1. Use a portable air compressor
A portable air compressor banishes dirt from the nooks and crannies of your car’s floor onto the middle of the carpet, where it’s easy to vacuum. You can also use an air compressor to blow dust and dirt out of heating and air-conditioning ducts. Cleaning the ducts in this way will help maintain that ‘new-car smell’.
The humble vacuum cleaner might not be as fun to use as a portable air compressor, but it’s an effective tool all the same. Remove the floor mats before vacuuming the seats and carpets. Make use of all the attachments for a thorough clean – use the right attachment for reaching under the seats, under the pedals, between the front seats around the gear-stick, and centre console. Use a soft brush attachment to vacuum the dashboard, centre console and doors – take care not to damage any plastic knobs or vents. Use this attachment to vacuum the seats as well. Leather seats are particularly easy to damage, so take care not to scratch them with the vacuum hose. Vacuum the mats outside of the car before putting them back in place.
3. Clean seats and door upholstery
Use an upholstery cleaner for any dirty spots on fabric seats or areas on the doors. Spray the cleaner onto the stain and rub vigorously with a soft cloth. A little detergent in warm water also works well – just make sure to wring the cloth out till it’s almost dry before using it. Scrub the seats and doors in sections and finish with a dry cloth.
4. Clean the car leather
Use a leather care product, as car leather is delicate and easily damaged. Rub the cleaner on with a soft, clean cotton towel. Leather care products make the leather shiny or slippery, so for safety reasons, it’s best not to use any product on the steering wheel or gear stick. You can also condition leather seats with aloe.
5. Clean the carpet
Use the same products on the carpet as you did with the fabric seats and upholstery. A stiff scrubbing brush is ideal for removing stains and dirt from carpets. As with the seats and upholstery, don’t use too much water – it will make your car smell mouldy and cause corrosion under the carpet. Finish off with a dry cloth to ensure the carpets are as dry as possible.
6. Clean and polish the dashboard
To make like Martha Stewart, pay attention to the details. The dashboard can be easy to overlook, so use a damp cloth and a little detergent to clean this area. Spray on a tiny amount of polish (not directly onto the stereo or any electrical parts) and buff gently with a soft, dry cloth.
7. Clean the windows
Use a glass cleaner and a soft, dry cloth. Clean the outside and inside of the windows – but be careful when cleaning the rear window from the inside, as the heating lines of the defogger grid are easy to damage.