Auto How To: Cleaning Your Car's Interior

Clean out your car to keep it tidy, fresh, and functional for the various types of driving and passengers you will have.

Most people can't afford to have the interior of their vehicles detailed by professional car cleaners. That means at some point if not on most occasions they will have to clean the inside of their cars themselves.

If you plan on cleaning your car's interior, here are a few reminders of some areas that may need attention. Since the car becomes a second home for many of us, keep it clean and fresh-smelling for those many hours on the road.

1. Remove all non-essentials items from the car's interior. This includes trash, books, car seats, dishes, food, music CD's, and anything you've been carrying around with you for a while. Check the trunk to get rid of unneeded things, like last winter's coat or the umbrella you always forget to use. Throw away the rubbish and put the usable stuff in a pile to take indoors when you're done.



2. Use a whisk broom to sweep out the front and back seats. Start with the seats and progress to the floors. Push the seat levers to move the front seats back so that you will have better access to debris stuck in those areas. Vacuum the seats, including the back part and head rests. Don't forget the sides and underneath, if possible. Then vacuum the floors. Use an attachable arm to reach far under the seats and into the smallest and furthest corners.

3. Run a bucket of hot, soapy water. Dip a clean wash cloth into the water and wring out the extra moisture. Be sure it's not so soapy that it will leave a sticky residue. If it is, pour out part of the bucket's soapy water and add more hot water to dilute the soapy effect. Wring your cloth once more. Wipe the dashboard, steering wheel, console, and all interior trim, rinsing the cloth as soon as it becomes dusty or grimy. Wipe out the vents, the inside door panels, and the roof section, including the handles for clothes hangers as well as the seat belts throughout the vehicle.

4. Use a fresh cloth and clear water or window washing solution to clean the car's interior windows and mirrors. Wipe them clean and rinse if there is a residue. Dry them with a paper towel or cloth towel. Use a cotton swab to clean crevices, nooks, rims, and ledges inside the car, especially on the dashboard or near the speakers.

5. Wash the baby's car seat and the floor mats separately. Let them air dry to eliminate germs and avoid mold or mildew that can result from placing them inside the vehicle too soon. Replace any needed items in the car, such as the umbrella under a seat or bottled water in a storage area. Check for missed areas and catch these with a newly-rinsed cloth, such as door locks, turn signals, and spring coils under the front seats.

Keep the car windows down or the doors open as you work to air out the vehicle. You may want to hang a deodorizer on the rearview mirror post. Vacuum the trunk and replace the items that were removed. When finished, your car should feel and smell fresh and clean!

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