How often do you do a proper interior car cleaning session?
For many people who have to commute, the time spent in a car can be several hours every day.
With the work commute and getting the kids to all their activities, the interior of your car can get messy!
It is frustrating when you notice your car going from pristine to looking like an episode of Hoarders.
Dirt, stains, dried mystery gunk in the cup holders and the food crumbs!
The only positive thing is that a car is compact, and it can be quick and easy to clean when you get into a regular routine.
Typically the exterior of a car is washed every couple of weeks.
However, cleaning the car's interior can be more time consuming, and doing a deep clean can take an entire day.
We've got some expert car interior cleaning tips that will make it easier for you to get through each step of cleaning your car's interior.
The goal is to not let it get to an overwhelming mess!
Here's How To Clean Your Car's Interior From Top To Bottom
Start with the upper surfaces and work your way down.
There's no point cleaning the carpet if the dirt is going to fall back onto the floor.
The first thing to remember is the fabric and materials in your car are different to those in your home.
You should always err on the side of caution when cleaning fabrics.
You don't want to damage any of the trims or linings with products that are not suitable to be used.
Remove The Rubbish And Clutter
Cleaning a small space can be difficult, especially it is cluttered!
So start by removing any possible rubbish from the floor and cup holders. Removing small items such as coins, toys and the like will also make cleaning easier.
An excellent way to keep your car well organised is to use a car organiser. There are many available, depending on what size you need. Some can be hung around the seats and have several compartments in different sizes.
Newer car models may have special compartments designed for organising. These are typically found in family cars.
If you have floor mats in your car, remove them and set them aside. They will be cleaned later.
First, however, you can prepare the mats by giving them a rough shake to loosen dirt and dust.
The Upholstery Brush Down
Upholstery brushes are a great way to start lifting dust and dirt out of the fabric, including the roof!
Quickly brush all surfaces down, starting at the top. Brush over the seats and dash and let all the dust and dirt fall onto the carpet.
If you can remove as much hair, especially if you have your pets on the seats, this will save time vacuuming.
There are pet hair brushes that can make this step faster as most vacuums will struggle to get part hair out of car seats.
The Dashboard Wipe Down
All the hard surfaces like the dashboard, steering wheel and consoles will need to be wiped down.
Start by removing dry dirt and debris from the surface and if there are seams and crevices. Then, you can clean them with a small brush or use a vacuum with a brush attachment.
Once all the dry dirt and dust have been removed, a damp microfibre cloth is usually sufficient to clean most surfaces.
Use a little detergent with a cloth for areas like the steering wheel where handprints and oil build-up happens.
You do not have to make it foam up to make it effective! You can also do this on leather seats. Again, water and a little detergent will not harm the leather.
The centre console gets almost the same treatment as the steering wheel and dashboard, except you will have to make sure all the debris and crumbs are removed.
If you have a vacuum with an attachment, you will save a lot of time!
Vacuuming the Car Seats
The next area you should freshen up is your car seats.
With any luck, you'll only be dealing with dirt – but who are we kidding? All seats will need vacuuming, including leather seats.
Vacuum the seats thoroughly and use a stiff brush attachment to loosen any stuck debris. Most dirt, hair, and dust have already been shifted or loosened by already brushing over them.
If you have a crevice attachment, this will help you get into the seams and between the upholstery folds and seats.
For leather car seats, they will need to be wiped down and dusted. If there are fingerprints or a buildup of oil. Use detergent and a microfibre cloth to remove the build-up.
If you have time, applying a leather conditioner will make them look rejuvenated and keep the leather in good condition.
Remember to thoroughly remove all the excess products off the leather as it will build up and either look dull or become slippery.
Cleaning the Windows And Windscreen
Finally, cleaning car windows can be challenging as there is nothing worse than a smear on the glass and trying to work out if it is on the outside or the inside!
First, you need to clean the outside windows when you clean the car's exterior.
One tip we can give is to use horizontal strokes on one side of the window and vertical strokes on the other That way, if there are streaks, you can tell which side they are on.
For the inside of the window, use a mixture of 50 per cent white vinegar and 50 per cent water in a spray bottle, then wipe it off with a microfibre cloth. Don't worry; the vinegar won't leave an odour once it is dry.
Vacuuming the Cars Carpets
The floor of your car is probably the dirtiest part of the interior, as passengers trample over it and tend to leave litter. If your car doesn't already have them, you should definitely invest in proper floor mats.
All you need to do is take them out, shake off the dirt and vacuum them thoroughly.
Remember to do this regularly, e.g. once a week, so that the dirt does not accumulate.
After removing the mats from the car, shake them vigorously to loosen dirt and dust. Then lay the mats out on a flat surface and vacuum them thoroughly to remove any hidden dirt. Vacuum both sides of the mats to ensure thorough cleaning.
If the mats are filthy, you can easily wash them! Turn the mats over and rinse them with a garden hose.
If you don't have a garden hose, you can use buckets of water or even take the mats into the bathroom.
To clean the underside thoroughly, put a few drops of washing-up liquid on the mats and scrub them with a sponge or brush. Then, rinse the mats again to remove the soap.
When the underside is clean, turn them over and focus on the fabric side. If you have a rubber or plastic mat, you can use dishwashing detergent for this side as well.
How To Clean Dirty Car Carpet If They Need More Than Vacuuming
When was the last time the carpet was cleaned? The carpet in the car is often overlooked for far too long – leaving stains, mud and sticky spots untreated.
Cleaning a car carpet is not as difficult as some people may think.
If you follow a few simple steps and use the right products and tools, you can get the job done quickly.
Here are a few extra tips to get the best results:
Leave the product on for as long as indicated: Then work the cleaner into the carpet with a stiff brush. Circular motions are best for getting out stains, dirt and grease.
Circular motions when scrubbing: When scrubbing, it is most effective to use circular motions. This helps to get the detergent into the fibres and dissolve stains and dirt. If you scrub back and forth, you may miss dirt.
Take your time: If you are in a hurry, leave the car carpet for another time. This task can take a few hours, depending on the level of dirt, so make sure you have the time. Before rinsing and drying the carpet, give the soiled areas an extra scrub. Stubborn stains can be difficult to remove, especially if they have already been cleaned and dried but not completely removed.
Spot Test: Before applying a product or home remedy, do a small test on an inconspicuous area. Apply it, rub it a little and leave it on for a few minutes – if there are signs of damage or discolouration, do not use it.
Keep it light: Over-saturating the carpet can cause water to soak into the fibres and backing. This can encourage mould to form, which is harmful in enclosed vehicle space.
The Car's Carpet Must Dry
After cleaning the carpet, use a damp cloth to wipe off excess water and detergent. Try to get as much of the shampoo out as possible.
It is essential to let the carpet dry thoroughly to avoid the growth of mould or mildew. After you have soaked up most of the water with a cloth, open all doors and let the car dry in the fresh air. If the car can stand in a sunny place, this will speed up the process.
Leave the car for an hour, then come back and check it. Feel in several places – if it is still damp, let it dry for another hour or so.
Steam Cleaning The Car Carpet
If your carpet is filthy, you can use a steam cleaner or carpet cleaning machine to get an extra thorough clean.
Alternatively, you can use a portable carpet cleaner, such as the Bissell Spot Clean, with a small attachment that fits in the car.
Interior Car Detailing
If you decide that an intensive deep clean is too difficult. Consider getting your car detailed.
Once the interior is spotless, it will be a lot easier to start a weekly routine, keep it clean, and not have to do an intense clean.
Take just five minutes each time you wash your car to remove the rubbish, shake out the floor mats and wipe down the dashboard, console and seats, and you can keep on top of this interior maintenance task.
Then when it's time for a complete interior clean, the task won't seem so daunting!
How To Keep Your Car Clean
- The best advice we can give you is to invest in car mats.
- Limit the amount of food eaten in the car
- Take your rubbish with you.
- Do not leave items in the car that do not belong there.
- If your pets go in the car – buy pet protective covers.
These will massively reduce pet hair and dirt from getting trapped in the car seats and hatch areas.
By keep doing the small things and taking your rubbish with you, you will have a car that stays neat and tidy for a lot longer!