Are you often horrified when you see all the dirt in your car, but when you try to clean the interior, you don’t know which products to use and how to clean the inside of your car thoroughly and as quickly as possible?
Even if you intend to clean the outside of the car as well, you should still begin with the interior and only then wash your car. For more information about washing the car, read the corresponding article. Why should you clean the interior first? If you start washing the car exterior, it is possible that you will dirty it a bit after cleaning the interior, as some products can leave marks (especially if you aren’t careful when using them). Also, when cleaning the interior, you exit and enter the car many times, open and close the door with greasy hands, etc.
A typical interior cleaning starts with cleaning the plastic parts, which you can just wipe with a damp cloth or use a special spray or polish for plastic surfaces. Ma-Fra and Sonax sprays are both suitable choices for polishing plastics. If the spray is very greasy, you should first apply it on a small sponge and then use the sponge to spread it over the plastic. However, if it’s less greasy, you can apply the spray directly on the plastic and then spread it with a sponge. Sonax sprays are usually less greasy than Ma-Fra, but it depends on the type of spray. Sonax sprays are also somewhat more expensive than Ma-Fra, as a 400ml Sonax can costs 6-7€ and a 600ml Ma-Fra can around 4-5€. You can buy the sponges for polishing in almost any store that sells car-cleaning products. The cleaning sprays for plastics can also be used for leather surfaces. Polishing is recommended mainly for darker plastics; even though the sprays are usually transparent, they can leave some marks on lighter surfaces (beige, white). It is better to just wipe the lighter surfaces with a damp cloth. In case the plastics or leather are very dirty and if you can’t clean them with just a damp cloth, you can also use a brush (but don’t rub too forcefully). The best way to clean dirty plastics is to clean them chemically. Usually people don’t keep appropriate chemical cleaning fluids at home, but you can use some alternatives. If you have a car washing shampoo at home that DOESN’T HAVE WAX, you can dilute it with water and spray it on the dirty plastic. Then just wipe it with a cloth and, if necessary, use a brush to rub out the dirt. Add one part shampoo to ten parts water and pour into a normal spray bottle. You can use a bottle which contained cleaning fluids for windows and glass surfaces or buy a new one at an agricultural store for 2-3€. All the cleaning fluids and polishes have a nice scent, but if you want something stronger, you can hang an air freshener in the car. You can get promotional air fresheners for free in many carwashes and they emit a nice scent (vanilla is especially pleasant).
After you finish cleaning the plastics, it is time to clean the glass, wooden, aluminium surfaces and other metallic surfaces. Use regular glass cleaning fluid for these surfaces, because it adds an extra shine to the polished surfaces. You can use a normal window cleaning fluid, which can be found in almost any household, but professional car window cleaning sprays are much better (Ma-Fra Cristal Vetro 500ml is a good choice, it costs about 3-4€). Not only do they clean the windows noticeably better, but they can also be removed much more easily. Some cleaning fluids even prevent the windows from steaming up. You can also buy a special product that prevents steaming up (Vetrolux 200ml for 2€). Apply the cleaning fluid on the glass surface, wipe with a clean cloth and finally wipe the glass with paper towels, which clean the remaining cleaning fluid and all the dirt. If you’re still unable to remove all the dirt, like remains of glue (vignettes), you can use Nitro diluter (which you can buy in a paint store) or even with petrol. Don’t forget to clean the part where you used petrol or a diluter with a cleaning spray, because if you don’t, stubborn stains will appear. For smaller glass, wooden and aluminium surfaces apply the cleaning fluid on a cloth and wipe, then use paper towels.
The last thing that remains to do is to vacuum the interior. The best vacuum cleaner for this isn’t a small portable one, as it doesn’t have much power and therefore doesn’t perform very well, but a wet/dry vacuum cleaner. The prices for wet/dry vacuum cleaners start at 40€, but they are produced by less known manufacturers. Kärcher wet/dry vacuum cleaners are a good choice, the prices start at about 70€. You are probably wondering why is it that you should buy a wet/dry vacuum if a normal vacuum cleaner works just fine. If you already have a pressure washer, a wet/dry vacuum cleaner is a great addition for cleaning carpets. Dirt can eat into the fabric carpets; the carpets from Peugeot, Fiat, and Opel are especially problematic. The carpets that don’t cause any problems are the carpets from German manufacturers. Remove the dirty carpets from the car, wash them with a pressure washer (if necessary spray them with a car wash shampoo first, one that DOESN’T HAVE WAX), vacuum them with a wet/dry vacuum cleaner and leave them to dry off, preferably in the shade, because if you leave them in direct sunlight, blotches can appear. You can remove them by cleaning the carpets again (but nobody wants extra work if they can avoid it). A wet/dry vacuum cleaner is also indispensable for stubborn stains and if you have dusty seats, you can sprinkle them with water or a mixture of shampoo and water (the same as when cleaning plastics), slightly brush the fabric and vacuum. Unfortunately this isn’t a long-term solution and you won’t be able to remove the most obstinate stains, the solution for that is chemical cleaning.
Now you have a clean interior and you can go to the nearest carwash, but you can also choose the cheaper option and clean your car yourself. Don’t forget, a clean car is safer and much more comfortable. Have a nice day!