No matter how careful you are to keep the inside of your car squeaky clean, dirt builds up and spills happen. Having a set of napkins or wet wipes on hand can help clean up messes as they occur, but it takes a little more effort to get back that new-car vibe. Easily spruce up your car’s interior by giving the floor mats a thorough cleaning.
The floor of your cars receives more of the grime that sticks to the bottom of your shoes than any other. It’s also subject to spilled food and drinks, as well as loose debris from pockets, bags, boxes, and whatever else travels in and out of your car. Both rubber and cloth floor mats gradually retain residue. After clearing your car of any objects littering the floor, give your car a mini makeover by cleaning the floor mats.
Cleaning Rubber Car Floor Mats:
Cars with rubber floor mats are more common in colder climates where it rains and snows frequently. They prevent moisture from damaging parts of the car’s interior and dry quickly. However, they do still collect dust and dirt over time. To clean rubber car floor mats in six easy steps:
1. Remove from the car. You will be wetting and using cleaning products on the mats, and don’t want to get any inside your car.
2. Whack to remove debris. Whack the mat against the ground outside or another hard surface. If any materials stick to the surface, you may want to use a scraper to get them off.
3. Wash with a hose. Use a pressurized water hose to dislodge loose dirt or crumbs. Only wash the dirty side of the mats, not the side that would touch the car floor.
4. Wash with soap. Using a rag or spray, add soap to the floor mat. The grime should come off easily with soap and water, but wipes, hand sanitizer, and a baking soda with soap mixture work too.
5. Hose off the soap. Use a hose again to rinse soap all the way off.
6. Dry the mats. Have the mats dry fully before putting them back in the car. Find a way to hang them on a railing, wire, coat hanger, or another item to let them air dry.
Cleaning Cloth Car Floor Mats:
Cloth car floor mats take a little extra work to clean than rubber ones, especially if they are already wet. If they’ve been wet for some time and you never got the chance to dry them, you may even notice a smell. Cloth mats may even have some stains that are tough to remove. To fully clean carpeted floor mats:
1. Remove from the car. Like rubber mats, you don’t want the water and cleaning products touching the inside of your car. Plus, it can be difficult to maneuver a vacuum inside a car around seats.
2. Vacuum both sides. Vacuum the mat on both sides to suction up all the dirt and grime.
3. Add baking soda. Rub baking soda into the upholstery to remove stains and unpleasant odors. You can also mix baking soda with water and scrub the mat using a stiff brush to scrape off the dirt and grime.
4. Use a soapy substance. There are several different ways to get cleaning materials into the carpets and wash them thoroughly:
- Add soapy water and scrub. Mix two tablespoons of washing powder with the same amount of regular shampoo. Use a brush with stiff bristles to rub the mixture into the mat and scrub hard. Rinse the soap off with clean water after.
- Apply spray cleaners. Spray a carpet cleaner onto the mats and let it sit for 30 minutes. After the mats absorb it, use a hand brush to work the material throughout them. You can also use a cleaner designed for car mats (available in many auto shops) or create your own.
- Wash with a steam cleaner, power wash, or washing machine. A steam cleaning vacuum or power washer (often at car washes) work or place the mats in the washing machine with regular detergent and stain remover.
5. Vacuum the mats again. Vacuuming will suck up some of the water and remaining dirt particles. A vacuum cleaner designed to suck up moisture work best, but using a regular vacuum’s hose attachments also help.
6. Dry mats thoroughly. Hang mats out to dry, or put them in the dryer. Do not put them back in your car until they are fully dry or they will cause a damp smell.
Car Carpet Cleaning Products
You have many options for the soap you use in washing car carpets. Your everyday laundry detergent, dish soap or even shampoo can do the trick. Automotive-specific carpet cleaners are also available, as are do-it-yourself concoctions. Some recommendations include:
Automotive Carpet Cleaners: These are sold at most automotive shops and typically come in a spray bottle
- Blue Coral DC22 Upholstery Cleaner Dri-Clean Plus: grabs dug-in debris and dirt particles. It also incorporates odor-elimination technology and features an integrated brush cap.
- Car Guys Premium Super Cleaner: a water-based formula that removes debris without leaving behind any residue or smell.
- Turtle Wax T-246Ra Power Out! Upholstery Cleaner: built-in soil-repellent and odor-eliminating technology, as well as a detachable scrub brush.
DIY Carpet Cleaner: This recipe should be mixed into a bowl until the soap dissolves completely and the mix becomes foamy. Dip a stiff brush inside and scrub it into your car carpet.
- 3 tablespoons of grated soap
- 2 tablespoons of Borax
- 2 cups of boiling water
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil for pleasing scent (optional)