In the series on Caring for Your Transportation, we move to the inside of the car. The place where french fries hide and sticky abounds. Most people know the basics on vacuuming and applying armor-all to the dash, so we will not spend time on that. This post will be dedicated to little tips and tricks that can help make the job easier.
There is no better feel in a car than leather. Yes, it can be difficult to clean and occasionally can burn your legs, but those pains are all forgotten when you look at a well-cared leather interior. So let’s discuss the best way to care for your leather. First things first – throw out your saddle soap! It might have worked in the 1800’s, but there are now products that do a better job of cleaning and conditioning leather. Next, you need to know if your interior is real or corinthian leather. Corinthian leather is an interior substitute to leather.
It has the look of leather, but it actually is not really leather and cannot be cleaned and conditioned for leather. Now that the saddle soap is out the window and we are sure that we are working with real leather, let’s get started.
When working with leather there is always a two part process. You obviously must clean the leather, but then you must also condition the leather. Conditioning the leather is nothing more than adding oils back in that keep the leather pliable, durable, and looking good!
The best cleaner and conditioner for leather are put out by Lexol. Lexol makes a line of products that are ph balanced to prevent damage to the leather. Their conditioners are absolutely the best at keeping leather stocked with vital oils. The best part is that Lexol products are available at most auto stores. It is also very affordable and easy to use.
Carpets can be quite frustrating to clean, especially in a car. Some places are so tight that you can never scrub them completely clean. Removing seats from a car to completely clean it is always and option, and sometimes very necessary, but definitely not fun. So how do you get carpets clean?
There are two options for clean carpets that really look great. One option is to use a steam cleaner. You can rent a steam cleaner from a grocery or hardware store. They do the job well, but it is important to leave the doors open and let it air out until totally dry. The steam from a steam cleaner penetrates deep into the carpet and often the insulation. If you close your car doors afterwards (without letting it dry) you are asking for mold, mildew, and whole other set of troubles.
The other option is to get a cleaner formulated for car’s interiors and let it do the work for you. My favorite is Eimann Fabrik Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner. This product is for the carpet and upholstery of your car and it does a fantastic job, with minimal work. As always, you want to tackle spills and stains as soon as possible, but I have seen this product pull out stains that have been in carpet for years.
Cleaning your Air Vents
So your car is all clean outside and in; you get in the car and expect everything to look amazing and sparkle, but there is a certain dullness that is noticeable. What could it be? None other than your air vents. These air
vents are typically more trouble than they are worth to clean. How do you get a rag in there to clean them, and how do you apply dressing to them? Those are both easy to answer.
The easiest way that I have found to clean air vents is an attachment that comes with most vacuum cleaners. The attachment is typically round and has 3″-4″ bristles that surround the brush. These bristles get into the air vent like nothing else can.
Once the vents are cleaned out with the vacuum. It is time to dress them out. Of course you could always get a rag and try to get even coverage in all the vents, or you could get a tool to help you get the job done right in no time at all. My favorite tool for dressing air vents is an enormous Q-Tip looking tool. It is a wooden dowel with a 2″-3″ piece of foam glued toward the end of it. You can easily make one of these tools for a couple of dollars, or occasional find them at auto-part stores. To apply the dressing to the air vent you would just dip the Enormous Q-Tip into the dressing and then swab it over the louvers and sides of the vent. You end up with a beautiful air vent in no time at all.
These are just a few tips, but I am guessing that you have some as well. Please feel free to share them in comments section below.