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  1. #1 Isopropyl alcohol + leather seats... your take 

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    Hi guys, I've got a question thats been bugging me for a long time. I'm working at a place that details business jets. The department has only existed for about 3 years, and the guy that has been doing the interior detailing since the beginning is pretty set in his ways. One of his ways, which he teaches to all new hires, like myself, is that leather seats (OK, point of order here: Leather seats on airplanes cost thousands of dollars each; people spend tens of thousands of dollars upholstering their seats with the finest italian leather they can buy; the leather feels more like a sheepskin jacket than automotive leather) are cleaned in the following manor:

    1. Spray seat with a 50% solution of isopropyl alcohol and water.
    2. Rub with rag.

    And that is it.

    I don't know how astonished I should be about this; I would NEVER do this to a piece of leather I cared about, much less to clients paying $55 an hour for the service. The seats on the planes we do the most look awful, the grain is impacted with grime. It doesn't, however, seem to much affect softness, or coloration, as far as I can tell. And no one ever complains either.

    So, what do you guys think about this practice? It seems ill advised at the very least, and a mocking aproximation of proper leather cleaning at best. Would/does anyone here do this? Or has anyone heard of using alcohol like this before? Thanks for the input.
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  2. #2 Re: Isopropyl alcohol + leather seats... your take 
    Hooked For Life Bill D's Avatar
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    Hmm.. it sounds like if they don't want to use a branded, dedicated cleaner for this purpose, perhaps persuade them to give the 6:1 water:Woolite mix a shot. To reduce the frequnecy of cleaning (which can save some wear on the seats), educate them about the variety of leather protectants on the market. I'd be surpsied if there aren't lines that cater to airplane seats. That might be an "up sell" package you can interest them in.
    Treat it like it's the only one in the world.
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  3. #3 Re: Isopropyl alcohol + leather seats... your take 
    The Rainmaker
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    It certainly doesn't sound like something I would do to leather.
    From your description, it doesn't sound like something that the shop should be doing to leather.

    This can be a touchy situation when you don't agree with the boss, but in this case, I think I would ask him if you could try a procedure you had heard about on one of the jobs. He would probably be impressed/surprised at how the seats will look and if he thinks he can take credit for the "new" procedure, he shouldn't get upset with you. You might even do it on your own time so he can't complain about that. If it works like I think it will, he might even compensate you for your efforts. If he doesn't like the idea or doesn't accept the suggestion, you probably should just accept his rejection and start looking for an employer that will.

    Charles
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  4. #4 Re: Isopropyl alcohol + leather seats... your take 

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    I use alcohol to clean glass but that is about it (except for sap). I had a piece of trim in a vehicle (painted plastic on a door) that has some spots one time. I thought my trigger leaked and the alcohol sat on it discoloring it. Couldn't get it to go away. Still unsure I took some alcohol and put a tiny drop on the trim. The spots went away. Thrilled at this point I wet the trim piece down a little. 2 or 3 light passes with the MF and spots were gone. Sadly so was the trim paint in some areas. Long time understanding customer that is going to get it fixed next time he takes it in. I'll be footing the bill naturally. Took a few weeks before I found out I didn't cause the spots. Opened door and found them on another piece. Apparently some nasty reaction to soda splatter. Kind of silly to use the paint around a cup holder but I'm no engineer I have used alcohol to clean some things in past with no problems but it's not something I'd use to clean leather and certainly not as a main product.

    Quick search online found a lot of site that recommended using alcohol to remove spots on leather such as ink.
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  5. #5 Re: Isopropyl alcohol + leather seats... your take 
    aka PEI Detail Brenton's Avatar
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    IMO, do whatever the boss says, and never overmix the alcohol-water. It's his/her butt on the line, and million dollar leather. If the customer is happy, gangio. Keep your job, and don't start introducing products that may not be as good as what your boss thinks is the bomb.
    Brenton Dickieson
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  6. #6 Re: Isopropyl alcohol + leather seats... your take 

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    Thanks everyone for the input; its a frustrating situation to be in, let me tell you. I'm going to bring in some Poorboys Leather Stuff to demo next week (I just got mine today and haven't even tried it on my own leather yet) and perhaps a boars hair brush and some woolite. We just got a new manager who is very open to improving our services, and hopefully I can coax him away from cheaping out on everything like the old manager would.

    Thanks again everyone!
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  7. #7 Re: Isopropyl alcohol + leather seats... your take 

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    Ive heard of the alcohol and water for leather but never tried it.
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  8. #8 Re: Isopropyl alcohol + leather seats... your take 

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    My first post :yes:

    I do a lot of old leather interiors. Most of them come to me dry, cracked and covered in mold.

    I quite often use a 50/50 mix of alcohol and distilled water for my initial prep. It acts as an anti-bacterial to kill off the mold. It evaporates quickly and does not saturate the leather. Your employer may have you using it as a disinfectant. Using something harsher will certainly damage the leather. Any product you need to wear gloves with should not be used on leather.

    In an airplane you are not going to have exposure to elements, high temp changes and UV exposure. The life of the leather will excede the rest of the plane.
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