Car Care: Quick Tips for Keeping Your Car Seats Spotless

For most, the car is the most-expensive investment aside from the home or apartment.  It’s normal to keep your house clean and spotless, so it makes sense to want the same for your vehicle.  Plus, since the inside cabin of a car is a small space, it’s going to collect dust, dirt, and stains.  Whether you have pets, kids, or messy friends, you’ll want to keep your car seats looking like new, and here’s how to accomplish the feat.

Since most carwash facilities are fairly cheap, there’s no reason not to make the investment, getting the outside and inside cleaned at least once per month.  However, as you’ve probably noticed, the exterior gets washed while the car is on a moving belt, so the intensity of the wash is limited.  And, the same goes for the interior; usually, facilities have a number of workers give the interior a once over before moving on to the next customer’s car.  It’s worth the investment, especially if you receive discount for regular patronage (like getting a free wash with every tenth visit), but in some cases, there’s no substitution for doing things yourself.

Doing things yourself has a positive and negative side.  You’ll have to invest time and resources, yet it’s likely that you’ll pay closer attention and give your car the tender loving care it needs, which gets limited when using outside vendors.  Therefore, there are multiple ways to go about cleaning, depending on whether you have cloth or leather seats.  Be mindful that cleaning the inside and outside are separate jobs and necessitate different types of cleaners.  For example, using a detergent on the outside of your car can ruin the paint!

Cloth Seating
Get two buckets (one filled with hot water and the other cold), upholstery cleaner, and clean towels.  Take a towel and dip it into the hot water mixed with cleaner.  Begin gently scrubbing away at stains, caked-on dirt, and debris.  Once you have addressed the entire cabin area, dip another cloth into the cold water to wash away the cleaner, which should result in a clean and fresh-smelling car seat.

Such tactics also work on products bought from  Add another layer and padding atop your car seats.  The covers easily come off for cleaning.  In a worst-case scenario, you can just buy another cover ruined by a stain.  The solution is not so easy if your actual seat gets a stain!

Leather Seating
Leather, being a more expensive and gentler material, warrants the utmost care.  Don’t be cheap and try cleaning alternatives; be sure to buy products that are manufactured for the purpose of cleaning leather seats.  To start, vacuum your car’s interior and then begin applying the leather cleaner as directed on the bottle.  After the advised time, use a moist chamois towel to rub away excess cleaner.  Additionally, check online for leather conditioners, which will help maintain the integrity of the leather and guard from cracking and splitting.

Jonathan Wilks helps run an upholstery renovation and cleaning business and likes to share his tips with an online audience. He has written for a number of different websites.

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