Tips for Keeping a Car Clean

June 8th, 2013 by

One of the saddest moments of vehicle ownership is when you realize your new, fresh smelling car is no longer as fresh or new. This is an inevitable aging process that is often sped up by having kids.

Be Firm and Set Rules

cleaning the car seatMy parents took a hard line approach to keeping our cars clean, not only so they were pleasing to be in, but also so we could keep the resale value high. Here are a few tips on maintaining a clean car. Remember, a little preventative work and a few rules will make for less cleanup work in the future:

  • Get floor mats: floor mats are one of the easiest ways to protect your vehicle’s carpet. They can be easily pulled out, vacuumed, scrubbed, and replaced if need be. If you’re a little tougher on your vehicle, there are thick, all-weather mats that you can buy instead of carpet-lined ones. They are a good investment.
  • No food or drink: the fastest way to age a car’s interior is to turn it into a dining hall. Food was forbidden in our cars growing up, and the only kind of beverage that my parent’s would allow in the car was water. The exception, of course, was coffee or tea for the driver.
  • Vacuum often: though your car seats may look clean, they are accumulating particles in the cushions that need to be cleaned out. Using the brush attachment, softly scrub the seats to loosen this debris. Be sure to get in between the cracks, too, as well as beneath the seats.
  • Go the next step with upholstery cleans and protective finishes: there are commercially available car seat cleaners that can be picked up at most auto parts store. Purchasing a protective solution for your vehicle’s hard surfaces is a good idea, too.
  • Leather needs special consideration: if not treated, leather will crack. It likes to stay hydrated, so regular coats of a special hydrating cleaner are necessary. This can also be picked up at an auto parts store.
  • Don’t neglect car washes and waxes: washes help to clean corrosive materials off of your car’s body. Don’t skip the wax, though: it’s there to act as a protective layer against salt, UV radiation from the sun, and other harmful elements that will slowly eat your paint away.