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How do most of you clean your seats? I know the seats are supposed to be water resistant and won’t be ruined by water, but I was wondering if I could take a soapy sponge and just go to town on them. I suppose I could leave the windows open to let them dry but what are you guys doing? How would you dry them?
 

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use a commercial cleaner, like a carpet shampooer you can rent from the grocery store because it sucks up the soap/water/dirt immediately after it is scrubbed into the fabric, lifting the dirt and helping it dry quickly
 

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This fabric is not very forgiving at all. You have to be concerned with dirt that resides in the seat foam, especially the bolsters. That will get totally splotchy.

You can do a light lather of soapy solution, and its best to proabably gently agitate with a short bristle brush - detailing brush, wifes makeup brush, or even one of those stubby round paint brushes work well. Like norm said, sucking up using a shampooer is nice because it gets most of it up and out quickly....but you can use a bunch of clean dry towels to absorb it out.

Work quickly and in small sections to avoid it soaking the seat foam.

I have only ever spot cleaned mine when needed as I am absurdly anal about keeping them clean and vacuumed at most all times.
 

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This fabric is not very forgiving at all. You have to be concerned with dirt that resides in the seat foam, especially the bolsters. That will get totally splotchy.

You can do a light lather of soapy solution, and its best to proabably gently agitate with a short bristle brush - detailing brush, wifes makeup brush, or even one of those stubby round paint brushes work well. Like norm said, sucking up using a shampooer is nice because it gets most of it up and out quickly....but you can use a bunch of clean dry towels to absorb it out.

Work quickly and in small sections to avoid it soaking the seat foam.

I have only ever spot cleaned mine when needed as I am absurdly anal about keeping them clean and vacuumed at most all times.
I have a '12 TT and the red on the seats has begun to lighten (turn orange), do you think a lite scrubing w/ some mild soap will help that, or do they simply fade over time? My last FJ the seats were all black and I didn't notice.

TYIA
 

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fading is fading, washing won't help if it is actually fading (brighter colors have much harder time holding up to the sun and so they fade faster that, say, black)

A very good trim touch up can restore color using dye, but done clumsy could make it look worse.
 

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How do most of you clean your seats? I know the seats are supposed to be water resistant and won’t be ruined by water, but I was wondering if I could take a soapy sponge and just go to town on them. I suppose I could leave the windows open to let them dry but what are you guys doing? How would you dry them?
Turn on a wet dry vac and then go to town with the hose of it and a bowl of warm soapy water followed by plain warm water. Then leave windows down in the sun.
 

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I'll probably catch flak for this, but I'm voting against the soap. This is why: My father worked his whole adult life in the textile industry, and his specialty was running tests on carpets, including flammability, wear resistance, and stain resistance. Now bear with me here, your FJ seats are similar to carpet in that they are made of synthetic fibers stretched over a foam backing, they cannot be tossed in a washing machine, and basically spend their lives soaking up dirt. My dad swore that the best thing to clean textiles was plain water. Apparently soap leaves too much residue behind, and basically acts as a magnet for more dirt, making the fibers get even dirtier and look worse in the long run. I think maybe it speeds up breaking down the fibers as well, but I'm not sure if he said that or not. So all that being said, if you really want to deep clean your seats, I'd go with the steam cleaner and just plain water, no cleanser. If you are really anal about it, maybe go with distilled water (no minerals). Now a severe stain on a light colored seat might only be removed with some specialized cleaner (if it can be removed at all), but you'd only want to use it on that one spot. I only use soap and other cleaners as a last resort.
 

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Not that this has anything to do with cleaning seats, but when I bought my 2010 TT, it had/has those Sand Storm colored inserts.

I was thinking "those won't stay clean for very long", so I ordered a set of Ruff Tuff seat covers for it.

One of the BEST interior mods I have done and well worth the money. :) Plus, I have a pistol pocket on the front of each seat.

1128933
 

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Moonbuggy, thank you for your post, you saved my bacon this week. I am restoring another Toyota and was JUST ABOUT to shampoo the seats and the carpet. Thanks to your information I completely changed my plan to use a commercial steam cleaner instead, and only a little bit of shampoo on the localized dirt/grease spots.

thank you!
Norm
 

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I clean mine the way most detailers clean fabric seats:
  1. I have a fabric cleaner that I bought, diluted to the recommended level (20:1 in my case), I spray on the cleaner and let it sit for a couple of minutes.
  2. Then I agitate it with a drill brush attachment
  3. Followed immediately by extracting using the handheld tool on a carpet cleaner I have for general house use. I fill the machine with only hot water, no solution, for extracting.
  4. Finally, I leave all the doors open and let the seats air dry (takes about an hour on hot days in the sun). Ideally this is done on a hot day to make drying faster. I do a few passes to make sure I get everything out I can.
Makes my seats look practically new. The whole process takes a few hours.

Products I use: Fabric Cleaner , Drill Brush , Extractor

Alternatives:
  • Instead of using a drill brush, any stiff brush works perfectly fine for agitating. I use the drill brush for convenience.
  • As for the extractor, whatever microfiber towels you use normally to clean your interior will work just as well, just make sure to use some elbow grease to get as much out of the seats as possible. Keep in mind that using towels extends drying time a little, but the results are very similar.
  • Lastly the fabric cleaner, there's tons of good products you can use, some people even use All-Purpose cleaners but at higher dilution than normal. I use Chemical Guy's cleaner because it was recommended to me, but I have no complaints from it. Works great.
 
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