The average American drives for around one hour per day. That’s 15 days per year! So you may as well ensure your home away from home is fresh and livable.
To give you a hand, we’ve outlined ten steps to get that cabin delightfully pristine.
Ready for a (mobile) home makeover?
Here’s what to do:
1. Get The Necessary Cleaning Equipment
Before you start cleaning, you need the right tools for the job.
Here are a few essentials:
- Utensils: A vacuum, cloth, brush, bucket, sponge, duster, and disposable gloves
- Cleaners: An all-surface cleaner and glass cleaner at the minimum
- Fresheners: Gel air, aerosol spray, and stick-on vent air fresheners are all popular options
It’s easy to get swept up (pun intended) in the various cleaning products on the market. There are so many specialized options to clean the individual components of your vehicle.
But for the most part, generic car cleaning products will be fine. However, certain materials (leather, window tint, etc.) may require special cleaners.
Tip: Keep a cleaning spray in your vehicle for emergencies.
2. Gather All Trash
Give your vehicle a bit of a tidy-up by removing all those accumulated sweet wrappers and coffee cups. They’ll only get in your way when it comes to cleaning.
Don’t forget that it’s easy for trash to get lost around your car, so check all the less-obvious places — under the seats, between the seats, etc.
Tip: Keep a waterproof trash container in your car to make trash removal easier.
3. Remove and Clean The Floor Mats
Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty. Start by removing your floor mats and giving them a good shake-off or dust. Then scrub them with soap and water and allow them to dry.
Tip: Shake out your mats once or twice a week to stop dirt from accumulating.
4. Vacuum The Interior
It’s time to remove the first layer of dirt from your cabin. So thoroughly vacuum the interior from top to bottom.
Again, don’t forget those hard-to-reach places like between the seats, the boots, and even in the air vents.
Tip: Purchase a portable, hand-held vacuum cleaner to make the process easier.
5. Tackle The Plastics: Cupholders, Door Panels, Dashboard and Steering Wheel
Start by giving all surfaces a dust. You can use a duster or even an old rag. Then you can scrub with a cleaning detergent (or specialized cleaner) to disinfect the area.
Take care when using liquids, however, as there are several electronic components that may not be water-resistant. You can use a damp cloth if necessary.
Tip: Placing a liner inside your cupholders prevents a build-up of difficult-to-clean grime.
6. Clean The Console
First, remove any items from the storage compartment if you haven’t already. Ideally, target this area with a vacuum cleaner while you’re taking care of the rest of the cabin.
Next, you can scrub with a sponge and warm, soapy water or use a damp cloth. Ensure you wipe the compartment down with a dry cloth afterward to remove moisture.
Tip: Use a toothbrush to target small corners.
7. Wipe The Interior Windows, Windshield, and Review Mirror
You’ll need two things to effectively clean your glass surfaces:
- A microfiber cloth: Microfiber is smooth, so it won’t scratch the glass and is absorbent.
- An ammonia-free glass or window cleaner: Ammonia can damage the anti-glare coating on the glass.
Tip: First, spray the cleaning product on the cloth to avoid the cleaner dripping into any crevices and causing damage.
8. Clean The Seats
Ideally, you vacuum your seats along with the rest of the interior. Afterward, they may need further cleaning. You’ll need to clean the seats with different products depending on the material:
- Leather: You can use a commercial leather cleaner or mix dishwashing soap with warm water
- Vinyl: An all-purpose cleaner should work perfectly
- Cloth: Upholstery or all-purpose cleaners are ideal
Tip: Clean stains as soon as they occur. They’ll be easier to clean and less likely to become permanent.
9. Organize Your Cabin
Leaving too many things in your car makes it untidy and means it’ll require more effort to clean your cabin later on. So it’s a good idea to take out any non-essential items to avoid a build-up.
Tip: Get a seat organizer. Use the various compartments to store your children’s things and keep the back of your seats safe from their dirty shoes.
10. Deodorize with Air Freshener
There are several ways to keep your cabin smelling fresh, but for the most part, a basic air freshener should do. You can also use odor absorbers to remove any bad smells.
Tip: If you want a homemade odor remover, putting baking soda or activated charcoal in a plastic container with a few holes really does the trick!