Does your vehicle’s interior need a little TLC? Spills and messes are bound to happen with your family’s hectic schedule and hours spent in the car—but removing stubborn stains can be a daunting and time-consuming task. Thankfully, with the right tools and guidance, you can have your vehicle looking spotless again!
Check out our guide below on tips for removing stains from your car’s interior. We’ll walk you through the tools and materials you need and give advice on how to remove even the most stubborn stains.
Before you start using our tips for removing stains from your car’s interior, be sure to clear the area of trash, remove loose objects, and learn the do’s and don’ts of treating the different kinds of vehicle fabrics.
Carpet & Seats
Stains left behind from crumbs, spills, and dirt can start to smell if left uncleaned.
What to do: Vacuum the area and remove any leftover dirt, grime, or crumbs. Then, use a rag, or toothbrush to lift as much of the stain as possible before trying a more abrasive cleaner. If a stronger cleaner is needed, be sure to let the area air dry after any product application.
What not to do: Avoid over saturating the area with water. Damp seat cushions are a breeding ground for mold and can lead to more unwelcome smells and allergens.
Leather & Vinyl
Both leather and vinyl are treated with a protective coating to elongate their color and durability. This protective coating needs to be treated gently to avoid unwanted damage.
What to do: Wipe away any crumbs or dirt and use a soft cloth with a small amount of water or a gentle cleaner to treat the stain. If a stronger stain remover is needed to lift the stain, use a clean, damp cloth to remove any residual soap and apply a leather conditioner to prevent the leather from drying out.
What not to do: Avoid any products containing bleach or hydrogen peroxide. These products can remove the protective coating and damage your vehicle’s interior.
Stain Removal Methods
Every stain is different, and stubborn set-in stains may take more than one cleaning product. It’s important to test a small spot of your vehicle’s interior with the chosen stain remover to avoid additional damage or discoloration. If you are unsure whether a store-bought or DIY cleaner will cause additional damage, be sure to contact a professional detailer.
One of the simplest ways to remove a stain is with something laying around your house. Baking soda!
Grab a spare bowl, ¼ cup baking soda, a dash of water, and a toothbrush. Mix the baking soda and water into a paste and apply it to the stain. Then, use the toothbrush to scrub the paste in a circular motion. For more stubborn stains, let the paste sit for 30 minutes before wiping it away. After the stain has lifted, wipe the area clean with a damp rag and let it air dry.
Club soda isn’t just for your favorite mocktails! It’s great for removing some of the most stubborn stains with a gentle solution. This carbonated water is packed with extra minerals like potassium bicarbonate, and potassium citrate that act as great grime fighters.
Removal is simple. Grab a spare spray bottle, add some club soda, apply liberally to the stained area, and scrub away at the stain. As it lifts, wipe away the residue and watch the stain disappear.
Vinegar is another kitchen staple that’s great at removing stains! To create a stain-fighting solution, add one cup of vinegar to a gallon of water with a little bit of dish soap.
Scrub the solution into the stain and watch it lift away. After the stain has lifted, apply warm water to the area and use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe away the soap. To dry the area, leave your doors open and let the fresh air do its work.
Laundry detergent isn’t just for dirty laundry! Make a mixture with your dry or liquid detergent and warm water in a bucket and scrub the stain as needed, allowing it to soak.
After the stain has lifted—use a clean, cold rag to wipe away the residue. Let the area air dry for best results.
Car Upholstery Cleaner
If DIY cleaners are not your style, a store bought cleaner might also do the trick! Apply the cleaner to the stain per the instructions on the bottle and scrub the stained area with a wet rag. Scrub with enough pressure to begin to lift the stain and add more cleaner, if needed.
Let the area air dry and wait at least an hour before covering the stained spot.
With how busy life keeps us, stains in our cars can quickly get out of hand. And while you can definitely clean your own vehicle at home, it takes a few tools (and a few hours) to get the job done right.
If cleaning your car’s interior is on your to-do list, but you don’t have time or expertise for the DIY route, you can always bring it to a professional for an interior detail. Then, you can sit back, relax, and look forward to getting into an amazingly clean, fresh-smelling car!
Premier’s mission is to create happiness through professional detailing, and our purpose is to exhibit a philosophy of servanthood! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us or visit our website. Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well!