Winter is rapidly coming to a close as it gives way to spring’s blooming flowers and trees. The smell of spring is in the air, but not in your car. It’s been closed up all winter. The litter is piling up under the seats, and dust is accumulating on the dashboard. Yes, it is that time of year again to roll the car out into the driveway and clean it up. After all, summer is around the corner, and you want your car to look and smell clean. Well, here are some solid cleaning tips to get your auto interior into tip-top shape.
Clean out the Junk
Remove all trash from the floorboards and under the seats. You can make this step easier by adjusting your car seats to their forward position. This will expose all the stuff you’ve accumulated under there. This is like the fun part of cleaning your car. You almost always find strange and long lost items under there. It’s like an archeology dig for pens, pencils, and loose change. Take all other non-garbage items likes clothes and jackets out of the car. Put them away in your home.
Vacuuming and Deep Cleaning Carpets
Thoroughly vacuum the inside of your car. A powerful Wet & Dry vacuum is recommended here. Work the vacuum back and forth over the carpet and try to bring some of the debris to the surface. You will find many areas that are just not very accessible to your vacuum hose. One trick is to attach your hose to the exhaust port on your vacuum and blow the debris from those hard to get to areas. Use a brush attachment and give the upholstery a thorough going over.
After you finish vacuuming, clean your car’s carpets with a portable carpet-cleaning machine. The Bissell Little Green is recommended here. For less than a hundred bucks you can have a portable, deep carpet-cleaning machine that is great for cleaning spots, spills, and stains. You can treat hard to clean spots with a stain lifting spray such as Spot Shot or Resolve.
Wiping Down the Interior
Many people are tempted to get straight to detailing the interior. But you have to be patient here. Your first step in working toward a quality detailing of the inside of your car comes with a good wipe down to remove surface dust and grime. Add about a gallon of hot water to a clean plastic bucket. Pour in a cup of Simple Green into the hot water and stir it around. You now have one of the safest non-toxic cleaners, and it degreases as well as any chemical cleaner. Using a clean cloth, soak it in the solution and squeeze the excess fluid out of the cloth. Give your car’s interior a good wiping down. Pay particular attention to the interior door panels as they collect a lot of dirt and grime. One last place to clean is probably the most overlooked. Wipe down and clean the doorjamb areas and the painted uni-body.
Detailing the Interior
This takes patience, but it is well worth the job. Clean and dust the dash vents with a soft brush. An inexpensive shaving brush works well here. A long bristled paintbrush is a good alternative if you can’t find a shaving brush. Clean the nooks and crannies out with a soft bristle toothbrush. Work your way around the door panels and brush around the handles. If you find yourself having difficulty getting into tight spots, you can use a toothpick to get the grime out. Once you have that interior cleaned up, finish up the dash area with Armor-All. Some people don’t like it because it has a slippery feel to it. If this is you then choose a product that you like to add some sheen to the hard plastics of your interior.
Select a streak-free window cleaning solution such as Windex to clean your windows. Start with the inside of the windshield. Spray the glass with Windex and wipe it clean with newspaper. Newspaper is the cheapest and most efficient wipe for glass. Partially roll down the door windows a bit and clean along the edges that were hidden by the door recesses. No window is completely clean until you get the exterior side.
Make it Smell Nice
You have worked your tail off to get your car looking good. Finish off with a deodorizer of your choice. There are all kinds of sprays and hanging air fresheners available. This is of course a personal choice you have to make to make your cleaning job complete. You are now ready to cruise the town in your almost newly minted car.