Cleaning the Car
Most of us spend a lot of time inside our cars. Keeping your car’s interior clean is more than a matter of pride. It’s a health issue. Dirt contains grit and chemicals that can be harmful to breath and eat away the surfaces of your car’s interior. Generally speaking, the same procedures and products that you use at home work quite well in your car.
Clean the interior before you do the exterior. The most effective thing you can do is vacuum the seats first, remove and clean the floor mats, and then vacuum the carpets. Dust the dashboard, rear window shelf, and other surfaces, and use swabs or a toothbrush to get into A/C vents, around dashboard knobs, and other tight places. Aerosol cans of air used for cleaning cameras and computers can force dust from tiny apertures.
Never use a dry rag or paper towels to clean the plastic lenses on instrument panel gauges. Small, dry particles of dust and grit can scratch the surface. If the lenses are clouded, use a plastic cleaner sparingly with a clean, damp terry cloth rag or sponge. Excess moisture can damage electronic instruments.
You can use the same products to clean car upholstery and carpeting that you use to clean your chairs, sofas, and rugs. Keep the following in mind:
Vinyl seats and interiors and plastic surfaces such as dashboards, steering wheels, and interior moldings usually respond well to water and a mild soap or dish detergent, but you may have to resort to special vinyl-cleaning products if you’ve let things get out of hand.
Protect all vinyl and plastic surfaces from sunlight and heat with products designed for those materials. While you’re at it, use them or a spray silicone lubricant on dashboards, weather stripping, vinyl or rubber floor mats, and tires, too, to prevent them from cracking and drying out and to keep them supple. Avoid oil- and petroleum-based products that can damage vinyl and leave it brittle.
If you’re lucky enough to have leather seats in your vehicle, take care of them. If properly cared for, leather can last a long time but, like all skin, it dries out and ages prematurely if it’s not kept clean and moisturized.