Do Not Try This at Home: Let a Professional Detailer Apply Your Interior Coatings

Every time I apply a protective coating to a car’s interior, especially leather and fabrics, I wonder that any car owner would attempt to do it themselves. There should be a “Do Not Try This at Home” warning label on most over-the-counter coating products. There are simply too many ways to get into trouble and many more benefits to using a professional detailer like Xtreme Xcellence to do it.

The simplest reason is the sheer rigor needed to clean thoroughly the initial surface, before applying the coating. Only a professional detailer would understand the importance. Have you ever purchased those peel-off adhesive wall hangers deigned to hold a 10--pound painting? The directions say to “thoroughly clean the surface” first, but most people do not. The care needed to prep properly the surface before peeling off the paper and pressing it to the wall is not there with most Do-It-Yourselfers. When the adhesive pulls away from the wall taking a 3-pound picture with it, the average person thinks the product was defective.

Your vehicle’s interior fabrics should be completely free from dirt particles, chipped paint, grime, or hand oils in order for the coating to bond with the actual leather or fabric surface of your car seats. If not, the coating adheres instead to the dirt particles, oils, or grime on the surface, weakening its bond and durability. A good detailer is inherently committed to perfection. They would never leave a surface only partially prepped, or at some point say, “That’s good enough”. It is just not in their nature!

The second most important reason car owners should use a professional detailer for applying a coating to their interior fabrics is their lack of knowledge about different fabrics and how a product will respond to it. You run the risk of ruining your fabrics if you use the wrong product. A licensed, qualified detailer, especially one like Xtreme Xcellence who has a special certification for the application of coatings, will not require this step.
The average person will need to conduct a “test” against color fading, presumably in a small, inconspicuous area, to make sure the product doesn’t adversely change the color or texture of the fabric. Imagine the shock if you get a positive response to a test area never exposed to sunlight, but when applied to an area exposed to natural UV rays, suddenly you have a serious difference in the color. Now you have a disaster!

Another potential problem is the deceptive marketing of some DIY products on the market. Let us take leather for example. When a car owner chooses leather interiors, they are opting for luxury and comfort but the prone areas of your vehicle, whether they are leather or vinyl, suffer from the same spills, accidents, and constant friction of sliding in and out of the car as other interiors. The leather used in luxury automobiles is made of several natural and synthetic materials, coated with a very fine emulsion that gives them the desired color, and topped off with a protective clear coat. Unfortunately, product advertisements lure DIYers in with talk about “feeding” your leather seats as if it were the same as maintaining a good pair of cowboy boots.

Since they already have that manufacturer’s coating to protect them against wear and tear, and prevent them from drying out and cracking over time, why “feed” an already protected surface. You don’t need to “feed” the leather; you need to further protect it long-term, against external forces that will wear away that short-term coating.
Also, your interior consists of a variety of materials and surfaces from hard plastics to metal, wood, glass, vinyl, etc. These areas should be masked off from your treatable non-fabric/leather surfaces so you do not contaminate those surfaces with your upholstery coating. This is a tedious job and the average DIYer will usually try to “work around” those areas, making them more susceptible to contamination.

There are other reasons ― a long list of reasons, as I said before why a car owner needs the services of a professional detailer to apply interior coatings. We have access to more “tools of the trade” than the average DIYer; we have available a set of professional-grade coating products that cannot be bought over the counter that are safer, more durable, but also more selective in their application. Professional detailers work at a higher level of industry standards than the DIYer; and we have more systematic procedures that help determine what product is needed for any given project, how much, and how often it should be applied.

Finally, for anyone who has ever used an over-the-counter- product for their dashboard or other surfaces, you will notice an abnormal “wet-look” that will sometimes literally wipe off on your hands and clothes. A professional detailer will leave your interior looking
pristine, like it just came off the assembly line!