Your car is your pride. While the rest of the world will be seeing the exterior and admire it, you will be seated on the inside. With our traffic jams, you easily spend more time inside your car than admiring it from the outside. That is why it is important that you clean the seats of your car that you sit in. Not only will a thorough clean make your car’s upholstery look as good as new; it will give you a refreshing change, like that of driving a new car. With little effort and time, here is our step by step guide to cleaning your car’s upholstery –

Things you will need –

1. Vacuum cleaner
2. Scrubbing brush
3. Tooth brush
4. Upholstery cleaner
5. Bucket of hot water
6. Bucket of cold water
7. 2 cloths

1. Pick Up After You Eat

Eating In Car

A lot of people tend to leave plastic wrappers, bottles, and bags in the car after eating. This is especially prevalent after long trips. This is more common if you have kids along with you. Avoid eating in your car; it is not a dining table. When you eat inside the car small bits, chips and granules spread around the seats and leave stains on them. If you have fabric seats, removing them later could be very difficult because of the absorbing nature of the material. Pick up the wrappers and granules as soon as your eat in the car to keep it as clean as possible.

2. Vacuum The Seats

Car Vacuum Cleaner
Apart from rotten food, seats are also subjected to body sweat, external dirt and grime that settle over time. Invest in a vacuum cleaner for your car. You also get car specific vacuum cleaners which are light and portable and can be connected via the 12-volt socket. You can also opt for the household ones. Use the carpet or upholstery extension that comes with the vacuum cleaner to clean the surface of the seats. A vacuum cleaner will give you access to the smallest nooks and corners, that otherwise would go unnoticed. Use the right extension to access them and remove the excess dirt. Don’t forget cleaning in between the gap of the seats. Make sure you remove the floor mats while you clean and remove the dust from the carpet. If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner; no issues, use a brush to get the excess dirt out of the car.

3. Invest In A Upholstery Cleaner

3M Car Seat fabric Foaming Cleaner
You will get the best results from using a upholstery cleaner. Not only will the stains come out, it will restore the shine leaving your interior looking new and fresh. You have plenty of options to choose from in the market. Look for an upholstery cleaner specific to your fabric type. You also get foam cleaners, which just need to be applied and then rubbed using a cloth.

4. Damp Your Seats With The Upholstery Cleaner

Apply Upholstery Cleaner
The upholstery cleaner will tell you how to use it best, concentrated or with water. Check for instructions on the pack. Spray some upholstery cleaner on the seats and using a wet cloth rub the areas with stains. Be very gentle when you do so as to not press the stain further into the foam and moreover not spread it. It’s best to damp the stain and leave it for 2 minutes before gently scrubbing it. The cleaners are usually effective in removing the stains completely. The sooner you address the stain, the faster it will come out.

5. Wipe The Seats

Ford EcoSport Rear Seat
Once the whole seat is dampened with the upholstery cleaner; use a clean wet cloth to wipe the surface of the seat. You will get the best results with using hot water to scrub the seats and cold water to clean them. Once your seats are completely clean, look for any soap stains around and clean them with the cloth. The upholstery should be looking as good as new and refreshing by now.

Repeat this process in every six months to retain the shine of your upholstery. For those who have removable cloth seats. It is best to remove and give it a wash at home and then put them back on the seats.

For leathers

Cleaning leather seats is a lot about time and precision for getting the most effective results. It is also about having the right technique to clean. When handling leather, be very gentle. If you don’t feel confident, hand it over to the professionals, who are experts in cleaning leather upholstery. It is a time consuming process, but be ready to get lots accolades for a well nourished and a brand new like interior.

1. Vacuum The Seats

The principle remains the same, remove the dust, food granules and grime to have a clean car. It is best to vacuum your interiors at least once a week and take out any excess dirt that may have accumulated.

2. Apply Leather Specific Upholstery Cleaner

Meguiars Leather Cleaner
Only use leather specific upholstery cleaner. Leather being more sensitive needs tender love and care. Apply the cleaner generally and specifically on the places where you find stains. Confirm on the direction for use of the cleaner as given on the pack. Excess application could result in the dye to come off, leaving a horrid stain on the seat.

3. Use A Toothbrush To Scrub

Dirt can hide in between the leather grains and the seats will still sport a dull look, even after cleaning. Use a soft bristle toothbrush to clean the leather after applying the cleaner and remove the dirt from the grains. This could be an exceptionally long and time consuming process, but if precision is your key then go for it. The results will be mind blowing. Make sure you use an old toothbrush for this job and not of someone who is currently using it.

4. Wipe The Seats

Wipe Leather Seats
Once you have scrubbed the stains carefully, using a moist cloth wipe the seats and remove the excess cleaning agents that were sprayed on earlier. Make sure no soapy stains are left on the seats. Keep your windows open throughout the process and let the seats dry naturally. You could give it a dab later with a clean dry cloth .

5. Apply A Leather Conditioner

ABRO Leather Conditioner
It is best advised to apply a leather conditioner periodically to the seats. Leather cleaners come in specific colours. They not only clean the seats, but also nourish the leather and help it replenish its natural oils. This is in turn will help the leather remain fresh and soft and won’t dry off and crack, increasing its life span. The conditioner will tell you when to use it again on the seats. Most leather seats last more than the lifetime of the car, if cared for.

Don’t Forget The Arm Rests

When cleaning the seats, make sure you also clean the arm rests in the front and rear seats as well. Use a wet cloth to clean the plastics like the sides of the seat, the seat adjustment knobs and so on. They usually go unnoticed, but it is important that you clean them as well.

When do you replace the upholstery?

For leather seats, if they have dried out and developed cracks or are torn. It is best that you replace the seats itself. You can use this opportunity to have the foam refurbished for a soft and comfortable ride. The same applies for fabric upholstery. Seats which are torn need to be replaced as soon as possible. Patchwork on the seats also isn’t a good idea.

You could have your car sent to a car care centre and have it cleaned thoroughly with the help of professionals. However it will cost you a reasonable amount to get it done. For those who like working on their cars, you will have fun cleaning your interiors and experimenting with new products. You could choose products from Turtle-wax, Sonax, Abro and many such companies. Do let us know the best products available in the market for cleaning the upholstery that you use.