Saturday, September 26, 2009

What is Alcantara and How Do I Clean It?

Alcantara Trim on Porsche GT3
For the past few years Porsche has offered Alcantara as an upgraded seating surface, steering wheel covering and headliner material but many people do not know what Alcantara really is.

The appearance and tactile feel of the material is similar to that of suede, and it may be incorrectly identified as such, or as "Alcantara leather", on occasion. The truth is, Alcantara is a composite material composed of 68% polyester and 32% polyurethane. It is this mixture of materials that gives Alcantara its increased durability and stain resistance. There are currently three versions of Alcantara available: cover (made for seating surfaces); panel (made for door/dash applications); and soft (made for headliners).

The material was developed in the 1970s by Miyoshi Okamoto, a scientist working for the Japanese chemical company Toray. In 1972, a joint venture between Italian chemical company ENI and Toray formed Alcantara SpA in order to manufacture and distribute the material.
Alcantara has the luxurious look and feel of fine Italian lamb suede. It is soft to the touch and makes a beautiful compliment to leathers used by Porsche. When used as seat covering inserts the Alcantara provides a unique "grip" when making tight cornering maneuvers.
Care and maintenance for Alcantara is quite simple.
Daily cleaning
It is sufficient to dust Alcantara using a soft brush, a dry cloth, or a vacuum cleaner.
Weekly cleaning
After having dusted Alcantara, run a slightly moistened white cotton cloth over it. Avoid the use of printed absorbent cloths/papers as they can release ink onto the material.
Yearly cleaning
Dust the material with care; moisten a soft cloth or a sponge in clean water, wring it thoroughly and run it over the whole Alcantara material, making sure not to wet it excessively; rinse the cloth or sponge and repeat as necessary. Leave to dry (overnight). Once dried, in order to restore the material, brush it delicately with a soft bristle brush.
General instructions for stains removal
In the case of localized stains, and when the specific products for the cleaning of Alcantara are not available, (a list of such products is available on the web-site, the upholstery can be cleaned as follows:

  • Act immediately (within 30 minutes) and begin treating the stain from the outside edge into the center in order to avoid the stain spreading.
  • Never pour a cleaning product directly onto Alcantara.
  • Before removing the stain, remove any of the substance that has fallen on the upholstery: if it’s thick (yogurt, jam, etc.) use a spoon or a plastic spatula; for liquids, use non printed absorbent paper or a sponge.
  • Avoid rubbing to prevent the stain from spreading or going deep into the material.
  • Use a white cloth or a well wrung sponge for the removal of the stains.
  • If you use a sponge, rinse it in clean water and wring it well between each wipe.
For the specific treatment of the different types of stains and the relative materials that should be used, follow the instructions listed on Alcantara's web site. Care Instructions PDF

Beverly Hills Porsche stocks a variety of Porsche cars and SUVs fitted with Alcantara interiors. We invite you to visit our showroom and experience this versatile an luxurious material for yourself.

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Beverly Hills Porsche
8425 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211 

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