Did you know that an average American spends 293 hours driving per year?
Canadians are probably not too far behind.
This little stat tells us two things.
Here’s the first. A large chunk of your life unfolds behind the wheel. Quite a lot of action – eating, drinking, sweating, struggling, sleeping, having fun – unfolds in that comfy vehicle you call your second home. You live and breathe together. You love and hate each other. And it shows.
The other thing is that you need to maintain it and clean its interior relatively often. You’ll want to treat the car like you treat your home.
After all, you don’t want to tangle your feet in wrappers every time you need to step on a pedal. Which is always. Also, you don’t want your pet’s hair stuck on your pants’ rear when you get into the office or wherever it is that you’re working. That sandwich you ate yesterday? Is there anything worse than having an egg yolk smeared on the upholstery?
Not to mention the smell of a car in winter, spring, summer, or fall – whenever there’s some kind of precipitation, which readily brings damp to your carpets. And all of us know there’s hardly a stubborner stink than a piece of mildew growing beneath the floor mats.
Good times, bad times – all of them leave a mark on the car. So, let’s see what you can do to attend to your vehicle’s interior.
1) Clean the junkyard
This should be the easiest part, at least if you are not too sloppy. If you are too sloppy, no worries. After cleaning all THAT, you’ll definitely be more attentive next time you sit behind the wheel.
Even though you’ve only just started with the cleaning, you’ll feel enormous relief after getting rid of all the mess. And an influx of optimism, as it already looks much better.
2) Take a deep breath and a vacuum cleaner
This part will resemble detailing your home (the first one, that is). Only much dirtier.
Obviously, you need a vacuum cleaner with bazillion extensions and attachments to reach the most inaccessible and narrow crevices. The only logical direction is starting with the dirtiest, that is the lowest parts and proceed upward.
First of all, remove the floor mats. You’ll wash them separately, but right now you should treat them as obstacles. Reach for all the horrors that might be dwelling underneath them. Also, move the seats back and forth to suck in the dirt from the widest possible surface.
If your seats are made of cloth upholstery, vacuum them as well.
3) The dashboard and console and all other boards
Before even touching the dash, you’ll want to take care of the inner side of the windows. All of them. You can check out one of our previous blog posts about cleaning the windows both from the outside and from the inside.
There are multiple kinds of chemical solutions for all car parts. Before getting your hands dirty, determine the materials. Dashboards are usually coated with leather or vinyl, so you’ll want to know what kind of cleaner you need.
If you’re a proud owner of a leather dashboard, the best guess you can make is getting two products – a cleaner and a conditioner. Sometimes they come together, as a single product. Anyway, the conditioner is highly nutritious for the leather. It will also protect it from wear and tear, as well as UV rays.
Spraying shouldn’t be done directly on the surface. Spray the cloth instead, and then rub the surface.
Do the same with the door panels, the gearshift, the handbrake, and of course, the steering wheel. That last one is especially a nightmare. But you’ll want to detail it because it is obviously the dirtiest part. And, as it happens with the dirtiest parts, you are constantly in contact with it. Actually, that’s why it is so dirty in the first place.
Lest we forget – always use microfiber towels for this kind of work. (If you’ve read either of our previous blog posts about detailing, you already know that microfiber cloths are a heaven’s gift to motorists).
4) Treat the seat, so you can sit
The seats are usually made from leather, vinyl or cloth. Each of those materials has its own dedicated cleaner, so don’t even try using the same bottle for your two different cars.
The process isn’t complicated in any way, but it will definitely require some elbow grease. Just spray the product and rub. Leather needs to be degreased. Once you’ve cleaned all the gunk, buff it off and apply the nourishing conditioner. If it is cloth you’re dealing with, scrub it with a gentle brush. Just make sure you don’t spray too much, as mold is the last thing you need right now.
5) A kitchen’s gift to your car (and it’s not dish soap)
If you’ve read our earlier blog posts, you must know by now that we strongly disagree with using dish soap on your car.
But this isn’t about dish soap.
It’s about the magic ingredient of so many pastries and home-made remedies, that is baking soda.
If there is a persistent smell in your car as a result of your pet’s hanging in there, or your bad smoking habits, baking soda is an excellent (and all-natural!) way to eliminate the stench.
Just sprinkle the carpets with it and let it sit there for a few hours, or even a day. When it’s done absorbing odors, just vacuum it and you’ll be done.
Have we missed anything? Hardly. But if you have some tips of your own, feel free to add them below in the comments.
And if you want to do more for your automotive pet than just clean it, come to our repair shops in Hamilton and Stoney Creek today!