Summer is perfect for road trips to the beach, mountains, or just the park. Unfortunately, those trips mean more mess for your car’s upholstery. From food crumbs to spilled drinks and sand, summer is rough on your car, and it’s important to keep it clean. There are many different chemical cleaners on the market, but there are a few simple options that may be available right in your kitchen to try first. Baking soda, for instance, can absorb odors and clean at the same time. All you need is a toothbrush and a little elbow grease.
Club soda is another inexpensive way to clean up a spill, especially ink, and fruit juices and sports drinks that include some kind of dye. As soon as possible, use paper or cloth towels to sop up the liquid, and then apply the club soda to dissolve the stain with effervescence. The sooner you get to the stain, the less likely it is to leave a permanent mark that becomes an eyesore that decreases the value of your car.
Summer is sunscreen city (don’t forget your SPF!) but you and your kids may leave a greasy residue on your seats if you apply before you go or as you’re leaving the beach. If a dollop of sunscreen falls on the upholstery, don’t reach for that cloth yet! Rubbing the seat will only push it deeper into the layers of fabric. Quickly grab a flat piece of card stock, a business card, or a spoon to lift the sunscreen away from the seat. Even that valet ticket from three days ago will lift the lotion away.
Next, you can get to work. First, always clean a test area first; all upholstery is not equal. If one doesn’t work for you, check with a service professional for a commercial cleaner recommendation that works best for your vehicle.
Try mixing a solution of one teaspoon liquid dishwashing detergent with one cup warm water. If you have hard and not soft water in your home, use bottled distilled water to clean. Start with a white cloth, toothbrush (not yours, of course), or soft-bristled brush in the soapy liquid and blot with a dry light or white cloth. Repeat as necessary. And don’t forget to rinse with a clean cloth and water, because the soap residue will attract more dirt. Let it dry in the shade, and then hit it with a vacuum to pull out any remaining flakes and stain.
With a little love and care, your vehicle will make it through the summer looking and smelling as clean and fresh as the spring.
If you have a stubborn spill that is driving you crazy, try visiting a professional detailer to get your vehicle deep cleaned. If you want to start with a clean slate and a newer vehicle,