RANCID RIDE? DO THIS. Your whip doubles as an office, lounge, entertainment center, snack wagon, kiddie & pet transporter and more; it’s only natural over time for the interior of your ride to develop eau de funk. Also, stains and rotten smells affect your car’s resale value. Here’s a guide to getting rid of some of unseen offenders in your car.
*Suck it up!
It’s not enough to toss all the trash, lids, bottles, newspapers and other bric-a-brac on the floor of your ride. Odors and stains get trapped in rugs, so use that big-mouth vacuum at the car wash after you’ve removed all the refuse. Start with the dashboard and gauges and work down. Use the needle-nose attachment to get between the seats, and don’t forget the headliner—the material attached to the roof of the car.
Using a mix of laundry detergent and water, wipe down the interior with a rag, being careful not to saturate anything—certain glues in and around your cabin don’t react well to water. You can use a hose if available for removable carpets; use a medium-bristle brush to clean them further with your detergent-water mixture. Wipe the headliner with a damp (not soaked) rag, in a uniform direction. After rinsing your rag, wipe in the opposite direction. (Note: You may want to test your solution on an inconspicuous section of your seats to ensure you won’t discolor the surface.)
If your bucket of solution doesn’t need to be changed yet, wipe all surfaces including seat belts—they absorb odors, too. Use a liquid fabric freshener to help kill embedded smells. Some professionals recommend running the air conditioner, which also collects odors, and squirting a little Frebrez into the housing of your windshield wipers.The AC will draw the fragrance through its housing and minimize certain trapped there.
*Get rid of stains
Denatured alcohol works on ink, makeup, shoe scuffs, coffee and other tough-to-remove stains. Be sure to pour the alcohol on a rag and wipe lightly as opposed to spraying directly on surfaces. Tide-To-Go, a pen that removes stains from fabrics, is also good for quick clean-ups, as is WD-40.
*Keepin’ it real (clean)
Prevention’s the best way to fight interior smellificaton, but certain odors are tougher to get rid of altogether. One way to combat stink is to put a few spoonfuls of baking soda or kitty litter, both of which absorb odors, into the ashtray.
Final word: Obviously, if your car is near-new or has all-leather seating, it’s best to follow the instructions in your owner’s manual, or leave total interior cleaning to professionals. When in doubt, consult your dealer. – Josh Max, AutoGigolo.com