The new car smell is a distinct sensory experience that can be a highlight of driving off the lot in a new vehicle. New cars offer a pristine interior; the cloth or leather upholstery is flawless, the floor mats unsullied and every surface is seemingly dust-free.
Any new vehicle can offer the best car interior because the dealership has maintained each vehicle to ensure this perfect appearance. Unfortunately, the new car scent eventually diminishes, the floor mats can become grimy with debris and that flawless interior might become dusty and dirty. Car owners that want to maintain the newness of their vehicle, though, can follow these tips to keep the interior fresh and looking new:
- Keep interior car care wipes in the vehicle.
- Wipe down the leather interior with cleaner or conditioner frequently.
- Clean floor mats when washing the car’s exterior.
- Treat stains on upholstery immediately.
- Use seat covers to protect the driver’s seat.
- Don’t treat the door compartments like a trash can.
- Be mindful of the food and drinks that are enjoyed in the car.
- Teach children to keep the back seat clean and provide trash bags in the back seat.
- Vacuum any crumbs to keep out bugs.
- Opt for a professional detailing a few times per year.
Regular cleaning habits can help car owners maintain the interior of their vehicle. As the condition of a vehicle impacts its resale value, maintaining both the interior and exterior is important. Dealerships or private buyers won’t want to pay top dollar for a car with stained upholstery, cracked leather, and a car interior that’s littered with crumbs and other trash or debris.
Keep Cleaning Wipes in the Car
One of the easiest car care tips for owners is to simply keep car care wipes in the vehicle so they are accessible when needed. Store wipes in the glove compartment or the middle console.
If the car’s dashboard is looking dusty or dirty, grab a wipe and clean it up. Car care wipes are fairly inexpensive, and they can be an easy solution for a quick clean-up.
Clean and Condition Leather Interior Regularly
Leather interiors can dry out over time. Car owners could notice cracking or fading/ To keep leather seats and leather details looking newer longer, clean and condition it regularly.
Many stores sell leather cleaners designed specifically for car care. Some of these products are available in easy-to-use wipes—these wipes might clean and condition. Car owners should read the product labels to ensure that the cleaner/conditioner is safe to use on their car’s leather upholstery.
Clean Floor Mats at the Car Wash
Many car owners prefer to wash their car at an automatic car wash, while others prefer the DIY approach. Whether car owners are driving through the car wash or taking time to wash their car at home or at a self-service wash station, don’t forget to vacuum the interior of the car.
Most car wash businesses have a vacuum with an extendable hose that can be used to clean up floor mats and remove any crumbs or debris from the seats. The vacuum feature might cost extra, but it will ensure the interior of the car matches the clean exterior.
Treat Stains on Upholstery Immediately
Spills happen in the car. Sometimes mud or other grime also leaves a stain on floor mats or the seats. When car owners notice a stain or spill on the upholstery, they should treat it as soon as possible. The longer the stain sits, the harder it might be to remove.
The Family Handyman offers a DIY tutorial on removing stains from car upholstery. To tackle those stains, car owners will need a few cleaners that they probably have in the home: vinegar, toothpaste, baking soda, dish soap and water.
Use Seat Covers
To protect seats, the Family Handyman also recommends using seat covers in the car. These covers can be removed and washed in the event of spills and stains, and removable covers could be an easier solution than mixing up DIY cleaners.
Seat covers come in lots of designs and materials. Forbes Wheels offers a round-up of its picks for the best car seat covers of 2022; the site named Black Panther Seat Covers as the easiest to install and Big Hippo Car Seat Cushion as the best heated seat cover upgrade.
Don’t Treat the Door Compartments Like a Trash Can
One surefire way to junk up a new car is to use the door compartments as a personal trash can. While these crevices offer some space for items, tossing wrappers or tissues in the door clutters up the vehicle and makes it look like a mess.
If car owners insist on tossing debris and trash in the doors, make a habit to clean those door crevices at the destination (or when arriving home).
Be Mindful of the Food and Drinks that are Enjoyed in the Car
Eating and drinking can be a bad habit—it also can be a distraction when driving. However, sometimes car owners and passengers might grab a to-go meal in the car. Be mindful, though, of the food and beverages that are enjoyed.
Some drinks might feature bold food colorings that could be very difficult to remove from the interior. In addition, condiments like mustard are tough to remove from clothes and upholstery. Car owners might only let passengers enjoy clear liquids or foods that aren’t prone to staining.
Teach Children to Keep the Back Seat Clean
Parents with children should teach them to keep the back seat clean and in good condition. Everyone should develop good habits to help maintain the vehicle’s condition.
Over-the-seat trash bins ensure that children know where to place their trash. Parents also might limit messy snacks like crackers or chips.
Vacuum Any Crumbs to Keep Out Bugs
Some snacks and foods that are enjoyed in the car might leave behind a trail of messy crumbs. Car owners should vacuum up all crumbs and food debris so the mess doesn’t draw bugs. No car owner wants to deal with a bug infestation.
Opt for a Professional Detailing a Few Times per Year
Way recommends that car owners opt for a professional car detailing service two times per year. Detailing a car is much more ‘detailed’ than a standard cleaning; car detailing can include mending any upholstery and removing stains, dust and other debris.
Is detailing expensive? A full detailing (interior and exterior) can cost anywhere from $150 to $225, but detailing just the interior could be more affordable. While this might be an investment for some car owners, a detailing service will help keep a car looking its best. Car owners might even get to enjoy that new car smell again.
This is the Number One Tip for the Best Car Interior
There are many tips that car owners can follow to keep their car’s interior clean and looking like new. Over time, all cars will be subject to wear and tear, but there is one tip that can ensure car owners maintain the best car interior.
What’s the magic tip? Be consistent with cleaning. Whether this means keeping wipes in the car or treating stains immediately, make it a constant habit to always keep the interior clean. Car owners who don’t consistently maintain their car might discover that they have stains, dirty mats and many other issues that they need to remove and some stains might be impossible to clean.
Cleaning the car regularly also helps preserve and maintain its condition. Since no one wants to drive or ride in a dirty unkempt vehicle, cleaning the car also makes the driving experience much more pleasant and enjoyable.
For car owners who are worried about stains on cloth upholstery, seat covers could be a good investment. Again, there are many options for covers. Some can be colorful or fuzzy, others might include heated options to enhance the ride. Seat covers protect the seats and can be removed and washed. This can help car owners maintain their seats, especially if they work in a dirty or dusty environment.
One final tip for car owners is to be mindful of wetness caused from rain or trips to water parks or a public pool. Ideally, families can pack a change of clothes to avoid getting the seat wet, but if this isn’t possible, place a towel down on the seat to keep it protected. Even water could leave stains or marks on some upholstery surfaces.
Whether car shoppers purchase a luxury car or a more affordable option, the interior of new vehicles is almost always spotless; new cars also offer the sensory experience of the ‘new car’ smell. Enjoy the new car beauty by properly cleaning, maintaining and preserving the condition of the interior. Not only can a clean interior boost the driving experience, but it also might help the resale value, too.