Car interiors are some of the most neglected spaces on the planet. Even people who go through a car wash fairly regularly often don’t pay any attention to the interior of their ride.
And that’s a shame. The interior of a car is where you spend the vast majority of your time interacting with the vehicle. As such, it creates the biggest impression for you and your passengers. But keeping a car clean isn’t always easy. In the rush and hustle of everyday life, it’s hard to find the time and energy to maintain this often overlooked aspect of your car.
Here are some great ways to keep the inside of your car looking great longer:
Take everything out
The best way to keep your car clean is to have an ‘everything out’ policy. Just this one small change can make a huge difference in how clean your car stays. Here’s how it works: Every time you get out of the car for the day, you take all the clutter out of it. No exceptions. That way nothing stays behind to accumulate and pile up into a huge mess that you have to deal with later.
Find a place for everything
For the stuff that stays in your car, find a place for it. For instance, if you carry jumper cables, extra fluids and other emergency equipment, get a sturdy bag to keep it from sliding around the trunk or cargo area. Likewise for other things in your interior, such as magazines, cosmetics, and sunglasses.
Stay in the shade
Over time, sunlight is one of the most damaging forces to your car’s interior. The powerful ultraviolet rays can cause fabrics to fade, colors on plastics to change, and in extreme cases can even cause some parts to crack. To avoid these effects, always look for a shady place to park your car if it’s going to be outside for more than an hour or so. If none are available, use a fold-up sun screen in the windshield. While at home, park your car in a garage or carport if possible.
Prevent spills when you can
The best way to deal with spills is by preventing them from happening. Avoid eating or drinking in your car as much as possible. Eat at the restaurant instead of having take-out on the road. And when you do have to eat in the car, make sure your food and drink are contained well and held in place. If your car doesn’t have an abundance of cup holders, there are a wide variety of accessory ones you can choose from. Likewise with travel mugs for coffee, which can make a huge difference in the spill factor.
Prepare for disasters
As much as you try to avoid messes, they happen. Be prepared by carrying paper towels, wipes, cleaners, stain removers, and anything else needed to quickly clean up.
If you wait too long to clean, dirt and other contaminants can get embedded in your interior. This can make it more difficult to get them out, and can even do permanent damage to some parts by scuffing, scratching, or staining the material. Give your car a thorough cleaning often to keep it from becoming a major renovation every time you clean.
There are a variety of chemicals designed to protect the interior components of your car. These include vinyl and leather protectants, stain-resistant fabric coatings, and carpeting protectants. Regular use of them can prevent damage to materials.
Get better floor mats
The floor mats that came with your car are adequate, but not much more than that. To provide better protection for your vehicle’s carpeting, look for heftier aftermarket units. These more rugged floor mats typically cover a larger area of the floor and have channels built into them to contain water, snow, and salt to keep them from messing up carpeting.