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Cleaning vegan leather interior

I thought this could help people so posting this (Didn’t find a dedicated thread)

Sunscreen residue ended in the front passenger seats last Sunday. Needless to say less than 10 days after picking up the car I wasn’t very happy.

I tried to do the recommended approach from Tesla with no luck (mild soAp and water). I tried buying detergent from the auto store for vegan leather and nothing worked.

What I ended up doing was using 70 percent alcohol and that finally worked. I was afraid that the alcohol would fade the color of the seats but have not seen that at all.

70 percent alcohol is mentioned for the ultra white seats in the Model S and Model X user manual but is NOT mentioned in the Model 3 user manual.

I always recommend trying in an innocuous area first, but if something bad happens to your seat keep in mind that you have that option.

I love vegan leather now :)
 

boaterva

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
It’s all the same stuff. Every seat except the fabric the 3’s don’t come with yet are from Ultrafabricsinc.com. They have or used to have a pdf for recommended cleaners and they all are alcohol based like counter wipes and the like.

I use them and then a damp (water) paper towel to get any residue off.
 
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I would like to share my recovery from a near-heartbreaking experience I had yesterday. I was taking my model 3 to an afternoon baseball game so I put on SPF50 sunscreen, as you do in the summer in Georgia. After sitting down on my black alcantara leather seats I immediately realized what a horrible mistake I had made. There were bright white, perfectly defined titanium dioxide (sunscreen) arm and leg prints all over the seat, console, and arm rest. Wiping with a towel did nothing. Wiping with makeup remover towels did nothing. So, I read this thread and opted to go with the Dove soap technique and I will tell you it is a life-saver. I bought the brush shown in the attached photo, marketed as a "wheel and bumper brush" but I chose it because the bristle are super-soft. I held the brush under the faucet to get it wet and then shook it to get rid of the excess dripping water. Then rub it on the bar of Dove soap and make gentle circles on the alcantara. Not wanting the soap to dry on the upholstery, I would brush for about 10 seconds and then wipe it off with a terry towel. Repeat. I had to repeat this process about 20-25 times on each place where the sunscreen had made contact (that stuff is tenacious) and it took about 45 minutes to finish cleaning the whole seat but, I have to say, it looks just like the day I took delivery. I am so relieved that I didn't ruin my upholstery one week after getting this beautiful car. I hope this story helps other model 3 owners, (1) as a cautionary tale about putting a towel on the seat if you apply sunscreen (2) how to recover from such a mistake. Best wishes, fellow 3'ers! Learn from my mistake...
IMG_0491 (1).jpg
 

boaterva

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Since it's synthetic, I'm guessing that leather conditioner is either ineffective or a bad idea. Anyone have an insight?
I would think that is for organic material and this isn't. :D With the leather treatments, you are trying to keep 'skin like' materials supple, and this is plastic, high grade or whatever. No connection to each other. I would not even try to use leather products on these seats. It would be like using it on cloth.

To add another note, why would you use anything that the manufacturer has not recommended, as we've discussed/listed above?
 
I would think that is for organic material and this isn't. :D With the leather treatments, you are trying to keep 'skin like' materials supple, and this is plastic, high grade or whatever. No connection to each other. I would not even try to use leather products on these seats. It would be like using it on cloth.

To add another note, why would you use anything that the manufacturer has not recommended, as we've discussed/listed above?
All I see are cleaners on the list. Nothing listed as a protectant. Maybe unnecessary on this product. I just want to protect it so that it lasts. I'm tentatively planning to keep the car for 10 years+.
 

Barklikeadog

Active Member
Jul 13, 2016
2,035
2,087
PA
Still no replacement for quality real leather.
I opened this thread wondering: wtf is vegan leather and why is it having issues??
There is no replacement for good quality leather... which hey, is pretty much true.... and everyone gave you a thumbs down.:rolleyes:
You can't point out things like that here. Everyone will come down on you.

I don't often see Tesla pics around here with seatcovers, why is that?
 
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I opened this thread wondering: wtf is vegan leather and why is it having issues??
There is no replacement for good quality leather... which hey, is pretty much true.... and everyone gave you a thumbs down.:rolleyes:
You can't point out things like that here. Everyone will come down on you.

I don't often see Tesla pics around here with seatcovers, why is that?

Tesla does not recommend them due to airbags in bolsters being potentially blocked when you need them to save your life. I agree with you on good high quality leather. I had an S with the leather seats and I still prefer the feel and smell of leather.
 
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