Interior Car Care
Making sure the exterior looks its best usually dominates our attention when it comes to getting our vehicles clean. The theory goes; the exterior is what other people see, so keeping it pristine takes precedence. However, as drivers and passengers, we spend most of our time inside the car and see the dirty upholstery or leather, floor mats covered in grime, mud, and food crumbs, and all kinds of nasty build up on the steering wheel and hard surfaces. Therefore, it is important that we put as much care into cleaning the inside, as we do with the outside of our vehicles.
Serious car enthusiasts will actually say that the interior detailing is more important to them than the exterior work. But keeping your interior clean, presents certain challenges that are not present when cleaning the exterior. There are different types of materials and surfaces (such as cloth, leather, plastic, and rubber) and a much more complicated area to than simple body panels, metal, or paintwork.
You can split the surfaces in the car interior into two broad categories; the areas such as the dashboard which are hard and usually made of vinyl or plastic, and the soft surfaces such as cloth or leather seats and carpets. Your cleaning process will need to take this into account so let’s get started.
Firstly, remove the car seats if you are able to so you can work on the interior. This will allow you to collect a lot of the debris and crumbs that accumulates under and around them. You need a good vacuum cleaner to get the dirt which becomes trapped in the carpets and various areas around the interior – a Shop Vac or a powerful home vacuum are required so just forget about the small, low power vacuums which plug into the cigarette lighter – they just don’t have the power.
Remove all the mats before you do this and clean them separately and make sure you vacuum all over the interior including the hard vinyl surfaces. A good stiff brush is also a very useful piece of equipment at this point. You can use it to dislodge stubborn dirt as well as get at the places your hose attachments may not be able to reach easily.
Next you have the hard surfaces to clean. There are plenty of products available on the market to use for this but make sure you follow the instructions on the product you have purchased. You should use a microfiber towel to wipe up any cleaner. These types of towels are incredibly soft and absorbent and are far more affective than a cotton towel or an old t-shirt.
Rubber floor mats, like the Rubbertite™ and Protector, are pretty straightforward – turn your hose on them at full blast. Usually this will remove all of the dirt and grime. But you can also get at stubborn traces by using a carpet cleaner and a stiff brush. Avoid using an additional dressing on the mat which goes on the driver's side – the problem is that this may cause slippage and this is not to be advised if you suddenly need to hit the brakes in a driving situation.
If you have carpeted floor mats like the Ultimat, Heavy Plush, TruBerber™ or Luxe Mats, Lloyd Mats (the manufacturer) reccomends that carpet floor mats be treated like house carpet. Simple vacuuming is often the best solution for any carpet. Small particles of dust or sand can work their way deep into the carpet fibers. These particles may have sharp edges and are very abrasive to the carpet fibers. Therefore, vacuuming up these particles would extend the life of the carpet mat. For more floor mat cleaning tips, Click Here
For carpeted interior and cloth upholstery, we recommend a high quality foam cleaner. This is where vacuuming is important as you need to get most of the loose dirt up before you apply this type of product which will then be free to act on the actual fibers of the upholstery and carpet. After you apply the foam, work it in to the fabric with the brush and collect the waste product up with a cloth or even better a wet and dry vacuum. If you encounter more serious marks and stains, you can usually tackle these with special stain removers but always test these products beforehand because they may cause discoloration or make the stain worse – use a piece of the cloth which is not in plain sight.
By keeping your interior clean it will make your drive time more enjoyable. It will also stave off comments from other passengers about your dirty interior. Ultimately, a clean and well-cared-for interior will increase the resell value and will keep all parts of your car looking beautiful.