When you purchase a car, even if it is used, you want to keep the interior in good shape. This requires keeping the seats and floors free from rips, stains and spills. This is not as easy as it sounds, especially if you are transporting kids around on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are several different ways to remove spills and even stains with just a few items on hand, some that you may even have around the house.
Blot the Spill
The first step in removing a spot caused by a spill is to blot the liquid up with a towel, a paper towel or even an old piece of fabric. You should continue blotting the area as much as possible, stopping when your towel comes up completely dry. This indicates that you have gotten up as much as possible. Just blotting the spot removes some of the risk of stains setting in or causing problems with mildew.
Use Basic Dish or Laundry Soap
The first step in cleaning up a spill that is caused by something other than water is to try basic dish or laundry soap. While the spot is wet, apply a small amount of dish or laundry soap and rub the area with a damp cloth. If the spill comes up completely, blot away as much of the excess moisture as possible. Leaving too much moisture on the interior can cause more problems if it moulds or leaves a mildew scent.
Use Glass Cleaner
If your soap and water method fails, break out the glass cleaner. Glass cleaner works well on more than just windows. Spray the glass cleaner on the spill and let it sit for several minutes. Do not leave it on too long however, as once it dries, it will not be as effective. After allowing the glass cleaner to sit, blot the carpet or fabric with a dry cloth. Keep blotting it until your cloth comes away dry.
Use Vinegar or Baking Soda
If the spill does not leave much of a stain, but rather has a strong smell, you need to use white vinegar, which aids in removing odours. Mix the vinegar with equal parts of water in a spray bottle and spray it on the affected area. Blot the excess repeatedly until the cloth is dry. Do not let that vinegar smell scare you, it will dissipate quickly leaving your interior smelling fresh. You can also use baking soda or Borax. To use the baking soda, sprinkle it liberally over the spill. Let it dry and then vacuum it up. If it does not come up easily with just the vacuum, use a soft-bristled brush to break up the clumping before vacuuming.
Use Hairspray for Ink
If that spill happens to be from ink, a different product should be used. Hairspray is an effective ink remover. Just spray it on the spot, let it sit for several minutes and blot the ink. This may take several tries before the spot is completely gone. You can also cover the spot with salt to help in the removal process.
Use Starch for Blood
If you need to remove blood stains, check the laundry room. Grab the dry laundry starch and mix it with water until a paste forms. Place the paste on the spill, allow it to dry and then use a dry, soft-bristle brush to loosen it. You can then vacuum it up.
Use Cold Water
When dealing with a spill of any kind in your car, you may instinctively want to use hot water to clean it. Using hot water however, can set the spill in and make it harder to remove. Only use cold or lukewarm water when dealing with spots and stains. Avoid drying the spill with any source heat as it can have the same effect.
Use Commercial Cleaners
When those home remedies are unsuccessful, or you want something stronger, you will find there is never a shortage of commercial cleaning products to try. Some even come designed specifically for use on vehicles. When using these commercial products, read the labels carefully as the directions differ. You should also take safety precautions in the event that the cleaner contains harsh chemicals.
Have It Professionally Cleaned
If do not have the time or materials to try to remove the spill, seek professional assistance. While having the car professionally cleaned is more expensive, it can help it retain its value if you decide to sell it or trade it in.
Regardless of the cause of the spill, taking care of it sooner rather than later can go a long way in keeping your vehicle's interior looking and smelling good. Some spills are much easier to take care of than others, but with a few tools and tips on hand, you can clean them with ease. When the spill is cleaned, use seat covers or floor mats to prevent stains and spots in the future.