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How to clean a car interior

Image via Pixabay

Whether you lease your car or you own it, chances are you'll want to try and keep it looking like new both inside and out. After all, when you return the car at the end of the lease, you'll want it to be neat and tidy to ensure you're within the guidelines of fair wear and tear.

You will also want to keep your car's interior as clean as possible when you read what touch-up paint specialists Chipex revealed in a blog article:

"University studies show that the average vehicle houses is way dirtier than a house, having 1700 times more bacteria! Testes showed there was 283 different types of bacteria per square centimetre, the gearstick holds approximately 356 different germs, the boot has around 850 types of bacteria, and the cup holders generally has 228% more bacteria than the average toilet seat! Gross, and dangerous too if you're breathing that in regularly."

So let's take a look at what you can do to make sure that the car interior looks as good as new for as long as possible and keep you healthy too!

Prevention is better than cure

We will look at the best way to clean the interior a bit later in this blog, but the best way to keep the interior clean is to not get it dirty in the first place. It's an obvious statement that could be applied to anything, and is also easier said than done, but this fact is often overlooked in the fast-paced world that we live in.

The biggest problem arises when food and drink is consumed in the car. Food stains are notoriously difficult to remove from upholstery, and even when it is removed, a stain often remains, especially with fizzy drinks. Grease from food goes onto fingers, fingers touch the interior (from fabrics to plastics to wood to chrome) and dirt collects. Food residues like pastry flakes are inevitable when eaten, and dropped and discarded food often forgotten - until it is too late.

Then there is all the packaging that comes with it. Paper bags, plastic coverings and all kinds of wrapping get discarded and left, usually in the footwells, on the floor in the back, and stuffed into side pockets and door spaces.

So how do you stop all this mess affecting the cleanliness of the cabin? Simple.

DON'T EAT IN THE CAR!

Eating in car - not a good idea

Eating in car - not a good idea. Image via Flickr User frankieleon

Obvious. Simple. But maybe not so easy to enforce. But try! You will notice the benefit; not only when it comes to keeping the car clean, but also on your waistline!

Also remember that no car should be without a rubbish bag to put any rubbish in; be it tissues, wipes, or food wrappers (if you MUST eat) then make sure that there is either a specially designed car container or just an old 5p (or more) grocery bag available. Make sure you empty it too!

Getting it cleaned professionally

If you have to clean the inside, then you can either do it yourself, or pay someone else to do it for you. Even if there is or there isn't a North-South Divide when it comes to cleaning the car, it does need doing to try and keep that just-got look, both inside and out, and professionals vacuuming, wiping, spraying, shining, waxing and cleaning the interior is just one way of doing it. 

There are many places that do it now - in fact, probably more than we need - so choose carefully. Get suggestions and opinions from your friends as to which one they use. There are also mobile valeters who come to your house or workplace, so it may be a case of convenience.

But make sure it is done regularly. Don't let it all build up.  

A bit of elbow grease and DIY clean

But if you decide that you want to do it all yourself, and are prepared to contort yourself into positions that you didn't even know existed, then here are a few tips as to what you can do to clean your car's interior.

  • Get yourself some equipment first. A basic kit made up of microfibre cloths, soft interior dash brush, quality car interior trim cleaner, quality car shampoo, car interior wipes, pack of no-bleach anti-bacterial wipes, odour-killing spray and a vacuum with wet and dry capability will do for a start.
  • Make sure that you give the interior a thorough vacuuming. Do all the carpets, seats, back shelf, boot and even the dashboard, getting rid of as much dirt and dust as possible. Make sure you use all the attachments and brushes you can to give it a good going over, and be careful not to mark the vinyl when you use them. It's also a good idea to put the air on full blast when you hoover.  Vacuum all areas including any upholstery on the doors, paying particular attention to areas that are rarely touched without trying such as down the sides and backs of the seats, the rear parcel shelf, and underneath the front seats. Vacuum out all the air vents in the front and rear of the car, including the ones under the seats which can harbour lots of dust, using the soft bristle brush vacuum accessory. 
  • Cleaning the car Interior

    Image via YouTube

    Use a good shampoo, and some warm water to get to work on the doors with a chamois leather, focusing on vinyl, plastics and upholstered panels, making sure that you rub hard and precisely, getting rid of all dirt and marks. Then dry it all off with an interior microfibre cloth which polishes and also absorbs water.
  • You can also use the shampoo, with clean water, on the seats and carpet, along with the dashboard. Rub hard to make sure that the grime lifts off the material before giving it a wipe with the drying cloth and leaving it to dry naturally. If you can, leave doors and windows open to help, but make sure that security is not compromised. Don't use any harsh detergents to clean because they can fade the material that you are cleaning.
  • Once all this is done, and dry, we move onto the windows and glass. Use a high quality product that is designed for cars, especially as you will find that run-of-the-mill glass cleaner won't necessarily get rid of the insect remains and other car splatters that you find on vehicles. And it will sometimes have an anti-misting property that stops windows steaming up. Apply polish with an even film, letting it dry for about 5 minutes before polishing it off.
  • Be careful polishing pedals because you can make them slippy. In fact, it's best if you don't. Better to be safe than sorry.

As we said earlier, preventing your car getting mucky is easier and better than curing it afterwards, but if all else fails, a good cleaning  is the answer. There are a lot of weird and wonderful ways out there to clean car interiors, and you could do worse than take a look at this Pinterest Page to find out some of the other ways to keep it clean.

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