We’ve all been there; at that point when our car becomes more than our mode of transportation and transforms into Closet #2, carrying around everything from fast-food wrappers to clothing, extra tissue boxes to that pile of who-knows-what in the back seat. A clean inside is just as important as a spiffy outside – perhaps more so, if you plan on spending any time in the driver’s seat. But where do you begin restoring order inside your car?
Ditch the Junk
Start by removing everything from your car and sifting through it to decide what absolutely has to stay. Anything that isn’t vital or would be just as useful outside of your car (i.e. the extra tissue boxes) can be removed and relocated to a new home elsewhere. Be quick and decisive during this stage – if you don’t need it at a glance, get rid of it. The average vehicle has an estimated 20 pounds of unnecessary weight on board, which contributes to reduced fuel efficiency in addition to being unsightly.
Hidden Gold Mine
Remember all those coins you dropped between the seats and vowed to get later? Well, now’s the time. Hunt around for lost coinage and move them to a small pile on a seat for sorting—or better yet, think one step ahead and find a container that will hold the coins. Old coin purses work great, but if you don’t have one lying around, a small cup in an unused cup holder will do the trick.
Down to Business
Now that all of the big stuff is out of the way, pull out the vacuum and get to work on the grit in the carpets. Remove the floor mats and connect the appropriate vacuum attachment. Be sure to get under and between the seats, around the pedals, and around the center console. Replace the floor mats or vacuum those as well.
Next, it’s onward and upward to the seats. Use your vacuum’s soft brush attachment to avoid unnecessary wear on the seats, especially if they’re leather. Recline the seats fully, getting between the leg- and backrests as thoroughly as possible. If you have upholstered seats, commercial spray upholstery cleaner will clean deep down to where the vacuum can’t reach. If cleaner is unavailable, laundry detergent mixed with warm water and applied with a rag and elbow grease will do the job nicely.
The same brush attachment or a dust rag can be used on the dashboard and door panels. Vacuum or wipe down these areas until the dust has been removed, then give it the once-over with disinfectant wet rags (if these areas are upholstered, see above) to finish the job.
It’s Clean. What Now?
Now, keep it clean. Keep a trash bag in your car to prevent any wrappers, cans, etc. from cluttering up your interior. Keep disinfectant wipes handy and be sure that your passengers take any belongings and trash with them when they leave your vehicle. Above all, don’t let it pile up again.
Here are some other great DIY Car Maintenance tips.