Five tips on Interior Car Care
The Corona lockdown has resulted in many dirty cars. Here are five tips on how to clean the interior of an unused car.
1) Airing and Vacuuming
When a car is unused for a while, the first thing you need to do is ventilate the interior. Without any circulation happening, the air can quickly get stale and bad odours can also develop. So roll down all windows, open the doors and park the vehicle directly in the sun. Thoroughly airing your car and giving it a bit of a sunbath should make the interior smell better and the UV light from bright sunshine is known to kill many germs too.
The next step is to remove all the dust from the passenger compartment. Whatever cannot be removed by hand needs to be removed with a vacuum cleaner, and if you don't have one that connects to your car, use the one you have at home. But before vacuuming, please try and beat out a bit of the dust by dusting the seats, dash, door pads, roof lining, etc, with a clean cloth. This will loosen the dust and make the vacuum cleaning more effective.
With the dust removed your car is ready for the next step- cleaning.
2) Cleaning The Upholstery, Dashboard and Plastic Parts
A modern car's interior has many different materials and parts. The upholstery could be made from leather, vinyl or cloth fabric. Then there is the roof lining, dashboard, wood or metal trim, carpet, floor mats all made from distinct materials. As there are so many varied surfaces and materials in a car, many car care product makers now also offer a large range of chemical and synthetic cleaners for each specific surface.
Depending on the kind of surfaces in your car, you should get an assortment of cleaning products like fabric, leather or vinyl cleaner, carpet cleaner, dashboard cleaner, plastic and rubber cleaner, etc. Many cleaners are foam type and are easier to apply and use. Good quality cleaners remove stains, more deeply imbedded dirt and also degrease the plastic parts. Many people also like to apply shining sprays all over the interior, especially on the dashboard. But I am not a big fan of this as it makes the surfaces sticky and also casts undesired reflections on the glass.
3) Cleaning A/C Vents and Filter
Normally cleaning of the air conditioner and its filter is best done at a service station. But if you want to DIY (do it yourself) use a cotton bud or specialized brush to clean the a/c vents. Nowadays you also get several a/c vent foam cleaner sprays with disinfectant properties that are quite effective. They also help eliminate stale and foul odours from the vents.
In case you can locate the a/c filter, which in most cars is typically located behind the glove box or under the bonnet or dashboard, you should clean it too. The best way to do this is to remove and soak it in soap water or clean it with a vacuum cleaner. In case you wash it with soap, let it dry properly before putting it back in. Honestly, if you are habituated to working with your hands and are a bit familiar with your vehicle, this is not so difficult.
4) Cleaning The Carpet and Floor Mats Carpets and floor mats
These tend to be the dirtiest components in a passenger compartment, but strangely most people overlook them. Start by removing the floor mats and shaking the dirt loose. Then wash and leave them in the sun, and allow them to air-dry completely.
Carpets in cars are fixed and are not easy to remove. So vacuum cleaning them properly is very important after which a good carpet cleaner can be applied. Many carpet cleaners do a good job of removing stains and also make the carpet smell fresher.
Once the carpet is clean, to prevent it from soon getting dirty again, tap your shoes against the tyres or running board before getting inside the vehicle. This will make the loose dirt drop down and help keep your car's interior clean for longer.
5) Put Air Freshener
The market is full of all sorts of air fresheners with various fragrances. Put one of your choice in your car as a nicely scented interior is that much more inviting. Personally I prefer keeping a sachet or two of potpourri in the car. This mixture of dried and naturally fragrant plant materials, provides a gentle and natural scent.