Is your car’s interior worn out or faded? Well, there’re countless ways that you can implement to reverse the effects without having to spend so much money. With prices of vehicles going through the roof, it only makes sense to preserve the one you already have. That said, here’s everything you need to know.
Cleaning Tools & Materials
First is to have cleaning tools and materials such as towels, sponges, rags, a decent vacuum cleaner and an assortment of cleaning products ready. Before proceeding to use these cleaning products, it is best to be certain that that they’re meant for your car’s surfaces for obvious reasons.
-Wiping and Polishing Materials
You need to have a wide assortment of rags and towels for serious cleaning. This assortment should include those for polishing and cleaning. In this regard, a microfiber cleaning cloth is your best tool. But before beginning, it is best to check that the cloths don’t have any residual chemicals that may potentially damage the upholstery after applying them.
-Chemical Cleaning Products
In this regard, you need to have cleaning products that are better suited for your car’s surfaces. The products should include those for upholstery, plastic, vinyl, and carpeting.
An ideal vacuum cleaner for this purpose should preferably have a hand-held attachment and an extension hose. Attachments are necessary as you’ll need them not only to clean carpets but also to reach hard-to-reach areas.
-Applicators and Brushes
Last but not the least are applicators and brushes. In order to clean hard-to-reach nooks and air vents you need different-sized brushes. See the instructions on the label as the applicators are dependent on the type of cleaner you decide to work with. You may need a rag, sponge, or brush.
With all the aforementioned tools and materials now in place, the next step is to test them on an inconspicuous area. This is necessary in order to establish whether or not they are ideal for your car’s surfaces. By testing on a hidden area, you’re sure that if anything goes wrong with the type of chemicals you have then there won’t be much to worry about. If the results turn out exemplary, which they should, then you should continue with the cleaning process explained below.
Leather, cloth, and vinyl are the three common types of seat materials. Each of the materials require dissimilar cleaning methods.
Unlike leather seats, cleaning vinyl seats is a snap. Here, most products will work just fine. Nonetheless, you need to check labels of the products you’re using to verify that they can be used on vinyl materials. Next, wipe with a rag after spraying the car seats with a cleaner. While doing this, make sure to use a protective material/rag to protect other areas that might be damaged by the excess spraying. The final step is to wipe down the seats completely using a cloth. One hour should be enough for this process.
Unlike cleaning vinyl and cloth surfaces, cleaning leather surfaces requires an extra effort. And it gets worse if left uncleaned for a long time. Grime and dirt become embedded into the surface, leading to loss of the original surface gloss.
When cleaning the surfaces, make sure to also include a rag to work the spray into the material. For better results, make sure to flip the rag as often as possible when working into the material. This ensures that you’re constantly using the cleanest part. Lastly, complete the cleaning process using a microfiber cleaning cloth.
Unlike a vinyl material, leather surfaces require a couple of hours, three to four in my experience. After the drying, you may want to use a leather conditioner to make it supple lest after a short period of time it dries and starts coming off bits by bits.
Depending on the dirt you’re dealing with, you may need to use different cleaning products. In this regard you may need to ask yourself three questions – Do the seats need a general cleaning? Are there any tough stains you have to take care of? Are odors nasty?
We recommend getting a multipurpose upholstery cleaner for this purpose. You can read the Best Microfiber Cleaning Cloth review here.
Carpets and Floor Mats
Before you begin cleaning carpets and floor mats, remove junk food wrappers, all coins, and other objects that’ve accumulated. Make sure you don’t miss anything by sliding the seats forward and backward.
Completely vacuum the carpet first. Secondly, use a steam cleaning machine if you have one. If not, the numerous commercial carpet cleaning products will still work. You may use BISSELL Spot & Stain Fabric and Upholstery.
While spraying, apply some elbow grease to remove stubborn stains. However for most products, you only need to spray it on and brush off with a brush that’s stiff. Lastly, use an absorbent towel to dry it especially if the carpet becomes saturated when cleaning it.
Windows and Mirrors
When cleaning glass surfaces, a microfiber cloth and a glass cleaner can work wonders. Nevertheless, make sure you’re cleaning glass and not plastic. It is important to take precautionary measures when cleaning tinted glass, as some tinting can be a sheet placed inside the window while some tinting is part of the window itself.
To begin the cleaning process, spray the cleaner on the cloth first to minimize streaking. Finally, roll the windows halfway in order not to forget cleaning the quarter inch area along the top.
If you have the right tools, cleaning the front panel doesn’t need to be tasking. Unfortunately, the vents, switches, knobs, and dusty crannies and nooks may make it difficult to clean. The front panel is classified into three parts – console, dashboard, and air vents.
The console can prove a nightmare to clean given the smorgasbord of buttons and controls located there. Tiny dust particles may penetrate into every crevice and crack making cleaning a tasking process. To clean it, wrap a plastic knife in cotton or cloth or wrap around a flat-head screwdriver tip.
When it comes to air vents, use a soft, long bristle brush to quicken the cleaning work as the air vent grills are numerous. Additionally, to give it a brand new look, blow air from compressed air canisters to the grille.
As for the dashboard, before embarking on the cleaning process, you need first to identify which type of material you’re working with. Cloth, vinyl, and leather are the most common. The dashboard tends to be one of the dirtiest areas of the cabin. Begin by vacuuming and then applying a cleaning product. Lastly, in order to prevent cracking and fading from sunlight exposure, you may want to apply an appropriate interior dressing.
If you follow these simple steps to improve the look of your automotive interior, not only will you maintain that “new car” look and feel for many years to come, but the little money invested in improvements can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars when selling or trading in your vehicle.