Tips and tricks for cleaning car upholstery
Establishing a series of routines regarding car cleaning is not always easy. Is upholstery the great unknown? Today we review some basic tips and tricks to clean car upholstery that will make things much easier for you. You will see how to make the interior of your vehicle like new will not be so difficult.
Cleaning tips according to the type of upholstery
- Fabric upholstery. The first thing to keep in mind is that we are talking about an absorbent fabric so it is best to opt for dry cleaning. If it is not enough, we can apply water with neutral soap but always use a liquid vacuum cleaner that prevents the surface of the fabric from being wet for a long time.
To get a good result, first vacuum the upholstery and keep in mind that the more powerful the vacuum cleaner, the better. Then clean the fabric with a sponge soaked in water and liquid soap. Try not to rub hard. If the stains resist, you can use the dry foam for upholstery and let it act for about 10 minutes. Then remove it with a cloth and use the vacuum cleaner again. Finally, you can wipe a dust trap to get a better result.
- Leather. On the one hand, it does not have the absorption capacity that fabric has, but it is a very delicate material, which forces us to take special care in cleaning it. It is best to start by vacuuming the area to remove all the dirt. Never use stiff bristle brushes as you could damage the leather. In the market, you can find specific products that will prevent the leather from dehydrating, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and complete the cleaning by drying with a new cloth and applying a moisturizer so that the upholstery recovers the shine of the first day.
- Alcantara. This fabric has a texture and feel similar to suede. We find it in the seats, interiors and roofs of high-end cars, and also covering the steering wheels of some sports versions. There are already products created especially for cleaning and approved by the manufacturer. You should not let dirt accumulate, establish a routine that can begin by removing dust, always with a soft brush, a dry cloth or by vacuuming. You can then wipe a cotton cloth, slightly damp, without applying too much pressure to prevent the upholstery from fading. If the upholstery is removable, you can put it in the washing machine at 30º, with neutral detergent and without spinning. Air dry and brush with a soft bristle brush.
If what you need is to clean a localized stain, do not let it dry. It works within 30 minutes and begins by removing the remains of the substance with a spoon, absorbent paper or a sponge. Avoid rubbing to avoid spreading the stain. Then wipe it with a damp cloth, cleaning it between passes.
- Vinyl. This type of upholstery is made of synthetic material and its cleaning is much easier since the vinyl is waterproof, which does not absorb liquid stains. It is advisable to vacuum the area and then wipe the entire surface with a damp cloth. Never use ammonia as it could cause some discoloration. It is best to use mild soap and water.
- Microfiber. It is the one that suffers the most wear over time so it is also the one that stains the most. To clean it, we must start with a good vacuum to remove solid remains. Then, we mix water with ammonia, and with a soft bristle brush we rub over the stains, trying to clean from the outside to the inside to prevent them from spreading. It is not advisable to use hot water.
Products you can use to clean car upholstery
- Ammonia cleaning. Ammonia, in addition to removing dirt and eliminating bad odors, acts as a disinfectant, killing bacteria and germs. It can also help you restore the original shine of the upholstery. If the type of upholstery in your car allows the use of ammonia, you must act quickly. The first thing you have to do is remove the largest waste. Then apply neutral soap with a cloth or sponge and then wipe with a cloth moistened with ammonia. You can use it on mud, gum, coffee, chocolate, grease, vomit, makeup, blood, and ink stains.
- With baking soda. Baking soda is a disinfectant and deodorizing product that you can use to remove bad odors, grease, and common stains on fabric upholstery. To do this, you must dissolve the bicarbonate in a little water and use it to rub the area of ?? the stain. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes and then remove it with a sponge dampened in water. If it is a stubborn stain, add vinegar to the mixture and repeat the process several times.
- Dry. Dry cleaning is the most recommended to carry out general cleaning of the interior of the car. We start by vacuuming the base of the seats, following the floor, always from the inside out to drag the dirt. Then we pass a soaked in soap and water all over the fabric, also from the inside out. To finish we will use a dry foam. Its application is simple, you have to let it dry and we will remove it with a dry cloth.
- Steamer. If we prefer to use a steam cleaner, we must bear in mind that we will not need additional products to remove dirt, clean and sanitize any interior surface. The first thing you will have to do is remove any unnecessary objects from inside the car. Continue with a vacuum of all areas and when you finish you can start with the steam, adjusting its intensity so as not to damage the surfaces. In addition to the seats, you can clean the glove compartment, the headliner, the floor mats, the floor, the pedals, the center console, the trunk and even the engine compartment.
How to remove concrete stains
In addition to the advice that you can apply in general cleaning, keep in mind that for certain stains you must use specific products and take special care. Here are some tips:
- To remove gum stains, use ice. It will make it hard and it will be easier to remove it with a spatula.
- If the stain is from coffee or carbonated drinks, it is important to act quickly since if it dries it will be more difficult to clean it. In that case, you can use a hot water glass cleaner.
- To remove traces of grease and oil, rub with a sponge or cloth dampened in a mixture of water and degreaser. If the stain resists, apply diluted glycerin to it.
- The chocolate comes out by rubbing with a damp cloth and liquid soap. Prevent it from spreading by vacuuming.
- For ink stains, prepare a mixture of alcohol and water, in equal parts, and apply it on the stain. Wait a few seconds and remove without rubbing too much so as not to spread it.
- Preferably do not use makeup remover liquids to remove makeup stains, they could damage the upholstery. You can use a mixture of alcohol and detergent for delicates.
- With the mud, you have to be careful to first remove the sand with a vacuum cleaner and then soften the remains with water and neutral soap. You can lightly scrub with a wet brush.
Tricks for cleaning upholstery
- The very dirty upholstery requires you to employ yourself thoroughly, but that dirt can be removed with household products and following our previous advice. Do not hesitate to turn to a professional in case of difficulty.
- Incorporate the routine of cleaning the upholstery on a regular basis along with the rest of the vehicle maintenance.
- Use basic products like gloves, a bucket, a brush, a bar of soap, and some washcloths.
- In case of difficult stains or specific types of upholstery, remember to use, as we have seen, the appropriate products (water, neutral soap or dry cleaning) and in the case of using specific liquids, it is important that you always read the indications and recommendations for use.
- Assume that some stains may never finish disappearing, so do not insist too much or you will end up damaging the upholstery. Learn more about Hybrid Cars.