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Old     (pwo)      Join Date: Oct 2009       10-11-2011, 8:45 AM Reply   
Through a series of unfortunate events, I have a small pink ATF stain on one of my seats. Short of taking it to an upholstery shop to either patch the area or reskin the seat, anyone have ideas on how to get it out/clean it up?

Google has netted a few ideas but nothing where someone came back later and said it worked. So far I've tried basic vinyl cleaners (malco, etc), simplegreen (both with a brush), and a magic eraser. Since the eraser is abrasive I didn't really go nuts trying to scrub it off, but what I tried was ineffective.

I'm not holding out a lot of hope but figured it didn't hurt to ask.
Old     (tyler97217)      Join Date: Aug 2004       10-11-2011, 10:11 AM Reply   
I will state the obvious and a disclaimer before everyone says I am crazy....... PROCEED AFTER THIS POINT WITH CAUTION....

If you take a little bit of acetone or lacquer thinner on a que tip and dilute it a bit with water or cleaner and gently rub at it with the que tip. You are essentially burning away the top layer of vinyl, but it will get rid of the discoloration......
Just go at it slowly and cautiously. If you don't have faith in your self go on the bottom side of a cushion and play with it a bit so you can see how it reacts. It works and I have done it before on different stains.

The other option is take the cushion to a detail shop and they can re-dye the vinyl in that spot. That would be the best option if you have the time and have a good vinyl guy.
Old     (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       10-11-2011, 10:49 AM Reply   
You can also try Naptha which is the same as charcoal lighter fluid and is cooler than the above listed thinners and wont pull the dyes out of the vinyl. If that doesent work then try the above listed ones. Again try in a hidden area first.
Old     (tampawake)      Join Date: Mar 2008       10-11-2011, 11:44 AM Reply   
a buddy of mine said take poor bleach on the spot and surround it with plastic so that it wont go anywhere out on the seat and leave it in the sun.
Old     (Fourspeednup)      Join Date: Apr 2010       10-11-2011, 1:53 PM Reply   
You are wise to stay away from the magic erasers unless absolutely necessary. Before going the route of abrasive chemicals in which you will essentially melt or scrub through the top stained layer of vinyl you may want to try leaving it out in the sun for a day or two. You may be surprised at what UV exposure will do to break down stains and it won't cost you anything.
Old     (PictureMeRollin)      Join Date: Apr 2010       10-11-2011, 3:20 PM Reply   
My friend almost had a heart attack because he got ATF all over the interior of his brand new Malibu. (long story). He was about to have the skins replaced, but an upholstery shop suggested he leave the seats out in the blazing hot sun for a few hours before cleaning them... It was the best advice he ever got because his seats looked brand new again.
Old     (pnichols)      Join Date: Jan 2007       10-11-2011, 5:04 PM Reply   
Probably going to sound like an idiot, but what is ATF?
Old     (bmcgee)      Join Date: Nov 2007       10-11-2011, 5:19 PM Reply   
I would give "Totally Awesome" a shot. This stuff worked miracles on our last boat before we sold it. Just spray it on (maybe dilute it 50/50 to start and work your way up if it isn't working) and use a nylon scrub brush to work it into the vinyl. Then follow with a wet rag it to clean it up and then a good vinyl conditioner to finish with. You can pick up "Totally Awesome" at pretty much any dollar store.
Old     (tyler97217)      Join Date: Aug 2004       10-11-2011, 6:53 PM Reply   
I don't think totally awesome will get it out. He tried Malco and they are essentially the same.
Old     (bmcgee)      Join Date: Nov 2007       10-11-2011, 6:57 PM Reply   
^^^ Good to know, I had no idea. Are they comparable in price too?
Old     (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       10-11-2011, 7:36 PM Reply   
Close to the same but not the same. TA cost less.
Old     (Laker1234)      Join Date: Mar 2010       10-11-2011, 8:20 PM Reply   
Denatured alcohol should take it out but be sure to use a UV protector. I think ATF stands for automatic transmission fluid.
Old     (pwo)      Join Date: Oct 2009       10-12-2011, 2:59 AM Reply   
Yeah transmission fluid. Thanks for all the tips guys. I didn't get a chance to try anything yesterday, and it's going to rain the next few days but I'll give these a shot.
Old     (fizzz)      Join Date: Nov 2010       10-12-2011, 6:24 AM Reply   
If it's in a spot that gets alot of use (front of a seat sundeck or something) I would wait it out a little while before you get crazy without the chemicals, you would be amazed at what sun+water+tanning lotion+ whatever will do to lift a stain, rather than possibly ruining the whole seat......
Old     (comsew)      Join Date: Oct 2007       02-25-2012, 6:55 AM Reply   
Pink stains are most times Mold as there are various strains that stian in different colors.
If the stain is occuring on some surfaces but adjacent ones are fine it is likely due to foam backing & or the aheasive.

Staining issues lie within the vinyl characteristics.
Glues and foam backings cross contaminate the vinyl surface setting the conditions for staining to occur.
Additionally the staining can also be mold growth in the foam section that bleeds to the vinyl surface from the backside
Due to the expense many times the foam backing is not treated with antimicrobials.
Lack of a high quality top coat adds to the poor resistance of vinyl reacting to organic compounds that come in contact with it.
If it goes away when exposed to sunlight the condition is Dehydrochlorination.
Each time it happens it doesn't completely come back to natural so over time you may see a permenent discoloration.

Certain boat brands exhibit this staining problem while many others do not.
Higher quality vinyl’s resist any staining or discoloration.


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