How to clean automotive

Automotive cleaning is a tedious and time consuming task as vehicles have so many different interior or exterior surfaces. Interior cleaning is a problem for automotive cleaners due to the textile drying time with traditional methods like water extractors or shampooers. This is especially the case for car washes or transport companies where vehicles are used soon after cleaning.

At Tecnovap Australia we supply an exclusive range of superheated dry steam cleaning systems that are perfect for the automotive cleaning industry. Dry steam is great for interior cleaning as it eliminates grime/stains, deodourises, sanitises, and leaves the surface dry in minutes. On the exterior dry steam effectively breaks down road grime, brake dust on wheels and grease in engine bays.

For information on how Tecnovap superheated dry steamers work on different automotive surfaces read below:

upholsteryleatherseatsducoenginebaysalloywheelsseatbelts
interior

How to Clean Interior Textile Upholstery

Automotive textile upholstery including fabric seats, carpets, matts, and door trims should be cleaned on a regular basis; and not just vacuuming. This is especially the case for people who spend a lot of time in their vehicles and transport companies where the textile upholstery (mainly seats and carpet) receive lots of traffic.

Traditionally automotive textile upholstery has been cleaned using water extraction or brushed with chemical sprays. These two methods however either leave the textile surface overly wet or sticky from chemical residue. A better method of cleaning automotive textile upholstery is with superheated dry steam vacuum that can chemically free clean, sanitise, deodourise and leave mostly dry.

Before and After Cleaning upholstery in automotive


Ideal Tecnovap cleaning products for textile upholstery

JetVac steam vacuums (Eco, Mini, Compact, Pro) used with an upholstery tool are ideal for cleaning car interior textile upholstery. Producing +145ºC to +165ºC superheated 94% dry steam under 4-6 bar pressure; JetVacs use the moist heat to break down soilings without overwetting the fabric. Infact, JetVac steam vacuums use as little as 3Lt of water per hour and simultaneously extract liquid by vacuum; leaving the textile fabric dry in minutes. The JetSteam steam only machines can also be used but are slightly less effective without vacuum extraction.

Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Pro
Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Tosca
Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Maxi
Domestic Cleaning with Jetvac Pro
Domestic Cleaning with Jetvac Junior
Domestic Cleaning with Jetvac Eco

How to clean textile upholstery with a JetVac

The first step when cleaning automotive textile upholstery is to dry vacuum to remove dry dust. This is important as it prevents moisture mixing with dust to create a mud like soiling. Minimising this by removing maximum dry dust will speed up cleaning time. After vacuuming a suitable upholstery tool will need to be selected. This will be determined by the type of textile fabric, the level of soiling and the model of machine being used.

JetVac - The best model JetVacs to use are the JetVac Mini or JetVac Pro due to the additional feature of hot water or detergent injection.

Heavily Soiled - For heavily soiled textile upholstery it is often better utilising the upholstery tool with brush attachment to simultaneously steam and agitate to break up soiling quicker. In areas with stains or large amounts of soiling water injection can be used to flush out grime more quickly. To finish the clean remove the brush attachment from the upholstery tool and simultaneuosly steam vacuum the upholstery. Do so at a slow steady pace to ensure maximum steam efficiency and vacuum recovery.

Heavy Solid Cleaning with Jetsteam
Heavy Solid Cleaning carpet with Jetsteam
Heavy Solid Cleaning with Jetsteam
Heavy Solid Cleaning with Jetsteam

Light Soiled - For lightly soiled textile upholstery either the optional stainless steel or standard upholstery tool without the brush attachment can be used. This is because steam vacuuming alone efficiently removes light soiling and leaves the fabric surface almost comletely dry. When steam vacuuming do so at a slow steady pace to ensure maximum steam efficiency in cleaning and vacuum recovery to leave dry.

Light Soiled Cleaning with Jetsteam
Light Soiled Cleaning with Jetsteam
Light Soiled Cleaning with Jetsteam

JetSteam - If using a JetSteam steamcleaner you will need to use the triangle tool with an absorbent cotton or microfibre cloth clamped on. The heat of the steam will emulsify the soiling and the cloth will capture some of the grime. When the cloth gets too wet or dirty it will need to be changed. This is a slower and slightly less effective process than with a JetVac as there is no vacuum extraction.

JetVacs clean vehicle interiors better, faster, easier and leave them drier!


How to Clean Leather Seats

Although leather upholstery can be scrubbed clean with a brush and warm soapy water; steam is an easier, less messy and more effective method. Old leather may also absorb moisture excess moisture taking longer to dry and could be damaged by scrubbing.

A better method of cleaning automotive leather upholstery is with superheated dry steam. Compared with other methods steam is able to clean chemically free, thermally sanitise, deodourise and leave the leather almost dry. It will also cut through layers of leather nourishers, protectants, and body oils that build up over time.

Before and After Cleaning upholstery in automotive

Ideal Tecnovap cleaning products for leather upholstery

The JetSteam steam cleaner or the JetVac steam vacuum range are both ideal machines for cleaning leather upholstery in cars. Both types of machine use +145ºC to +180ºC superheated 94% dry steam under 4-8 bar pressure to melt grime, thermally sanitise, and deodourise without overwetting the leather.

The main difference with the two machines is that the JetVac uses a vacuum to simultaneously extract grime, while the JetSteam requires use of a cotton/microfibre cloth to capture melted grime. However, the steam only JetSteam is generally more popular due to pricing, ease of use, and ability to dry leather with a cloth.

Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Pro
Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Tosca
Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Maxi

How to clean leather with a JetSteam / JetVac

JetSteam - Triangle Tool - Clamp a clean cotton or microfibre cloth over the head. Then starting from the top of trims or seats, slowly steam down either in vertical passes or circular motions. This will require the head to contact the leather to allow the steam to efficiently melt grime and the cloth to capture. When the cloth gets too wet or dirty replace with a fresh one.

Leather Cleaning
Leather Cleaning with a Jetsteam/Jetvac
Leather Cleaning with Jetsteam

JetVac - Using the upholstery tool with brush attachment, steam brush the leather to break stains and soiling. After steaming the emulsified grime can either be removed by using a clean absorbent cloth or by vacuuming. If removing the grime by vacuum the brush attachment will need to be removed to allow better suction. Another way is to replace one of the two bristle strips in the brush attachment with a squeegee.

* Do not use the Stainless Steel Upholstery Tool on leather as it may scratch.


How to Clean Exterior Duco

Automotive exterior duco or paint is constantly exposed to harsh conditions whether it be sun, wind, rain or road debris. Traditionally automotive has been cleaned using high pressure water blasters or a bucket of warm soapy water with a sponge or brush. While this is practical for heavy soiled cars it is not always the case for lightly soiled cars.

Dry steam vapour used with microfibre is an effective, non messy, low moisture system for cleaning lightly soiled duco. This is perfect for vehicles in dealerships, show cars or vehicals stored in doors that are receive light soiling. Cleaning can also be faster as the cleaning and drying is done in one motion. Steam is also great for hard to reach duco.

Cleaning Exterior Duco
Cleaning Exterior Duco

Ideal Tecnovap cleaning products for exterior duco / paint

JetSteam steam cleaners (Tosca, Pro, Maxi) or SteamBox Mini used with a high pressure detailing lance are ideal for cleaning lightly soiled car exterior duco. Producing +145ºC to +180ºC superheated 94% dry steam under 4-8 bar pressure; JetSteam steamers use concentrated moist heat to break down soiling without wetting the surrounding areas. As the steam is concentrated and under up to 8 bar pressure it is ideal for cleaning all the hard to reach areas like door jams.

A JetVac steam vacuum can also be used to clean the duco but the vacuum is not required. The steam vacuum tool kit does contain a similar high pressure lance.

 

Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Pro
Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Tosca
Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Maxi
Domestic Cleaning with Jetvac Pro
Domestic Cleaning with Jetvac Junior
Domestic Cleaning with Jetvac Eco

How to clean exterior duco / paint with a JetSteam

The first step when cleaning duco is to assess the level of soiling whether heavy or light. Heavy soiling will be where there is easily visible levels of dirt and grime. Light soiling will be where there is some light dust and water marks but not thick mud. Identifying the state of the paint will determine the method to clean.

Heavily Soiled - For heavily soiled duco it is best to remove the bulk of the muddy grime with high pressure water or a bucket of water and brush. After removing the bulk of the build up, attach the high pressure steam lance to the steam hose and get a microfibre cloth or chamois. Starting from the top of the vehicle steam the duco from a distance of approximately 5-10cm, slowly moving the steam tool forward with side to side movements of about 20cm. From this distance the steam will effectively melt the grime and in the other hand the microfibre cloth or chamois simultaneously dries. When the cloth gets too soiled or wet change for a fresh one.

Bucket with Brush Clean Heavy Soiled

Light Soiled - For lightly soiled duco use the high pressure steam lance and a microfibre cloth or chamois. Starting from the top of the vehicle steam the duco from a distance of approximately 5-10cm, while slowly moving the steam tool forward with side to side movements of about 20cm. From this distance the steam will effectively melt the grime and in the other hand the microfibre cloth or chamois simultaneously dries. Continue this action accross all panels working downwards. When the cloth gets too soiled or wet change for a fresh one.

Clean Heavy Soiled Surfaces Clean Light Soiled Surfaces with Jetsteam and Microfibre Clean Light Soiled

* A typical car may take up between 10 to 20 minutes to clean, dry and leaving a showroom shine. For stubborn tar and bug residue on the front of vehicles use the triangle head with a cloth clampled on to cut through efficiently.

Clean with steam for a faster, drier clean with a showroom shine.


How to Clean Engine Bays

Vehicle engine bays have always been the hardest area to clean due to the oils, grease, coolant, fluids and general grime. These are all difficult substances to remove with water or detergents alone; even high pressure water. Instead these areas have traditionally been cleaned using lots of degreaser and lot of water.

A low water degreaser free method is with the use of superheated dry steam. The combination of heat and pressure is great for melting greases and oils while the pressure blasts it to the ground. High pressure concentrated steam is especially great for reaching the hard too get nooks and crannies.


Ideal Tecnovap cleaning products for engine bays

The best products for cleaning engine bays are the JetSteam Maxi, JetVac Junior, JetVac Pro or SteamBox Mini used with a high pressure detailing lance. All these machines produce +165ºC to +180ºC superheated 94% dry steam under 6-8 bar pressure and have a hot water or detergent injection function. Concentrated moist heat is used to emulsifiy greasy substances and the pressure blasts it away.

Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Pro
Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Tosca
Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Maxi
Domestic Cleaning with Jetvac Pro
Domestic Cleaning with Jetvac Junior
Domestic Cleaning with Jetvac Eco

How to clean engine bays with a JetSteam / JetVac

When detailing an engine bay always start from the top as gravity will see emulsified grime fall towards ground. The tool of choice will be the high pressure steam lance either on a steam only or steam vacuum hose; but the steam only will be easier to handle and fit into smaller areas. This can be used with or without a small detailing brush. For this grime a brush can be more efficient.

Start by detailing under the bonnet / hood. This can be steamed and wiped with a rag or using the water injection to rinse. After the bonnet, clean the top of the and wheel arch areas. When doing so use the brush to lightly agitate the soiling, then flush with hot water injection, and wipe clean with a rag. Repeat this process working down the engine and engine bay. If there is some stubborn grime degreaser may need to used.

Rolls EngineBonnet Cleaning with TecnovapSide Engine Cleaning with Tecnovap machine


How to Clean Alloy Wheels

Alloy wheels are often very hard items to clean on vehicles. This is due to the amount of brake dust some pads produce and the difficult designs of some wheels. Often wheel have been cleaned with expensive mag cleaner and scrubbed with a tooth brush. An alternative method is with the use of superheated dry steam. The combination of heat and pressure is great for melting the brake dust and blasting it away. High pressure concentrated steam is also great for reaching hard too get nooks and crannies.

Before and After Cleaning Wheels with Tecnovap

Ideal Duplex cleaning products for alloy wheels

The best products for alloy wheels are the JetSteam Maxi, JetVac Junior, JetVac Pro or SteamBox Mini used with a high pressure detailing lance. All these machines produce +165ºC to +180ºC superheated 94% dry steam under 6-8 bar pressure and have a hot water injection function. Concentrated moist heat is used to emulsifiy the brake dust and the pressure blasts it away.

Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Pro
Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Tosca
Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Maxi
Domestic Cleaning with Jetvac Pro
Domestic Cleaning with Jetvac Junior
Domestic Cleaning with Jetvac Eco

How to clean alloy wheels with a JetSteam / JetVac

When cleaning/detailing alloys wheels always start from the top as the dirty brake dust water will fall towards ground. The tool of choice is the high pressure steam lance used with the small round nylon detailing brush. This can be either on a steam only or steam vacuum hose; but the steam only will be easier to handle.

Start steaming at the top of the alloy wheel with the bristle in contact with the alloy. The brush only has to lightly agitate the grime, not heavy scrubbing, as the steam is doing the work. Operate in small areas, rinse off brake dust residue with water injection, and dry clean with a rag. Complete this process moving downwards until the entire wheel is cleaned.

Cleaning Wheels with Jetsteam/Jetvac
Cleaning wheels with Jetsteam/Jetvac
Cleaning Wheel with Jetsteam/Jetvac

On average most wheels take between 1-5 minutes to detail clean depending on design.


How to Clean Seat Belts

Seat belts are one of the dirtiest and hardest items to keep clean in a car. Think of how many times a seat belt is renched down with dirty, sweaty, oily hands without cleaning. This is what causes the sticky feeling when pulling a seat belt and it is especially worse in smoker's cars with tar build up.

In the past the only way to clean this was scrubbing with a brush and soapy water. This method however did not comletely remove the grime, left the seat belts very wet, and created a lot of mess. A better way to clean is with a superheated dry steam vacuum. The temperatue of the steam melts the grime and dicontaminates, while the vacuum simultaneously removes the melted grime. Clean and dry belts in seconds.


Ideal Duplex cleaning products for seat belts

JetVac steam vacuums (Eco, Mini, Compact, Pro) used with an upholstery tool are ideal for cleaning car seat belts. Producing +145ºC to +165ºC superheated 94% dry steam under 4-6 bar pressure; JetVacs use moist heat to break down grime without over wetting and a vacuum to remove the grime. With a JetVac cleaning of a seat belt takes about one minute with no mess.

Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Pro
Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Tosca
Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Maxi
Domestic Cleaning with Jetvac Pro
Domestic Cleaning with Jetvac Junior
Domestic Cleaning with Jetvac Eco

A JetSteam steam cleaner could also be used to clean seat belts but will not have vacuum extraction. Instead clothes would be used to capture the grime.


How to clean seat belts with a JetVac

To clean seat belts the first step is to pull the belt all the way down. This can be easier by pulling the belt to the outside of the car. The idea is to make the taut so it is easy to run the steam tool over the belt. (see below for tool)

JETVAC - Once the seat belt is pulled down taut, slowly steam and vacuum down the belt using the upholstery tool towards the stationary hand holding the belt. Do this at a speed that allows the steam to effectively break down grime and the vacuum to recover the moisture. Once finished repeat the same process on the other side.

Cleaning Seatbelts with Jetsteam/Jetvac
Cleaning Seatbelts with Jetsteam/Jetvac
Cleaning Seatbelts with Jetsteam/Jetvac
Cleaning Seatbelts with Jetsteam/Jetvac

JETSTEAM - Once the seat belt is pulled down taut, slowly steam down the belt using the triangle tool with cloth towards the stationary hand holding the belt. Do this in little back and forth motions to create light agitation at a speed that allows the steam to effectively break down grime. Once finished repeat the same process on the other side.

This fastest and the easiest way to clean seat belts


How to Clean Trims / Dash / Vents

Cleaning Trims with Jetsteam/Jetvac

Although most trims or dash boards can be scrubbed clean with a brush and warm soapy water; steam is an easier, less messy and more effective method. Some trims absorb moisture meaning they take longer to dry.

Another method for cleaning automotive trims is with superheated dry steam. Compared with other methods steam is able to clean chemically free, thermally sanitise, deodourise and leave the trims mostly dry. It will also cut through layers of protectants that build up over time.

Ideal Duplex cleaning products for trims/dash/vents

The JetSteam steam cleaner or the JetVac steam vacuum range are both ideal machines for cleaning trims and dash boards upholstery in cars. Both types of machine use +145ºC to +180ºC superheated 94% dry steam under 4-8 bar pressure to melt grime, thermally sanitise, and deodourise without overwetting the leather.

The main difference with the two machines is that the JetVac uses a vacuum to simultaneously extract grime, while the JetSteam requires use of a cotton/microfibre cloth to capture melted grime. However, the steam only JetSteam is generally more popular due to pricing, ease of use, and ability to dry trims with a cloth.

Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Pro
Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Tosca
Domestic Cleaning with Jetsteam Maxi
Domestic Cleaning with Jetvac Pro
Domestic Cleaning with Jetvac Junior
Domestic Cleaning with Jetvac Eco

How to clean trims/dash/vents with a JetSteam / JetVac

JetSteam - Triangle Tool - Clamp a clean cotton or microfibre cloth over the head. Then starting from the top of trims or teh dash, slowly steam down either in vertical passes or circular motions. This will require the head to contact the trim to allow the steam to efficiently melt grime and the cloth to capture. When the cloth gets too wet or dirty replace with a fresh one.

Cleaning trims with Jetsteam
Cleaning trims with Jetsteam/Jetvac
Cleaning Trims with Jetsteam/Jetvac
Cleaning trims with Jetsteam

JetVac - Using the upholstery tool with brush attachment, steam brush the trims to break down soiling. After steaming the emulsified grime can either be removed by using a clean absorbent cloth or by vacuuming. If removing the grime by vacuum the brush attachment will need to be removed to allow better suction. Another way is to replace one of the two bristle strips in the brush attachment with a squeegee.

Cleaning trims with jetvac
Cleaning trims with Jetsteam/Jetvac
Cleaning Trims with Jetvac
Cleaning Trims with Jetvac

* Do not use the Stainless Steel Upholstery on leather or trims as it may scratch.