How to Clean Car Interior?

If the exterior of your car sparkles and shines, it not only pleases passers-by but also potential buyers if you’re considering selling. However, the interior deserves just as much attention.

Our tips and tricks help you thoroughly clean the car’s interior in a few steps, significantly enhancing the environment for both the driver and passengers.

Cleaning isn’t rocket science: most tools needed for professional interior care are likely already in your household and ready to use.

1. Proper Preparation Saves Time and Effort :

Efficient and professional interior cleaning requires thorough preparation: Remove objects and papers from the car before beginning. The umbrella in the trunk should also be temporarily removed to give your vacuum cleaner free rein.

Before cleaning the interior, empty the door and storage compartments, keeping an eye out for valuables and shopping coins left behind.

Then, gather the cleaning tools you’ll need within easy reach. This includes chamois leather, a microfiber cloth, lukewarm water with a splash of vinegar if necessary, and a sponge.

A soft brush can gently clean sensitive areas and reach into difficult corners of the dashboard.

For heavily soiled interiors, special glass, upholstery, and stain cleaners are recommended. There are also gentle preparations for thorough care of plastics.

Allocate ample time for cleaning the car interior: Allow the car to sit for a few hours after cleaning so damp areas on the upholstery and fabrics can fully dry.

2. Begin Interior Cleaning with a Vacuum Cleaner :

A powerful vacuum cleaner is crucial for thorough cleaning. Start with the footwells, floor mats, and trunk.

Remove and shake out floor mats before vacuuming. A strong vacuum cleaner can also remove crumbs, hair, and dandruff from upholstery and seats efficiently.

For stains not removable by vacuuming, special interior and upholstery cleaners are available to tackle stubborn dirt. Note: For leather upholstery, use a designated leather care product.

3. Dealing with Dirty Car Seats and Stained Upholstery :

Stains on upholstery are unsightly and diminish the interior’s value. However, professional tools can restore upholstery and fabrics:

  • Use special foam cleaners for car upholstery. Spray on, leave to act for a few minutes, then massage in with light pressure.
  • Vacuum the treated upholstery areas with a wet-dry vacuum to remove dirt bound by the foam without residue.

Tip: Wet-dry vacuums are ideal for cleaning upholstery and fabrics, moistening surfaces with a special cleaner, then vacuuming up the cleaner along with the dirt. These vacuums, often a significant purchase, can also be rented for excellent cleaning results.

4. Cleaning Vehicle Fittings :

The cockpit and dashboard are frequently viewed by the driver and passengers, making their cleaning crucial. Usually, a lint-free microfiber cloth is enough to make the dashboard shine.

For cockpit covers, soap lye is effective. Important: Dip the cloth in soapy water before cleaning to prevent liquid from reaching undesired areas.

Commercially available cockpit sprays can also enhance the cockpit’s shine and care.

5. Handle Clear Plastic with Extra Care :

For certain plastic components, like the plastic cover over the dashboard instruments, avoid chemical additives as they can damage the plastic and obscure important displays. This also applies to radio and navigation system displays. For heavy dirt and fingerprints, use a gentle display cleaner, like those for smartphones.

Very important: Spray the cleaner onto a microfiber cloth and clean the displays with light pressure.

When vacuuming near fittings, be cautious:

Especially on fittings and surfaces with a glossy finish, the hard rubber parts of standard vacuum cleaners can cause streaks and micro-fine scratches. Ensure the vacuum cleaner does not contact glossy components and displays during vacuuming.

6. Don’t Overlook Mirrors and Windows Inside the Car :

Ensuring a clear view naturally requires cleaning both the panes and mirrors from inside. A particularly effective method for cleaning the inside of the windshield is to do so from the passenger seat.

For this task, commercially available glass cleaners are effective. If unavailable, a combination of chamois leather and lukewarm water works well, with a splash of vinegar enhancing the cleaning power.

Remember the sun visors: they should be wiped with a cloth that’s not too wet. After cleaning, leave the sun visors down and windows open until they have fully dried.

Important for the Rear Window: To avoid damaging the heating wires embedded in the glass, clean in directions parallel to the wires.

Conclusion: How Often Should the Car’s Interior Be Cleaned?

The frequency of cleaning the car’s interior largely depends on how much dirt accumulates and how the car is used.

For those using their car mainly for commuting to the office, a thorough interior cleaning every 8 to 12 weeks is usually adequate.

However, for heavily used cars, especially those with children passengers, monthly cleanings are recommended to maintain the interior’s appearance over the years.

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