As we enter our third month in lockdown, many are beginning to return to work, and we can finally see some form of normality in the near future. If you have been many of the thousands who have been working from the comfort of your home, then it is more than likely that your car has been sat on the driveway for many weeks accumulating dust, meaning a thorough clean is most definitely due. While it is always vital to keep your vehicle in good condition, cleanliness has now become of utmost importance in preventing the spread of the virus. So, we have put together our top inside car cleaning tips to not only keep your vehicle hygienic but also make your life a whole load easier!
Inside Car Cleaning Made Easy
Having worked on hundreds of vehicles for many years, providing anything from paintwork repairs in Milton Keynes to car body repairs in Aylesbury, we have seen our fair share of both immaculate and somewhat grubby cars. As car enthusiasts ourselves, we agree that there is nothing better than a spotless set of wheels from the inside out, so along the way we have picked up a host of handy tips. Not only will we run through how to give your car a thorough declutter and clean, but also how to maintain your results from now on. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the following tasks:
- Start By Decluttering
- Disinfect The Dashboard
- Hoover Carpets & Crevices
- Clean The Windows
- Tackle The Seats
- Attack Odours
- Keeping Clean In The Future
Before you can tackle any form of cleaning or hoovering, it’s essential to spend time decluttering your car. Particularly if you regularly drive long-distance or have small children, it is more than likely that you have accumulated your fair share of rubbish. Whether it may be receipts, empty water bottles or food wrappers, there are a whole host of items which can quickly begin to take over the inside of your car. So, its time to grab a bin bag and start throwing away anything that you no longer need.
While you are decluttering every inch of your vehicle, it is the perfect time to determine whether you are equipped with all of the essentials. Every driver is always recommended to keep a kit either in their boot or glove compartment, which includes everything that they may need in the event of an emergency. The basic equipment will be items such as:
For a full guide on everything that you should consider keeping in your car at all times, take a look at RAC. And even better, once you have decluttered, you will have plenty of space to store these items in a handy car boot organiser.
Especially if you have been making the weekly trips to the supermarket during the pandemic, ensuring that you frequently wipe down and disinfect your dashboard is imperative. According to an article by Health Essentials, it is thought that the coronavirus can live on plastic surfaces for up to three days, which means that failing to clean your dashboard can cause germs to spread.
So, to clean your dashboard, we would suggest beginning with removing any loose dirt or debris. In the smaller crevices such as air vents and between buttons, a dry toothbrush can be used to ensure that you can lift any dirt caught inside small contours. This, along with any dust along the surface, can then be either hoovered or wiped down with microfiber cloth.
Once you have removed any loose dirt from the dashboard, you can then move onto cleaning and disinfecting. Vinyl, plastic or rubber dashboards will be significantly easier to clean as any standard mild soap or detergent can be used. Leather dashboards, on the other hand, are slightly more sensitive, which means that you should opt for an oil-based cleaner instead, which will prevent the material from drying out. There will be no need to attempt to use bleach in the hope that it will be more effective in killing germs as, just as we are using standard soap to wash our hands, the products that you usually use to clean the inside of your car will do the job. It is entirely your choice as to whether you opt for spraying the cleaner onto the dashboard and wiping with a cloth or use cleaning wipes. Ideally, any material that has been used to clean your vehicle should either be disposed of or washed immediately after use to further minimise the spread; this includes the microfiber cloth that you used to wipe away any dust.
From muddy shoes to crisp crumbs, there are tonnes of culprits which can cause your carpets, floor mats and crevices between seats to become filled with dirt. This means its time for the inside of your car to be thoroughly hoovered. We would always recommend doing this after you have tackled the dashboard because it is likely that all of the dust you wiped down from here is now all over the interior. It’s far easier to do this step later on down the line and rather than having to go back to vacuuming after each task!
While your conventional household hoover would be perfectly suitable for the job, many car owners invest in a smaller, handheld vacuum cleaner, which will make the task much more straightforward. Regardless of the option that you go for, the detachable tools will most definitely work towards your advantage for this, so ensure that you have them to hand to swap when you reach different areas of the car. For instance, the soft brush head tool will be ideal for vacuuming the carpet as it will lift dirt without damaging the fibres. Whereas, the thin nozzle can be attached and used when reaching those stubborn crevices between seats and centre console.
Although many assume that it is only the outside of car windows that need to be cleaned, you would be surprised how many mucky fingerprints, smears and layers of dust can build up on the inside. This not only dampens the appearance of your car, but it can also prove potentially dangerous. Dirt on the inside of your windscreen can cause sunlight or headlights in the dark to create a glare on the glass, dazzling you and limiting your visibility. It is a hidden danger which you should always strive to keep at a minimum.
Luckily, cleaning inside of your windows is super easy. All you will need to do is spray your household glass cleaner onto the surface and use a microfiber cloth to clean away any smudges. To prevent watermarks or streaks, move the cloth in a figure of eight motion, gently removing any excess cleaner for a sparkling finish. If you do not have a glass cleaner on hand and are avoiding visiting the supermarkets, not to worry, The Spruce has put together a great article on how to create homemade alternatives.
The seats in your car are always the biggest victim of spillages, crumbs and stains, which means that they can quickly begin to look a little worse for wear. While there is nothing wrong with taking your vehicle to be professionally valeted, it may be a while before car washes are back open, so why not attempt to tackle them at home? The technique and products that you use, much like when cleaning your dashboard, will depend on the material of the seats. Here is how to clean the most common seat materials:
As the most delicate material used, leather often collects a considerable amount of dirt and grime, causing the seats to look discoloured. We would recommend investing in a quality leather cleaner, which will ensure that all contaminants are removed without causing any damage. The cleaner can be applied with a towel or soft cloth then left to dry. Once dried, for maximum results, you can use a leather conditioner, which will keep the material flexible and in good condition. Find out more about the best leather cleaners and conditioners on Car Bibles.
If you have light-coloured cloth car seats, then you will most definitely empathise when we say that even water leaking can result in a huge stain. So, how can you remove these without calling on the experts? Well, if you have just general wear and tear stains like water, then simply using a multipurpose upholstery cleaner should do the job. However, if you have spilt coffee, for example, you may need a stronger stain remover such as Vanish, which can be sprayed onto the material and then blotted into the area.
For those who have an older or even vintage vehicle, it may be likely that your car seats are made from vinyl, which was used to create the appearance of leather without the price tag. Vinyl seats are most definitely the easiest to clean as a mixture of warm water, and mild dish soap should lift any dirt. It is essential when cleaning vinyl, always to use soft cleaning tools to prevent damage, whether this may be a sponge, cloth or bristle brush.
There is nothing worse than spending hours cleaning your car for there still to be lingering odours, which do not seem to shift. However, there are several different ways that you can remove bad odours, and in fact, there will be no need to use expensive car fresheners. One of the most effective ways is to make your own freshener using your favourite essential oils. Simply combine one cup of baking soda with five drops of the essential oil of your choice, then leave to infuse in a sealable container for 24 hours. Once your freshener is ready, give it one last thorough mix before sprinkling it along the floor of your car. Allow the baking soda and oil to sit for around half an hour then hoover it up. Your vehicle should be smelling beautifully fresh of your favourite scent using only natural ingredients!
Now that the inside of your car is looking immaculate, we thought that we should close our guide by letting you in on some handy ways that you can keep the interior clean. While every so often, you will still need to spend time doing the above tasks, there are ways in which you can prevent yourself from having to spend hours getting rid of layers of dirt, dust and grime. These tips include:
- Keep a pack of wet wipes in the glove compartment to clear up small spillages or mucky footprints before they have a chance to settle – this is particularly useful for your tiny passengers!
- Before leaving your car for the day, pick up any rubbish you may have and take it inside to throw away; this will stop clutter from accumulating.
- Use a silicone cupcake case, small Tupperware container or even chewing gum pot to keep hold of loose change. Most of these will fit perfectly in your drinks holder, keeping you organised.
- Regularly take out your floor mats and shake them outside to get rid of any loose dirt as this will mean that you will not have to hoover as much.
- If you notice that the spaces between your seats and the centre console quickly begin to fill with dirt and crumbs, then you may want to consider investing in a gap filler. You can find ideas on the best products over on The Drive.
For more handy ways that you can keep your car clean, take a look at our previous article.
Keeping Your Car In Immaculate Condition!
Over the past few months, we have all been actively encouraged to take a closer look at how we ensure that our surroundings remain hygienic. Our car is something that many of us were guilty of leaving without a clean for longer than we should, but now is the perfect time to give the interior a little extra TLC.
If you have noticed any problems arising with your vehicle since the lockdown, then the team at Scuff ‘n’ Scratch are still on hand to provide a range of services. Although our processes have been slightly altered to comply with government guidelines, we are listed as a business which can continue operating. Whether you require anything from vandal key scatch repairs in Milton Keynes to paintwork repairs in Buckingham, please do not hesitate to contact us!