973-leather-articles-hyperlinks.html





Sunday, 23 June 2013

What is Unfinished leather

Unfinished leather




Section through automobile leather upholstery

Be cognizant that you’re dealing with the finished coating on the leather and not with the leather hide itself
Research

Information regarding the care of leather is scarce, often contradictory, misleading, or simply wrong. Misinformation can lead to inadvertent damage to your vehicles leather upholstery; my goal is to present clear, concise, accurate information.

There is a great deal of conflicting information on leather care being put out by leather experts themselves who use baffling pseudo scientific techno speak as another marketing ploy, which makes it difficult to find a definitive, unbiased answer. It had always confounded me that such a simple subject has been made into something so complicated.

Many vendors and indeed, some older generation detailer’s advocate the use of products and methodologies that are more suitable for a by-gone era of leather surface finishes as opposed to the pigmented urathane coatings used in modern vehicle upholstery


After various meetings and discussions with leather tanners, fat liquoring formulators, their chemists and many leather care product manufacturers I’ve gained an understanding of this versatile material on both a practical and scientific level.

I have always thought that the more facts and information you have at hand the easier it is to judge what information you are being given. After all, how can you fully understand and properly use any product unless you have all the facts? In the final analysis; it’s your vehicle, your hard earned money and your choice

Unfinished vs. Finished leather

a) Unfinished leather - the appeal of this type of aniline leather is its initial "natural" look and the soft, supple texture. The downside is aesthetic vulnerability; due to the porous nature of untreated leather, it stains easily and it is sensitive to ultra violet (UV) light, which means that the colour is subject to photochemical degradation (bleaching, (fading), discoloration, chalking, brittleness and cracking) all indications of UV deterioration. The porous nature of unfinished leather will allow a water- or oil-based solution to permeate the leather.

One of the best known tanneries supplying this type of leather hide was the Connolly Leather Company, London; they supplied leather hides to many British luxury car manufacturers like Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lotus, and Rolls Royce. This English tannery had been producing and supplying highly finished, vat dyed leather primarily to car manufacturers at two plants, Northampton and Ashford, Kent. The term is also used to describe the particular brand of leather itself, when fitted in a car interior, as an expression of the quality and luxury status of the vehicle. Only the highest quality top grain (the top 0.05 inches of the hide) was selected for their use, this grade of leather is now only used in less than 5% of automobiles).

b) Finished or micro pigmented leather - is commonly used for automobile as these resins create a film that protects the leather. The water-based urethane pigmented (colour) coat and the clear topcoat provides abrasion and stain resistance.

This type of leather finish is the most durable and easiest to care for but tends to be stiffer than both unfinished and micro pigmented leather. When Ford first introduced its King Ranch leather in their F-Series trucks it had unfinished leather, later they adopted a micro pigment type finish

Using advanced micro pigments this finishing technique makes the finish rigorous enough to stand up to the conditions it would be subjected to in an automobile. Generally speaking micro pigment style leathers come in very earthy natural colours, incorporating a small quantity of pigment (a thin clear sealant that provides a uniform colour and affords some protection) but not so much as to conceal the natural characteristics of the hide so it will still retain the soft hand of Aniline leather. This type of leather is also used for perforated leather finishes.

Top-grain premium Aniline leather is mostly used in prestige European automobiles; Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lotus, and Rolls Royce, US Cadillac and high-end German automobiles such as; Audi, BMW, Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche, for some of these vehicles premium leather is standard OEM specified equipment, but for most it’s a ‘premium’ package that costs upwards of 2,000 USD . This is the niche market sector both Leatherique and Connolly were originally formulated for.

Be cognizant that most if not all OEM leather in these vehicles is now a semi-aniline (micro pigmented) finished leather Is a term used by the auto leather industry to better describe leather with a thin urethane layer of pigment coating, which provides an even colour and both abrasion and stain resistance. As opposed to the mislabelled Aniline leather (aniline is a dye (immersion) method not a leather type), which will absorb body oils and moisture and would be subject to abrasion unless it has been treated in some way.

Modern Leather Surface Technology

Automotive leather surface coatings have undergone major technological improvements over the past few decades. The leather used for automotive upholstery is finished leather; the ‘finish’ applied to the leather hide is a pigmented (colour) urethane protective layer and a clear abrasion resistant topcoat.

This type of leather has an aqueous (water- based) urethane pigmented (coloured) coating, think of it as a urethane paint applied on top of the leather, and then a clear top coat is applied, o you are not actually touching the leather.

The coating gives the leather more durability and protection. It is also much easier to clean. Finished leathers make up almost all auto leathers. Just because leather has a top coat doesn't mean it is any less desirable.

It also has micro-pores that allow transpiration, i.e. evaporation and hydration (the passage of water vapour through a membrane or pore) they are not sealed per se

Micro pigmented finished leather in more often used for automotive upholstery as it is more durable than uncoated aniline, whilst still retaining a natural appearance Semi-Aniline (micro pigmented) finished leather coating containing a small amount of pigment in the base coat, this surface coating helps impart greater stain resistance.

The increased durability is provided by the application of a light surface coating which retains the ‘feel’ of soft leather and contains both pigment (colour) and an anti-abrasion additive, this ensures consistent colour, imparts stain resistance and helps with the abrasion of entering and exiting the vehicle

Pigmented leather won't absorb liquids because of the protective properties of the finish making for easier clean-up. Since the leather hide has a clear coat finish, when treating the leather, so you are in fact dealing with a urethane (to all intents and purposes; that simply needs to be kept clean and hydrated…it really is that simple.

A simple concept that been stated a million times and still some will swear that treating finished leather with a conditioner is beneficial. But if you feel $50 plus and approx 2-3 hours work is a worthwhile investment of time / money to treat a urethane pigmented covering, that’s your choice

Surface care and preservation

The preservation of leather is a relatively simple matter. Keeping it clean and supple require no special abilities. Periodic hydration and cleaning with a water-based cleaner will remove most abrasive surface dirt and regular applications of a beneficial softener to ensure the finished leather remains soft and supple; Leather Master™ Soft Touch (ex Vital) - this is not a conditioner per se; it contains polymers in an aqueous emulsion and is used to improve and maintain the tactile feel and lustre by rehydration.

Protect the surface finish (Leather Master™ - Protection Cream) as a sacrificial layer; this way you are not actually cleaning the Leather's original surface, but cleaning from the surface of the protection. It also makes dirt easier to clean off

With leather, it is much easier to practice prevention than it is to try to resolve major challenges after the fact. Leather Protection will also work to remove small surface scratches on finished leathers. In general, Leather Protection Cream is used as a final step in combination with most of the Leather Master products.

Leather Master™ - Protection Cream (a Scotchgard™ type product specifically formulated for lather) the polymers penetrate the surface of finished leather and cross-link to form a durable protective film that is breathable, allowing transpiration and keeps the leather supple.

Being aqueous (water- based) it restores moisture to finished leather and provides a protective sacrificial barrier against all kinds of soiling, water, oil, alcohol-based stains and perspiration marks, so you are cleaning the protective layer

I hope you’ve found this article both informative and helpful.


TOGWT® Autopia Detailing Wiki Articles

1. “What exactly is ‘Finished leather’? “ - http://www.autopia.org/forum/autopia-detailing-wiki/145364-what-exactly-%91finished-leather%92.html

2. “Aniline Leather (Micro pigment) Cleaning and Care” – http://www.autopia.org/forum/autopia-detailing-wiki/137167-aniline-leather%3B-cleaning-care.html#post1455011 [/url]

3. “Proper Finished Leather Cleaning and Care” - http://www.autopia.org/forum/guide-detailing/136421-proper-finished-leather-cleaning-care.html

4. “Leather Upholstery Type Surface Identification” - http://www.autopia.org/forum/autopia-detailing-wiki/136895-leather-upholstery;-surface-identification.html#

5. “Leather Articles Hyperlinks” -http://www.autopia.org/forum/autopia-detailing-wiki/141973-leather-articles-hyperlinks.html







Friday, 21 June 2013

“What exactly is ‘Finished leather’? “

Finished Leather



Section through finished leather - Diagram by Advanced Leather Solutions

Be cognizant that you’re dealing with the finished coating on the leather and not with the leather hide itself

Research

Information regarding the care of leather is scarce, often contradictory, misleading, or simply wrong. Misinformation can lead to inadvertent damage to your vehicles leather upholstery; my goal is to present clear, concise, accurate information.

There is a great deal of conflicting information on leather care being put out by leather experts themselves who use baffling pseudo scientific techno speak as another marketing ploy, which makes it difficult to find a definitive, unbiased answer. It had always confounded me that such a simple subject has been made into something so complicated.

After various meetings and discussions with leather tanners, fat liquoring formulators, their chemists and many leather care product manufacturers I’ve gained an understanding of this versatile material on both a practical and scientific level.

I have always thought that the more facts and information you have at hand the easier it is to judge what information you are being given. After all, how can you fully understand and properly use any product unless you have all the facts? In the final analysis; it’s your vehicle, your hard earned money and your choice

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) Technology

Automotive equipment technology is becoming more and more complex requiring educated and skilled technicians to work on them. As the materials used are constantly changing we must maintain our knowledge base and utilize the correct products and application methodologies to keep up with emerging technologies. It is very important to be able to recognise the various finishes and materials used as they all require different methodologies and products for proper care and maintenance.

A competent detailer never stops learning; knowledge of new technology and application methods also make detailer’s an asset to both a company and its clients and increase the value of the services offered. A detailer should know how to tell the difference between -
a)      Single stage paint and a base coat clear coat paint system and be able to match the correct products to each system
b)      Coated and uncoated aluminium wheels and what products to use for each finish
c)      Finished and uncoated leather and the appropriate care products to use

Product choices

Diagnosis is the key, not guess work. Before deciding on what products to use, you need to ascertain the grade of leather and the type of leather finish applied.

There are a few different types of leather and several types of finishes applied to the leather used for vehicles upholstery. There are also a myriad of leather care products available, which need to be used in accordance to the type of and finish used for your vehicles upholstery

Automotive leather is a rather difficult category to define as OEM descriptions of leather finishes vary, often incorrectly from that of leather industry manufacturer’s descriptions. Automobile manufacturers have blurred the distinguishing lines on what exactly constitutes leather and the ambiguity of the information provided by leather care vendors make the selection of the correct products for the types of finished leather used in automobiles very difficult.

History

Prior to 1939 leathers produced were solely vat dyed. Usually these colors faded quickly and developed into strange shades of greens or browns after exposure to the sun. Although the surfaces did not crack and chip as badly, the leather still became dry and stiff.

 After 1945 new technology created new demands and brighter colors quickly became popular with the availability of nitrocellulose resin emulsion lacquers. Leathers that were vat dyed were now surface coated as well. In the early 1980’s nitrocellulose lacquers gave way to the resin-base dyes in use today.

Before 1980 most automotive leather upholstery used was high quality top grain full grain leather with a pigmented solvent-based Nitrocellulose lacquer coating and their unstable plasticizers would easily migrate in the heat from sun exposure and again create 'fogging' on the internal surfaces of the windows. As a result of this plasticizer migration the use of oil-based products that contained solvents to keep them from becoming brittle and cracking, creams, waxes and oils were needed in aftercare products to try and bring the suppleness back into the leather by applying an oil-based conditioner

This can be accomplished by covering the seats with a plastic bag to help retain the heat and them leave overnight will ensure the oils permeate the lacquer and reach the leather hide. This process can also be used for equestrian tack; bridles, harnesses’, saddle and leather chaps and riding boots.

This nitrocellulose resin conditioning methodology for some reason has been carried over to modern finished leather. Even though urethane’s only requirement is to be kept clean and hydrated, it doesn’t require conditioning. Products such as leather (Saddle) soaps, oil-based Conditioners, Neat-foot oil, Mink oil and Connolly Hide Food still prevail as top sellers, albeit most are made for equestrian tack. These are very different leathers with drastically differing care requirements. The exact reason for this type of misapplication is unclear.

 It’s possible that there is an association with old world quality (i.e. European automobiles with unfinished leather upholstery and real burl wood interiors) with these types of products, despite the fact that the automotive industry has been using aqueous (water- based) urethane covered pigmented leather since 1980.

Materials Technology

Automotive OEM technology is becoming more and more complex requiring educated and skilled technicians to work on them. As the materials used are constantly changing we must maintain our knowledge base and utilize the correct products and application methodologies to keep up with emerging technologies.

Automobile manufacturers have blurred the distinguishing lines on what exactly leather is. There are many so-called ‘leathers’ that are actually the bottom split (the fibrous part of the hide) which are covered with a vinyl or urethane coating. Diagnosis is the key, not guess work. Before deciding on what products to use, you need to ascertain the grade of leather and the type of leather finish applied

The leather used for automotive upholstery has a finish applied that comprises a polyurethane protective layer and an abrasion resistant topcoat.

Polyurethane is a polymer composed of a chain of organic units joined by Ethyl carbamate (urethane) links; the polyurethane used is categorized as an elastomers; it has elastic properties while maintaining some rigidity.Polyurethane is semi-permeable and has micro pores that allow hydration (transpiration and evaporation of moisture); otherwise it would become less supple and the finish will be subject to cracking. 

Be cognizant that the leather and finishes used for automotive upholstery varies from leather industry standard descriptions and although the names are similar the type of leather, pigmentation and finish are often very different. Si it is very important to be able to recognise the various finishes and materials used by OEM’s as they all require different methodologies and products for proper care and maintenance.

Automotive model ranges use different materials for their vehicles interiors; leather upholstery like Aniline Immersion Dyed, Aniline Micro Pigmented, (Urethane) Finished, Artificial leather such as MB-Tex and unfinished materials like Synthetics and Alcantara, and sometimes combinations of products (Alcantara seat inserts on leather seating) as well as various grades of leather hide, full-grain, top-grain and split –grain (which is protected with urethane) all of which require different products and applications methods.
After various meetings and discussions with leather tanners, their research and development teams, chemists and fat liquoring formulators and many leather care product manufacturers I've gained an understanding of this versatile material on both a practical and scientific level.

It had always confounded me that such a simple subject has been made into something so complicated. I have always thought that the more facts and information you have at hand the easier it is to judge what information you are being given. After all, how can you fully understand and properly use any product unless you have all the facts? In the final analysis; it’s your vehicle, your hard earned money and your choice
Be cognizant that you’re dealing with the finished coating on the leather not with the leather hide itself

Automotive Interior Environment

The interior environment of an automobile can be extremely demanding on any material used. Temperatures range from hot dry summer days, to freezing nights. Both high and low humidity, even air conditioning that cools, but also dries. Leather's greatest enemies are; sun, heat, body oils, perspiration (that contains urea as well as organic salts and acids) and body heat, which causes acids to become more aggressive and alters the viscosity of oils, allowing them to permeate the leathers finish, and ultra violet radiation (UV), which dries the hide, fades the colour by bleaching, and can cause the leather to fail by drying out the fibres causing the urethane and / or the hide to crack.

Vehicle upholstery leather must allow hydration (transpiration and evaporation of moisture); otherwise it will become less supple and the finish will be subject to cracking.  Hydration is simply the replacement of moisture and can be introduced via any perforated areas or places where the leather is joined together with stitching. These punctures in the surface coating are natural release areas where the leather begins to lose its moisture, especially in hot / dry environments.

Unfinished vs. Finished leather

a)      Unfinished leather - the appeal of this type of leather is its initial "natural" look and the soft, supple texture. The downside is aesthetic vulnerability; due to the porous nature of untreated leather, it stains easily and it is sensitive to ultra violet (UV) light, which means that the colour is subject to photochemical degradation (bleaching, (fading), discolouration  chalking, brittleness and cracking) all indications of UV deterioration. The porous nature of unfinished leather will allow a water- or oil-based solution to permeate the leather.

b)      Finished or micro pigmented leather - is commonly used for automobile as these resins create a film that protects the leather. The water-based polyurethane pigmented (colour) coat and the clear topcoat provides abrasion and stain resistance. This type of leather finish is the most durable and easiest to care for but tends to be stiffer than both unfinished and micro pigmented leather. When Ford first introduced its King Ranch leather in their F-Series trucks it had unfinished leather, later they adopted a micro pigment type finish

Using advanced micro pigments this finishing technique makes the finish rigorous enough to stand up to the conditions it would be subjected to in an automobile. Generally speaking micro pigment style leathers come in very earthy natural colours, incorporating a small quantity of pigment (a thin clear sealant that provides a uniform colour and affords some protection) but not so much as to conceal the natural characteristics of the hide so it will still retain the soft hand of Aniline leather. This type of leather is also used for perforated leather finishes.

Now virtually 95% of leather in domestic (American) and Imported (Asian) vehicles use finished (polyurethane coated) upholstery.  Among European car makers aniline and recently semi-aniline (micro pigmented) leather upholstery is still much more common than with domestic models, but urethane finished leather is becoming more prevalent

Automobile model ranges use different materials for their vehicles interiors; there are also various finishes applied -  
·         Aniline Leather (Immersion Dyed)

·         Semi-aniline (Micro pigment) leather

·         Finished leather

As well as various grades of leather hide, full-grain, top-grain and split –grain, along with artificial leather such as MB-Tex and unfinished materials like Synthetics and Alcantara, and sometimes combinations of products (Alcantara seat inserts on leather seating) Using any product not specifically designed for your leather finish can cause staining and permanent damage.

Cross section through leather hide

Leather Hides
Raw hides have four main parts - an epidermis, grain, corium and flesh
Two of these layers, the epidermis (which is a thin protective layer of cells during the life of an animal) and the flesh are removed during tanning by a process called liming.

This leaves just the grain and the corium, the parts that are used for automotive leather upholstery .The grain layer is made of collagen and elastin protein fibres and its structure varies quite a bit depending on the age, breed and lifestyle of the animal. The grain carries many distinctive marks such as insect bites, growth marks and wound scars giving the leather a unique appearance.

The corium [Latin term for the dermis] or skin layer, is packed with collagen protein fibres, arranged in larger bundles and interwoven to give the structure great strength, excellent elasticity and durability. In the tanning process these fibres and impregnated with collagen's that are designed to hold them together and keep them supple after which they are sealed, these polymers are neither volatile nor migratory, rendering the use oil-based conditioner a mute point

Fat liquoring

Leather, at the time of completion of the tannage does not contain sufficient lubricants to prevent it from drying into a hard mass. Almost all light leathers need a greater softness and flexibility than is imparted by tannage. This is attained in the fat liquoring process by introducing oil into the leather, so that the individual fibres are uniformly coated. The percentage of oil on the weight of leather is quite small, from 3-10 %. The precise manner in which this small quantity of oil is distributed throughout the leather materially affects the subsequent finishing operations and the character of the leather.

 Proper lubrication or fat liquoring greatly affects the physical properties of break, stretch, stitch tear, tensile strength, and comfort of leather. Over lubrication will result in excessive softness and raggy leather in the bellies and flanks. Under lubrication, or improper penetration, results in hard bony leather that may crack in use.

To allow a small amount of oil to be spread uniformly over a very large surface of the leather fibres it is necessary to dilute the oil.

Although this could be done with a true solvent such as benzene, it is cheaper, safer and more convenient to use the method of emulsification. In an emulsion with water, the oil is dispersed in microscopically small droplets, giving it a white, milky appearance.

It is important that the oil drops in water should remain as an emulsion until they penetrate the leather, and should not separate out as large drops or as a layer of oil, which could not penetrate the leather fibre and would only give a greasy surface layer.

Hydration

The other critical factor is moisture (re-hydration) any leather is going to lose its moisture in hot ambient environments.  Much of the suppleness of leather comes from its moisture content, which is the reason maintain the moisture content of the grain layer is so important. When leather tanners talk about leather conditioning they specifically mean replacing its moisture content (re-hydration).  After tanning the skin is protected with pigmented (colour) polyurethane and then a clear topcoat.

Applied finish

The leather used for automotive upholstery is finished leather comprising a polyurethane protective layer and an abrasion resistant topcoat. Polyurethane is a polymer composed of a chain of organic units joined by Ethyl carbamate (urethane) links

Pigmented Coating

Polyurethane (urethane) has micro-pores that allow evaporation and hydration (the passage of water vapour through a membrane or pore) they are not sealed per se. Oils are not compatible with water-based pigmented urethane coatings and their molecules are too large to permeate, although some may enter via stitching, usually it remains on the surface to be removed by clothing

Since the leather hide has a pigmented urethane layer and clear topcoat finish, when treating the leather, so you are in fact dealing with a urethane (to all intents and purposes, a ~150 ยต (micron) thick plastic surface coating, about the same thickness as automobile clear coat paint; that simply needs to be kept clean and hydrated…it really is that simple.

Topcoat - extremely hard wearing water-based clear polyurethane is used to improve abrasion resistance and colour fastness, making the surface much easier to clean and less prone to staining, while increasing resistance to perspiration, grease and oil. It greatly increases surface durability and also improves surface texture giving it a smooth, soft and silky feel.

It also has micro-pores that allow transpiration, i.e. evaporation and hydration (the passage of water vapour through a membrane or pore) they are not sealed per se. Urethane pigmented finished leather doesn't readily  absorb liquids because of the protective properties of the finish making for easier clean-up.


A simple test – place a drop of moisture on the surface of the leather - if it soaks into the leather you have unfinished leather (sometimes called aniline style) If there is a very light color or clear coat on top of aniline-dyed leather, it is often referred to as “semi-aniline.” Semi-aniline leather offers modest protection while retaining much of the aesthetic beauty of unfinished aniline-dyed leather but still remain absorbent to moisture. If the moisture sits on the surface and does not soak in and darken the material you have finished leather.

TOGWT® Autopia Detailing Wiki Articles

   1. “Unfinished leather” - http://www.autopia.org/forum/autopia-detailing-wiki/145381-unfinished-eather.html#post1543547

2. “Proper Finished Leather Cleaning and Care” - http://www.autopia.org/forum/guide-detailing/136421-proper-finished-leather-cleaning-care.html


3. “Leather Upholstery Type Surface Identification” - http://www.autopia.org/forum/autopia-detailing-wiki/136895-leather-upholstery;-surface-identification.html#

4. “Leather Articles Hyperlinks” -http://www.autopia.org/forum/autopia-detailing-wiki/141973-leather-articles-hyperlinks.html

Monday, 17 June 2013

Chemicals used for detailing / cleaning automobiles


The main priority is to ascertain the type of material and its finish that you are trying to clean and then select a chemical that is compatible it with. Do not use the product if it adversely changes the material’s colour or texture)

Before using any chemical read the product labels and manufacturers safety data sheets (MSDS) to obtain a basic idea of contents, pH level, extreme alkalinity can do as much damage as an acid. Depending on the pH of the product you use you should return the surface to neutral (pH 7.0) before you apply any dressing or protective products. Always select any chemicals that are biodegradable, environmentally friendly and safe to use by observing any precautions recommended so that they won’t harm you, your vehicle or the environment.

Use caution when using solvents (they don'y usually have a pH level to guide you how 'strong' they are)The low surface tension of silicones is sometimes added to solvents to improve the wetting ability and to improve the surface contact. Solvents require an aerobic cure (exposure to air) to allow them to evaporate (outgas); some solvents contain formaldehyde, which dissolves both natural rubber and synthetic compounds, and some contain petroleum distillates specifically hydrocarbon and oxygenated solvents, which represent most of the total organic solvents used.

Always use the appropriate personal protection equipment (PPI) cloves, safety glasses and ear defenders, as necessary

Providing the cleaning product selected is suitable, apply product to an applicator not the area to be cleaned (the only exception to this is glass surface cleaning) as this may cause localized ‘spot’ cleaning

Dilution of Cleaning Chemicals

a) Under-dilution – a chemical solution that is too can damage carpets, upholstery, wheels, etc. It costs more in actual product cost and additional labour to correct any problems that occur due to improper dilution.

b) Over-dilution - a weak chemical solution can cause inadequate cleaning performance, which means you will have to re-clean the same areas. With carpet and fabric upholstery, this can lead to over-wetting, resulting in such things as mould, mildew, shrinkage, etc.

c) Spot testing - ensures the chemical will not stain or damage material is also very important

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Bituminous Asphalt Removal


Bituminous Asphalt

[:The term asphalt is often used as an abbreviation for asphalt concrete, asphalt refers to a mixture of mineral aggregate and bitumen (tarmac) Composed almost entirely of bitumen, which is a category of organic liquids that are highly viscous, black, sticky and wholly soluble in carbon disulfide, mostly made up of highly condensed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons]

The reasoning for the use of solvents for the removal of bituminous asphalt is that it dissolves as a means of removal, as opposed to friction. Asphalt comprises; bitumen emulsion and fine graded aggregate with fillers and is very sticky and its presence on your paint means that harder particulate matter (dirt/grit) has also stuck to it. By agitating or rubbing the dirt/grit that is contained within the bituminous asphalt will cause surface marring or possibly scratching, dissolution alleviates any potential surface damage.

Using steam and / or a safe solvent (Stoner™ Tarminator, Stoner™ Natural Citrus Xenit or Wurth Clean Solve) will simply emulsifies and dissolves the bituminous asphalt when you spray it directly to the surface, apply to the affected area, allow sufficient react time, and carefully wipe off, you may have to apply it three or four times allowing plenty of react time between applications.

It can also dissolve a variety of oil and petroleum based products, it's safe to use on all types of paint, plastics, synthetic fibres, carpet and upholstery. If used on vehicle paintwork, carpet or fabric re-apply a protect rant after use.

Other uses - it will dissolve chewing gum and adhesives. Use to de-tar wheel rims after cleaning, will also remove shoe scuffmarks from vinyl trim, and can be used to remove tree sap or fuel stains from paint surfaces.

Notes- use caution if you use WD-40 for bituminous asphalt removal as it contains strong hydrocarbon (aliphatic) solvents, which may compromise the integrity of the clear coat causing it to occlude (become opaque, clouded or yellowed.

Alternative products

1. CarPro Tar X is a citrus- based solvent that has a coloring to identify tar contamination; apply it to a dry surface to ensure it won’t be diluted by water. After shaking the bottle and spraying onto a dry surface, allow it to dwell for anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes depending on how thick the tar contamination is. DO not allow Tar X to dry on surfaces or apply in direct sunlight.

2. Wurth Clean Solve is fast acting and will not leave film residue, safe to use on all painted surfaces. Quickly removes track rubber (from tyres) paint overspray, adhesives, tar, grease, oils, silicone and waxes. Can be used on acrylic finishes, aluminium, plastics, vinyl’s, fabrics, glass, and fibreglass

Always use the least abrasive product first-

a) A safe solvent - (Stoner’s Tarminator, Simple Green® Aircraft & Precision Cleaner, Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) or Mineral spirits (White spirit)which is used as a cleaning solvent in asphalt products

b) Detailer’s Clay

c) A chemical / abrasive paint surface cleaner (Zaino Paint Cleaner Z-PC or Zaino All-In-One Z-AIO)

d) An abrasive polish

e) If the surface has been etched use an abrasive polish and a polisher (Rotary or Random orbital)

d) The same rule applies to abrasive polishes and foam pads –

After the paint surface has been subjected to a chemical cleaning its protective layer (s) have been removed and the paint surface left without protection, so it is very important that a wax or polymer protection be applied immediately.



TOGWT® Autopia Detailing Wiki Articles , these Detailing Wiki informational resources contain everything you’ll ever want to know about automotive detailing and are an invaluable addition to your detailing knowledge base - http://www.autopia.org/forum/autopia-detailing-wiki/136815-togwt%AE-detailing-articles-index-hyperlinks.html


Combining Science, Chemistry, Knowledge, Experience and Aesthetics resulting in the Art of detailing


Sunday, 2 June 2013

Removing Ferric (rust or dissolved) Iron


Rust / Sediment Filter Unit

One of the most common contaminants of well and even municipal water systems is iron. Iron contamination can be found in two general forms, ferric iron which consists of particles of solid iron (rust) that can be removed by mechanical water filters (sediment filters), and ferrous or dissolved iron which must be removed from water by special iron water filters.

Next to hardness, the presence of iron is probably the most common water problem faced by consumers and water treatment professionals. The secondary (aesthetic) maximum contaminant levels (MCL) for iron and manganese are 0.3 ppm (milligrams per litre (mg/l) and 0.05 ppm, respectively. Iron and manganese in excess of the suggested maximum contaminant levels (MCL) usually results in discoloured water. In addition to causing an unpleasant metallic taste, particulates in your particulates in your drinking and household water can cause unsightly staining of plumbing fixtures and laundry. A water softener is capable of removing iron from water up to 0.5 ppm of iron

If your iron content is no more than 3ppm it can be removed with an iron reduction filter cartridge, which effectively removes iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulphide (rotten egg smell) from municipal or well water. Iron content over 5 ppm iron (or about 2 ppm hydrogen sulphide) requires a better filtration system.

In addition to causing an unpleasant metallic taste,Iron particulates in your drinking and household water can cause unsightly staining of plumbing fixtures and laundry. A water softener is capable of removing iron from water up to 0.5 ppm of iron

If your iron content is no more than 3ppm it can be removed with an iron reduction filter cartridge, which effectively removes iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell) from municipal or well water. Iron content over 5 ppm iron (or about 2 ppm hydrogen sulfide) requires a better filtration system
An Iron Removal Filter Cartridge contains manganese greensand, the same media employed in many expensive iron water filtration systems, however, it is packaged in a standard 20 inch filter housing that any homeowner can manage and maintain. When the dissolved iron comes in contact with the manganese greensand media, it is rapidly oxidized, turning the ferrous iron into a ferric form which is then mechanically filtered and removed from the water.

When the iron water filter has reached the end of its service life, it is simply replaced with a new cartridge - there is no media to regenerate, no backwashing, no chemicals to worry about, etc.

These units are often used as a pre-filter for a Water softener,  Power Washer or a CRSpotless DI system

TOGWT® Autopia Detailing Wiki Article - these Detailing Wiki informational resources contain everything you’ll ever want to know about automotive detailing and are an invaluable addition to your detailing knowledge base -. http://www.autopia.org/forum/autopia-detailing-wiki/136815-togwt%AE-detailing-articles-index-hyperlinks.html