Monday, 11 May 2015

Automotive Carpet Dyeing and Colour Restoration

Product Application

The main priority is to ascertain the material you are trying to clean and then select a chemical that is compatible to clean it with 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) apply several drops of the selected cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area and rub gently with a clean, white micro fibre towel. Do not over wet. Use small amounts of the product and blot frequently, do not rub or use too much pressure. 

Do not use the product if it adversely changes the material’s colour or texture.

Focusing on one person’s methodologies or the products they use will seriously limit your detailing experience and knowledge. Most importantly - choose carefully whose advice you listen to, and more importantly what advice you act upon. The misinformation and myths that are so prevalent in the detail industry is the reason that detailers need to do research on their own. I would strongly suggest that you verify any information that I or anyone else shares with you.

Use of any information on these pages is used at the reader's own risk. The detailing methods set out here have been adapted for special use and may not be the same as those recommended by the product manufacturer, and you may experience different results from those stated. When in doubt always use common sense

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 to ensure chemical will not stain or damage material is also very important

Pre-test Spot Procedures

Read the product labels and manufacturers safety data sheets (MSDS) to obtain a basic idea of contents, pH levels etc. 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 a chemical / cleaner 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. Read the product labels and manufacturers safety data sheets (MSDS) to obtain a basic idea of contents, pH levels etc.

Information disclaimer
The information contained in these articles is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by TOGWT™ and while we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the information, products, services, or related graphics for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of materials, time or any profits arise out of, or in connection with, the use of this information.

Be cognizant that I’m not a professional detailer; insofar as detailing is not my sole source of income, so a professional detailer that carries out ‘volume’ (time is money) type detailing may use different products and methodologies

Process over Product

A product represents a very small percentage of the equation; identification of the materials, correct diagnosis of a suitable method and the selection of an appropriate product along with the correct surface preparation and application methodology will result in the desired result being obtained

This is not a product vendor’s catalogue, nor a vendor pretending to be an educator, as there are a lot of companies that are now writing online about detailing methods and preaching that only the product(s) they sell or manufacture are suitable. In reality they are just advertisements, with the appearance of educators as opposed to mere salesman. Commercialism brings with it concerns of honesty and true representation. In other words, it’s difficult to know what is true when someone is motivated by income, i.e. directly targeted at product sales, more so than an unbiased opinion.

Carpet Dyeing and Colour Restoration

Ensure carpet is cleaned before the application of a dye or colorant (See Carpet Cleaning and Care)
Automotive carpet dye is made to improve the look of worn or faded carpet. These dyes work best when they are closely matched to the original carpet colour. While it may be possible to change the colour (light to dark) of automotive carpet with these dyes, they are not recommended for that use. Automotive dye comes in many colours that are computer matched to automotive manufacturer specifications.

If your carpet has pet stains, bleach spots or faded areas, spot dyeing may be the answer.

Clean the carpet thoroughly before renovating or re-dying automotive carpet. Most colours can be dyed, but dyes are translucent and therefore carpet dyeing is not like painting over one colour with a new colour, a colorant must be added. Use good quality carpet dye so as to ensure a first class professional finish

First establish what the carpet is made from as not all dyes will work on some fibres. Commercially there are two types of carpet material: natural fibres (wool or cotton) and synthetic fibres, (nylon, olefin, polyester and acrylic). You can dye wool carpets, nylon carpets but polyester, polypropylene and acrylic carpets are very difficult to dye and can result in a less than perfect finish.

There are also many types of carpet construction, but most commonly used are looped or tufted.  Normally a shorter looped synthetic pile is used for auto carpeting, using a tweed design rather than a solid colour will reduce pile compression and will hide dirt better.

Loop carpet - is manufactured by pushing fibres (loom) through a backing material, these forms a loop that shows on the face of the carpet. The material is then passed through a machine that applies a coating to the back which locks the fibres.  Cut pile carpet is made by the same process but one further step is made by shearing off the top. Different backings, quality and thickness as well as the density of fibres effect quality and cost. European automotive carpet is generally of a higher grade (Wilton wool is used by RR, etc).

Cut pile - automotive carpet is generally made of either acrylic or nylon fibres. The fibres are spaced wider than Import carpet and usually are left a little longer. Import automotive carpet is usually made of natural or blends of natural fibres (wool) with a heavy backing. Fibre spacing is very tight, nap is usually short. Import carpet generally resists matting better than American carpet. Colour choices are large in both import and domestic carpet; there is however very few matches between the two colours

Natural Wool (Wilton) Carpet

Wilton carpet is a dense 100% imported lamb’s wool loop pile of the highest grade (Wilton) Wilton patented their first loom in 1741; their carpets are always machine woven and are very hard wearing. This type of premium carpet is mostly used in prestige European automobiles; Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lotus, Lexus and Rolls Royce, and high-end German automobiles such as Audi, BMW, Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz, and earlier Porsche models.

Unlike carpets made of synthetic fibres, soil can be vacuumed from wool carpets very easily. In the first year, we recommend vacuuming at least two or three times a week to remove excess fuzz that accumulates on the rug surface. This fuzzing is perfectly normal and in no way shortens the life of your rug. It is merely the result of loose fibres created during the weaving process.

Pilling is a condition of the carpet face in which fibres from different tufts become entangled with one another, forming hard masses of fibres and tangled tufts and may be caused by excessive heavy foot traffic or using powder cleaners or deodorizers that "clump" fibres together. If the beater bar of your vacuum slows down noticeably on the rug, raise the height, constant heavy beating with these bars can also cause pilling.

Pre-test Spot Procedures

Diagnosis is the key, not guess work. Before using a cleaning product a detailer needs to know the material they are working on, what they are trying to remove and wither the product chosen is compatible with the material and will not damage it. With all cleaning products, always test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it won't discolour or stain the surface, and ensure that the pH of the product is suitable for the material. As can be seen stain removal requires some knowledge of basic chemistry.

Read the product labels and manufacturers safety data sheets (MSDS) to obtain a basic idea of contents, pH levels etc. 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 a chemical / cleaner 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. Read the product labels and manufacturers safety data sheets (MSDS) to obtain a basic idea of contents, pH levels etc.

When spraying any surface with a liquid, it is always advisable to spray a small area first (test area) then allow to dry to make sure the solution does not react with the surface.
Providing the cleaning product selected is suitable, apply several drops of the selected cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area and rub gently with a clean, white micro fibre towel. Do not over wet. Use small amounts of the product and blot frequently, do not rub or use too much pressure.   Do not use the product if it adversely changes your fabric's colour or texture.

There are a couple of common methods used to dye carpets. The first is spray dyeing and the second is rotary brush dyeing.

Spray dyeing - as the name signifies, is done by spraying carpet dye on the carpet using a pressurized container and wand. As you might suspect, there an issue with this method; its inability to give a deep penetration of the carpet dyes into the carpet fibres

Rotary brush dyeing - is done by applying carpet dye to the carpet with a DA machine fitted with a soft grey brush attachment (available from Autogeek). The machine is evenly moved across the carpet making several even passes over each area to get the required shade or colour. There will be an uneven colour application if the machine stays too long in one place.

Mixing the Dye/Colorant

The dye/colorant bonds to the carpet fibres immediately and lasts for the life of the carpet, so chose a water-based dye product that is permanent, colour fast and eco-friendly.

Dissolve a small quantity of the colorant in medium hot water to obtain the colour you want. Mix the solution in a suitable container by agitating well so that the colorant is distributed evenly in the solution and then shake well.

Always follow the dye manufacturer’s instructions. Once you are satisfied with the colour obtained pour the solution into a suitable container for spray or brush application. Test the dye on a piece of scrap carpet before you use it on the main area. If you need to adjust the colour add water or colorant as appropriate until you obtain the colour shade you are satisfied with

·         Use a degreaser that is formulated to remove grease and dirt, trapped in the fibres.    Pour the Prep into a large bowl, and clean the area well with a soft brush. Spray carpet and upholstery cleaner on heavily soiled areas of the carpet and then use a foam carpet cleaner () to remove the dirt. Wipe up the foam with a dry towel. Use a carpet extractor system to remove the excess water with the machine or absorbent towels.

·         Mix the automotive carpet dyes with the amount of warm water specified by the manufacturer. Apply the dye evenly to the entire area. Gently scrub the carpet with a scrub brush to coat the carpet fibres. Brush or spray the carpet fibres in different directions to achieve an even distribution of the automotive carpet dye.

·         Cover porous material in spray area, such as leather or velour. Vinyl may be wiped-off immediately with warm, soapy water or covered.

·         When carpet is slightly damp to completely dry, apply or spray just enough dye to lightly cover carpet. Use smooth, even strokes a few inches above the surface. (Spraying too close to carpet will waste product and create excess residue)

·         Allow fibres to dry for 15-20 minutes and then brush the carpet with a semi-soft brush to fluff the fibres and then add a second coat; after that has dried repeat, and leave it to sit for an hour before touching it again.

·         Let air dry, or quick dry with air mover, and vacuum carpet.
·         If you missed a spot, or colour isn't dark enough, re-spray and let dry.

·         Wipe away any dye that came in contact with leather or other upholstery. Allow the carpet to dry and spray on a stain protection product.

·         Allow dye to cure 30 days before shampooing. Most dyes are permanent, but there may be a small amount of residue with the first cleaning, especially if too much dye was used in the application.
     The amount of dye needed per application is based on area to be covered, spray nozzle pattern (narrow or wide), and distance of nozzle from the carpet. It's always best to apply a light coat and touch-up where needed. Heavy applications create excess residue which will not penetrate fibre.
·         Finally use a steamer to promote an even  overall permeation of colour

Mould (Mold)

Stachybotrys Chartarum [: fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments, called hyphae] 

[Many molds can begin growing at 4 °C (39 °F), the temperature within a typical refrigerator, or less. When conditions do not enable growth, moulds may remain alive in a dormant state depending on the species, within a large range of temperatures before they die. The many different meld species vary enormously in their tolerance to temperature and humidity extremes. Certain moulds can survive harsh conditions such as the snow-covered soils of Antarctica, refrigeration, highly acidic solvents, and even petroleum products such as jet fuel. Xerophilic molds use the humidity in the air as their only water source; other moulds need more moisture. Mold has a musty odor.] 

Mould in vehicle interiors is unfortunately more common than you would imagine. Although car manufacturers do their best to keep water and even moisture from getting into your vehicle, over time, seals wear out and eventually will start to allow water ingress, or something as simple as forgetting to roll up your windows or closing the sunroof during a rain storm

Without identifying and eliminating the source of the mould you can't get rid of it, there are many Counteractant type products that mask odours; what you need to do is remove and clean and thoroughly dry the whole area; carpets, upholstery (inc foam and etc) that is affected, including the headliner and metal floor pan (don’t forget to clean/replace the cabin air filter). 

Just like mould and mildew contamination in other areas, you cannot wash or shampoo it away. This only exasperates the problem. Mould is a form of fungus which forms anywhere there’s moisture trapped in the air, and is spread by releasing millions of tiny spores into the air. You cannot see the spores but you may be able to see moulds, grey, green or black in colour, growing on damp surfaces.

Dirt and moisture are essential to mildew propagation, which is very difficult to eradicate as mould uses enzymes to digest nutrients from organic materials, the mould forms on top of the material and also down into its fibres leaving circular or black spots in an irregular pattern. Mould / mildew needs to be neutralized as it will not dissipate without treatment as the spores are still present and moisture will regenerate them

There are hundreds of thousands of types of mould, but only about ten types cause health problems, commonly sinusitis, bronchitis and other respiratory conditions, as well as allergies. I would strongly recommend you wear appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) safety glasses, respirators; etc inhalation of mould could be very detrimental to your health and can cause an allergic reaction

There are many Counteractants products that only mask odours; what you need to do is remove and clean and disinfect the whole area; carpets, upholstery (including the upholstery foam and etc) that is affected, including the headliner and metal floor pan. Don’t forget to clean/replace the cabin air filter.
Remove the seats and thoroughly clean the carpet with a carpet cleaner and a disinfectant. Then let it air dry, or use a heater to ensure that they are completely dry. To neutralize mould use 10:1 Distiller water / (non-chlorine) bleach solution, use a syringe to inject solution into seating foam, you may need to remove and replace the carpet padding.

Clean the carpet using a steam extractor’s upholstery attachment, this will eliminate the bacteria that create mildew, ensure the carpets and upholstery is thoroughly dry before you re-install the seats

Microban® Disinfectant Spray environmental protection against: germs, odours, mould and mildew- The first thing to do is to raise as much dirt / dust from the carpet with a brush by using a circular motion over the whole carpeted area; this will loosen the debris and bring it to the top of the carpets pile, enabling a vacuum to remove it

Sporicidin® Enzyme Mold Stain Cleaner - concentrate is a blend of enzymes in a low foaming solution formulated to loosen and remove dried debris, protein, blood and mucin deposits. It effectively cleans both natural and synthetic fibres that have been soiled with organic and inorganic debris. Ideal for use as a pre-cleaner for mould remediation, and restoration applications

·         Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation, published by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) also contains valuable information
·         The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides free brochures to anyone who asks.
·         The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and a few other organizations can be considered unbiased and reliable sources.
·         The National Institute of Safety & Health (NIOSH) is also an excellent source of unbiased information.

Professional detailers – as your you’re dealing with health-related issues,  bear in mind that we are living in a litigious society, so document the process / procedures used on this type of remediation.

Fabric Upholstery and Carpet Protection

Once carpet or upholstery has been cleaned the use of a fabric protector will help to repel grease, dirt, water and oil-based stains. It is very important to ensure that the fabric upholstery is very thoroughly rinsed, as the cleaners will pull (wick) the dirt to the surface. The soap and oils will attract dirt and oily grime like a magnet (re-soiling) if they are not thoroughly rinsed away giving the appearance that they have not been cleaned.

Select a product that contains UVR protection for maximum fade protection, a must for convertibles. For outdoor materials (convertible fabric or vinyl) it restores water and stains repellency, resists soiling, mildew formation and helps to protect again harmful UV and infrared radiation.

1.        Scotchgard™ -fluorocarbon chemicals (polymer latex) developed by 3M are mostly inert so by applying it to fabric they provide an effective protective treatment by surrounding each individual fibre with an invisible shield. It can be safely used for the finest fabrics, wool, silk, and fine leathers like Nubuck, Alcantara® and suede Scotchgard Protector improves the fibres resistance to oil and water-based stains, as well as soiling from everyday use

2.        303™ High Tech Fabric Guard - strong enough to protect fabrics in the harshest environment, yet it can be safely used for the finest fabrics, wool, silk, and fine leathers like Nubuck, Alcantara® and suede.  On outdoor fabrics it restores lost water repellency and stain repellency to factory new levels. It resists soiling, impedes mildew formation and helps protect against the sun's harmful UV rays.

3.        303™ Aerospace Protectant - (there are no cleaning agents in this product) providing protection from ultra violet radiation is very important to avoid photo synthesis (colour fading) particularly in an open-air roadster/convertible.

Ultra violet protection is a sacrificial / renewable component; this is due to the UV protection layer being degraded by exposure to the elements (sun, sand, road or sea salt, and etc) No product on the market retains UV protection effectiveness more than 2-3 months. It is also water miscible, so it is imperative that you renew it and needs to be re-applied on a regular basis (dependent upon location climatic condition)

There is no such thing as a permanent UV stabilizer, it a matter of physics, not chemistry. Polymers (acrylics, etc) resist UV degradation very well due to their structure, they are somewhat immune and absorb very little ultra violet radiation, and hence UV energy does not damage them

Application- use on a clean surface spray product onto a cloth, the surface to be protected should be wet, not just damp. Then using a clean, dry cloth, agitate to ensure the protected surface is dry After application allow 60 minutes for product to cure, then using a 100% cotton cloth to lightly buff surface

The Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Institute (CUCI)

This is the basic governing body that provides training and standards for quality carpet, upholstery, restoration, odour, and leather care techniques. They have regional units and trainings classes throughout most of their regions. The classes are taught by certified instructors, who teach the procedures, processes, chemicals, and equipment that can best be applied to your style of work. Some of the basic classes-

(a)  Basic carpet cleaning techniques
(b)  Basic upholstery cleaning and care techniques
(c) Basic leather care techniques - these classes will teach you fibre, soil and stain identification, ‘spot’ stain cleaning techniques and the proper procedures for the removal of soils quickly and cost effectively.

Material data sheets (MSDS)
Be aware of dangerous ingredients and request Materials Safety and Data Sheets (MSDS) from the manufacturer if there is any question. An (MSDS) is required under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard. The MSDS is a detailed informational document prepared by the manufacturer or importer of a hazardous chemical.  It describes the physical and chemical properties of the product. MSDS’s contain useful information such as flash point, toxicity, procedures for spills and leaks, and storage guidelines.

Chemicals or other ingredients that are include in a products formula that are considered non-hazardous are not required to be listed on an MSDS

The information given is designed only as guidance for safe handling, use, processing, storage, transportation, disposal and release and is not to be considered a warranty or quality specification. It relates only to the specific material designated and may not be valid for such material used in combination with any other materials or in any process, unless specified in the text.

Information included in a Material Safety Data Sheet aids in the selection of safe products, helps you understand the potential health and physical hazards of a chemical and describes how to respond effectively to exposure situations. Although there is an effort currently underway to standardize MSDS’s the quality of individual MSDS’s vary. It may be useful but it cannot substitute for prudent practices and comprehensive risk management.

An MSDS should be available for every chemical you use. Read these and follow the recommendations for safe use and disposal of the material. The target audience for information in a MSDS is the occupation worker who may be exposed to chemicals at work. However, much of the information is also relevant to consumers.

Read the manufacturers application instructions and then obtain and read the MSDS sheet to ascertain the chemicals used. Although it should be said that an MSDS is a document that contains details of the hazards associated with a particular chemical and provides information regarding its safe use. The MSDS is required to state the chemical's risks, safety and impact on the environment.

An MSDS is a fact sheet developed by manufacturers describing the chemical properties of a product. Material Safety Data Sheets include brand-specific information such as physical data (solid, liquid, colour, melting point, flash point, etc.), health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, handling, disposal, personal protection and spill/leak procedures.

How to Read a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)

Chemical Information (MSDS) A-Z-

Definitions of Terms Used in Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) -

I would like to think that these articles become an asset to anyone who is new to detailing and to professionals alike, as well as industry experts who seek to advance their knowledge.

I hope the above article was informative. 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 this article as it helps other detailers further their knowledge.
Questions and/ or constructive comments are always appreciated.

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