How to Clean Your Car’s Interior

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In California, your car is essential to your life. What that means is that plenty of us end up living out of our cars, with all the mess and clutter that entails. Here are some handy homemade tips for cleaning your car’s interior.

The rubber seals on your windows and doors can wear down over time but did you know they can get sticky too? Give the seals a good wipe down with rubber protectant or silicone and avoid oil-based products, as they will damage the seals.

Your dashboard is covered in lenses that can be scratched if you use abrasive materials. Always clean your dashboard panels with soft damp cloths and don’t let dust build up over time.

Just as with your rubber seals, you don’t want to use oil-based products on your vinyl (it will make the vinyl harden over time). So instead use a damp rag, some baking soda and then rinse with a mix of dish detergent and water.

Your car mats take a lot of punishment, so after you clean them, apply a light layer of liquid shoe polish. This will form a wax coating that will make it harder for dirt to adhere to and make cleaning easier in the future.

We’re talking carpets now. For general stains, take a bucket and fill it with hot water. Add a cup of white vinegar and enough dishwashing detergent to make the water soapy. With a stiff bristled brush, give it a brisk scrubbing. Let it sit and soak for about 20-30 minutes and then blot it dry with a towel.

For coffee stains, here’s a good DIY tip. Do you have some glass cleaner? Keep it handy. Soak the coffee stain in water, then blot it dry. Afterwards, spray the glass cleaner on it and let it soak. Then dry it again. Repeat as necessary.

How about icky stains like blood and vomit? For blood, mix laundry starch and very cold water (don’t use warm) until it turns into a paste. Cover the bloodstain and let it dry. Leave it for a bit and then see how it looks. Vomit, on the other hand, is tricky. The stomach acid gives it a high pH level, so you’ll want to neutralize that as quickly as possible with club soda and baking soda. Mix them, apply them to the stain, give it a ginger scrubbing and then let it soak. Blot it dry when you’re done.

For generally sticky stains you can sprinkle salt or cornmeal on them and leave them overnight. The grease will absorb into the grains and you can vacuum it up when you’re done.