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How to Clean Car Carpet and Get Stains Out

Published Fri June 30, 2017


Whether you just bought a new car or you’ve been driving the same one for 10 years, you should still do your best to take care of it. From changing the oil regularly to having your tires rotated, these maintenance tasks are of the utmost importance. In addition to taking care of the engine and the exterior of your car, you also need to know how to clean the car upholstery.


Here are a few tips for knowing how to clean your car’s interior.


Tip #1: Remove everything from the car


If you’re going to spend a few hours cleaning the upholstery and carpeting from top to bottom, you may as well go ahead and empty your car of all personal items, such as purses, CDs, tic tacs, etc. By having everything out of your way, you’ll be able to clean it easier as well as pinpoint the areas that require extra attention.


Tip #2: Dilute spills as quickly as possible


Whether it be coffee or soda, you need to dilute these spills as soon as possible after they occur. The sooner you are able to start cleaning them, the more likely you are to lift the spills completely without there being any type of stain. The best way to dilute the spills is by pouring a bit of cool water over them and blotting them with a clean cloth or towel.


Tip #3: Glass cleaner is your best friend


As odd as it may seem, glass cleaner can clean a lot more than just glass. In fact, it is renowned for lifting stains. Simply soak the stain in glass cleaner for about five minutes and then blot with a towel or cloth. Glass cleaner is very effective at cleaning carpeting and upholstery because it doesn’t leave behind a soapy residue.


Tip #4: Another friend of yours is paint thinner


You might feel intimidated by bringing paint thinner into your car, but honestly, if you clean a stain with it, along with a cotton cloth (made of 100% cotton), then paint thinner can go about as far as glass cleaner in terms of lifting stains, especially greasy ones. Do keep in mind, though, that paint thinner can cause the color of your carpet or upholstery to fade, so you might want to test it out first in your trunk or some area that most people don’t see, such as under the driver’s seat.


Tip #5: Hairspray has many uses


In addition to slicking your hair back, you can also use hairspray to lift ink pen stains out of your carpeting and upholstery. Simply soak the stain lightly with hairspray, wait for the stain to fade, and then rinse with cool water.


Tip #6: Pack a box of baking soda with you


When it comes to knowing how to clean car carpets, you should always keep in mind that someone or even a pet may get car sick. It’s because of this that you need to pack along a box of baking soda. Since vomit is acidic, you’ll need to immediately dilute it with baking soda and water, followed then by rinsing with cool water and blotting the area dry with a towel.


Tip #7: If you pack alcohol in your car, cold water is a good friend to have


Although you know that you shouldn’t drink and drive, if alcohol were to in some way get spilled in your car, then take comfort in knowing that you can dilute it with cold water. Make sure to do so immediately because if you don’t, the carpeting or upholstery that it spilled on may change in color.


Tip #8: The many uses of laundry starch


Heaven forbid that you get any type of blood stain in your car, but if you do, then you need to quickly saturate it in a paste made from laundry starch and cold water. Never cover the stain in warm or hot water as this will cause the stain to settle, making it nearly impossible to remove.


Tip #9: Ammonia livens up faded carpet


As always, you’ll first want to try this trick on a discrete area of carpet. However, you can bring back the color of faded carpet by mixing a half-cup of clear ammonia with about one pint or a little more of water, and then using a sponge to lightly soak the areas of the carpet that are faded. After it has dried, the carpet should look better than ever before.


Tip #10: Cleaning up after your animals


If you happen to hit the open road with man’s best friend(s) then you probably have pet odor and pet dander everywhere in your car. Fortunately, though, by sprinkling Borax in your car and letting it sit for an hour followed then by vacuuming it, you can easily get rid of the smell. The vacuuming will of course also suck up any pet hair. Do this a second time around and it serves as a great way to kill any fleas that your pets may have left behind in your car.


The Takeaway


Keeping your car clean is up to you. But try as you may, sometimes keeping it as clean as you would like just doesn’t happen. Luckily, though, by following the tips mentioned above, you can be well on your way to having a good-looking car, at least on the inside. And don’t forget that your local Meineke Car Care Center can help you keep your car safe and on the road.