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How to Clean Car Carpeting

person vacuuming car with attachment for vehicles

Whether you spill something on your vehicle’s floor, track something in or just want to make it feel like new, you’ll want to clean your carpet at some point. Cleaning the carpet is not that different from cleaning the carpet in a home. You’ll want to follow these steps to ensure your car’s carpet continues to look good.

Part 1 of 3: Vacuum the carpet

portable vacuum in car

The first step is to vacuum your carpet. You can use a handheld vacuum, your own household vacuum or take the vehicle to a car wash and use that vacuum system.

Step 1: Clean out the trash. Clean out all of the trash from your car, including under the seats and in the trunk.

Step 2: Remove everything from floor. Remove the floor mats and any other items on the floor.

Step 3: Vacuum the car. Vacuum throughout the car, using a hand tool to get under the seats and in tight areas.

Part 2 of 3: Treat any stains

Step 1: Look for stains. Look at the floor to notice if any stains are present.

Step 2: Determine stain cause. Find out what the stain is made of if possible for a more accurate treatment.

Step 3: Treat stains. Treat general or unknown stains with a stain remover for carpets. Glass cleaner is another option to treat most regular stains in carpeting.

Step 4: Treat oil stains with paint thinner. Grease and oil are two of the most common stains in cars. Apply paint thinner on a cotton cloth and blot until absorbed.

Step 5: Treat coffee with water. Treat coffee or soda spills with cold water.

Step 6: Remove ink stains with hairspray. Spray on the stain to loosen it, then apply a wet spotter (mix 1 part glycerine, 1 part white dishwashing detergent, and 8 parts water) if the hairspray isn't enough.

Step 7: Spray WD-40 directly onto gum stains. Let it sit for a few minutes then scrub the stain with a brush. Rinse the WD-40 with a detergent spray and clean sponge.

Step 8: Use mixture for pet smells. Use a mixture of 2 cups of vinegar, 2 cups of water, and 4 tablespoons of baking soda to get rid of pet smells. Spray some on the carpet and let it sit. Vacuum it up after the smell has gone.

Part 3 of 3: Shampoo the carpet

Step 1: Prepare supplies. Gather your supplies, which should include the following:

  • Bucket of warm water
  • Carpet shampoo
  • Spray bottle
  • Soft-bristled brush

Step 2: Mix your solution. Mix the shampoo into the warm water as directed on the container.

**Step 3: Add mixture into a spray bottle. Pour some of the mixture in a spray bottle and spray one area of your car.

Step 4: Let it sit. Let the soapy water sit for about 10 minutes.

circular scrubbing motion

Step 5: Work shampoo into carpet. Use the brush to work the shampoo into the carpet in circular motions.

Step 6: Rinse of the carpet. Once the carpet has been cleaned, rinse with cool water and a clean cloth. Make sure to wring as much water out of the cloth as possible.

Step 7: Allow to dry. Allow the car to dry thoroughly. While the carpet is drying, you can also clean the floor mats. If they are fabric, follow the same directions as for the carpet. Hose off rubber or vinyl floor mats or use a bucket of warm soapy water and a clean cloth.

  • Tip: Open the doors of the car on a nice day and park your car in the sun to allow it to dry faster.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
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