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Old 05-05-2011, 09:52 AM   #1
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Why Neoprene?

I want to add seat covers to my Jeep. My main reasoning is that I wanted something I could toss in the washer when dirty. Dogs, kids, they make a mess.

It seems like the majority of seat covers for sale are neoprene. That's the same stuff they make wetsuits out of right? I don't see that getting tossed in a washing machine.

So what are the advantages of the neoprene covers that make them so popular. Can they be removed and scrubbed or sprayed off easily?

I like the look of the neoprene covers, it just seems like they would be hot and hold water when damp. I am learning that Jeeps don't do much to keep water away from you so i am paying more attention to that. My seat is still a little wet from rain two days ago.
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Old 05-05-2011, 10:02 AM   #2
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I think neoprene is used so much due to it's slightly padded feel, and it's smooth look when installed. Many have concerns about it's comfort factor, as well. I did, that's why I started making my own. Iggees synth. leather is really the only water proof JK cover out there, to my knowledge, but then you have the whole vinyl issue... Not trying to sell you on anything, since I don't have a pattern made for JK's yet. Currently I think a lot of folks who are in your boat are looking into seat towels that slip over the headrest and are easy to care for. Obviously they are lacking in aesthetics but they are functional and easy to care for. I wish there was some miracle fabric out there that did everything we needed.... If I could find it, I'd be a zillionaire (if I could sew faster)... There just doesn't seem to be anything that meets every need.


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Old 05-05-2011, 10:10 AM   #3
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my plan is to leave the top off as much as possible. I don't think i could handle flesh-melting vinyl. I think you are right in that seat towels may be the way to go. At least in the interim until i find a better solution.
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Old 05-05-2011, 10:19 AM   #4
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Perhaps consider trash bags under neoprene seat covers?

My understanding (no first hand knowledge here, sorry) is that modest amounts of water will stay outside the neoprene and/or at least dry quickly from it. So I'd think trash bags covering your seats underneath the neoprene would help stop your seats from getting soaked (and retaining) water from bigger rains.

Have you thought about your instrument panel though? I've heard the 2011s in particular can get squirrely if they get rained on. IIRC, Inferno makes column covers that can help that though.
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Old 05-05-2011, 10:39 AM   #5
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I have the rugged ridge neoprene seat protectors. They will keep your seats dry. No need for trash bags. I came out of a meeting once to discover that it had rained while I was inside. I slide my hand through the corner to get the seat under the cover. I was pleased to discover that it was bone dry.

I hopped in an quickly discovered exactly why the seat was bone dry. The neoprene seat covers soaked up every drop of water and immediately transferred all of it to the seat of my pants.

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Old 05-05-2011, 10:58 AM   #6
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I have Seat Glovers Neoprene covers and they worked fine in the rain recently, they got wet in the rain but dried really fast and the water didn't transfer onto my clothes much at all. They work great with my dog as well, his fur comes of easily and they don't tear easily from his claws.
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:20 AM   #7
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are you able to clean your neoprene covers when/if they get muddy?
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:28 AM   #8
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I have never tried washing a neoprene seat cover, but wetsuits can easily be cleaned in a washing machine PROVIDED:

1. It is a front loader
2. You do not allow it to go through a spin cycle

After washing the wet suit, we would just hang them up to air dry. They come out great. I suspect you could buy some wet suit shampoo and treat your seat covers similarly. BTW, if that doesn't work then I never sent this reply - never been on this forum.
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Old 05-05-2011, 01:00 PM   #9
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UHHH...wetsuits are made for water right??? Why would the addition of soap be a problem? Despite the nice aroma that a good, well used wetsuit and booties develops..lots of guys put them in the washing machine. I have even know some that would put them in the dryer between sessions to warm them up to put back on. Cold water SUCKS.
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Old 05-05-2011, 02:07 PM   #10
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I just added smittybilt seat covers to mine i love them i noticed the water absorbs in and dries fast.. im sure you can hose them of or gentle cycle in washer. I have a youtube video of them if you want to see what they will look like.
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:54 PM   #11

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In as much as neoprene being used for a wet suite implies that it gets wet; it is a bit of a misnomer. Yes, both sides of the neoprene get wet on a wet suite and thus the name but the inside of the wet suit doesn't get wet by soaking through the neoprene. The neoprene material itself is impervious to water. Neoprene used for wet suits is a closed cell foam and the cells (air pockets) are filled with nitrogen which is used for its chemical properties as opposed to air. Since neoprene seat covers are soft and cushy, I would suspect they make it out of the same stuff as wet suits. I think that the reason it is used for seat covers is that soft material can be glued to the surface of the neoprene and make the resulting material very nice to have against the skin. The layer that is glued to the neoprene can be made of very soft and cushy cloth and the feeling against the skin is indeed nice, just as the inside of a wet suit, if made of the correct material is indeed nice against the skin. The outside of the wet suit needs to be durable and thus is made of a less cushy material that is glued to the outside of the neoprene. So in this case, since the outside of the seat cover is meant to be in contact with the skin they place the nice layer on the outside and the more durable layer on the inside or they could put the nice layer on both sides depending on the specifications for manufacture. Bottom line is that the material glued to the neoprene can absorb enough water if rained on that you will get pretty wet if you sit on it. If you sat directly on the neoprene (no material glued to the outside) you would get similar results to plastic seat covers. In the summer you would sweat and because there would be nothing to absorb your sweat, you would soon feel like you were sitting on a regular pleather seat cover.

I don't have this type of seat cover yet but it is definitely on my mod list. I wouldn't hesitate to purchase a good quality neoprene seat cover to keep my seats dry while the top is down. If they get wet on the outside, it is just a matter of time before they dry off and you will be comforted to know that the inside and thus the material that the seat is made of will not get wet. Since this is the case, no mildew will form in them. A good all around solution for the seats to keep the seats from getting wet in a storm or a ride through the mud while the top is down.

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Old 05-07-2011, 11:36 PM   #12
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I have the smittybuilt covers and they work great washed them last week no problems. I also sprayed them down with Waterproofer just in case no issues. They do make your back sweat though only downfall.

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