How to clean your auto interior

Cleaning the outside of our cars isn’t fun, but we all get to it eventually – after all, it’s mostly spraying lots of water while adding some detergent here and there.

The interiors are another story, however. Car interiors are much harder to clean than their exteriors and, to make matters worse, the cleaning method involves plenty of manual labor with great attention to detail.

This is why some car owners keep their exteriors shiny without ever touching the much worse-off interior. That’s right: there are people who simply never clean their auto interior, instead allowing it to become a pit of germs and all sorts of nasty substances.

To avoid becoming one of these unfortunate individuals, have a look at the best way to clean your auto interior regardless of its present condition.

The cleaning basics

As already mentioned, cleaning auto interiors involves plenty of hand work – while car interiors are sturdy and reasonably waterproof, you still won’t be able to get away by ‘showering’ the surface and hoping for the best.

As always, your cleaning should start with a thorough vacuuming job – the more grime you can suck into your vacuum cleaner, the less work you’ll have later on. When vacuuming, use various finishes in order to reach small openings and other difficult parts inside the vehicle (you’d be surprised by how much dirt these can gather).

Before applying moisture, recognize your car’s upholstery: is it made from leather or cloth? Each of these materials has its own optimal cleaning method and you’d do well to follow it. Despite its resilience, leather can easily lose some of its color and texture when treated poorly – gentle wiping with a soft cloth and a non-abrasive cleaning solution is your best bet. With cloth upholstery, you can afford to go a bit loose with the moisture, but be careful – if improperly dried, the car seats could end up getting moldy.

Glass-cleaning cloths and the like are probably your best bet for both leather upholstery and the car’s fine plastic – you won’t risk scratching either but will be able to scrub both of them clean with enough effort.

Of course, every cleaning job has its tough parts and the cleaning of auto interiors is no different. The small carpets inside a car’s interior are almost guaranteed to be the dirtiest part – to clean these thoroughly, you might have to utilize something like steam cleaning (usually a method best applied by professionals).

Useful tips for when you’re in the thick of it

A car’s interior has plenty of holes and curves where filth can get lodged and overstay its welcome. Trying to think of all of the areas to cover is tough enough, but what if you have someone working against you? Children love nothing more than to stick chewing gum wherever they can and the inside of your car is probably one of their favorite sticking places. You won’t be able to remove hardened gum by general scrubbing – instead, you’ll have to remove it by using something sharp before scrubbing the affected area clean. The scrubbing of chewing gum should be done when the gum is dry, so try to do this step after the vacuuming and before the actual washing.

Pets are another source of additional cleaning difficulties – if you have a pet, you’ll have a hard time getting to all the castaway hairs that it left behind, although there is little choice when looking to do a complete job. Likewise, pets defecating or vomiting inside the family vehicle without the owner realizing isn’t unheard of, so use your eyes on every inch of the cleaning surface.