Leather cleaner

Nongmin

Active member
118
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28
Charlotte, NC
I've searched the topic and find as many responses as there are products available. So I'm asking for some updated opinions.

My car has the light tan interior (2007). I've had the leaky cowl issue (fixed) and water in the RR floorboard. Carpet is dry now and I've done the HVAC disinfectant routine. I smell nothing offensive. However, my wife insists the car stinks inside, she claims it's the seats. In her case, perception is reality. Battle lines have been drawn. :censored:

I've considered the "new car smell" bombs that fog the interior and claim to restore the new car smell. But I don't know anyone that has had good results with this method. I see many references to the Lexol line of products, for cleaning and conditioning. Again, some say these items restore the desired attributes of a leather interior and some claim it only changes the odor, and in an offensive way. So many varied opinions.

So..... I seek advice. I think it's unrealistic to expect the off-the=production-line smell, too many years have passed and water in the floorboards do funky things. I'm not going to replace carpets, either, as the carpet and padding are dry and are as close to odor-free as possible. I don't want any froo-froo sweet and flowery smell or a strong chemical smell. I'm looking for something as neutral as possible and can maintain this level for maybe 3-6 months, then repeat. And a good cleaning on light colored seats never hurts.
 

Nongmin

Active member
118
46
28
Charlotte, NC
I've had good luck with these: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N7NHVZK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I'm not sure how well this would work in a car due to the heat factor, but in my house I've also had great luck with this making the cat's bathroom not smell: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I9QJ5S/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
First link came up as a 404 page, but I'll look further. The second link, I'll check as well. Thanks.

I should have mentioned that my wife is asthmatic, so she may sense odors that are more offensive/problematic than I might find.
 

YoungOldMan

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Nongmin

Active member
118
46
28
Charlotte, NC
Very odd. Here's an alternative for the first link: https://smile.amazon.com/WOONEY-Pur...9Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

I also have asthma, so I feel her pain. Bath & Bodyworks is basically "Chemical Warfare, The Store" for me.
Okay, this link worked. Funny, someone mentioned the bamboo bags to me before, but I remember casually dismissing them as wishful thinking. But, if you've had good luck, it's worth a try.

I wish these cars had actual cabin filters. Her Escape has one and I use activated charcoal filters in it, never the first complaint about them.
 
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Brian J. Patterson

Active member
244
120
43
Northern Illinois
I've searched the topic and find as many responses as there are products available. So I'm asking for some updated opinions.

My car has the light tan interior (2007). I've had the leaky cowl issue (fixed) and water in the RR floorboard. Carpet is dry now and I've done the HVAC disinfectant routine. I smell nothing offensive. However, my wife insists the car stinks inside, she claims it's the seats. In her case, perception is reality. Battle lines have been drawn. :censored:

I've considered the "new car smell" bombs that fog the interior and claim to restore the new car smell. But I don't know anyone that has had good results with this method. I see many references to the Lexol line of products, for cleaning and conditioning. Again, some say these items restore the desired attributes of a leather interior and some claim it only changes the odor, and in an offensive way. So many varied opinions.

So..... I seek advice. I think it's unrealistic to expect the off-the=production-line smell, too many years have passed and water in the floorboards do funky things. I'm not going to replace carpets, either, as the carpet and padding are dry and are as close to odor-free as possible. I don't want any froo-froo sweet and flowery smell or a strong chemical smell. I'm looking for something as neutral as possible and can maintain this level for maybe 3-6 months, then repeat. And a good cleaning on light colored seats never hurts.
Hi, Nongmin.

Have you tried an ozone generator? You can rent them at some tool rental places such as Rentalmax. You flood the interior of the car with ozone, while running the A/C to get at anything in there, let it sit for several hours, then air it out. That should eliminate any odors, and also kill off any mold spores, etc that are still present.

You should also check for a professional car detailer in the Charlotte area that does interiors and does good work. The detailer will get the car cleaner than you can, both inside and out.

Between ozoning and the extra-deep cleaning from the detailer, the car won't quite smell like a new car. But it will smell like a very clean older car, with the faint scent still coming off of the plastic, fabrics, and leather being all that's noticeable.

Good luck.
 

Nongmin

Active member
118
46
28
Charlotte, NC
Hi, Nongmin.

If you want to do the job yourself, I've only heard good comments about the products from Ammo. Their web site also has "how-to" videos on using their products.

Ammo NYC, Exterior and Interior Detailing Products

Good luck.
Hey, Brian...

Thanks for the ideas. I do have a good friend in the auto business here and he uses a top notch detailer to clean his cars. This guy does nice work. My car isn't that dirty inside, but after 14 years, a professional cleaning wouldn't hurt.

I'm gonna try the bamboo bags, too. These bags are made in China (what isn't?) and so is my wife. I'm going to ask her why she didn't mention the bags to me earlier. Thanks guys. lots of good ideas!
______________________________
 

dave42

Senior Member
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Leander, TX C.K.U.
I wonder if opening a box of baking soda would absorb odors like it does in a refrigerator? Or even sprinkling some in the carpet, rub it in, then vacuum.

I also wonder if your wife is a "supertaster". I recently learned of this, because I believe I am one. They have more tastebuds on the tongue than most people. In my case, it also affects my sense of smell. As an example, the smell of Greek yogurt just about knocks me out.
 

Nongmin

Active member
118
46
28
Charlotte, NC
The first trick I tried was the dryer sheets. These were immediately discovered and pronounced not suitable. She has an uncanny sense of smell, maybe my old sniffer has lost some sensitivity as well?

The bamboo charcoal bags arrive today, I'm gonna give them first shot at the problem. Since they contain no fragrances, I'm hopeful that they will help. I've also tried the clip on the vent Febreze-type fresheners and they almost caused an in-house war! I can't figure out why she's zeroed in on the leather seat surfaces. All our Ford products have leather seats and none bother her the way the LTC does. Still think I'll get the interior super scrubbed later, as part of a step by step approach. I've become genuinely interested in the "why" and not just the "what", for future reference.
 
I don't mean to make light of your predicament, but given my time as a married fellow I suggest continuous compilation of sub-$20 things to try for a couple of weeks and when she rejects them over time you have another one to throw down.

"OK, OK. I dunno. I don't smell anything. But,I have to say, your sense of smell is much more acute than mine is. No doubt about that.

"You know, I did read about this other thing that's supposed to.......".

If you're quick on your feet that should be good for another 75k miles! :)
______________________________
 

Nongmin

Active member
118
46
28
Charlotte, NC
Haha, nothing offensive about your reply! 😋 I employ logic and deductive reasoning, wherever possible. My wife is Chinese and our kitchen is filled with some odd aromas (think garlic and star anise). Some are okay, but some.....

I've never met anyone with olfactory talents like hers. If I try to covertly slide one off the buggy seat, she's yelling before I can say "excuse me". 🤢

Bamboo charcoal bags are in, now to see if she notices anything different. 🤞
 

Nongmin

Active member
118
46
28
Charlotte, NC
Duly noted. I'll use my truck or her go-kart (Escape) to get around for a few days, so the bags can take effect. She'll be the judge, because I still smell nothing offensive. Thanks!
 

Brian J. Patterson

Active member
244
120
43
Northern Illinois
The first trick I tried was the dryer sheets. These were immediately discovered and pronounced not suitable. She has an uncanny sense of smell, maybe my old sniffer has lost some sensitivity as well?

The bamboo charcoal bags arrive today, I'm gonna give them first shot at the problem. Since they contain no fragrances, I'm hopeful that they will help. I've also tried the clip on the vent Febreze-type fresheners and they almost caused an in-house war! I can't figure out why she's zeroed in on the leather seat surfaces. All our Ford products have leather seats and none bother her the way the LTC does. Still think I'll get the interior super scrubbed later, as part of a step by step approach. I've become genuinely interested in the "why" and not just the "what", for future reference.
Hi, Nongmin.

If you're interested in the "why," here it is for ozone, baking soda, and "bamboo" bags.

The ozone acts as an oxidizer, breaking down and/or killing whatever is off-gassing into the car. It kills mold spores, bacteria, and oxidizes tobacco smoke residue, and so on.

The activated charcoal in the bamboo bags and the baking soda absorb the odors from the air and trap them within their mass. If the "stinky" doesn't get to your nose because it's trapped in a bag of charcoal, or in baking soda that got vacuumed out of the car, then you don't smell it.

Good luck finding whatever works to her satisfaction.
______________________________
 

Nongmin

Active member
118
46
28
Charlotte, NC
"If mama's not happy, ain't nobody happy" as Granddad used to say. 🙄

I suppose there's a lot going on with a car interior, Ambient temperature changes and a closed car produce a lot of material "gassing" inside, as evidenced by the ever-present haze on the glass. My previous cars with vinyl seats were terrible and I kept a bottle of window cleaner handy. Introduce any outside influence (pickle juice, bad hot dog, dead frog [yes], etc.) and it only gets funkier.

Using an ozone generator is on my list of "next steps".
 

Nongmin

Active member
118
46
28
Charlotte, NC
here's something else to try, it has it's own odor that needs to dissipate after treatment but it works good.
Yeah, I looked at this bomb, thanks for referencing it. Seems every one of the "bomb" spray-type deodorizers cover over the cabin with a new aroma, which needs to neutralize itself over time. Some are less noticeable, some are not. I don't want to introduce another aroma which could cause new problems.

The bamboo charcoal bags have been in for almost a week and seem to be working. We went out Saturday and no complaints from the Judge. I hung them out in the sun for a few hours Sunday, to renew their effectiveness. It's supposed to be hot, humid, and rainy this week, so we'll see how they hold up. Fingers crossed.
 

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