There’s nothing like that new car feeling. But even if your car is far from fresh off the lot, there’s still a lot you can do to keep it looking as good as the day you bought it.
When it comes to your car’s interior, in particular, keeping the upholstery clean is key to keeping it in tip-top shape. Check out these six clever tips to make your fabric car seats look brand-new.
1. Try baking soda
The same stuff you use to keep your refrigerator smelling fresh and to whip up baked goods can also do wonders on your fabric car seats . To remove a stain, simply mix up a solution containing 1/4 cup baking soda and a cup of warm water. Use a light layer of the solution and scrub the spot with a toothbrush. For a particularly stubborn stain, try letting the solution sit for about 30 minutes before scrubbing.
2. Use baby wipes
Baby wipes aren’t just for diaper changes. Keep a pack of baby wipes or dry cleaning cloths in your car for quick cleanups in the event of a spill. They’re also safe for the environment and won’t bother those with sensitive skin.
3. Vacuum first
Before scrubbing your upholstery, vacuum to remove any surface dirt and debris . This way, you won’t accidentally spread any dirt or stains, and you’ll also lower the risk of ruining your fabric with overzealous scrubbing. Once the fabric is dry, you can vacuum it again to ensure an extra-polished look.
4. Freeze away sticky spills
If you have little kids, you know they’re prone to make messes with sticky substances, like candy, gum or crayons. When this inevitably happens in your car, start by applying ice in a plastic baggie to stop the melting. Once the substance hardens, you can scrape it away using a butter knife or a credit card.
5. Don’t overdo it with water
If you think you need a lot of water to remove dirt and stains, think again. Too much moisture is bad for the fabric and can also make for a damp or musty smell that lingers. Try to avoid getting water on metal portions as well, as this can lead to rust.
6. Use an upholstery protector
Once you get your car seats sparkling clean, get to work keeping them that way by investing in an upholstery protector. There’s a variety of options on the market. Which type should you get? It depends. What sort of stains do you typically encounter in your car? And what type of fabric are you protecting?
Consistency is key, so professional detailer Darren Priest of Best Auto Detailing Tips recommends using an upholstery protector every time you shampoo cloth and fabric upholstery in your vehicle.