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Thread: 2011 Mercedes CL550 - Leather Care - At Wits End!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    558

    Default 2011 Mercedes CL550 - Leather Care - At Wits End!

    Hello,

    I have been trying for a number of months now to identify a product to properly care for the leather interior of my vehicle.
    It is a 2011 Mercedes CL550 with black perforated semi-aniline leather through out the dash, door panels and of course the seating areas.
    At its best it has a very soft buttery feel and a non-glossy appearance.

    I've tried a number of products including the Lexols, Meguiars, etc...some of which really did some harm by imparting a "shiny" coating that is not what the original finish looks like.

    I came across an article that said that your products were the perfect solution for this type of leather.
    Any information/samples you could provide would be appreciated.

    At wits end


    I have enclosed a few pictures the show the range of differences in the leather in my vehicle.

    The REAR_SEATS have by far the best texture and suppleness.
    Very low gloss, almost matte finish, very little UV exposure (tinted windows).
    #1
    Name:  CL550_REAR_SEATS.jpg
Views: 97
Size:  1.10 MB


    The leather in the doors and armrests designed for skin contact is very smooth and in pretty good shape.
    Some oil residue I'm sure (See STEERING photo).
    #2
    Name:  CL550_STEERING.jpg
Views: 85
Size:  985.9 KB


    The DASH has the same texture leather that is used on all other surfaces throughout the cabin.
    #3
    Name:  CL550_DASH_LEATHER.jpg
Views: 81
Size:  289.0 KB


    The DRIVER side seat has a shine from use and is not nearly as soft as the rear seats.
    #4
    Name:  CL550_DRIVER_SEAT.jpg
Views: 84
Size:  370.9 KB


    The PASSENGER seat is where the real problems are.
    There appears to have been a spill on the seat which left a white residue in the perforations, the leather is not as flexible as it should be...pretty stiff from repeated unsuccessful cleaning attempts.
    The holes facilitate heating and cooling airflow.
    No leather smell anymore...just cleaners.
    #5
    Name:  CL550_PASSENGER_SEAT.jpg
Views: 87
Size:  466.6 KB


    #6
    Name:  CL550_PASSENGER_White in perfs_sew holes streched.jpg
Views: 82
Size:  1.35 MB

    Honestly pictures don't do this justice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Greater Vancouver, Canada.
    Posts
    4,788

    Default

    >>> “black perforated”

    Perforated leathers cross section is ‘suede’ – therefore any products not for suede should not be used as any alkalinity will denature the leather structure. Products pH range should be close to the iso-electric point or pH neutral or pI of the leather, which is around 3 to 5. Any products above pH 6 should be pH balanced back to between 3 to 5. The suede-perforated cross-section is unfinished leather and it is pH sensitive. Leather is an amphoteric protein material and high pH value will result in stiffness to the leather as the original fatliquor breaks its hydrogen bond and result in stiffness that leads to cracks. Tackiness is the beginning of leather denaturing when the tanning agent breaks its hydrogen bond with the protein fiber.


    >>> “semi-aniline leather”


    Semi-aniline is leather that has been dye through (that is the reverse side takes on the same color range as the grain side). When the cross section of the perforated holes shows Greyish/Blue there is no dyestuff used thus classified as Micro-Pigmented leathers. Dyes used on outdoor leathers are subject to fading.


    >>> “At its best it has a very soft buttery feel”


    This soft buttery-feel is wears off from friction rubs.
    Besides the aesthetic of touch it impart a rub-resistant protection to the topcoat that prolong wear to the leather finishes.
    It also has a non-stick property that shield against stick soiling or sticky tape when pull will not peel the finishes off.
    This very soft buttery feel protection is essential to keep your leather protected as described above. And is recommend in every level of care system from Preventive Care, Routine Care, Periodic Care and Restorative Care.


    >>> “At its best it has a non-glossy appearance.”


    Glossy appearance is either the accumulation of greasy soiling or accentuated as the result of using not comparable conditioners.
    A restorative cleaning for perforated leathers is by Prep-4.4 > Clean-3.8 > Rinse-3.0 and it should removed the glossy appearance perfectly.


    >>> I've tried a number of products including the Lexols, Meguiars, etc...some of which really did some harm by imparting a "shiny" coating that is not what the original finish looks like.

    When using conditioners products remember that there are two levels – one to condition the leather structure and the other to condition the leather finishes. Conditioning the leather finishes is either using Protector-B+ (leather scented) or Protector-B (scentless). Conditioning the leather structure for suppleness any product used has to be save for ‘suede’ especially perforated leathers. Stiff leather has to be first hydrated to relax and separates the stick together-fiber opening them up prior to fatliquor replenishing them. Hydrator-3.3 is used to work out the stiffness and Fatliquor-5.0 to soften the leather structure for suppleness when dry. Any surface Fatliquor-5.0 residue has to be clean up with Hydrator-3.3 to avoid the ‘shiny’ problem in this process Hydrator-3.3 > Fatliquor-5.0 > Hydrator.3.3 and when dry follows with Protector-B+ or B.


    >>> The REAR_SEATS have by far the best texture and suppleness.
    Very low gloss, almost matte finish, very little UV exposure (tinted windows).


    Reference to Picture #1
    At this point “Periodic Care” recommended as follows:
    Periodic Care:
    Periodic care is recommend before soiling causes damages to the finishing.
    This keeps leather consistently clean and healthy at all times.
    Driver’s seat would require more frequent attention than the other less frequent used seats.
    While the leather steering wheel and the gearshift knob get the most of body oil and sweat contacts.

    1st phase – Periodic Care:
    1. Spray Clean-3.8 and agitate with horsehair Brush-1; ensuring a uniform application over the entire surfaces a section at a time.
    2. Towel extract until it shows clean.
    3. Remaining residues are spray rinse with Rinse-3.0 and towel extract to a squeaky-clean.
    4. Let dry and inspect for satisfaction, otherwise repeat cleaning process as necessary or proceed to hydrating.

    2nd phase – Hydrating:
    Although pigmented leathers surfaces are usually non-absorbent until micro crazing develops, it is the stitching rows and perforated holes that are usually vulnerable. These weak areas when wet and dry again have the tendency for the fibrils to become stick together resulting in stiffness and when stressed may lead to premature cracks. Hydrating is essential to relax and separate the stick together collapsing fibrous structure. Besides, charging the protein fiber ionic positive for a more effective hydrogen bonding with the ionic negative fatliquor.
    1. Spray Hydrator-3.3 control and spread with foam brush to hydrate especially the stitching rows and perforated sections.
    2. Let dwell 10 to 30 minutes depending on severity of dryness with optional plastic cling wrapping to control evaporation for a longer dwell time to plumps the leather more effectively.

    3rd phase – Fat and Oil Replenishing:
    Fatliquor evaporates as VOC (volatile organic compound) when temperature rises especially from exposed micro crazing, perforation and stitching rows. Periodic fat and oil replenishing maintains the leather’s structure integrity and pliability thus strengthen these exposed leather from cracking.
    1. Spray Fatliquor-5.0 in like manner as Hydrator-3.3 and let dry naturally.
    2. Repeat application in between drying until saturated.
    3. Leave the leather for slow natural drying for extra softness.
    4. Wipe surface strays with Hydrator-3.3 to free of sticky residue.

    4th phase – Preventive Care:
    1. Apply Protector-B+ to the seats and Protector-D to steering wheel including the gear shift knob after shaking well spread with lint free towel and is ready for use when dry.


    >>> The leather in the doors and armrests designed for skin contact is very smooth and in pretty good shape.
    Some oil residue I'm sure (See STEERING photo).


    Reference to Picture #2
    Restorative Care:
    Restorative care is the ultimate corrective or salvage care system that removes accumulated soiling including aged conditioners to its original OEM finishes.
    Accumulated soiling that fills creases is often mistaken for cracks.
    Restorative cleaning is performed by using Prep-7.7 (Perforated leathers use Prep-4.4), difference is the pH value of 7.7 versus 4.4.
    It works by chemical reaction to emulsify soiling through its penetrating, lubricating and suspending power.
    Its thick as honey viscosity facilitates coating the surface for effective dwell time.
    Horsehair detailing Brush-1 is recommended to worked into heavily soiled areas sufficiently to avoid excessive agitation that might damage already weaken finishes especially on heavily used areas.
    For extreme cases, the Prep-7.7 or Prep-4.4 can stay continuous for up to 72 hours to do its work safely.

    1st phase - Restorative Cleaning:
    1. Apply Prep-7.7 (Prep-4.4 for perforated) and agitate with horsehair Brush-1, ensuring a uniform application over the entire surfaces a section at a time.
    2. Allow a dwell time of 10 to 30 minutes or before it dries prior to towel extraction until it shows clean.
    3. Sticky residue is removed by Clean-3.8 with gentle brush agitation and towel extraction until it shows clean.
    4. Remaining residues are spray rinse with Rinse-3.0 and towel extract to a squeaky-clean.
    5. Let dry and inspect for satisfaction, otherwise repeat Prep-7.7 or Prep-4.4 application with a longer dwell time as necessary or proceed to hydrating.

    2nd phase – Preventive Care:
    1. Apply Protector-B+ to the seats and Protector-D to steering wheel including the gearshift knob after shaking well spread with lint free towel and is ready for use when dry.


    >>> The DASH has the same texture leather that is used on all other surfaces throughout the cabin.

    Reference to Picture #3
    1st phase – Periodic Care:
    1. Spray Clean-3.8 and agitate with horsehair Brush-1; ensuring a uniform application over the entire surfaces a section at a time.
    2. Towel extract until it shows clean.
    3. Remaining residues are spray rinse with Rinse-3.0 and towel extract to a squeaky-clean.
    4. Let dry and inspect for satisfaction, otherwise repeat cleaning process as necessary or proceed to hydrating.

    2nd phase – Preventive Care:
    1. Apply Protector-B+ to the seats and Protector-D to steering wheel including the gear shift knob after shaking well spread with lint free towel and is ready for use when dry.


    >>> The DRIVER side seat has a shine from use and is not nearly as soft as the rear seats.
    Reference to Picture #4


    Restorative Care:
    Restorative care is the ultimate corrective or salvage care system that removes accumulated soiling including aged conditioners to its original OEM finishes. Accumulated soiling that fills creases is often mistaken for cracks. Restorative cleaning is performed by using Prep-7.7. It works by chemical reaction to emulsify soiling through its penetrating, lubricating and suspending power. Its thick as honey viscosity facilitates coating the surface for effective dwell time. Horsehair detailing Brush-1 is recommended to worked into heavily soiled areas sufficiently to avoid excessive agitation that might damage already weaken finishes especially on heavily used areas. For extreme cases, the Prep-7.7 can stay continuous for up to 72 hours to do its work safely.

    1st phase - Restorative Cleaning:
    1. Apply Prep-4.4 and agitate with horsehair Brush-1, ensuring a uniform application over the entire surfaces a section at a time.
    2. Allow a dwell time of 10 to 30 minutes or before it dries prior to towel extraction until it shows clean.
    3. Sticky residue is removed by Cleaner-3.8 with gentle brush agitation and towel extraction until it shows clean.
    4. Remaining residues are spray rinse with Rinse-3.0 and towel extract to a squeaky-clean.
    5. Let dry and inspect for satisfaction, otherwise repeat Prep-4.4 application with a longer dwell time as necessary or proceed to hydrating.

    2nd phase – Hydrating:
    Although pigmented leathers surfaces are usually non-absorbent until micro crazing develops it is the stitching rows and perforated holes that are usually vulnerable. These weak areas when wet and dry again have the tendency for the fibrils to become stick together resulting in stiffness and when stressed may lead to premature cracks. Hydrating is essential to relax and separate the stick together collapsing fibrous structure besides charging it ionic positive for more effective hydrogen bonding with the negative ionic fatliquor.
    1. Spray Hydrator-3.3 control and spread with foam brush to hydrate especially the stitching rows and perforated sections.
    2. Let dwell 10 to 30 minutes depending on severity of dryness with optional plastic cling wrapping to control evaporation for a longer dwell time to plumps the leather more effectively.

    3rd phase – Fat and Oil Replenishing:
    Fatliquor evaporates as VOC (volatile organic compound) when temperature rises especially from exposed micro crazing, perforation and stitching rows. Periodic fat and oil replenishing maintains the leather’s structure integrity and pliability thus strengthen these exposed leather from cracking.
    1. Spray Fatliquor-5.0 control and spread with foam brush to hydrate especially the stitching rows and perforated sections.
    2. Repeat application in between drying until saturated.
    3. The leather is left for slow natural drying for extra softness.
    4. Surface strays are wipe with Hydrator-3.3 to free of sticky residue.

    4th phase – Preventive Care:
    1. Apply Protector-B+ to the seats and Protector-D to steering wheel including the gearshift knob after shaking well spread with lint free towel and is ready for use when dry.


    >>> The PASSENGER seat is where the real problems are.
    There appears to have been a spill on the seat which left a white residue in the perforations, the leather is not as flexible as it should be...pretty stiff from repeated unsuccessful cleaning attempts.
    The holes facilitate heating and cooling airflow.
    No leather smell anymore...just cleaners.


    Reference to Picture #5

    “white residue in the perforations”:
    Use a bamboo toothpick and dislodge the pluck-up perforated holes.

    “not as flexible as it should be...pretty stiff”

    Leather structure shrinkage where the fatliquor leaches out from non-leather-safe cleaner.
    Leather stiffness is relaxed with Hydrator-3.3 and will soften up while still damp and will need a follow up in this wet process with Fatliquor-5.0.

    “No leather smell anymore...just cleaners.”
    Protector-B+ restores the classic leather scent.
    This seat will need “restorative cleaning system” described above


    Products mention are found in this Kit-Ap3
    Name:  Ap3.JPG
Views: 85
Size:  1.60 MB
    http://www.leatherdoctor.com/kit-ap3...ther-care-kit/

    You will need Prep-4.4 for the perforated surface
    Name:  a207916145391d56991ec3_l__04924.1411074295.220.290.jpg
Views: 86
Size:  9.5 KB
    http://www.leatherdoctor.com/prep-4-4/


    Further questions are welcome.


    Roger Koh
    Leather Care System Formulator, Practitioner / Consultant / Instructor / Coach
    roger@LeatherDoctor.com

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