Alcantara is the brand name of a common synthetic textile material. It has a soft, suede-like microfibre pile and is noted for its durability. Alcantara is commonly seen in automotive applications, as a substitute for leather and vinyl in vehicle interior trim. It is also used in the design, fashion, consumer electronics and marine industries.
Microsuede is the general term for this fabric, and some brand names include Alcantara, Ultrasuede, and Dinamica. Microsuede is more durable than suede, but it’s still a sensitive fabric. A type of microfibre, microsuede is made of synthetic fibres (usually a polyester blend) and is less expensive than real suede. It’s used in a plethora of places including car interiors, clothing, and furniture. More and more, microsuede is being offered as an option as an alternative to leather on accents such as steering wheels, gear gaiters, 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 specialised 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.
If you search for information about how to clean microsuede, you’ll find a lot of sources that tell you to use water. Water isn’t going to permanently harm microsuede, but it’s also not really going to clean it. Water doesn’t clean, it just gets things wet. And if you oversaturate the surface with water, you can stain it. So then you’ve just stained the stain you were trying to remove. Microsuede is also quite absorbent, so using water to attempt to clean it allows for potential mold growth, which is yet another cleaning project. Through research, Ultimate Valet Cambridge has found supposed microsuede cleaning remedies like rubbing alcohol and water, or vinegar and water. I understand the basic logic behind those suggestions. Isopropyl alcohol is a well-known and trusted sanitising agent. But that’s the problem; the alcohol will kill germs, but it doesn’t lift dirt. So with dirty microsuede, alcohol might sanitise it, but it will still look dirty. Alcohol can also dry out the soft microsuede fibres. Vinegar is about the same as far as cleaning. It will remove smells and it’s a great all purpose cleaner, but microsuede needs more than all-purpose to really get dirt and stains out. The only real way to get microsuede clean without drying it out is to use a specialized cleaning product. Ultimate Valet Cambridge has the solution for your interior alcantara cleaning needs.