Let's face it, your car's interior can be one of the most neglected places in your vehicle. The longer you wait, the more dirt and grime will accumulate. Learning how to properly cleaning your vehicle's interior can be broken into two basic tasks: cleaning and conditioning.
Part 1 - Cleaning
This includes vacuuming and sweeping up heavy debris. You may need specialty tools to get into hard to reach places, such as crevices. Most vacuums have special accessories with brush heads for car vents. Next, shake out car mats and remove from the vehicle.
Select an all purpose cleaner to remove grime from consoles and car interior doors. When you choose an all purpose spray cleaner, check to make sure that there are no synthetic fragrances or harsh chemicals inside. Ask the manufacturer for an MSDS sheet to see what they are putting inside. If they don't list all ingredients, ask them why.
Next, select a carpet cleaner for spot treatment on the car seats. For light stains work with a terry or microfiber towel to gently agitate the surface. For spots that are more heavily embedded on the surface, use a soft bristle brush. There are many specialty brushes sold in leading automotive stores.
Finally, you'll need glass cleaning supplies to remove smudges and fingerprints from the windows. Find a glass class cleaning formula that is free of any alcohol or ammonia. This is especially important if you have tinted window, since the harsh chemicals can strip their protective coating. You'll also want to use a microfiber towel with the cleaning solution since they are extremely absorbent and less likely to streak the surface.
After all the surfaces have been cleaned thoroughly, you'll need to go back to 'condition' them. This will help restore vinyl and trim pieces to their original luster. Over time with exposure to sunlight and UV rays, many of your interior pieces will start to fade, so this is why it's so important to use a conditioner.
Find a vinyl and plastic conditioner that is water-based. This is extremely important since solvent-based solutions will eventually crack and damage these interior pieces. Most manufacturers should be able to tell you if they are a water-based or solvent-based formulation. Again, a quick check of the MSDS sheet will reveal this data.
When you're done, you will have a sparkling clean interior that will look like new and that you'll be proud of.
James Dudra is the owner of Eco Touch, Inc. based in Dover, NH. Eco Touch manufactures a complete line of waterless car wash and detailing supplies at ecotouch.net
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