What is interior fabric protection?

Don't let sticky sweets and spills spoil your road trip: interior fabric protection can help

BuyaCar team
Sep 15, 2021

Cars go through all sorts of tests before they reach the public, as carmakers need to demonstrate that each material, engine part and gizmo will stand up to years of use. Ford even uses a sweaty robot bottom to make sure that the seats it installs can withstand hundreds of drives home from intense gym workouts. Because of the likelihood of spills and scuffs, a car’s interior is normally clad in hard plastic or hard-wearing leather, both of which are easy to wipe down.

The fabric on your seats and door cars will have been scrutinised to make sure it’s just as long-lasting as everything else, but the make-up of the material means that it is more likely to pick up stains. It’s the same story with a fabric sofa, as you’ll know if you’ve ever spilled a drop of cola or red wine on yours.

But no matter how stringent the tests are, there is no substitute for having three children sat in the back of the car, along with the dog, and their snacks. They test a car's interior materials to the limit.

Thankfully, you don’t have to resign yourself to a lifetime of sitting on stained fabric seats or poorly fitting seat covers. Interior fabric protection can be applied to make sure your car’s fabric continues to look as fresh as the day it left the factory - a helping hand to the carmakers’ efforts.

The benefits claimed by manufacturers include:

  • Repelling spillages so that they don’t sink into fabrics
  • Making it easier to clean liquids and dirt
  • Carpets are protected as well as seats

The increased stain resistance achieved by this added protection can help to prevent spillages from blemishing your car’s interior, therefore maximising its value when you come to sell it, or trade it in at the end of a Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) agreement - as well as reducing the risk of damage charges at the end of your contract.

How does fabric protection work?

Fabric protectors are compounds that coat the fibres of the upholstery with an invisible resin-based material.

This treatment ensures that the fabric will be protected from the everyday abuse it suffers at the hands of chocolate bars and fizzy drinks. The manufacturers of these products claim that they have been tested with the likes of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, alcohol, milk, fruit juices, cola, fizzy drinks, chocolate and sweets, and grease from foodstuffs – pretty much everything that families will throw at a car interior.

They say that the treated fabrics cause these substances to either pass straight through the weave or remain on the surface, allowing them to be easily wiped away.

It's a similar story with carpet protector products, which are designed to go beyond what you can achieve with a vacuum cleaner, sealing the base and surface fibres to enable dirt and grime – including dog hairs – to be more easily removed. If you’ve struggled to keep your carpets clean, then this could be a solution.

There are also leather treatments, which have been formulated to maintain and protect leather upholstery including steering wheels and seats, while also acting as a moisturising agent to maintain its flexibility and longevity. These are worth investing in if you have leather seats, as uncared-for leather upholstery can quickly look tired.

Is interior fabric protection worth it?

Anecdotal evidence from satisfied customers suggests that these products, on the whole, work pretty well.

Although they are more expensive than retail products that you can buy off the shelf, they tend to last much longer. In fact, many have lengthy (or even lifetime) guarantees, but the amount of time these fabric protectors will last does depends on just how much punishment they are faced with. Cars that experience a lot of wear and tear may need additional treatment and any spillages have to be cleaned up as and when they occur.

The biggest advantage of this protection is that it can help to ensure that your car is kept in excellent condition, maximising its value. This puts you in a stronger position if you come to sell your car, as you are putting a better quality car on the market, which will therefore demand a higher price. Alternatively, if you trade your car in at the end of a PCP deal, then there's a better chance of getting more money to put towards your next vehicle.

Nowadays, the majority of new cars - and many used models - are purchased with finance packages where charges apply if the car is returned in a particularly bad condition, these parameters will be set out as and when you agree your contract, but fabric protection can help to prevent any serious staining that could incur these fees.  

How much does interior fabric protection cost?

The cost is usually included as part of a protection package, which often includes paintwork protection as well. It will depend on the car being treated and the particular brand used by the supplying dealership, as the cost of these can vary considerably.

It’s possible to add fabric protection to a finance package for a small increase in your monthly payments. 

How do I get fabric protection?

Interior fabric protection is usually applied professionally at a dealership, so it will be applied before your car is delivered, ensuring that it is protected from first use.

You can request a quote for any make and model to find out exactly how much it will cost.


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