Restoring the beauty of your car
First, you will need a vacuum with an extension hose and several attachments. Work from the top down, so that particles that are dislodged and fall during cleaning can be picked up later when you vacuum the seats and carpet. Do not forget to do the trunk or rear cargo area. Remove the floor mats and vacuum and clean them separately. Use the crevice tool to get into visors, seat pockets, and other tight areas where other attachments will not fit. Use the dusting brush to vacuum plastic, hard vinyl, and metal parts such as vanity mirrors and dashboard components—hard vacuum nozzles can possibly scratch or nick these parts. Use the floor brush when vacuuming the carpet. Move the seats forward or backward to reach areas under the seat.
Any auto parts store will have a variety of cleaners for different types of surfaces, including carpet, upholstery, leather, and plastic. Household cleaners work fine, however, to use the right product for the right cleaning job.
A good way to clean just about any carpet is with a steam cleaner. But renting or buying one just for your car could be expensive. If you already have a steam cleaner, or plan to rent one to steam the carpets in your home, this would be a good cleaning option for your car.
If a steam cleaner is not available, you can use a general spray-on carpet cleaner. Work the compound into the carpet with a stiff bristle brush. If you have a problem stain such as makeup, oil, gum, tree sap, or tar, you should use a specialty cleaning product to remove it.
If you’re using a steam cleaner, check to see if a special upholstery shampoo or machine attachment is recommended. If you’re not using a steam cleaner, use a spray-on upholstery cleaner and work it in with a soft brush and let it dry, according to directions. Do not forget to clean the rear parcel shelf, safety belts, and seat joints.
Use leather cleaner, saddle soap, or another mild leather soap on a damp cloth and rub it softly onto all leather areas. Remove the excess soap with a clean, slightly damp cloth. Use cotton swabs to remove excess soap from the seams.
Use glass cleaner to wash the inside of windows. Spray the cleaner directly on the cloth to avoid streaking and getting the cleaner on the upholstery.
A household all-purpose cleaner will get to any remaining dirt on your dashboard, rubber door moldings, and interior trim. Again, spray the cleaner directly on a clean cloth. Clean tight areas such as air vents, panel seams, and radio buttons with a dampened soft toothbrush. Don’t forget to clean the safety-belt buckles, change drawer, glove compartment, and ashtray.
If you have noticeable odors after such a vigorous cleaning, use an odor-removal product designed to get smells out of fabrics.