Need process advice for car interiors (long read) - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
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post #1 of Old 01-16-2015, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Need process advice for car interiors (long read)

TL;DR version: Need help with a good process for nasty car interiors.

Hi all, new here. As eluded to in my intro post, I detail cars; mostly high end and are in very good condition, but the same clients have kid haulers that need attention too.

These interiors are brutal for time and effort, I'll easily spend 3-5 hours on an interior and more than half that time is on carpets and upholstery. A lot has to do with the tight spaces and intricacies of a car interior, but at a rate of 10 square feet per hour, I'm not moving nearly as fast as I feel I should. I'm hoping to learn some methods to make my cleaning easier, faster and more profitable.

I've typically used products and process marketed for detailers, which is pretty limited: Dry brush, vacuum, high pH spray, glycol ether based spotter, agitation, maybe steam, and finally HWE. While it does work pretty good, it takes too much time and I'm sure there are products and processes better suited to this that will save time and effort.

I've looked at a couple carpet cleaner supply website and I'm just a bit overwhelmedand confused. Some recommend a high pH prespray to start a wet process, some go straight an enzyme cleaner, and another started with an oxidizer. One even said to use their encap product as a prespray before extraction. Needless to say, I literally don't know where to begin my process now.

I deal with organic, inorganic, petroleum based, pretty much any soiling and staining out there; most common are: coffee, soda, make-up products, kool-aid/kid drinks, milk, vomit, pet urine and odor, road salt, motor oil and food greases. I realize that stain identification is a huge part of building a process, but often, I'm dealing with all of these types of stains in a 4 square space, sometimes on top of each other.

After all that, I'm asking for some help in defining a process to use on carpets and upholstery (don't have to be the same process, but product and equipment overlap would be nice). I realize there isn't one product to get all of these in one shot. I'm committed to using a process, and here's what I need from the process.

1. Products used early in the process don't set stains that will be addressed later in the process.
2. It would be nice if the process could be 'ramped-up' (i.e. if it's a 10 step process, I might be able to stop at step 5 if I see things are clean to my satisfaction)
3. It utilizes tools I already have (bissel green machine, mcculloch steamer, tornador cleaning gun, carpet brush attachments for my rotary and orbital/dual action polishers, microfiber bonnets, compressed air, wet/dry vac, too many hand brushes to count.)

Thank you in advance.
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post #2 of Old 01-25-2015, 09:06 PM
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I used to work at a dealership as a car prep. They would outsource the used auto detailing. I once asked how they restored carpets and they said they used a degreaser with water and used a wet vac to suck it all up.
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