You know you have to change your oil on a regular basis, usually, once you drive every 7,500 miles or every six months. You probably also know to check your brakes, lights, and tires. However, the car interior matters, just like all the parts of your car that help it run.
How to Properly Care for Your Car Interior
You may not even realize that a set standard exists for how often you should clean the inside of your vehicle, but just like getting an oil change, you need to clean out your car routinely, preferably once a month.
Christian Newman, owner of C & J Automotive Detailing, recommends cleaning it more frequently if you have children who make messes or transport pets who leave behind a dusting of fur.
Pick Up Miscellaneous Items
Cleaning the interior of your car should start with picking up any miscellaneous items such as toys, books, and other random items. This is the ideal time to pick up any trash, including any large pieces of food that a sweeper can’t suck up.
Vacuuming Your Car
The first part of cleaning your car should begin with vacuuming. While you may automatically start sweeping the floor first, this isn’t the most efficient way to clean your car interior.
Begin with your ceiling because you may knock down dirt and dust all over the seats of your car while you’re cleaning. Next, vacuum your console and seats. You should finish by sweeping the carpeting in your car or truck.
You should use a vacuum that has more than one type of attachment. For example, the upholstery nozzle works best on your seats and other upholstered areas. However, you want to use the tool that gets in crevices to thoroughly clean your seats and seat pockets.
A dusting brush works well on hard plastic or vinyl while your standard brush will thoroughly clean your flooring.
Cleaning Vinyl and Doors
Using a cotton cloth and mild polish, clean your doors including in the jambs. The polish adds oils to the door to prevent it from drying.
With the same rag and polish, you want to wipe down all vinyl in your vehicle, such as your dashboard and inside of your door. Don’t wipe down your steering wheel with the polish though; you’ll make the wheel slippery.
During your monthly cleaning, you should wash your windows. You want to do so by going over them in a circular motion to avoid streaks.
When you wipe off your dashboard and console, you should use a moist rag and a household cleaner. A glass cleaner works well for this job as well. You want to begin with the cleanest areas and save the dirtiest for last.
You may want to use the glass cleaner or household cleaner on your steering wheel if water alone isn’t enough.
You might want to use a cotton swab around the areas where you can’t reach with a rag. You don’t have to do this every time you clean out your car, but it doesn’t hurt to do it every now and then when you have time.
Wash Your Seats and Floor
Start by removing your floor mats. Then, using a spray-on cleaner and a scrub brush, clean the seats and mats. If you have leather or vinyl interior, use a leather cleaner with a lotion base. You may want to scrub the carpeting on the floor every now and then. Make sure you leave the mats out and your car open until all of the interior dries.
Especially when you have kids or pets, stains are a possibility. Candy, chocolate, and crayons are just some of the culprits. Fortunately, you can use a stain remover that’s especially for cars.
You may want to see a cleaner like Awesome to remove crayon, blood, or any other hard-to-clean stain. Make sure it’s safe for the material of your car before you use it though.
If you have a crayon, chewing gum, or candy melting in your car, you should stop it as soon as possible by using an ice cube. Then, you can remove the stuck-on substance. You may need to use a stain remover to correct any marks it leaves.
Caring for Leather
Leather is a bit different to take care of it. You must clean and condition leather to prevent it from cracking and drying out. Firstly, you want to use a soft brush and a cleaner safe for leather.
Saddle soap is one option.
Next, you must use a conditioner to keep the leather moist. If the leather should happen to crack or become discolored, you may have to replace it.
Tips for Cleaning
You can detail the car using an old toothbrush. Just make sure it’s a soft bristled brush or you could scratch your car’s interior. A toothbrush also works well for cleaning leather grain and the inside of your doors. Brushing in a circular motion is the easiest and most effective way to clean these surfaces.
Make sure you avoid cleaners that contain ammonia, in particular, window cleaners. The ammonia could dry out any plastic surfaces in your vehicle. In addition, it’s damaging to your windows, especially tinted windows. Before you clean your tinted windows, you should ask a professional what’s safe to use on your particular tint.
If you smoke in your car, you can purchase a special air freshener that decreases the odor.
Giving Your Car a Clean Appearance
How cleanly you present yourself, your home, and your automobile tells a great deal about who you are. If you’re driving around in a vehicle that’s dirty on the inside and someone sees inside your car, they’re automatically judging you.
Let’s say a co-worker asks for a ride home from work. Having them sit in your filthy vehicle is uncomfortable for you and them.
Keeping everything in your life clean and organized helps reduces the chaos in your life. You’ll be able to find everything you need and quickly.
Removing Bacteria and Other Germs
Think about how many bacteria, viruses, and other harmful organisms enter your car on a regular basis. You get in and out of your car from going into the grocery store and various other public places. You go in and out of work.
Your kids enter and exit the car after coming in contact with kids at school and extracurricular activities. If you let your animals in your car, you contend with the germs they bring in as well.
The only place where you wear shoes the entire time is in your car and public places, so you carry a great deal of germs into your vehicle this way.
Preventing Mold from Growing in Your Car Interior
Anytime you have somewhere with moisture that doesn’t have a chance to dry, there’s a risk for mold growth. The moisture problem could occur as a result of your air conditioner or if you have any type of water leaking in through a window or sunroof.
Mold is an issue for several reasons. For one, the smell of it is foul. For those who are immunocompromised or have a mold allergy, this fungi can cause serious health issues.
Maintaining the Resale Value of Your Car
You can sell a car with the original interior still intact for more money. For instance, if you have an older vehicle or any one that could have a high value, you’re harming the value of it if you have to have the interior redone.
Keep in mind, if you want to sell your vehicle and you don’t take care of the interior of your car, you might have a hard time selling it. Most people, unless they have a limited budget, don’t want to sit on car seats that are filthy or damaged.
Minimizing Allergens in Your Car
When you clean your car interior, you reduce the number of allergens in it including mold. Your air conditioner pulls allergens from outside into your car. Dust builds up in your car as well.
Allergens accumulate throughout your car and can cause you to sneeze, cough, and experience a runny nose. You might even develop a sore throat and have breathing issues.
Detailing the Interior of Your Car
Every now and then, you may want to get your car professionally detailed on the inside and outside. It helps protect the car interior and paint job.
When a professional details your car’s interior, they clean the seats, carpeting, and various other surfaces of your car. Generally, a company will steam clean the interior or use the shampooing method. How the company performs the detailing depends on your car interior. For instance, they treat leather different than they would plastic, fabric, or a wood trim.
Caring for your car interior the proper way is essential for maintaining the value of your car. It also makes you feel better when you remove clutter and remove allergens and germs. You can even prevent fungi from growing and possibly making you and your family ill.