How to de-fluff Alcantara seats

Words and pictures: Rob Bell

Here's the problem: although alcantara seats in the TF are very attractive and sought-after, they don't seem to wear as well as leather seats. Indeed over time, and especially if the seats become damp, they start to bubble and fluff, and look a terrible state.

The solution is reassuringly simple and surprisingly cheap: buy a little device for removing the excess lint from clothing. I got one off ebay for 99 pence (but there again, the postage and packaging was another 2 quid or so... anyway, best not start me off down another ebay-flavoured rant).

In this case, pictures tell the story better than words!

The starting material - the driver's seat in my 1995 MGF in which I had bolted a pair of then new TF alcantara/leather seats in around 2002. Although difficult to see in this particular image, the seat is looking rather worse for wear.

You get a better feel for the condition of the seat in this image, showing the very (!) expensive de-linting shaver that was purchased off Ebay. It may be cheap and nasty in terms of its build quality, but as I found, it did the job!

And here we see a de-fluffing widget filled to the brim with shabby alcantara! Unfortunately, it was starting to get dark when I took this picture, but I think you get an impression that things were looking better...

Starting off here with the before and after pictures. This first one is of the seat base...

...and this second one is of the seat back. Both show evidence of quite a lot of damage to the alcantara.
No picture in this panel - may be I'll pose one later. But essentially, what I did was to run the machine in gentle circles over the damaged alcantara.

Slowly but surly, the excess material that was linting off from the surface of the alcantara was removed, leaving behind a cosmetically much better result, as can be seen in the next two panels... can be seen here of the seat base, when compared with the photograph immediately above, and...

... of the seat back. In these views, it almost appears that the seat has returned to how it was originally.

While this is a little deceptive - if you brush the material in a different direction across its grain, you'll see that the result is not quite perfect, it is nonetheless a remarkably better result to what we had to start with.

So, after spending just a couple of quid and around 10 minutes, the seats were certainly 100% better cosmetically than when they were before we started. Definitely something I can recommend!!!!