If you thought that grooming was only for pets and humans, then you’re wrong. Just like your home, your car is basically an extension of your living room space only that it has wheels. Come to think about it, most cars have a general warranty of about 60,000km, which translates to about 3 years.
Now, imagine how many times your car’s doors will be opened and closed, the number of times the windows will be raised and lowed and the number of times the seats will be occupied, vacated and re-occupied again?
If you consider all these factors, you’ll realize that your car has indeed survived a lot of punishment. While this might not be the problem, the main issue comes in on how you expose yourself to serious health risks. I believe most of you are asking how right?
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Now, the dusty seats and carpets, over time, becomes home to dust mites, bacteria, and other allergens that can cause respiratory illnesses. So, if you’re reading this and you’re looking to clean your car’s interior, then this post is here to walk you through five expert tips.
But, Before we Commence, Here are Some Tools and Materials You’ll Require;
- A vacuum cleaner machine with multiple hand-held attachments
- A steam-cleaning machine
- Wiping and polishing materials such as towels, clothes, rags and microfiber cloths
- Different sized brushes and applicators
01: Start With the Steering Wheel and the Dashboard
Your car’s front panel is the area you see the most and unfortunately, it’s one of the dustiest parts of your car. What even worse, is that this part of the car houses some of the most delicate parts such as the car’s radio, some switches, knobs, airvents, and some ports.
Now, to clean this part, start by removing dust on the small seams and crevices using a dry brush or a handheld vacuum cleaner. When you’re done, use a microfiber cloth to remove bacteria. Since your steering wheel is sweaty, adding a little disinfectant can help to remove bacteria.
When the steering wheel is clean, treat it gently to prevent any possible cracks and wear. When it comes to the dashboard, you can find one made of leather, vinyl, rubber, or plastic. To avoid fading or discoloration, you can use Weiman’s leather wipes for leather dashboards and Armor All’s protectant wipes for vinyl, rubber, and plastic dashboards.
Finally, there’s the console. This part can be susceptible to dust and spills. Just like the dashboard and the steering wheel, you’ll need a toothbrush or a handheld vacuum cleaner to clean the console. Clean the surface and the cup holders then use a microfiber cloth to disinfect it.
02: Cleaning The Seats
Cleaning the seats is quite different from cleaning the dashboard. That’s because your car’s seats are covered with different materials such as leather, vinyl, and cloth upholstery.
Dusting is pretty much the same in all fabrics, as you only need to use different vacuum models with specialized brush attachments to suck out dust or loosen any stuck residue. When you’re done, you can use any of these cleaning methods depending on the fabric.
Leather is among the easiest to clean. After wiping off the dust, simply mix two cups of water with 5 drops of dish soap then mix the two in a spray bottle. Spray gently then use a clean towel to wipe the surface until it’s completely dry. Finally, apply a leather conditioner to make it supple and prevent any damage on the surface.
Just like leather, vinyl to is a snap to take care of. Most cleaning products work well with vinyl without causing any kind of damage. However, you must read the labels carefully to identify which cleaning agents work perfectly well.
Simply mix water and the cleaning solution in a spray bottle then spray the vinyl seats gently. Use a clean towel to wipe the seats until they’re completely dry.
Cloth car seats are some of the most difficult to clean especially if there are tough stains. Here, you can either use a multipurpose upholstery remover or a specialized stain remover. Now, mix a cup of water with a half-cup of vinegar and one teaspoon of dishwasher soap.
Mix them gently in a spray bottle then start praying straight on the affected areas. Use a microfiber cloth to blot the excess moisture until it’s completely dry. In case the seats are wet, you can sprinkle some baking soda then vacuum it after several hours.
03: Cleaning Windows and Mirrors
This is another delicate part that requires a lot of care. Now, the mirrors and the exterior side of the windows can be cleaned when you’re washing the car. However, the inner side of the windows will require some care as the inner tinting on the windows can get damaged by harsh chemicals (especially those with ammonia).
Getting back to cleaning, simply mix water with white vinegar in a spray bottle in equal measures. Spray the solution in a microfiber cloth then use it to wipe the windows. To enhance efficiency, you can wipe the inside in horizontal strokes and the outside in vertical strokes. This way, you can easily tell which side is unclean just by looking at the strokes.
04: Cleaning The Carpet
Cleaning the carpet and the floor of your car is easy and quite straightforward. Start by removing the mats to shake off the dirt. Next, sprinkle baking soda on the floor of your car then leave it for about an hour. Vacuum it gently to remove as much dirt as you can.
Back to the carpet, you can use a steam cleaning machine—especially a hand-held model to clean it. Alternatively, you can consider commercial-grade carpet cleaning agents to clean the carpet. A variety of brush attachments will also be required here to clean the carpet thoroughly without damaging the fabric.
05: Getting Rid of Odors
Lastly, lingering odors such as cigarette smoke, garbage and pet/kids related smells can be difficult to get rid of. However, you can easily get rid of such odors by sprinkling a thin layer of baking soda on the seats and the floor of your car.
If that doesn’t work, you can try out enzymatic cleaners such as Nature’s Miracle, use artificial fragrances or you can simply mix baking soda with a few drops of your favorite essential oil to remove the odors.
As you can see, detailing the interior of your car comes with so many benefits. First, your car looks neat and fresh. Secondly, it’s free from harmful bacteria, dust and allergens that can cause allergies, and third, it maintains that “new car” looks that give it a young appearance that lasts for many years.
Finally, unless you’re driving for longer hours, cleaning the interior of your car every five to six months should be sufficient as anything more can damage the fabrics and the tinting with time.
With that said, when was the last time you detailed your car’s interior? You can share your views in the comments section below.