Alcantara® Ultra suede™, Ecsaine, Micro suede, etc) are not types of leather but are in fact in synthetic materials, it can be described as an artificial substitute for suede leather, made from extremely fine polyester micro fibre (68% polyester and 32% urethane) it has the appearance and tactile feel similar to that of suede, and it may be incorrectly identified as such.
Alcantara is a trade name given to a composite material used to cover surfaces and forms in a variety of applications. It can be described as an artificial substitute for suede leather. The material was developed in the early 1970s by Miyoshi Okamoto, a scientist working for the Japanese chemical company Toray Industries, as a variation of their other product Ultra suede produced around the same time. Around 1972, a joint venture between Italian chemical company ENI and Toray formed Alcantara SpA in order to manufacture and distribute the material
Ultra suede or Alcantara is finding application in seating as well as dash trimming, steering wheel covering and headliners in many high-end OEM automotive applications
Synthetic fabrics are often manufactured with a brushed or napped finish to resemble suede leather. These products often provide a similar look and feel to suede, but have advantages such as increased liquid or stain resistance, and may appeal to consumers who prefer a non-animal product.
Identifying characteristics - these materials are very soft to the touch and will scratch or scuff very easily.
The water-drop absorbency test- water drops will darken the surface and will remain dark or leave a water mark after drying.
Water absorbency rate – high, due to the potential damage caused by water foam cleaners are highly recommended
Well known for its use in top marque automobiles such as Aston Martin, BMW and Ferrari, this material is both hard wearing, luxurious and stylish. Suede is rarely used for automobile upholstery, however Nubuck or a synthetic known as Alcantara® or Ultra suede™ is commonly found in sports luxury vehicles; on the steering wheel, armrests and seat inserts both for aesthetic purposes and grip (on the seats and steering wheel) and the headliner, it is highly absorbent, creating a texture similar to velvet, many people confuse this product with suede leather.
Often a ‘worn’ Alcantara ® covering is caused by the nap becoming flattened, in most cases it can be revived simply by cleaning with the correct chemicals and using a napping brush. As a general rule when cleaning Alcantara ®, etc you should only to use products specifically designed for this type of fabric. Avoid using a product designed for cleaning leather. It's also important to do a patch test before cleaning any fabric to make sure the colour or integrity of the fabric won't be damaged. To do this, apply your cleaning product to an inconspicuous area to see what the effect will be.
Use a napping brush to raise the pile and loosen/separate the fibres. Remove pilling with a single-sided razor blade and then apply a suitable cleaning solution on to an applicator pad and apply to one area at a time (do not over-wet the fabric or use wet steam).
Localized stains can be treated with a Limonene (citrus) based cleaner (P21S Total Auto Wash) ensure the surface is dry before use by leaving a window cracked/open. Avoid alcohol, strong solvents or spirit based cleaners (particularly perchloroethylene and trichloroethylene). When cleaning a surface with finished leather / Alcantara, tape of the Alcantara to avoid cross contamination by products.
General stain removal standards
· act immediately
· reduce the stain by working from the edge towards the centre, in order to avoid spreading
· gently remove most of the dirt using a knife or spoon and blot immediately with a clean white cloth
· once the stain has been spotted, act in accordance with the instructions in the table
· if using a solvent, never apply directly to the stained material, but on a clean terry weave towel
· after applying the stain remover, remove with a clean, dry cloth, then brush in the opposite direction to pile lay
· allow to dry thoroughly
· when dry restore pile with a soft brush
Leather Master™ Foam Cleaner (N-Nubuck / Alcantara ®, Ecsaine, Micro suede and Perforated Aniline leather ) that is designed to gently lift general soiling without any need for significant wetting of the surfaces being cleaned. A solvent free pump action product, which is extremely efficient for the cleaning of general soiling and water based stains on Alcantara ®, Nubuck, brushed aniline suede and perforated leathers. Always pre-test the product on a hidden area. This cleaner is an aerosol version of Leather Master™ Strong Cleaner.
Application - after removing any loose dirt or dust by brushing the nap with a soft napping brush to loosen and separate the fibres, especially in areas that have become matted with body oils, constantly moving the brush to avoid over scrubbing one spot, remove pilling carefully with a single-sided razor or battery operated fuzz remover.
Always pre-test the product on a hidden area. Shake the container thoroughly. Spray the product at a distance of 12 inches from the leather to one section at a time, and allow to remain in place for approximately 15 to 30 seconds. Foam contains a surfactant that will lift dirt and soil.
Then gently agitate surface with the sponge, rinsing frequently and adding more product as required. For heavily soiled areas, or where the leather has become ingrained such as in creases in the leather, a soft brush can be used to agitate and loosen the dirt.
Remove excess product and debris with a clean, damp 100% cotton micro fibre towel. If the foam is allowed to dry the soil will be re-deposited to the surface. Check the results and repeat process as necessary. Air dry seating areas or steering wheel with a low-heat air gun/ hair dryer
Leather Master™ Nubuck Eco Protector (N-Nubuck / Alcantara®) Nubuck /Suede Protectant are a water based product for highly sensitive leathers fibrous materials, it took several years to perfect, and was difficult to formulate due to the potential damage caused by water. It may be used on furniture, clothing, shoes, and accessories.
Eco-Protector provides an oil, water and alcohol barrier on Nubuck and suede. This unique formula is a step forward from the previous Leather Master Aerosol protectant. In fact, it has several advantages over all aerosol protectants - non-flammable and very safe for consumer use, environmentally safe, solvent free formula.
If needed, pre-clean with Leather Master™ Foam Cleaner (N-Nubuck / Alcantara® ®, Ecsaine, Micro suede and Perforated Aniline leather ) is a solvent free pump action product, which is extremely efficient for the cleaning of general soiling and water based stains on Alcantara® ®, Nubuck, brushed aniline suede and perforated leathers. Always pre-test the product on a hidden area. This cleaner is an aerosol version of Leather Master™ Strong Cleaner.
• Adjust spray to finest mist setting and spray no less than 12 inches from the surface of the leather.
• It is much better to apply two light coats than a single heavy application.
• Allow leather to completely dry. You may speed this up with a hair dryer on mild heat.
• Lightly rub over the surface with a terry covered sponge to maximize & restore the surface.
• Reapply every 6 months after cleaning.
Maintenance- in order to preserve your upholstery, vigorous cleaning of accumulated dirt should be avoided as dirt/grit is abrasive and may damage the finish.
It is therefore recommended that regular cleaning is carried out by brushing seating areas with a soft upholstery brush and then vacuuming to remove dust and loose dirt. Avoid rubbing too strongly. The use of vapour steam is preferred. (Do not use wet steam or 303 Space Protectant on Alcantara®)
Dust the fabric using a soft upholstery brush, and then vacuum. Then run a lightly damp 100% cotton micro fibre towel over the surface to remove any small dust particles.
Alternative products - Swissvax Alcantara Cleaner
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