Is the inside of your car starting to feel like a waste bin? Are there empty water bottles, takeout food bags and receipts littered on the floor? If you have let your car slip into this state then it is time to setup a game plan to bring the interior of your car back to life. Neglecting the interior of your car can be quite detrimental to not only the resell value but also your mood and any passengers who witness its grubby state. Here are some DIY tips on how to show your car interior a bit of TLC:
Step 1: Declutter
Begin by removing any valuables or personal items such as jumpers, work or gym bags and electronics to ensure we do not throw out anything by accident. This will also give you a chance to sort out your valuables that have been lost in your car for the past year. The best place to clean the inside of your car is in your driveway where you are able to wheel your waste and recycle bin within arm’s length. Time to get rid of all that trash – you may want to wear gloves for this step in case there are any nasties that have grown hair over time. To make things easier you can use a garbage bag for any waste that cannot be recycled and then throw it all in the bin at once.
Step 2: Dashboard and central console
Wipe down the console using either a rag with some interior car cleaner or some protectant wipes. Ensure you have wiped down every surface including the gear stick, hand brake and steering wheel. A little tip for all those hard to reach places, simply wrap the rag or a protectant around the tip of a flat-head screwdriver and begin scrubbing between buttons and crevices. If you are worried you may harm your console, an old toothbrush works just as well. Finish off the job by applying some interior trim for that added protection and shine.
Step 3: Inside windows
Apply window cleaner to a microfiber cloth. Make sure that the cleaning agent you are using is ammonia free as it could damage the plastic on the interior of your car as well as your window tint. Don’t forget to wind your window down part way to clean that pesky grime that builds up along the top quarter inch. If you are having issues with streaks and can’t figure out whether the streaks are on the outside or inside, simply clean one side horizontally and the other vertically.
Step 4: Vacuum
Before you begin vacuuming, take out all the floor mats and give them a good shake to remove all the loose dirt. For any persistent stains or grime build up just wash them out using your garden hose or use carpet cleaner and a brush to scrub them out. Whilst your mats are drying, start to vacuum the inside of your car making sure you get into every crevice. This will include your floor and any upholstery where dust and dirt can get trapped. You may want to use different attachments to get into those hard to reach places.
Step 5: Seats and Upholstery
Leather – Apply a leather cleaning compound onto leather seats and lightly massage into material with a cloth and then dry with a microfibre cloth. Allow for the leather to completely dry and then apply a leather conditioner to nourish and restore its flexibility in the fibres.
Vinyl – Apply appropriate cleaner that is compatible with vinyl upholstery and wipe down with a cloth. Ensure you do not get any of the cleaner on other surfaces as this may cause damage. Proceed to dry the seats with a clean cloth.
Fabric – Depending whether your seats require a deep cleanse or simply removing odour will determine how you will need to clean your fabric. A multipurpose cleaner will suffice for a quick cleanse, for more stubborn stains you may need to use a specialized fabric stain remover.
Step 6: Freshen up
For the final touches, install or spray your car with an air freshener. To remove the smell of smoke or old car smells, purchase specialized smoke odour killers or water-based fragrances.
TIP – apply baking soda to a stubborn stain and allow it to sit for several hours before vacuuming it up. This will not only remove the stain but also any odours.
Don’t stop here, have a look at our advice to clean up your car on the outside.