Car Care: Maintaining a Clean Interior
September 2018
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Car Care: Maintaining a Clean Interior
Keep your car interior looking and feeling as good as new

With all the time you spend inside your car, it’s not much of a surprise that it seems to get dirty so quickly. You might be the type to let stray leaves and mud streaks or dusty dashboards sit for a while, but these simple car care tips make it easier to keep your vehicle tidy more consistently.

Seats

According to Arto Baltayan from the website Money Crashers, the three main types of material used for car seats are vinyl, leather and cloth. After you vacuum the dirt out of your vehicle, the cleaning process will vary depending on which of these three materials is utilized. For vinyl, you’ll want to use soft cleaning tools like sponges or rags. If you want to keep it simple, you can stick with distilled water with mild dish soap, or you can opt for baking soda for stains and spots that are harder to clean.

Leather seats are a bit more complicated and time-consuming, requiring the application of leather cleaner first and then leather conditioner after it’s dry to keep the material clean and supple. Multipurpose upholstery cleaner works well on cloth seats, though specialized stain remover might be necessary for strong stains. Afterward, to prevent your car from smelling like wet cloth, sprinkle some baking soda on the seats to absorb the odor and vacuum it up for a fresh car smell.

Whatever your upholstery, cleaning the seats periodically will not only help keep your vehicle looking fresher, but it will go a long way toward preventing and eliminating unwanted odors.

Windows

Glass cleaner and microfiber cloth is the most effective combination for cleaning glass surfaces. To reduce the amount of streaking on your windows, spray the cleaner on the cloth instead of on the glass itself. If you are dealing with streaks and can’t tell if it’s on the interior or exterior surface of the glass, Baltayan recommends wiping the exterior surface horizontally while wiping the interior surface vertically to make it more discernible.  

Front panel

As Baltayan points out, the front panel is the area we see the most in a vehicle, and it also tends to be the dustiest. Cleaning the dashboard is made simple by using a vacuum first to get all the dust before applying a cleaning product over the entire surface. To reach the tightest spots on your console, wrap a thin cloth around the tip of a flat-head screwdriver and use it to clean the finer details. For the air vents, use a brush with long, soft bristles to remove dust and grime.

Floor

Baltayan suggests that it’s a good idea to save the carpet and floor mats for last after you’ve cleaned everything else. Remove the floor mats and shake them vigorously outside the car to get the dust off. Vacuum the mats first, and then wash them out using a garden hose. As you set them out to air-dry, vacuum the carpet, being mindful of the crevices and areas around the seats. To wash the carpet, a steam cleaning machine is the best option, though foam carpet cleaning products will get the job done as well. Simply spray the product onto the carpet and brush it in without getting the carpet too wet to avoid mold or mildew.

Detailing the interior of your vehicle should be done every six to eight months for maximum effect. By investing some time and effort into your vehicle once or twice every year, your car interior can maintain that new-car look and feel for years after it initially rolls out of a dealership lot.  

This article is presented by Jannell Ford in Hanover, Massachusetts.


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Published by Jannell Ford
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