Clean interiors keep cars ‘new’

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TRESA ERICKSON
You’ve just bought a new vehicle. If you’re like most owners, you want to keep it looking new for as long as possible. One of the ways to do this is by keeping the interior clean.

Vehicles are exposed to the elements often and get dirty easily. While a quick trip to the car wash might suffice for the exterior, the interior requires a bit more work. Here are some tips to help you clean your vehicle’s interior.

Start with the windows and mirrors. To prevent smears, use an alcohol-based cleaner on the windows. This will also remove any film that has been left behind by the sun. Apply the cleaner to the interior of the windows with a paper towel and wipe them dry with newspaper. Turn your attention to the mirrors next. You can use the same cleaner you used for the windows. However, if you live in an area with heavy fog, you may want to use shaving cream instead, as it will provide an anti-fog coating.

Next, wipe off the dash and other surfaces with a suitable cleaner. Shop cloths come in handy for this. Not only will they pick up the dirt, but they will eliminate the accumulation of static electricity, which can cause carsickness. To get into crevices and other hard-to-reach places, use a cotton swab or a small paintbrush. Once the surfaces are clean, you may want to apply a protectant to prevent sun damage. Be careful where you apply it, though, as it could make some surfaces, such as the steering wheel, slippery.

Once the surfaces are clean, start working on the upholstery and carpet. For the upholstery, use upholstery cleaner. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions and test the product for color fastness before applying it. After you’ve cleaned the upholstery, move on to the carpet. First, pull out the floor mats and use a stiff brush to loosen dirt and other debris. For tough stains, apply a carpet cleaner. As with the upholstery cleaner, you should test the product for color fastness. Be careful not to saturate the carpet with cleaner, as this could result in mold. Finally, vacuum the upholstery, floor mats and carpet, and apply fabric protectant to prevent future dirt and stains from seeping in.

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