Cars collect dirt, dust, grease and trash. Over time they can start to smell or lose their luster. You can make the interior of your car more attractive by cleaning it regularly and doing a few deep cleaning treatments occasionally. It is important to treat spills, muddy footprints and pet odors as soon as possible, so that they don’t permanently affect how your car feels and smells. Assess the damage to your old car’s interior, and treat it accordingly. Learn how to spruce up the interior of your older car.
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- Cleaning your Car
Throw away any trash that is hidden within your car. Check under seats, in the pockets and glove compartment and in the cup holders. Set aside any extraneous things, such as car kits, CDs and manuals before you start to clean.
Inspect your car for sticky or hard to clean stains. Spray them with glass cleaner and let sit for at least 5 minutes.
Clean the interior console of your car. The process that you use will depend upon if you have leather or synthetic interiors.
Buy car cleaning wipes for plastic molded interiors. These will make the job go faster than using a spray with soap and water. Wipe clean the dashboard, console, steering wheel, gear shift and molding throughout the interior of the car.
Buy leather cleaner for leather interiors. Spray the leather cleaner onto a terry cloth or other lint free fabric. Rub the surfaces of the leather well, but not too hard. Most leather is dyed and rough cleaning can remove some dye.
Clean especially dirty leather with leather cleaner and a toothbrush. Pour some leather cleaner on a soft bristled toothbrush. Brush in a circular motion and then wipe clean.
Wrap a car cleaning wipe around a flat-nosed screwdriver. Clean around the buttons, dials and vents with this tool.
Wet cotton swabs in glass cleaner or leather cleaner and clean the detail spots, such as the seams and embossed leather. Take your time with this step.
Vacuum the interior of your car, starting with upholstered seats and moving to the pockets and the floor. Place the seats in a reclined position so that you can vacuum between the seams. You can use a shop vacuum or you can go to a car wash and pay for time with an industrial strength vacuum.
Remove the floor mats. Hang them and beat them with a racket to remove hidden dust and dirt.
Look for deep stains. Remove blood or bright stains with cold water. Try to treat the stain immediately to avoid discoloration.
Remove car sickness stains with a mixture of baking soda and water. Sponge the mixture on lightly. Allow it to sit for 20 minutes and then rub clean. Dry with a hair dryer if too much water soaks into the flooring or upholstery.
Clean general car upholstery stains with a carpet cleaner. You can also make a homemade cleaner by mixing 1 gallon (3.8 L) of hot water with 1/2 cup (118 ml) vinegar and 1 oz. (30 ml) of dish soap. Mix well. Apply with a hard bristled brush. Let it sit for 30 minutes and dry by blotting with towels. Use a hair dryer on any soaked areas of upholstery.
Apply the upholstery cleaning mixture to the removable floor mats. Since they are thick, you can use plenty of water. Clean thoroughly with a hard-bristled brush, rinse and hang to dry.
Spray the inside of the windows with glass cleaner. Wipe dry with a lint-free cloth.
- Improving your Car Interior
Spray air conditioning treatment into the air vents at the top of your dashboard, below the windshield. Air conditioning treatment is available at stores that specialize in car parts. Let the treatment sit according to package directions.
Brighten synthetic carpets with a mixture of 1 pint of water and 1/2 cup (118 ml) of clear ammonia. Use a damp sponge to mop the mixture onto the carpet. Blot out excess moisture with dry towels.
Do not use this mixture on wool carpeting. Check in your driver’s manual to see if you have wool carpet.
Look for fraying carpeting. Buy liquid resin from a craft store. Paint the liquid resin onto the edges and the seams to stop the fraying and lay the worn edges down.
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Sprinkle Borax on the carpets to remove bad odors. Leave the Borax on the carpeting for 1 hour and then vacuum it up. This is essential for a car that often carries around pets.
Rent a steam cleaner to deep clean the upholstery and floor carpet. Suck up all the excess water and open the car doors to make sure it dries completely before using the car. Use a hair dryer to get rid of excess moisture.
Wax your clean, dry floor mats with liquid shoe wax. This will make them easier to clean.
Look for indentations in the carpet caused by heavy objects. Remove the objects first, and then place a damp towel over the indentations. Heat an iron on a low setting, and place it over the towel.
As the towel dries, it will lift up the indentation. Make sure not to hold the iron in 1 place for too long.
Spray your cleaned synthetic upholstery with Scotch Guard upholstery protector. Allow it to dry according to package directions. This will make your upholstery easier to clean in the future.