Five Different Ways to Clean a Vehicle’s Interior
Marie Kondo, the world-renowned personal organizing and cleaning assistant, has one massive recommendation for anyone seeking a forever-clean home: simplify all at once. She suggests going through all the items in your home in the span of a few days and downsizing until it “clicks” for you. This process leaves you with the number of things you feel competent to clean and put away daily. People have found this to work wonders on the home.
But what about smaller places (like the car) that we use every day? It seems like things migrate to the car and get lost there, and we rarely take the time to give the interior of our cars the time of day. This can lead to sticky cup holders, filthy rugs, and dusty dashboards. If there’s one thing we can take away from Marie Kondo’s unconventional yet highly-effective methods is the objects we own deserve respect – and this includes your car.
You don’t need to completely gut your car to get it sparkling clean.
Consider these five different ways to clean a vehicle’s interior in a way that will keep it clean.
Decluttering a completely cluttered car is a monumental task. If you’re the type of person who just chucks their trash and returnables in the backseat only to get cleaned out once a year, it can take hours to clean. Not only will you have to clean up the debris you put there, but likely dirt, crumbs, and other nasty bits and bobs found their way underneath more substantial items. You’ll have to vacuum and take care of stains that you didn’t notice earlier in the year, like drips from soda cups that pooled onto your car’s carpets.
Instead, take a minute each time you use the car to pick up anything that doesn’t belong there. Whether that means taking out your gym bag and water bottle once a day or putting fast food garbage in the bin, by simply decluttering a little bit each day, you’ll save yourself from having to do a massive clean up, and from potentially staining the interior beyond repair.
Vacuum Once a Month or as Necessary
Once you’ve gotten your car’s clutter under control, then you can work on keeping the floors and seats dirt and grime free. To do this, vacuum your car at least once a month, and more if you live in a particularly muddy or grubby area. Consistent vacuuming prevents your carpets from getting stained, keeping the resale value as high as it can be.
When you vacuum, start from the top of the car to the bottom. Vacuum hair, dust, and allergens off the car’s roof and out of the console for better air quality. Then, work your way over the seats and end with the carpet. As you reach the floor, be sure to move your seats around to make sure you get dirt and dust that has fallen beneath the seats. Finally, if you use your trunk often, be sure to pay it a little love, too.
Clean the Center Console and Seats
Once everything is vacuumed, you’ll have a relatively dust-free environment in which to wash and clean the interior of your car. If your dashboard is very dusty, we recommend using a microfiber cloth or duster to pick up any remaining dust before washing it. Then, use an automotive-specific interior cleaner to clean and polish your center console. Repeat these steps with any other hard plastic surface in your car, like doors or seat dividers.
Then, move on to your seats. They should be crumb and dirt-free but check for any stains that might have appeared since the last time you cleaned the car. They should be scrubbed out using mild soap and water. Use a spot carpet cleaner on persistent stains, and be sure to clean with doors and windows open if you are using potent cleaning solutions.
Wash Your Windows
Once the interior is done, move on to the windows. You likely clean the outside of your windows with a sponge and squeegee while filling up your car with fuel. However, it is just as crucial to your road vision to clean the interior. With your windows up and your doors open, spray glass cleaning solution onto the windows. Use a cleaning cloth and wipe the windows in a circular motion until all smudges are off them, and they look clear. Once you’ve done this, finish up by cleaning and polishing your rearview mirror.
Air Out Then Deodorize Your Car
At this stage in the cleaning process, your car’s interior might smell like a bouquet of strong chemicals. If you’re cleaning your car during the winter, pull it into a garage and open all the doors to the vehicle. Give it at least an hour to air out. If you don’t have a garage, be sure to give your car a few hours to air out with the doors shut before you drive in it. If it’s a beautiful day out and you live somewhere safe to do so, leave your car open in the sun for a half-hour or so.
Airing out is important even if you didn’t use strong chemicals during your cleaning process. If you live somewhere that requires you to use the air conditioner frequently, your car will usually get a funk. That’s natural, and airing it out will give your car time to breathe and go scent-neutral. If you’re the type of person that likes a nice-smelling car, use your favorite air freshener inside right before you close and lock it.
Finally, be sure to return any permanent fixtures you removed while cleaning – like your windshield scraper or your maps.
No one knows more about vehicle maintenance than the folks at Zeck Ford in Leavenworth, Kansas. Whether you’re in the market for a new car, used car, or are trying to find ways to keep your vehicle on the road – we can help. For more tips on car maintenance, come on over to our store or visit our blog.