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November 04, 2020 8 min read

The Art of Cleaning and Maintaining Your Car Floor Mats (Trapo)

Getting a car can feel very empowering. Not having to depend on public transport like buses and trains has a certain freedom to it. Having your own car also means that you can carry more things on your day to day travels. But for all of the great things that come with having your own car, it also brings a new set of responsibilities on your shoulders.

From making sure that your car has gas at all times, to getting an oil change every few months, there are various things that you will have to care for. And the most frustrating thing that you will have to care for is your car’s floor mats. You may want to clean them, but you might forget and receive a bitter reminder to do it the next time you set foot in your car.

Your floor mats can always end up dirty, no matter how hard you seem to try. They are second only to the exterior of your car, you can only do so much to make sure your floor mats don’t get dirty. But eventually, you will have to get to cleaning them. And if you are someone who doesn’t know much about cleaning your car’s floor mats, then this guide is just the thing for you.

Tips for Cleaning a Floor Mat

Car washes can seem a little needlessly expensive, especially for the interiors. A good clean up of your car from the inside can put a real dent on your wallet. And lucky for you, cleaning your floor mat is actually not that hard. Here are a few tips and things that you will before you get started.

Clean your Car

Before you can even start washing your floor mats, you will have to clean up your car. Even if it is just the floor mats that you want to clean, you shouldn’t neglect the rest of your car. Moreover, you will have to pick up any objects from the car floor –if there are any. If the objects are of no use, throw them away, and if you want to keep them, be sure to keep your things in dedicated compartments. Now you can easily see the stains and dirt on your mats, which will make cleaning them a lot easier.

Take the Mats Out

While this might seem a little obvious, most people clean their floor mats without taking them out first. Various parts of your car should never get in contact with liquids of any sort, which means that you should always wash your mats outside the car. Not to mention, cleaning car mats from the inside can feel a little uncomfortable, giving you even more reason to take the mats out.

Buy a Mat Cleaner

If you are new to cleaning your car’s floor mat, you may think that a nice scrub with soap should be enough to clean it. However, it takes a lot more than just soap and a nice scrub to clean those mats. Mat cleaners are great when it comes to cleaning more delicate mats. But before you buy a cleaner, you will have to look at the type of floor mat you have. If it is something that resembles a rubber floor mat, then soap and vinegar will suffice. On the other hand, if it resembles more to cloth or upholstery, you don’t want to ruin the color or feel of the mat. Therefore, you will have to buy a proper vehicle carpet cleaning solution for it.

Buying a Brush

Now that you have the supplies to clean your mat, the only thing that you are missing is a good brush. It is always good to buy a separate brush to clean your car’s floor mats. Since your floor mat will most likely require a nice scrub before it is properly clean, buying a good brush can really help you clean.

You should also choose a brush that is smaller and more comfortable to use. Seeing how scrubbing your floor mats – especially cloth ones – take a lot of effort; you want a brush that is very comfortable and easy to use. A smaller brush can also help you get around cleaning smaller parts of your mat.

Cleaning your Carpet

Now that you have all of the necessary supplies that will help you clean, it’s time to get your hands dirty. Cleaning your carpet or upholstery mat takes a little more care than its rubber counterpart. Other than care, you will also need the right supplies in order to clean the mats effectively, something that yo9u should already have if you have been following the guide so far. Here is how you will go about cleaning your carpet or upholstery mat.

Step 1: Take Out the Floor Mats

This one is quite self-explanatory. As we have gone over this before,to avoid damage to certain parts of your car, you will have to take the mats out and lay them on a flat surface.

Step 2: Vacuum your Carpet Mat

Once you have the mats out, get your car vacuum, and use it to clean both sides of the mat. Now, if you are wondering why you should use a vacuum in the first place? Well, that is so cleaning the carpet mat is easier. While crumbs and dust is not a real problem for rubber mats, it can be very hard to get those bits and pieces out of carpets.

Besides, a little vacuum can save you a lot of hard work. Since vacuuming your floor mat helps remove all of the crumbs and dust from your floor mat, you can better focus on the real problem – the stains.

Step 3: Use Carpet Cleaning Solution

Once you are done with the vacuum, it is time to get rid of that awful smell from your carpet. This is where that carpet cleaning solution comes in. Spray the solution on your carpet sparingly. Remember, you don’t have to soak your carpet in it! Of course, if you don’t have a carpet cleaning solution, you can also use white vinegar to help with the stains. White vinegar is a good alternative to a car cleaning solution.

Step 4: Brush off Salt and Stains

After applying the white vinegar or the carpet cleaning solution, you will now have to remove the salt and stains from the carpet. Now, remember not to brush too hard, as this might damage the upholstery. You should scrub until you are satisfied but make sure you scrub just enough to get rid of the stains. Brushing for too long might just tire you out and can ruin the cloth.

Step 5: Wash Off and Leave To Dry

Now that you are done with all that scrubbing, you can now move onto washing the carpet. Use a high-pressure nozzle on your hose to get those stains and the solution right off. A high-pressure nozzle – although not mandatory – can really help get those tough stains out of your carpet. In the event that you are done washing your floor mats and the results are mediocre at best, you can repeat the procedure from step 1 for a cleaner carpet.

And with that, you have the guide on how to clean your carpet mats. Now we move on to the considerably easier rubber mats.

Cleaning Rubber Mats

Rubber mats, unlike their carpet counterparts, are considerably easier to clean and take a lot less effort. Since they don’t absorb any liquids, stains are often on the surface level that you can take off with a little bit of scrubbing. Nonetheless, let’s go over how you will clean them.

Step 1: Take Out and Whack Against a Wall

Before you can get to cleaning your car’s floor mat, similar to the carpets, you will first have to take off any debris or dust on the rubber mat. A good way to take off any debris or dust is to whack the rubber mat against a wall. While you may worry when whacking an upholstery mat or a carpet against the wall as it could tear or rip,there is no cause for concern when whacking a rubber mat.

Not to mention, rubber mats can be home to some stubborn debris, which can get off with a little bit of force. With the debris now gone, you can focus more on the stains.

Step 2: Make a Soapy Solution and Soap down the Rubber

Although white vinegar makes for a remarkably good solution to most of your problems, they aren’t as effective as a foamy liquid solution and a good brushing. The good news is that you don’t have to buy a rubber mat solution, as you can make an effective one at home.

A good solution consists of dishwashing liquid and water. Both of them combined will create a nice foamy solution that you can use on your mats to get rid of dirt. After making the solution, use your brush to really scrub down on the rubber mat.

Opposed to the upholstery mat, you don’t have to go easy and be careful with the rubber mats. You can scrub rigorously and not have to worry about ruining it. Be sure to run your brush under the various crevices and cracks of your rubber mat.

Step 3: Water It Down

Once you’re done scrubbing the rubber mat, you will wash off the solution and clean off the mat. Try using a high-pressure nozzle on your garden hose to clean your floor mat properly. Now a thing to remember here is, you should use only water down the top of the mat where a passenger or driver will rest their feet, not where the mat touches the car. This is very important, as you may end up damaging the interior of the car, or worse, let the fungus grow under the car mats.

Step 4: Selective Use of Vinegar and let dry

After scrubbing your floor mat to the fullest and washing it out, you should use a microfiber cloth along with selective use of vinegar to help clear out stains that didn’t go. Spray the white vinegar onto the rubber mat and wipe it clean with your microfiber cloth. This will get rid of any stains that didn’t come off during your first time scrubbing. Remember, you don’t have to apply vinegar on the entire mat, just on the stains that didn’t come off.

Once you’re done wiping down the last stains with the help of some vinegar, you can now let your rubber mats dry off in the sun. You should also let the other side of the mat – the side that touches the car – dry off as it is possibly more than little wet thanks to the prior wash.

With that, you now know how to clean your rubber mats in an effective manner that is both quick and simple.

Maintaining a Clean Mat

Finally, no matter how well you clean your mat, it will eventually get dirty again. And while you can’t stop your car mat from getting dirty again, you can certainly prolong the time till your next wash. Keeping a few tips in mind can save you the effort of washing your floor mats more than once a month.

Keeping your shoes clean when entering your car is a no brainer as the debris and dirt from your shoes will only affect the mats on the inside. And if you are traveling to a sandy area like a beach, you should keep your doors closed at all times. Finally, try not to take off your shoes when inside the car, as the sweat from your feet can seep into your floor mats and eave a nasty smell.

In conclusion, cleaning your floor mat isn’t hard. It just requires a little bit of hard work to get the job done. You can use these methods mentioned above to properly clean your mats, and get rid of any bad smells that may be coming from it. Remember, no one likes a dirty car.

 

Resources:

https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/how-to-clean-car-floor-mats
https://www.carbibles.com/clean-car-floor-mats/


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