It doesn’t take long for stains to start accumulating in a car. If you’ve owned it for a while, it’s probably seen its share of burgers, ketchup, potato chips, cupcakes, and other food. Here’s how to get the stains out and prevent new ones.
Dilute coffee spills immediately with cool water (it’s always a good idea to ask for water with your coffee). Then, blot the stain until it lifts. If a stain remains after the blotting, time to bring in the heavy guns. Get glass cleaner and soak the area thoroughly. Really let it set in.
Allow the glass cleaner to set for about 5 minutes and then blot. This should take care of the stain. If that doesn’t work, use detergent – it’s good for older stains that never came out.
Cleaning Grease Stains
Grease can be especially stubborn. But, fortunately, most grease stains can be removed by rubbing paint thinner on the stain using a 100 percent cotton cloth. Cover the stain with salt until the grease is absorbed, and then vacuum everything up. An alternative is to cover the spot with cornmeal and let it sit overnight before vacuuming it up in the morning.
Grease can usually be cleaned up with a heavy dishwashing detergent too, as long as the carpet can handle it. Rub the detergent into the stain and let it sit for several minutes. Then, use a wet washcloth to break up the stain and keep washing until it’s gone.
The tricky thing about dish washing detergent is that it requires water, and water is tricky to get out of carpet without mold or mildew problems. You will want to blot up as much of it as you can and air out the vehicle using your vehicle’s air conditioning. This will help pull moisture out of the air and dehumidify the vehicle, helping the carpet to dry.
Cleaning Ink Stains
Ink stains almost never come out unless you use hairspray or salt. Allow the stain to sit for as long as it takes until the stain is broken up and lifts away. Repeat as often as you need until all of the stain has been removed.
Vomit can leave both a nasty site and a nasty smell. Since it’s acidic, it can be neutralized with a base: club soda or a mix of baking soda and water.
Once neutralized, you can clean up the area and it should be fine.
Cleaning Blood Stains
Blood stains on carpeting and upholstery should be immediately covered with a dry laundry paste made of (laundry) starch and cold water. Do not use hot water since it sets blood stains. Brush the residue away.
Keeping Your Car Clean
Keeping your vehicle clean is not too difficult, but it does take planning. Get good-quality car seat covers, which will protect your seats and make spills and stains much easier to clean up. You simply remove the seat cover and wash it. If it gets ruined, you can always buy another one, which is cheaper than buying a new seat for your car.
If you know you will be transporting a lot of kids, or there’s a high risk of spilling something, lay down old blankets or a plastic liner, or both, to capture mud, dirt, and anything else you don’t want getting into the upholstery or fabric.
George White works in specialist transportation and he likes to share his insights online and has already written for a number of different websites.