You spend many hours a week in your car, commuting to work and traveling to the kids’ various activities. With so much use, it can get pretty dirty in there. Spills result in uncomfortable smells and unsightly stains on the car carpeting. Fortunately, with a bit of deep cleaning and some stain removal efforts, the floor of your car can look brand new again.
Take Out the Trash
Before you can clean the carpet, you need clear access to it. Bring a garbage bag out to your car and throw out all those old receipts, empty bottles and junk mail that have collected on the seats and floor.
Remove Floor Mats
Gently lift the carpeted or rubber floor mats from your car and shake them out to remove dirt. Rinse off rubber mats with soap and water, scrubbing any trouble spots if necessary. Allow the mats to dry in the sun and apply a coat of liquid shoe wax to make them easier to clean in the future.
If you have carpeted floor mats, clean them in the same manner as the rest of the car carpeting.
Vacuum the Floor
A handheld vacuum is the best way to suck up crumbs and dirt from the floor. Some rechargeable mini vacuums run on battery power, which is perfect for vacuuming the car. If you have an extension cord, you may be able to plug in a more powerful handheld vacuum to an outlet in the garage.
Remove General Stains
If you’re not sure what items spilled to create stains on the carpet, start with a basic, all-around carpet stain remover. You can make this yourself by mixing water, 1/2 to 1 cup white vinegar and a squirt of dish detergent into a spray bottle. Wet the stained areas and let them sit for 15 minutes. Scrub the affected areas with a dry cloth or brush and vacuum the carpet.
If any stains remain once the carpet dries, move on to other techniques for removing specific types of stains.
Remove Grease Stains
Spilled fast food can leave dark grease stains on the carpet. To remove these, rub a little paint thinner into the stain with a clean cloth and pour salt over the area. Let it sit for an hour or two to allow the grease to be absorbed. Vacuum the area to remove the salt and hopefully the stain is gone. If not, repeat these steps again.
Remove Coffee Stains
If you catch yourself spilling a little coffee, blot it out quickly. Dilute the spilled coffee with a little water and blot again.
For old coffee stains, soak the area thoroughly with glass cleaner. Let it sit for give minutes and blot the area with a clean cloth. Glass cleaner should remove the stain without leaving any soapy residue behind.
Remove Blood Stains
If you’ve ever been hurt in your car and a little blood got on the carpet, you can remove the stain with dry laundry starch and cold water. Mix these two ingredients together to create a paste and apply it to the stain. Allow the area to dry so the starch can pull the blood from the carpet. Vacuum up the starch and see if the stain has been removed. If not, repeat the process as needed until the carpet looks clean.
You may not be able to replicate that new car smell, but you can get rid of some of the odors that have built up over time with these tips:
- Sprinkle a thin layer of borax or baking soda over the carpeting and let it sit for 30 minutes. Once it has absorbed some of the odors, vacuum it up.
- Spray a car air freshening product or odor neutralizer on the carpet to add a fresh scent.
- Place two vinegar-soaked towels in bowls and leave them in the car overnight to absorb cigarette and smoke odors.
- Hang an air freshener from the rearview mirror to keep future odors at bay.
Cleaning the carpet is a great way to freshen up your car’s interior. If you find you need more than just a cosmetic cleanup, stop by Scott’s Fort Collins Auto & Repair for top-to-bottom services. Please contact us online or call us at (970) 682-4202 to schedule an appointment.