10 auto upholstery care tips, Orange County CA


Your car’s upholstery probably takes more wear and tear than you realize: Soiled shoes, spilled drinks, kids and pets can quickly turn your car’s interior into a mess. Follow these 10 upholstery cleaning tips to help eradicate the mess:

1. Deal with spilled drinks immediately

It’s not always easy to do, especially if you’re traveling on the highway or in heavy traffic, but the quicker you clean up spills such as coffee, juice or cola, the less likely you’ll have a stain set in your seat fabric or carpet. Fist, dilute the spill cool water (never use hot water, it can set the stain). Then, blot the excess liquid up with a clean rag or paper towel.

2. Use glass cleaner for difficult stains

Some difficult stains that remain even after you clean them can sometimes be broken up with glass cleaner. Before using glass cleaner to remove a stain, test it in an inconspicuous area to make sure it won’t stain the fabric or carpet itself. Then saturate the area with glass cleaner, let it sit for five minutes, then blot to clean.

3. Attack ink stains with hairspray

If you somehow get ink on your car’s interior fabric or carpet, spray the area with hairspray. Let it sit for a few minutes until it absorbs the stain, then wipe it off. Repeat as needed.

4. Don’t let bloodstains set

If blood comes in contact with your vehicle’s upholstery, do not clean it with hot water, which can set the stain. Make a paste with cold water and powdered laundry detergent. Apply to the stain until the stain dries, then use a brush or vacuum to remove it. Clean up any excess laundry detergent to avoid attracting more stains or dirt to the area.

5. Clean vinyl the right way

In general, vinyl upholstery can be cleaned with a damp rag and baking soda. Rinse this mixture off with water and dish soap. Avoid using any oil- or mineral-based cleaners, which can make vinyl stiff.

6. Give carpet a deep clean

The key to cleaning interior carpet and fabric upholstery is to get deep into the fibers. Using one gallon of hot water, mix one cup of vinegar and some dish soap, then use a hard bristle brush to work into the fibers. Let this sit for about 30 minutes before rinsing with water and blotting it dry with rags.

7. Dry leather thoroughly

Leather upholstery is quite sensitive to water, but water is necessary to clean it. Use a cloth with water and a low-pH soap to clean it, then dry thoroughly afterwards.

8. Use ammonia to brighten fading carpet

If your car’s non-wool carpeting is fading, vacuum it thoroughly. Then, use a mixture of half a cup of ammonia and one pint of water to mop the carpeting. Do not use ammonia if the carpeting is made of wool.

9. Remove fabric indentations with an iron

Heavy objects left in the cargo hold or other areas of the car interior can sometimes leave indentations. To fix this, cover the marks with a damp towel, then use an iron set on a low setting and gently iron the towel. Do not use a hot iron and do not leave the iron in one spot for too long, as this can melt the carpet fibers.

10. Know when to call in the pros

If you prefer to save your elbow grease or when you try these various strategies don’t work effectively, it may be time to call in an auto detailing professional rather than continuing to attack the stain with your own methods and risk damage to the upholstery.


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