Stage 1 - Cleaning & preparing
This is the most tedious but also the most important stage. It is only when the leather is thoroughly cleaned that you will see what is surface dirt & what is worn. Many vehicles we get in for renovation, customers would probably not have had restored if they had seen the results from just a thorough clean! You should be looking to achieve an interior which looks "well maintained", not restored so the more you can clean, the lighter you need to colour & the more supple & natural the end result.
Remove as much of the trim from the vehicle as possible to avoid accidents, spills & overspray.
Wearing heavy duty rubber gloves pour a small (about a third of bottle) quantity of CONCENTRATED SOAP into a bucket of VERY hot water & work into a rich lather. Work at around one part CONCENTRATED CLEANER to 10 parts water.
Fill other bucket with cold water & absorbent cloth for rinsing.
Starting with the driver seat, soap on using sponge provided with excess water squeezed out. (Use hot foam if possible) Work from the bottom of trim up to avoid streaks & runs. NEVER FLOOD LEATHER. You can remove ingrained dirt with a stiff bristled brush but be careful not to remove the surface coatings.
Concentrate on cleaning small areas at a time. If leather particularly heavily soiled, add CLEANER BK to soap solution as it contains a stronger additive. When satisfied, wring out a soft absorbent cloth in cold water & wipe off soap before it dries in.
Repeat procedure with passenger seat, rear seat, console, door pads etc. You may need to keep topping up or change your hot water if the leather is heavily soiled (this is why you do not pour all the CONCENTRATED SOAP in at once) or you end up putting dirt back into the leather. When dry (prolonged rubbing or cleaning softens the finishes & peeling can occur) check over give another wash if necessary.
Excess water/soap can be blown out with a compressed airline.
It should now be apparent what surface dirt was & what is wear to the finishes & damage to the leather. Establish what is leather is & what is PVC. Many vehicles like Jaguar & Mercedes have PVC piping & borders which will need to be masked off. (Various widths tape from 6mm to 50mm available) Likewise, contrasting leather piping & any other areas you do not wish to colour needs to be masked off very carefully so as not to touch the leather. Decide what you intend to refinish & what simply needs "touching in".
If your leather has been restored before, the foreign lacquers will need to be removed. As well as possible adhesion problems, too much surface coatings results in a less natural "plastic" appearance. Depending on whether they are water or solvent based, this can be tricky without disturbing the original finishes or getting very messy. A mild solvent or thinners can be tried but always test a small area first. If bare areas remain black once dry, degrease with a mild solvent until areas are light grey or tan.
Clean container & gloves in warm soapy water