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How to Clean Your Car

August 17, 2018

The car is often treated like a living room on wheels. Clean and tidy as often as you prefer, but when it comes to cleaning up spills, don't delay.



A handheld vacuum will do wonders for the interior of your car, without requiring a whole lot of work on your part, making it possibly the most crucial tool to own if you want to keep a tidy-looking vehicle. Pet hair, Cheerios, dirt and gravel, stray French fries and so on will be gone in no time, and you’ll be surprised at what a simple vacuuming can do for the appearance of the seats, especially ones covered in fabric upholstery.

How to clean stains on car upholstery: Stains on fabric seats can be removed using an upholstery cleaner. It can be helpful to use the cleaning agent in concert with a white or light-colored rag, which will allow you to see how much of the stain you’re picking up. Upholstery cleaner can also be used to clean stains from the headliner (the fabric-covered interior roof), but it’s important to apply the cleaner to a rag, rather than directly to the headliner, which shouldn’t be saturated with liquid. Use the rag to gently scrub in the direction of the grain, and let the headliner air dry before repeating if needed. Leather seats and interior detail can be cleaned using leather conditioner or, in the case of very bad stains, saddle soap. When choosing a product to clean leather seats, look to leather shoe cleaners (you may even have one already).


Children’s car seats take a terrible beating. Spills, diaper blowouts, carsickness, crumbled cookies, and on and on and on, will make a mess of a car seat. That handheld vacuum you used on the adult seats can also be used to clean up smashed Goldfish. When messes occur that are beyond what a vacuum can clean up (see the aforementioned messes), remove the unit from the car to make it easier and less back-breaking to clean. Tip: Try a little WD-40 to remove sticky messes. (Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for laundering car seat covers.)


Compressed air can be used to blow crumbs, hair or dust from hard-to-clean spaces like cupholders and door side pockets. Sticky spills that have dried can be given the same hot compress treatment as sticky spills in the fridge: Wet a sponge or rag with very hot water, being careful not to burn your hand, and press it on the spill until it begins to loosen, at which point it can be wiped away. Keep a pack of bathroom wipes in your car for quickly addressing spills, both on hard and upholstered surfaces.

How to clean your dashboard: Be careful when choosing dashboard cleaning products, as many can cause glare. Avoid any products that contain ammonia or alcohol, which can cause cracking. Simple as it sounds, the best thing to use to clean a dashboard is a damp microfiber cloth. For stubborn stains, add a small amount of dish soap to the cloth. Vents can also be wiped clean using a damp cloth, and a dry paintbrush or toothbrush can be used to remove dust and crumbs from vents and control buttons.


When your car takes on a terrible odor, forget the dangling trees from the rearview mirror and opt for a canister- or brick-style odor eliminator, like the Bad Air Sponge or Innofresh Auto Odor Eliminator. Good old Lysol is also excellent at quickly deodorizing and disinfecting the interior of the car or trunk.

Source: nytimes

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