Did you just get an awesome new ride? Are you still basking in that new car smell? Do you vow to keep your new, flawless interior perfectly clean?
Finding and buying a new car takes a lot of hard work and responsibility. However, once you buy a car, taking care of it is another job. With the amount of time you likely will spend in your vehicle, keeping it pristine can be a challenge. Between kids, pets, and on the go snacking, your car’s interior may take a beating. But with the right strategies, it is possible to keep it looking like new.
From protecting your seats to smart cleaning, you can maintain a spotless car, inside and out. Diligence and discipline will pay off when your upholstery stays fresh and clean. Here are seven tips professionals recommend for implementation in your own car care routine.
Consider Upholstery Protection
The most reliable way to maintain your upholstery is avoiding damage to it in the first place. Normal wear and tear is bound to happen. However, you can take steps to help your upholstery stand up to these everyday occurrences.
Ask your car dealership if they have a service that offers the application of upholstery protection. Many body shops can provide interior protection treatments at the time of purchase. You may even be able to negotiate this kind of application as part of your purchase agreement.
DIY is also an option if you purchase stain guarding products and apply them yourself. These sprays are inexpensive and easy to use. Many are formulated to specifically protect vehicle upholstery from common elements such as spills and stains.
Keep Cleaning Tools Handy
Arm yourself with the tools to conveniently keep your upholstery clean. You can prevent permanent damage by quickly addressing any messes. Creating a well-rounded cleaning kit to store in the car will lead to a much fresher and neater interior.
Dust can settle into seats and make the upholstery look dingy over time. Keep a dusting mitt in your car and regularly wipe down hard surfaces. You can use a dusting spray to prevent it from spreading. Regularly roll down your windows so the interior can completely air out.
High-quality, absorbent cloths can be your best friend when addressing a spill. It’s important to take care of the situation as quickly as possible to avoid a stubborn stain. A spray cleaner made especially for vehicle upholstery can be helpful to keep on hand for tougher jobs.
Set yourself up for cleanliness success by having a system to keep your car organized. Dirty trash can cause damage to your upholstery. Rogue water bottles and coffee cups can leak on seats and carpet.
A trash can is a great addition to a vehicle. You can purchase one that conveniently attaches to the back of the seat. Make sure all of the trash makes it to the proper place and empty it regularly.
Ensure that water bottles and coffee cups remain safely in cup holders. Consider absorbent car coasters to keep your cup holders clean and free of residue. Make it a habit to remove old drink containers from the car every time you get out.
Vacuuming is one of the most effective ways to keep your car interior in tip-top condition. Aim to create a routine for regular vacuuming of seats and floors. It will keep your soft surfaces clean and your whole car feeling fresh.
It’s important to be thorough when vacuuming your vehicle. Open all of the doors so you can easily access all areas. Plus, your interior will get the chance to air out.
Remove your floor mats and shake them out well. Make sure to carefully vacuum under and between seats. Move them forward and backward so you can get all the dirt hiding underneath. Clean seat surfaces and backs well, making sure to get into all of the cracks and crevices.
Many car washes have powerful vacuum systems for your use that are included with their service. You can also purchase a small vacuum with a flexible hose that’s ideal for the hard to reach places in your vehicle’s interior. Some household vacuums have detailing attachment kits that make them convenient options.
It’s recommended that you vacuum your car at least once a month. Though, it may make sense to increase the frequency depending on the season or weather. Events like a trip to the beach or a messy day at the soccer field might warrant a more immediate cleaning session.
Just like your house, a good deep clean is essential for your car every once in a while. Treat your ride to a thorough detail a few times a year either paid or DIY. It allows your vehicle to get completely refreshed and will make your upholstery last longer.
Your upholstery will be deep cleaned and shampooed. Any stains will be rigorously spot treated. If you have leather, it will be thoroughly scrubbed clean and a conditioner will be applied. These practices will reinvigorate your upholstery and make it last longer.
Setting some rules regarding vehicle behavior can help maintain your clean seats. This is especially true if you have kids or pets. Model behavior that shows you are mindful of keeping your vehicle tidy.
Sometimes eating and drinking on the go is necessary. Completely eliminating food and drinks in your vehicle might not be practical for your lifestyle. Just be thoughtful about the types of food and drinks allowed in the car. Opt for dry, easy to clean up snacks and leak-proof drink containers.
Make sure to wipe dirty feet carefully before entering the car if possible. Remove muddy shoes and keep plastic bags on hand to store them. Ensure that pets are clean and dry before they hop in.
Guarding Against the Elements
Your car is constantly exposed to a wide variety of elements. Everything from sunlight to rain can wreak havoc on your interior. Guard against these by adding an extra layer of protection.
All-weather floor mats are great for protecting your carpet. They are waterproof and perfect for keeping mud and dirt off your floor. Plus, they are super easy to clean by simply spraying with a hose.
Consider investing in seat covers, especially for seats where kiddos sit. There are endless options and many have added features like pockets for extra storage. Do you have little ones in car seats? Look for covers specifically made to protect your seats from damage while still being safe.
Sunlight can cause damage to your upholstery. Leather seats dry out and crack with too much exposure. Not protecting your fabric upholstery from the sun can lead to premature fading. Try to park your vehicle in a garage or shady location. You can also purchase sun shades to protect your interior from harmful rays.
With a little work and preparation, you can keep your upholstery looking and feeling new. Being careful about your behaviors and protecting your seats will keep them in tip-top shape. The overall cleanliness of your entire interior will benefit.
Maintaining your upholstery is indeed an investment if you ever want to sell your car. Plus, all your hard work pay offs in the immediate—you spend money on your car and perhaps a great deal of time driving—so keeping it up will show your pride in your ride!
Ashley Palmer is a freelance writer with a passion for wellness and adventure. She’s currently working for Buyherepayhere.com. Her background in marketing and her experiences raising a family have given her insight into a wide variety of subjects. Volunteering in her spare time is fueled by her love for helping others.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.