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Simple steps to maintain a clean interior for your vehicle

Friday, October 26th, 2012
Issue 43, Volume 16.

CALIFORNIA - Much like curb appeal improving the chances of a sale on your home, having a car that is presented well inside and out may boost the amount of money and potential of a resale on your vehicle. Even vehicle owners who don’t anticipate selling their vehicles in the near future should maintain their vehicles to ensure they are safe and sound.

After home and work, a car is where many people spend most of their time. As a result, a vehicle can easily become soiled, scratched or overrun with clutter. Maintaining the interior of your vehicle need not take much time or effort, but it should be done often enough to keep on top of the mess. Here’s how to start.

Remove Clutter

The first step in cleaning the interior is to remove the excess items that may have accumulated in the car. Busy families tend to leave toys, books or clothing in their vehicles. There also may be discarded food wrappers or beverage containers. People who commute also may accumulate a number of items in their cars, including business materials. These items should be sorted through and put where they belong before tackling the rest of the cleaning work.


Much of the dirt and debris that accumulates in vehicles can easily be removed with a vacuum. A shop vac will have enough power to thoroughly clean upholstery and mats. If you do not have one, visit a self car wash.

Remove the floor mats and set them on a flat surface. Thoroughly vacuum the mats to clear them of dust, dirt, food crumbs, and any other debris. Vacuum the floor of the car as well as any seat upholstery that may be a catch-all for crumbs. Using a soft-bristled vacuum attachment, you also can remove dust from the vents, speakers and the center console of your vehicle.

Spot cleaning

Spills and stains do occur in vehicles, just as they do elsewhere. Cleaning these stains may require a little elbow grease and a cleansing agent. Most automotive supply stores Advertisement
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will sell an upholstery cleaner designed for car interiors. You also can use a mixture of laundry detergent and water applied with a slightly damp rag or sponge. Go over each area that is soiled so you can devote adequate time to each stain. The same process can be used on the vehicle’s carpeting. Use a brush to really clean heavily soiled areas.

Leather upholstery can be more delicate than cloth upholstery. When cleaning a leather interior, use only products that are designed specifically for leather so as to avoid damaging the interior.

Console and dashboard detailing

A barely moist cloth can be used to clean the plastic components of the dashboard and consoles of the vehicle. The goal is to wipe away any dust and any minor stains or sticky areas without saturating important electrical components. It is always better to spray polish or cleaning agents on your cloth than directly on the dashboard. In hard-to-reach-areas, consider using a soft-bristled paintbrush or cotton swabs to clean in crevices. Wipe down everything with a dry cloth or towel afterward.


Having clean windows is essential to driving safely. Cleaning the windshield and windows is relatively simple to do with a glass cleaner spray and a lint-free cloth. Use caution when cleaning the rear windshield if it has a defogger/defroster grid on the window. These wires can be damaged easily. Clean with the direction of the defroster grid lines.

Freshen the car

Place an air freshener or spray a product on the air intake vent to eradicate musty smells in the car. It also is important to replace the cabin air filter periodically, otherwise you could be breathing in dust and dander that is trapped in the filter.

These are the basic steps to cleaning a car’s interior. Other detail work can be done depending on your preferences and the make of the car. Routine maintenance helps others see you have pride in your vehicle and can ensure a better return on your investment down the line if you choose to sell.



Comment Profile ImageJohn Michael Sheehan
Comment #1 | Monday, Oct 29, 2012 at 6:36 am
This article provide many tips. Very useful to me. Thanks a lot ?

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Valley News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.


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