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Impossible to Remove Stain/Mark on White Seats

Birdman325

Member
Aug 15, 2017
903
546
Toronto, Canada
They're meaning the original covering on the seat bottom, the original seat cover. Not an aftermarket seat cover.

Correct. I am not asking about after market seat covers. I was wondering if it would be possible for someone who may have some stains on their bottom seat cushion, to remove the white "cover" and then just replace it with another one from Tesla - but it sounds like the entire seat would have to be replaced.
 

kishkaru

Member
Feb 3, 2020
144
99
The Bay, CA
Yes, you could certainly do that (reupholstering the seat). But if anything goes wrong with the seat (e.g. seat heaters stop working), Tesla may deny warranty repair due to using non-OEM parts.
 

blgN8

Member
Sep 4, 2020
33
50
Minnesota
I have become a huge fan of Chemical Guys Cleaner w/ Horse Hair Brush. My brother has a tendency to abuse the stuffing out of his vehicles.. including his beloved Model X with white interior. He was shocked at how well it cleaned his Tesla white interior. Made it like new.

Based on clean-up of his X, we purchased the white interior on our MY. Cleaner works very well. There was one gease incident (my, of course, w/ small bit of black grease on jeans. In that case, with grease, small bit of Dawn dish soap on warm wet cloth took it right off.

I highly recommend Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner for Tesla white interiors. I have not tried the conditioner yet.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BQA3WW6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01K9ELWPI/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Decent video:

and:
 
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Reactions: Smitty22211

vinny84

Member
Aug 6, 2018
286
134
Central, NJ
Yes, you could certainly do that (reupholstering the seat). But if anything goes wrong with the seat (e.g. seat heaters stop working), Tesla may deny warranty repair due to using non-OEM parts.
I am trying to switch to white seats and I wasn't able to find white vinyl that matches Tesla OEM white. I spoke with local upholstery shops in NJ, leatherseats.com, tsportline.com, and katzkin.com. Please share if you do.
 

kishkaru

Member
Feb 3, 2020
144
99
The Bay, CA
I'm in a similar boat. :(

After exhausting all my options, I'm currently working with a local auto upholstery shop to re-dye and blend the seat bottom in white to cover the stains. Unfortunately the shop is unable to find a matching white dye, since the Tesla white is some special Ultra White that Tesla is not currently selling to the public. They can try another white, but they warned me that the color might be off. I'll update if the shop is able to find a supplier for the Tesla Ultra White dye.
 

my808

Member
I LOVE white seats, and I have white seats in my MY. I live in Hawaii and live in a constant coating of sunscreen and salt water. No pants here. My old car, a BMW 530e had eggshell leather seats and the sunscreen (it just took once) made a yellow stain in the shape of my legs. Like you, I tried EVERYTHING... even hydrogen peroxide (yeah... don't do that). My detail guy had put conditioner on the seat leather, and it didn't matter. He could not get the yellow stains off either.

For white seats, what I settled on, and I like it very much is this towel thing that I got on Amazon. it slips over the headrest and spreads over the seat. Fluffy towel on top, grippy rubber underside. Not very sleek looking but whatever is on me wont soak through to the seat. When I get home, I can slip the towel thing off and hang it to dry...usually on the top of the car so I don't forget it. If I am dressed in normal clothes without sweaty sunscreen, I just toss it on the floor behind my seat. So far so good....
 

Evie2000

Member
Feb 18, 2021
13
11
USA
Lots of stab-in-the-dark comments in the thread, I'll clarify some things for you;
First off, if you've tried your list of cleaners, including a magic eraser, then your stains are almost assuredly permanent.
A professional who specializes in re-dying leather will be able to re-dye just the seat bottom and make it look really well, matching the rest of the car. Otherwise an upholstery shop can replace just the material on the bottom without the expense of replacing the entire seat.
I strongly discourage you from trying to paint the seat yourself, total disaster waiting to happen there.

Whether an automotive seat is real leather or vinyl is totally inconsequential to how you clean them because even real leather automotive seats are painted with a polyurethane coating, which makes them behave exactly like your Tesla vinyl seats. Call them faux-leather, vinyl, vegan leather, or whatever other gimmicky marketing words come up next, it's all the same on the surface, polyurethane.
There are a couple of exceptions to this... uncoated leather seats as are found in Ford King Ranch trucks and some other rare models of cars need to be cleaned and treated like raw leather as is found on shoes, purses, etc. How do you know? Just drop some water on the leather, if it changes color, it's untreated. These seats benefit from regular leather conditioning to replace the oils that keep them flexible, they'll also darken the leather somewhat as another poster stated.
The other exception to when its appropriate to use leather conditioner on automotive seats, is when they are perforated natural leather (as was found on the early Tesla X Models), this is because the leather conditioner soaks into those smalls holes and into the edges of the exposed raw leather, replacing oils and keeping them flexible.
Using leather conditioner on any other automotive seat is a complete waste of time and money.

Sadly, as you have discovered, polyurethane is a very durable coating for car seats, but it is not 100% impervious to staining. This is why Optimum invented a ceramic coating for exactly this purpose, to provide an additional barrier against those chemicals/inks/dyes/etc that can stain polyurethane. I know, too late for you now, but it clarifies what's going on and clears up some of the other posts in this thread.


Very informative, thanks. How much would the ceramic coating for the seats in a Y cost?
 

acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,438
1,506
Richland, WA
For me the white seats have been extremely robust, to most things. Dark blue jeans started to stain mine within 10 days. Thankfully I was watching out for that and was able to clear it as soon as I saw the first "off white" blue hue show up. Then I took the jeans and rubbed them against white printer paper and was shocked how much blue dye comes out of them. These were over a year old, washed a bunch of times, etc.

Black jeans, even brand new ones (at least one wash cycle though) and normal "faded blue" jeans didn't seem to have this same dye transfer issue at all with the seats or paper. All three colors of jeans were from the same company. In the end I switched to white jeans; but my passenger (who's only in the car maybe 20% of the time) hasn't changed what they wear at all and I haven't had any problems... but they never buy the real dark blue color jeans anyway...
 

kishkaru

Member
Feb 3, 2020
144
99
The Bay, CA
After much consideration, I decided to give up cleaning the stains or getting the seats re-dyed.

I went to several different auto upholstery shops in the area and they also weren't able to remove the stains using their cleaning solutions, so I think it's pretty much permanent. As for re-dying the seats, the issue is either a) finding a matching Ultra White color, or b) getting the dye to stick to the PU leatherette. I talked to many shops in the area and those that have worked on Tesla seats in the past warned me that the dye doesn't stick permanently to the seats due to whatever coating that Tesla has applied to it. So even if they are able to get access to a matching Ultra White color, they don't feel comfortable dying the seats as they can't warranty their work / can't guarantee it will stay dyed.

That brings me to my only solution: re-uphoster the seat by changing out the seat covers (as someone else suggested earlier in the thread). This was also difficult as many shops in the area a) don't work with PU leatherette (or don't want to), or b) don't have access to a matching PU leatherette for Tesla Ultra White seats. I was finally able to find a local auto upholsterer who has a vendor that sells aftermarket PU leatherette for Teslas. This aftermarket PU leatherette is specifically made to match the Ultra White seat covers. I dropped by the upholsterer to take a look at the fabric sample and the colors seem to match good, and the material seemed to be similar to Tesla's Ultra White.

As a reminder when shopping for a replacement seat cover fabric, make sure it's:
1) Not real leather (obviously)
2) Not PU leather. PU leather is real leather (lower grade), coated with a thick layer of PU to be more durable/resistant.
3) Not vinyl. Traditional vinyl is made out of PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and is completely different material!
4) Is PU leatherette, or "PU Vinyl". This is made 100% from PU (Polyurethane).
If you are confused, take a look at this article about PU vs Vinyl.

I decided to go ahead and re-upholster the entire seat bottom and the back panel of the seat back. It came out pretty good! Here are the results (images are clickable for full resolution):





No more stains!

Some initial feedback:

1) Color is a perfect match. You can't tell the difference at all.
2) The grain is different. However, you can't tell unless you're up close and inspecting it. Especially since the seat cover is white, it's really hard to tell. On a darker color seat, it may be more obvious.
3) The material is slightly shinier than the Tesla Ultra White material. It's hard to capture on camera, but it's more obvious in person. However, it's only noticible from say 2 feet away or less.
4) The material feels different to the touch. It's not as "soft" as the Tesla Ultra White material and instead feel more "plasticy". However, I wouldn't say that it feels like vinyl, it's softer than that. So I'd say the softness is between Tesla Ultra White material and traditional vinyl. However, when you're actually sitting on the seat, it's hard to tell the difference. Unless you regularly go touching your seat with your fingers, you probably won't notice.

Comparison of material grains. (Tesla Ultra White on top, aftermarket on bottom):



Comparison of material shininess. (Tesla Ultra White on top, aftermarket on bottom):


There are some "wrinkles" in the material, which I was told will go away over time. It needs time to heat up and stretch out:


If anyone in the SF Bay Area is in a similar situation, and is interested in getting their seat covered replaced, go ahead and contact Wardell Auto Interiors and Tops. Ask for Lucio, he is the manager and is familiar with working with Tesla seats. The total cost to replace the seat bottom cover and one panel in the seat back was $950. Before you complain about the price, first consider this is the Bay Area and labor rates are extremely high. Secondly, 90% of the cost was labor and the remaining 10% the materials (the PU leatherette). Creating a new seat cover is a complete manual process which requires hand cutting and sowing together. The total labor hours was 6. The other thing to consider is that the cost of replacing the entire seat by Tesla Service Center is $2k. So if you need to reuploster the entire seat, it may be cheaper to just replace the entire thing.
 

EchoDelta

Supporting Member
Mar 5, 2012
1,217
618
RootedNW.org, Seattle, Planet Earth
$398 to protect all white interior surfaces. This also includes stain guard on your carpets.
Won’t protect it from all stains. Still a teeny bit of denim blue will mark. I don’t care , but others may.
Rear seats, however, are doing awesome with little kids. Maybe the ceramic helped or maybe not. But they look like new after 2 toddlers there for ~1.5 years
 

2101Guy

Active Member
Jan 6, 2020
1,447
1,250
USA
Glad the OP got his seats handled to his satisfaction. TO those promoting Ceramic coatings, this thread gives another perspective.
 

kishkaru

Member
Feb 3, 2020
144
99
The Bay, CA
Yeah, at the end of the day, all protectants are snake oil at some point, ceramic coating or not. Eventually white will get stained or have dye transfer.

Having said that, Wardell told me that they're not aware of any kind of protectant built into the aftermarket PU leatherette, unlike Tesla's Ultra White that seem to claim that have a layer of protectant. Of course Wardell is not responsible for any staining or dye transfer that may occur. Thus I purchased & applied a coating of Colourlock's Artificial Leather Protector which is specifically made for synthetic materials to protect the surface from friction and soiling. It's unclear if it will protect against dye transfer (probably not). I applied a layer of it to all white surfaces on the vehicle, including door trim and center trim.

Here are some images from the product label:

IJxJ0k.md.jpg

IJxQqx.md.jpg


(Note: you do NOT want Colorlock's PU Protector, which again, is made for PU leather, not PU leatherette.)
 

Sfitz-henry

New Member
Apr 1, 2021
1
0
Waterloo, Canada
I got my MY 2 weeks ago. Bought a seat protector for the kids in the back and it’s ruined my seats.
FA93DC7C-2F78-4256-B7D9-CDDEBAEB4EEB.jpeg
170758AC-77A0-4695-B37D-FBF6D33C103B.jpeg
 

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kishkaru

Member
Feb 3, 2020
144
99
The Bay, CA
Wow, that looks terrible. Makes my stains look like nothing. Purple color... so definitely dye transfer like mine.
The good news for you, at least for the rear bench bottom, is that Tesla does sell an OEM seat bottom cover, and they will happily reupholster it for you at the Service Center for a fee. For the rear bench back, you're on your own.
 

olsookie

Member
Mar 27, 2021
61
31
Penciltuckey
I got my MY 2 weeks ago. Bought a seat protector for the kids in the back and it’s ruined my seats. View attachment 653591View attachment 653592
Which seat protector was this?

just curious if it was one from one of the many Tesla vendors that sell accessories or something off Amazon from China.
I’ve read both horror and great stories regarding the white interior and watched a few vidz with people who have dirty jobs where their white interiors are fine. So just curious.
 

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