Knowing how to clean your car’s interior properly will make your daily commute so much more pleasant. I used to give very little thought to my car’s cleanliness. After all, I was only in it to drive my kids to and from school and maybe run a few errands on the way.
Then one hot summer morning I opened my car and was immediately greeted with what I can only describe as a noxious cloud of horrific odors, the result of leaving food wrappers, half-empty cans of pop, and all sorts of other trash on the floor of my car. Why on earth was I starting my day like that?!
When I decided that I could no longer live with a filthy car I took mine to a detail shop. A full day later I went back to pick up my spotless car then drove away close to $200 poorer. What hurt even more than spending so much money was the knowledge that I probably could have done it myself if I’d just done a little research.
So, rather than spending that kind of cash at least twice a year, I set out to learn how to clean a car interior as well as any professional detailing service. Now I’m going to share what I’ve learned with you!
How To Clean Your Car’s Interior
You will need:
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- Two empty garbage bags or boxes
- Vacuum cleaner with attachments
- Microfiber cleaning cloths
- A bucket of clean, warm water.
- Homemade glass cleaner
- Liquid dish soap (I use Dawn original)
- Scrub brush
1. Get the junk out. Put all garbage in the first bag and throw it away. In the second bag, gather up any items that don’t belong in your car and set the bag aside to deal with once you’re done cleaning.
2. Vacuum the larger surfaces first. Using the upholstery attachment, vacuum the floor mats then remove them and set them aside. Vacuum the ceiling of your car (especially important if you’re a smoker), the car seats, under the seats, and finally the floor.
3. Vacuum the crevices. Using the crevice attachment, vacuum between the seats and console, under the seats, around the edges of the seat rails and all other areas where food and dirt hide.
4. Vacuum the dash. Using the vacuum’s brush attachment, vacuum the dashboard, the console, the inside of all cup holders and all other surfaces where dust collects.
5. Wipe it down. Dip a microfiber cloth into the bucket of warm water and wipe down the dashboard, steering wheel, console, door handles and all other vinyl surfaces. Be sure to rinse and wring the rag frequently, so you’re not just smearing dirt around. Change rags as needed. Add a small amount of soap to clean any sticky messes.
6. Clean the stains. Inspect the floor for stains. Remove them by dabbing (not rubbing) on warm, soapy water with a cleaning cloth then scrubbing to lift stain. Dab dry with a clean cloth. Repeat for stains on seat upholstery.
7. Wash the mats. Hose off the floor mats in your driveway. Treat stains with soapy water and a scrub brush. Allow them to dry in the sun.
8. Polish the glass. Use glass cleaner and a clean, dry microfiber cloth to clean fingerprints and haze from the inside of windows. Polish any chrome surfaces with the cloth, too.
9. Finish up. Return floor mats to the car when they’re completely dry. If you like to use a product to shine your car’s dash and interior surfaces, now’s the time to apply it by spraying it on a lint-free cloth and wiping it onto the surface to be treated. (Spraying it directly on the surface usually applies too much and can get your windows greasy again.)
10. Restock for the future. Make a habit of stashing a couple of empty of plastic shopping bags in your car to hold trash, muddy shoes, and items that don’t belong in your car. It’s also a good idea to keep a supply of paper napkins and a clean microfiber cloth in your console to deal with future spills.
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