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Projects What's the best way to clean old cloth interiors?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by C-10 CST, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. C-10 CST
    Joined: Jul 4, 2011
    Posts: 267

    C-10 CST
    Member
    from Indy

    I just pulled out the back seat from my 56 Oldsmobile & removed the old seat covers that had been on them for decades to find the most amazing original seats.
    The one picture where it looks pretty good is when I had just wiped them down with a damp terry cloth rag. As you can see when they dried they are still in need of a deep cleaning. I'm afraid to go to aggressive with scrubbing or cleansers in fear of damaging the material.

    If anyone has a suggestion on the best way to clean these please let me know. The vinyl is easy.
    I need help with the cloth part.
     

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  2. ned5049
    Joined: May 9, 2009
    Posts: 400

    ned5049
    Member

    One way would be to take them to a good detail shop that uses an extractor, which is a hot water vacuum, simillar to Stanley Steamer on carpet. I have one in my shop and it works great. Does'nt hurt the fabric, providing it's in good shape.
     
  3. oldsjoe
    Joined: May 2, 2011
    Posts: 2,547

    oldsjoe
    Member

    I have had luck with LOW pressure dry compressed air. Them a good vacuum. With old material it can be very brittle from age so don't get too aggressive.
     
  4. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    tfeverfred
    Member Emeritus

    The damp Terry cloth probably rubbed the dirt in deeper. You need something that will seep in, clean and lift the dirt, so you can vacuum it up.
     

  5. C-10 CST
    Joined: Jul 4, 2011
    Posts: 267

    C-10 CST
    Member
    from Indy

    You're absolutely right on that. After it dried I realized that I didn't do myself any favors on that. That's why I'm asking before I do the front seats.
     
  6. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    tfeverfred
    Member Emeritus

    There's a cleaner that does what I described, but I can't remember the name. I was hoping someone would have chimed in by now.
     
  7. Rqketman
    Joined: Oct 15, 2008
    Posts: 26

    Rqketman
    Member

    I use Mean Green (Dollar General $5.00 a gal) and a home carpet cleaner If you have a bad stain area soak a hand towel or bath towel with the M/G and let it set over night suck the soap and water with carpet cleaner and if you have air gently blow the rest of the water out then soft brush after, works for me! Ps use M/G for many things white walls engine degreaser but don't get it on glass full strength
     
  8. 5Wcoupe
    Joined: Oct 2, 2007
    Posts: 306

    5Wcoupe
    Member
    from L.A., Ca.

    I like Tuff Stuff a lot
     
  9. luke13
    Joined: Oct 25, 2013
    Posts: 381

    luke13
    Member

    strongarm washing soda and wet vac, im sure you can hire a wet vac, our local super market hires em.
     
  10. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,391

    indyjps
    Member

    Carpet machine would be best, you can rent them at lowes, home depot, ace hardware, some grocery stores, I've seen them with small attatchment heads for stairs. A home remedy would be laundry detergent heavily diluted in hot water in a spray bottle, spray in on, let it sit for a few minutes and shop vac it out. I've used this a few times, the laundry detergent isn't too aggressive.
     
  11. C-10 CST
    Joined: Jul 4, 2011
    Posts: 267

    C-10 CST
    Member
    from Indy

    Is Mean Green A cheaper version of Simple Green? Are you using the Mean Green in the carpet cleaner as well as a spot cleaner? I have some Simple Green on hand.
     
  12. C-10 CST
    Joined: Jul 4, 2011
    Posts: 267

    C-10 CST
    Member
    from Indy

    Tuff Stuff makes a lot of products, are you talking about the Tuff Stuff that is that is specifically for upholstery?


    Thanks for all the advice. The material seems to be in very good shape so I'm sure it can handle a small amount of scrubbing. I think I will start with the dry approach first and get what I can then I'll go rent a carpet cleaner with the upholstery attachment.
     
  13. junkman8888
    Joined: Jan 28, 2009
    Posts: 629

    junkman8888
    Member

    Greetings! If I need to clean cloth seats or carpet I yank 'em out and take 'em to the car wash. A few bucks in quarters and everything comes out looking like new. It isn't gentle in the slightest but it works.
     
  14. bgaro
    Joined: Sep 3, 2010
    Posts: 1,189

    bgaro
    Member

    yup, pressure wash it. if it's to aggressive then it aint gonna hold up to someone sitting on it anyway.
     
  15. rockable
    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 3,503

    rockable
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Rug Doctor with the upholstery attachment is your friend. Check your local grocery store.
     
  16. unkledaddy
    Joined: Jul 21, 2006
    Posts: 2,865

    unkledaddy
    Member

    OXICLEAN...............how could you ever forget?
     
  17. mike bowling
    Joined: Jan 1, 2013
    Posts: 3,556

    mike bowling
    Member

    I spilled red carpenters chalk on the seat of an old Chevy P.U. with a cloth interior and was so pissed I thought I'd puke.I bought an aeorosal can of rug shampoo with an attached brush on the top at Home Depot( where I got the chalk) thinking the seat was junk anyway, so WTF. I was totally amazed, when after two "treatments ", the upholstery went from bright red back to ALMOST gray(original color) so on plain dirt you should be in luck with a fairly simple procedure ( hopefully). Good luck with it. Mike
     
  18. KRB52
    Joined: Jul 9, 2011
    Posts: 1,055

    KRB52
    Member
    from Conneticut

    If you want to go very gentle at first, try basic club soda. The bubbles in the carbonation will loosen and lift the dirt, where you can then vacumn it up after the soda dries or be wet vac'd up. The seats do look good as is.
     
  19. luke13
    Joined: Oct 25, 2013
    Posts: 381

    luke13
    Member

    oh yeah the old soda water trick, my mum used to use that when us kids stained the carpet or wharever.
     
  20. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 6,546

    arkiehotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I have used Tuff Stuff upholstery cleaner for over 30 years. Spray it on, let it soak for a few minutes, blot it up with terrycloth towel. If stains are really bad, you may have to repeat a few times

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
  21. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 5,733

    stanlow69
    Member
    from red oak

    Carpet shampooer? If there is cotton, water will ruin it. I use laquer thinner on newer cloth seats. Works excellent. Do not touch the vinyl, it`ll take the color out. First use it on a piece that will be hidden first to see what it will do. Use a white sock and see if it turns dirty or the color of seat you are cleaning. If it turns dirty, proceed.
     
  22. unkledaddy
    Joined: Jul 21, 2006
    Posts: 2,865

    unkledaddy
    Member

    I have used Coleman stove fuel, enamel reducer and laquer thinner........
    all with good results.
     

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