The market for luxury cars is becoming more and more exciting and one of the things that people love with them is not just the looks of the car but also the interior. If you’ve ever owned a luxury car, you would know that car manufacturers do not take this part of the car for granted. It’s like you stepped into a velvet room only it gets you from point A to point B.
Why are Luxury Cars Obsessed with Alcantara?
If you’ve been exposed to the world of luxury cars, you would have heard the word “Alcantara”. Apparently, it’s big on expensive cars. Why? Here are a few things to know about it.
First of all, Alcantara is a name. It’s the name of the company that produces the Alcantara material. This material has a suede look and feel (“imitation suede” as some people would call it) which makes it a great choice for transforming a car into a more luxurious drive. It’s a patented product which explains why it’s called after a person’s name.
Second, Alcantara looks luxurious. Sure, leather is too, but leather feels a little rigid, don’t you think? On the other hand, Alcantara is expensive to look at and very comfortable to sit on.
Another reason to love this material is its durability. Compared to the original suede material, Alcantara can stand scuffs and gunk. It’s stronger and it lasts longer. And the best part is it maintains its silky characteristics. You don’t have to worry about replacing it every year.
Lastly, the texture allows you to have a good grip on the steering wheel. For those of you who didn’t know, Alcantara is not just used in seats. It can be used in dashboards and steering wheels, too. You can basically fill the interior of your car with Alcantara and it won’t look bad.
A Few Disadvantages of Alcantara
Unfortunately, Alacantara is not perfect. For one thing, it’s expensive. You’re lucky if the car you’re buying already has Alcantara material on its seats and steering wheel. If it’s not, prepare to break the bank just to have it done on your car.
Another reason why some people still prefer leather over Alcantara is the fact that it’s suede-like. If you have experiences with suede seats, then you know why it’s not the best choice. Picture this - you’re a sweaty person and you’re driving through sunny California. You get stuck in traffic so you spend at least 30 minutes on the road. When you get up, there’s suddenly a shape of your butt drawn on the seat. Honestly, it’s a disturbing picture even if it’s your own butt.
Alcantara is a bit high-maintenance, too. Because it’s suede-like, expect that gunk and dust particles easily stay on the material. A simple swipe of your hand won’t do. If you really want to make sure the Alcantara in your car looks good, make sure you clean it once or twice a month.
How Do You Clean Alcantara?
Now for the most important question on this post, how do you clean Alcantara? To help you keep your car clean and live up to its luxury name, here is a complete guide on maintaining it.
First, you will need cleaning materials such as a round brush. A small to medium-sized brush is better so you can clean the corners of your car. You will also need microfiber cloth and detailer or a car cleaner. Note that cleaning Alcantara is a tedious process so make sure you give enough time to do it.
The first step is to brush out all the gunk and dust. Use a brush that has no product on it and lightly brush out all the particles. It’s highly recommended that you start with the part of your car that’s placed higher (like the steering wheel) so you don’t have to clean your seats again when dust falls on it from the wheel.
Anyway, when you brush, make sure that you do it gently. Don’t get too excited brushing away because you don’t want the dirt to make the car any dirtier. Lightly brush the gunk and dust away. You’ll notice that the materials slowly gets cleaned, though not yet fully. A smart way to do it is to start cleaning the top half of the wheel first and then move on to the other half.
When you’re done with dusting the dirt off, it’s time to use your car cleaner. Now, you might get too excited to spray on Alcantara, but don’t! Relax, and don’t spray directly at the material or you can say goodbye to your perfect Alcantara. Kidding aside, the right way to do it is to spray the car cleaner on the microfiber cloth. Spray it twice or thrice and then use the wet area to remove the dirt.
If you’ve seen videos of cleaning Alcantara, you will notice that people do it differently. Some people wipe the whole steering wheel with the microfiber cloth while some do some gentle wipes. Whether you want to gently wipe it or you are too impatient that you wipe the whole thing, all you have to remember is this - do it gently. You can do small strokes or large ones, it doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you don’t push the cloth on the Alcantara. Otherwise, you’re pushing the dirt deeper into the material and nobody wants that.
Now take a look at the cloth. You’ll see some dirt that looks black, brown, or gray. That’s gunk and dust right there. Depending on how dirty your hands are or how long since the last time you cleaned your car, expect to encounter “stubborn” particles. When you notice that there are stains that won’t get off, keep your cool and just keep wiping it off gently.
How to Maintain Alcantara-Suede
Okay, so you’ve done cleaning, what’s next? Well, there’s really nothing left to do but to actually maintain the cleanliness of your car. If you don’t, then why buy a car that’s so expensive?
So how do you maintain Alcantara-Suede? Here are a few tips to make sure it remains durable and beautiful.
Tip #1: Clean your hands before touching the steering wheel.
The steering wheel is one of the dirtiest parts of the inside of your car. Imagine how much dirt you have on your hands and then placing it on the wheel. Sure, you can’t get away with dust and particles, but you can at least manage it better.
Don’t touch your steering wheel if your hands are oily, smelly, or sweaty. The oil in your hands makes it easier for dirt to stick on the material, so don’t ever do it. Wash your hands if you have to. The same goes for smelly and sweaty hands. It may not be obvious, but the smell of your hands can stick to the steering wheel or other surfaces you touch.
Tip #2: Don’t eat in the car.
...and don’t drink. The best way to maintain your car is to avoid doing things that can risk the quality of the material. If you really have to eat, stick to dry foods that don’t have seasonings on them. Crackers, fries, cookies, are a huge no-no, much less soups, fried food, and other foods that can cause stains.
Tip #3: Clean your car regularly.
This goes without saying, but for more emphasis, make sure to clean your car every week (or every other week if you don’t have the time). Make it a habit. If you need more motivation, just think about how much money it will cost you to replace all the interiors of your car that cannot be cleaned anymore. Alcantara is expensive, so it’s best to maintain it well so you throw away money after.
Tip #4: Treat stains properly.
If you accidentally dropped sauce on the seats, then don’t wait for another week to clean it. Get a towel, wipe it off, and use a car cleaner to clean the stain. Making sure that no stains stay is your top priority.
There’s a proper way to treat stains and it depends on the kind of stain. If the stain is water-soluble, get a clean towel (that has no prints on it), pour a small amount of lukewarm water, and dab it gently on the stain. Do not clean it with hot water because it can cause stains to coagulate. Use the clean end of the towel to wipe the stain more thoroughly.
For non-water-soluble stains, use ethyl alcohol for cleaning. The same procedure applies - you put alcohol on a clean cloth and then gently dab it on the part with the stain. Again, do not rub very hard as this pushes the stain deeper into the material.
Overall, cleaning Alcantara is not exactly a hassle; it’s just tedious. Since you can’t rub it hard or you can’t do one massive wipe all over the surface, you have to have the patience. Don’t worry, your hard work will pay off because you can keep your luxury car clean.