Chances are if any components of your vehicles interior have the look and appearance of suede, its probably Alcantara. Sometimes also referred to to as “MicroSuede” or “UltraSuede”, Alcantara is a synthetic composite which offers greater stain/abrasion resistance and durability compared to the organic material it emulates, suede. Dinamica is another version of this “faux suede”
More and more, “microsuede” is being offered as an option as an alternative to leather on accents such as steering wheels, shifters, seats, consoles, and headliners. Many people choose microsuede because it’s incredibly soft, whereas leather is a totally different texture. In the summer, skin doesn’t stick to microsuede the way it does to leather. If a car’s seats are microsuede, they won’t be burning hot after the car has been sitting in the sun.
While there are benefits to choosing microsuede over leather, it’s still important to note that microsuede requires specialized care. Without proper maintenance, this fabric can become hard, crusty, and discolored. Microsuede is usually used in areas that come in the most contact with skin like a steering wheel or a seat, and body oils can cause the fabric to get gunky and dirty. You don’t necessarily even have to spill anything on it, just touching it on a regular basis can cause it to become dirty and discolored.
Cleaning this fabric requires something that lifts dirt and removes stains while leaving microsuede surfaces soft. The following are both great products designed specifically for the care of these fabrics...
Sonax Alcantara & Upholstery Cleaner
Dr. Beasley's Microsuede Cleanser
Both products are designed to remove organic messes like spilt food or drink, body oils, and dirt. However, rather than wait for the inevitable spill to occur consider taking preventative action with Dr. Beasley's Microsuede Protection.
In summary here are the most important tips for caring for these types of fabrics:
Heat is the biggest enemy of microsuede. If you think you can clean this fabric with steam, think again. Overheating microsuede will permanently damage it, causing it to become crusty, dry, and hardened. Reviving this fabric is near impossible so if you have to use heat around it, don’t go any higher than 140 degrees.
Don’t use just water to clean it.You might think water is fairly harmless when used as a cleanser. Alas, it’s not. Water can stain microsuede. It can also create mold under the fabric if overused. Just avoid using it as a means to clean microsuede.
Don’t scrub it! Sometimes cleaning means scrubbing, but definitely not when it comes to microsuede. We’ve heard of some people using tools like a pet stone on this fabric, only to completely and irreversibly ruin it. An interior brush used with very little pressure is plenty; you don’t need to use a lot of force.
Using the wrong chemicals will fade microsuede. Using an all purpose cleanser or the wrong type of cleanser on this fabric will change the look of it. Harsh chemicals can discolor microsuede, and there’s really nothing to be done to get it looking right again.
Microsuede needs preventative care. Don’t stop at cleaning this fabric. Once it’s properly cleaned, always protect it. Use Dr. Beasley’s Microsuede Protection to prevent future stains from penetrating the fabric.