Although the luxe Alcantara seats in your Nissan Maxima are incredibly resistant to staining—Alcantara is like a durable mash-up of suede and Nappa leather—a rogue splattering of ketchup or spilled coffee can still be a doozy to clean. Left unattended for too long, those stains may become the ugly scars your Maxima would rather keep camouflaged.
But there are numerous ways to go about removing stains from your Alcantara seats without paying for costly detailing or reupholstering services. Let loose the DIYer in you, and tell those stains to scram with these helpful tips.
Proper Alcantara Maintenance
First and foremost, your Alcantara seats deserve to be in pristine condition from day one. To preserve the natural beauty of the material, apply a coating of premium fabric guard or protectant to all visible and high-traffic areas, especially the cushions. (If you’ve got kids, you’ll want to coat the seatbacks, too.) Fabric guard sprays are inexpensive ways to repel oil, water, ink, and other types of stains from both suede and Alcantara.
Next, you’ll want to keep up with regular cleanings as if they were dentist appointments. Preventative cleaning may not prevent stains, but it’ll make sure your Alcantara seats look their best. To perform a general cleaning, consider working the following into a monthly to-do task:
- Vacuum dirt, dust, and crumbs from all seat crevices.
- Wipe down any Alcantara materials in the cabin, including the steering wheel and dash.
- Run a dampened cotton terry cloth lightly over the seats, steering wheel, and dash.
- Allow seats to dry, then restore the fabric with a soft bristle brush.
- Check the coating of fabric guard, and apply another coat if necessary.
As you perform your maintenance and cleaning, be sure to be gentle. Don’t rub in fabric protectant vigorously or you may ruin the seats’ texture. Don’t use steam cleaners. Don’t use a cloth with ink on it as it may bleed into the fine threads. Essentially, you want to treat your Alcantara seats like babies.
Removing Stains on Alcantara
As is the case with any stain, you’ll want to act quickly to see the best results possible. If the stain has been sitting dormant for more than 30 minutes, you’ll likely need a fresh dose of elbow grease to get the job done.
The tools you’ll need are as follows:
- Sponge and/or white cloth
- Soft bristle brush
- Lemon juice
- Clean water
- Ethyl alcohol
- Ice pack (optional)
- Scrub pad (for the big stains)
- Fabric cleaner (for the stingy stains)
First, remove any leftover staining substance from the Alcantara material, doing your best not to spread any of that filth around. Feel free to run to the kitchen and grab a spatula if needed.
Next, determine the best way to un-soil those soils, which is dependent on the type of stain you’re treating:
- Juices, jams, chocolate, mustard, and ketchup – Use lukewarm water and a clean sponge (wrung-out), dabbing the stain from the outside edges inward. Repeat as needed.
- Blood and bodily fluids – Use ice-cold water and a clean sponge.
- Oil and grease – Rub stains with ethyl alcohol, then dab with a dampened sponge.
- Makeup – Use lukewarm water and a clean sponge, followed by ethyl alcohol.
- Soda and tea – Use lukewarm water and a clean sponge. If the stain remains, apply lemon juice to a white cloth, and gently brush the stain away. Rinse well with clean, damp sponge.
- Coffee – Go straight for the lemon juice, then rinse with a dab of clean, warm water.
- Grass – Grass stains can be difficult to treat as they need a liberal application of ethyl alcohol, followed by a dampened
- Gum – Put an ice pack on the gum (to harden it), then remove the gum and treat with ethyl alcohol, if necessary.
- Melted crayon – Another difficult stain to clean, melted crayons can be solidified using the ice method (above), then picked or removed. Use ethyl alcohol liberally to do away with the color, and repeat as necessary, making sure to rinse with a dampened sponge.
If the above instructions aren’t helpful, it’s time to whip out the scrub pad and fabric cleaner. Apply small amounts of fabric cleaner to the scrub pad or soft bristle brush, and work the stain out in small sections to avoid over-saturation or color leakage. Lather well, making sure not to press too firmly, and wipe away moisture and soils with a clean cloth. Vacuum with a narrow hose attachment, bringing the Alcantara fabric back to its former glory.
Because your Maxima’s Alcantara seats are unique, they shouldn’t be cleaned as if they were your home’s WELCOME mat. Don’t even think about trying to remove stains with a pressure washer (duh), stringent chemicals, paper towels, or an old toothbrush.
Should you need a deep, deep clean of your Alcantara seats—whether they’re in a Maxima SR, 370Z, or another make of vehicle—consider taking a trip to our Nissan dealership in Albuquerque. The Nissan service technicians within our shop and collision center can give you advice or even help you detail and remove any nagging stains. Schedule an appointment online, contact us directly at (505) 545-6420, or stop by our Albuquerque Nissan service center at 7707 Lomas Blvd.