You spend a lot of time inside your car, and probably so do your passengers: spouse, children, maybe a favorite furry friend. Over time, your vehicle takes a beating. So it’s a good idea to give it a light cleaning at least once a month, or at least when debris begins to build up to the extent that it impedes your driving ability or makes you feel uncomfortable. You need to do a thorough cleaning only about four times a year.
Since professional detail services tend to be quite pricey, it pays to learn how to do the job yourself. With just a few cleaning supplies and a couple of hours, you can get the interior of your car polished and looking like new.
The Equipment You Need to Clean the Interior of Your Car
Here is a list of the items you can use to do the job. You may already have what you need at home.
- Microfiber cloths
- Trash can
- Cotton swab
- Hard-bristled scrub brush
- Spray bottle
- Vacuum cleaner
- Paper towels
- Disinfecting wipes
- Dishwashing liquid
- Window cleaner
How to Keep the Inside of Your Car Clean
Keeping the interior of your car clean is not as daunting as it may seem. Following these tips makes it easy.
Gather Trash Regularly
Trash tends to build up in vehicles, leading to an unkempt-looking interior that can make both you and your passengers feel uncomfortable. That’s not the worst of it, either. Crumbs and more-or-less empty containers of sugary drinks encourage ants and other unwanted bugs to invade your car. So take a proactive approach to prevent needless mess by picking up trash as it happens. Be sure to check your floorboards, door pockets, seat pockets, and cup holders. These are the kinds of places where people leave things like wrappers, toys, and paper bags.
Clean the Cup Holders
One you extract any loose trash from your cup holders, they may still need to be scrubbed clean of grime, soda, and other stains. Try a cotton swab dipped in dishwashing liquid to get rid of any sticky residue. Many car models allow you to fully remove the cup holders, which makes cleaning them much easier.
Banish Stains Immediately
The longer stains stick around on your floor mats and car seats, the worse they get. So always keep a few cleaning supplies in your trunk, just in case! You can use dish soap, water, and a brush to scrub out every kind of stain. Mix soap and water in a spray bottle and apply it to the stain. Then scrub it with your hard-bristled scrub brush.
Wipe the Center Console
The infotainment system and gear shifter are part of the center console of your vehicle. Although this area doesn’t necessarily get dirty, dust does tend to build up if it is not cleaned once in a while. Simply wipe off the screen with a microfiber cloth and use disinfecting wipes to clean the gear shifter.
Organize the Armrest Console
If you’re like most drivers, you use your armrest console as your primary storage area. It’s easy to toss papers, CDs, and other objects into this accessible compartment without much thought. Over time, though, it becomes harder and harder to find anything in the console, rendering it pretty much useless. To prevent the problem, pay attention to what you put in the armrest console and organize the contents whenever things get a bit messy.
Because they aren’t used as much as the rest of the interior, hard plastic surfaces like the dashboard generally don’t get very dirty. But they still get a little dirty, and germs and dust can linger on these surfaces. Fortunately, cleaning them is simple. Just pull out a few disinfecting sheets and wipe them down.
Clear Windows and Windshield
The windows and windshield are some of the most important parts of the interior. After all, to drive you need a clear and unobstructed view of the road. Neglecting to wash these areas when necessary can impair your driving performance and perhaps even lead to an accident. After preparing a half-and-half solution of distilled white vinegar and water in your spray bottle, soak the windows and windshield with the mixture and clean it with a microfiber cloth.
Take Care of Floor Mats
Floor mats may be the dirtiest part of the interior, so clean them well. First, remove the mats from the vehicle and give them a good shake to expel loose debris. You may then simply vacuum the mats and scrub away any dirt that the vacuum cleaner does not pick up. If the floor mats are made of cloth, you can also wash them in a washing machine.
Don’t Forget to Vacuum
Vacuuming the interior of your car is essential to keeping it fresh and clean. Debris may linger in cracks and crevices and are difficult to remove by hand. A proper vacuum can suck up those small bits of litter. Of course, vacuuming is no substitute for picking up trash beforehand, since vacuum cleaners usually can’t suck up larger pieces of trash.
Use a Car Air Freshener
As trash accumulates and passengers go in and out of your car, its interior can develop odors. Automotive air fresheners are the best way to make sure it keeps smelling fresh and clean. Available fragrances include cherry, vanilla, even “new car smell.” These products are inexpensive, and you can find them at most gas stations and convenience stores. Stains can also cause foul odors in a vehicle. So make sure that all affected surfaces are thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned first.
Keeping your car clean isn’t hard; you just have to spend a little time at it. When you see how your car looks after a nice scrub, you’ll never want to see it dirty again.
Many people enforce rules like no eating or drinking in their vehicles to try to prevent spills and stains. Whatever your own rules may be, it’s a good idea to keep cleaning supplies in the trunk or under one of the two front seats to make sure that you can take care of any mess as soon as it happens. It’s easy to keep your car clean, orderly, and fresh as long as you make it a point to keep it that way.