Cleaning the carpet and floor mats of your car may perhaps be the least important task when compared to keeping the engine and other powered parts in good condition. However, keeping your car interior clean is the real distinction between a sorry state of a car and a car in good condition and well cared for.
It’s really so easy to clean the carpets and floor mats of your car in no time at all. The peace and spotless interior of your car is rewarding enough to carry out this simple task. No doubt car carpets and floor mats receive the most abuse, are often neglected and at times may be tough to clean.
That’s why it’s important to gear yourself with the right tools and the right methods to clean your car carpet and floor mats. Unfortunately the right tools can be expensive though they will give you the best results. Well maintained car carpets, may be easier to clean by hand, though it can be long and labour-intensive.
1. Organise the interior of your car
Remove any item lying on the floor of your car including personal affects. Take out any loose objects in your car that may hinder the carpet cleaning process.
2. Remove your floor mats
Take out your floor mats and shake them thoroughly to dust off all the bits of dirt and grime that may be stuck to it.
3. Brush the car carpet
Give the car carpet a good brushing with a hard-bristle brush or a brush attachment of a vacuum. This helps raise the carpet fibres to release the dirt.
4. Vacuum your car thoroughly
Vacuum your car carpet – every nook and corner beneath the car seats. Be careful of the yellow wires underneath you seats which are connected to the airbags. Do not forget to vacuum the hard to reach places – under the pedals and dips in the carpeting that often traps dirt or grime left on the floor of your car.
5. Time to work on your carpet
Add car shampoo to the carpet and leave it for about 10 minutes. Use your brush to make circular motions to clean away the dirt and grime. You can repeat it for large stained areas.
A variety of products which are almost similar in the market can be used to clean car carpets. You can use any product though the cleaning process does not change. Some use laundry detergents to clean car carpets. Use a soft-bristle brush to drive the shampoo deep into the carpet.
6. Rinse your newly shampooed carpet
Dampen the shampooed areas with a wet rag. Try to extract as much soap as you can. The carpet should not get too wet to prevent the underside from getting mouldy. So it’s important to remove most of the shampoo from the carpet.
7. Make sure your car dries out properly
It is imperative that no moisture remains in your car carpet. Open the car doors and leave the car under the sun for a couple of hours. Then test your carpets. If you feel any dampness, leave it there for about another hour. If the carpets in your car are completely dry, your car is ready to go. Pre-treat any noticeable stains. Add the cleaner to the stain and let it stay for about 5 minutes. Then use a stiff brush to scrub it.
1. Remove and vacuum your car mats
Take out your car mats and spread them on the cement or concrete ground. Vacuum them to remove any dirt and debris. Both sides of the floor mat have to be vacuumed. Give a good shake to your mats to get rid of any residual grime and dirt.
2. Wash the reverse side of your mats
Flip your mats to the plastic reverse side. Add a couple of drops of dish washing detergent on the plastic. Hose it down with water to remove the grime, and to bring out the soap foam. Use a towel or sponge to scrub it. For stubborn dirt, use a brush. Hose down the plastic once again, and then towel dry.
3. Spray cleaner on upholstery
Flip your mats around to face the fabric side. Use a carpet cleaner or a detergent for laundry. Spray or pour a generous amount onto the fabric. Hose down the floor mats with water to make the cleaning detergent work and remove any dirt.
4. Scrub your car floor mats
A medium sized brush is used to scrub the floor mats in a circular motion. You may have to apply more pressure on some spots. You may want to splash water on the mat while scrubbing various corners of the fabric. Then hose the fabric down again with water until the soap bubbles disappear.
5. Hang out your mats to dry
Vacuum the excess water. Then dab them with a towel or washcloth till it’s dry. Soak up as much excess water as possible. You can now hang your floor mats to dry, or at a spot where they can hang freely.
Not all stains can be treated equally. Some may need specialised chemicals. To remove food and lipstick spots, a synthetic stain remover is needed. For organic protein based stains like blood, vomit and urine you may need an enzyme-based cleaner. For oil-based spots like oil, grease, tar, inks and many others, you will find it useful to have a paint, oil or grease remover. The wrong car carpet cleaners can be harsh on fibres or cause discolouration of your car mats. Always use cleaners for car carpet and upholstery.
After vacuuming, you could use three main cleaning methods for deep cleaning of carpet. Car cleaning by hand is cheap; by machine is easier and does the job but it’s costly; or by using a hot water extractor which is efficient and effortless though expensive. At times a mix of methods may get you the best results that suit your needs.
It simply cleans better and faster. A good carpet extractor is a serviceable machine with replaceable motors and pumps, and is a good investment.
When you have treated the car carpeting spots follow these steps:
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