Time for a good Spring Cleaning! As we head into March, there’s no better time to give your vehicle a mini makeover and have it looking as good as new. Our three-part spring-cleaning series will give you DIY tips for deep-cleaning your vehicle from the inside out. We’ll start with the often-overlooked interior of a car.
Cleaning a car’s interior and upholstery can be a dreaded task. Many go the route of leaving it to the professionals, which can be very costly. Instead, there are some simple home remedies you can try to have your car’s interior looking as good as new, and some preventative measures that will make sure it stays that way.
Those bags of clothes you’ve been meaning to donate still sitting in your trunk? Kids toys still stuck under the passengers seat? The first step to cleaning your car’s interior is to get ride of all the clutter, so you can properly assess any damage or staining there may be to your car’s upholstery and interior. Slide seats all the way forward to access those hard-to-reach spots that often get neglected. Check all cup holders, glove boxes and other storage places for forgotten items and clutter. And don’t forget about the trunk!
Vacuum the interior.
Once everything is out of the car, you can assess how dirty the interior actually is. Use a vacuum cleaner to pick up crumbs, dust and other debris left on carpet and upholstery. Remove all the floor mats and vacuum these as well as the carpet underneath them. Use a vacuum cleaner’s brush attachment to remove dust and crumbs from the dashboard and door panels. Be sure to double check cup holders and storage pockets for any larger, hard to spot items before vacuuming these areas. A brush attachment is also great for crumbs that may be embedded in in seat cracks or carpet.
Stains and odd smells are unlikely to be removed by simply vacuuming a car’s interior. Use a carpet-cleaning machine to remove dirt and stains from the carpet. This machine works well on cloth upholstery too. If you do not own a carpet-cleaning machine, you can rent one, or use a spray on cleaner and water to scrub interior manually. Carpet cleaners and cleaning solutions can be found at your local hardware or automotive stores.
A carpet cleaner will not work on leather or vinyl upholstery and should not be used on these materials. Instead, you’ll need a specialized cleaner specific to the type on interior you have. Your local automotive store can help assist with finding which cleaner will be best for your car’s upholstery. Let seats dry for at least an hour after cleaning. A conditioner can then be applied to help protect the upholstery from further staining and damage.
A car’s air vents are often overlooked when cleaning. It would be a shame to finish meticulously cleaning the interior, only to turn on the vents and blow more dust into the car. Using a long bristled artists brush and furniture polish is an easy way to get into the vents and remove any dust that has settled in these cracks.
Sure, the window exteriors get cleaned with any standard car wash, but the window interior is often forgotten. Use a glass cleaner to remove any dust or streaks from window interiors. Pay extra close attention to the thin top ledge of windows, where grime often settles.
As a final step, you can remove grime and crumbs from small details, like the buttons on the dash, with a flat screwdriver and rag. If grime is hard to remove, any standard car cleaner can be used to help loosen grime and crumbs.
It may seem like a daunting task, but when done right, deep cleaning a car’s interior will not have to be done too often. Plus, rolling down the windows, blasting the music and enjoying the warm spring weather is that much more enjoyable in a clean car.