We’ve all been there – most of us don’t think too often about cleaning the interior of our cars until we end up battling clouds of pet fur and or wiping away a persistent film of grime with our shirtsleeves. You don’t have to be a clean freak to keep your car interior looking and smelling nice, and there’s absolutely no excuse to driving your own portable dump truck. So why is it important to keep your car’s interior clean, and how do you keep it looking its best without a taxing outlay?
Keeping your interior clean on a regular basis means greater resale value
Most interior damage occurs when spills, messes and debris are allowed to settle into the fabric, material and mouldings within the car. Think about it, a food spill is likely to cause permanent damage to your fabric and leather upholstery if it is left to practically bake into the stitching, weave and dye. Similarly, debris and grime can scratch and otherwise work itself into the features of your interior to leave a permanent reminder by way of eyesore-like damage or an unsavoury whiff. While normal wear and tear in a vehicle is to be expected, long-term care is always easily spotted in a car compared to ad-hoc clean and repair jobs. For example, some leather interior features can irreparably split and crack if appropriate treatment lotions or creams are not applied as necessary.
Your investment lasts a whole lot longer
Your car is a huge investment, in fact, one of the largest investments most people make outside of a mortgage. Although some people don’t think twice about their car being anything but a necessity to get from Point A to Point B, the loss of personal transport due to poor care has a nasty sting. Regular maintenance makes it easier for you to spot issues and oddities before they become problems. Just think about it: that tiny tear you find in a passenger seatbelt could mean life or death; the odd damp patch on your flooring may indicate a rusted base. Becoming familiar with your car means greater peace of mind for you, your loved ones and those that rely on you. Whether it’s your very first car, or your fourth car, you can’t afford to mistreat such an expensive item if your work, family and lifestyle depend on it.
You avoid an expensive re-upholstery
Unfortunately, some car seats are beyond saving. From pet stains and food spills to fallen cigarette ash, untreated accidents can leave irreparable damage that can only be rectified with a complete do-over. Vehicles with damage like this rarely get considered for trade-in, and sellers can think again about finding that special someone to buy and take on a project car. While not impossible to do, getting an upholsterer to redo your seats is not cheap – so it’s well worth the effort to look after your interiors properly from the get-go.
It never hurts to have a bit of pride
An unnecessarily cluttered space can be stressful and dissatisfying for most people – so why would you want to drive around in a self-styled box of junk? A clean interior not only makes it easier for you and your passengers to be at ease – and free from some rogue pet hairs – but it makes it less inviting for thieves to go searching for coins, cash, technology and other valuables hidden in your car.
Keeping your car interior clean
Cleaning your car doesn’t have to be exhausting, here are some simple tips:
- Aim to vacuum your car every month, more so if you’ve tracked extra soil or sand into the car
- Vacuum your car twice in the one session:
- Vacuum the carpets, seats, mats and trunk area
- Then, using something firm like a baseball bat, beat the seats to disturb ground-in dust and dirt
- Once this settles, vacuum everywhere again the second time
- Spot-clean stains with an appropriate cleaner, making sure to test in a discreet location first and avoid using too much water
- Clean leather every six to eight weeks with an appropriate leather product
- Work section by section, making sure to get into the stitching where dirt can settle
- Vinyl can be cleaned with a vinyl upholstery cleaner, just make sure not to use too much water, then seal the vinyl with a protectant to prevent premature sun damage
- Wood finishes rarely need more than just wipe over with a soft, clean, damp cloth