Most have an opinion about how often they should clean the interior of their cars. Some say every month is best, while others prefer only to detail seats and carpets once per year. Bottom line, there’s no right answer.
Ultimately, how often you need to detail the interior will be determined by:
- How many people ride in your car on a regular basis;
- If your vehicle is exposed to the sun regularly;
- And the type of upholstery materials in your vehicle.
A family vehicle needs to be vacuumed and detailed more frequently than a young professional’s commuter car. Garaged vehicle aren’t exposed to the sun, and therefore, surfaces don’t need to be protected quite as often. And leather upholstery has more tedious cleaning requirements than cloth or vinyl.
Despite these variables, you should vacuum and wipe down your vehicle’s interior surfaces about once or twice per month. This will prevent dirt and grime from building up. Plus every 3-4 months, do a deeper cleaning and protect the surfaces. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll preserve the vehicle’s interior for longer and prevent irreversible damage.
Problem Areas to Focus on when Cleaning Your Car’s Interior
Each clean you should focus on wiping down vinyl surfaces, vacuuming carpets and seats, and cleaning glass windows. Here are a few tips for caring for each area:
Cloth or Leather Seats
Seats can be a challenge to clean properly, but revitalising the seats can quickly improve the look of the interior. How? Vacuum your seats regularly to remove any dirt, food crumbles or debris.
If you have leather seats, use a leather cleaning solution every 2-3 months; this helps to clean and bring out the leather’s natural shine. With cloth seats, a stain lifter and scrubbing brush will help you remove those tough stains.
The centre console, instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, and infotainment display are dust and grime magnets. Dirt clings to the cracks and crevices in these areas and can’t be removed without special equipment. Pick up an auto detailing brush – although a toothbrush or Q-Tip will do the trick – and every 3-4 months, clean up the grime that’s built up in in the consoles.
The leather is tricky to care for, and it requires special cleaning supplies and protectants. Using standard cleaning chemicals can damage the leather, so be careful. Each month, use a leather cleaner/conditioner solution to refurbish the leather on the door panels, around the shift knob, and dashboard.
Then, every three months use a leather protectant, which helps to protect the leather from the sun and stains. If you park outside, you may want to protect the leather more frequently.
Dashboard and Door Panels
Vinyl and plastic surfaces, like leather, also require regularly cleaning and protection to keep that shiny, off-the-line look. Most often, you won’t need to use special cleaners; glass cleaner will do the trick to remove dust and spruce it up. When detailing, a brush can help remove grime that’s embedded in the vinyl’s grain, and like leather, a special protectant solution should be applied every 2-3 months to protect the surface from sun damage.
Clean carpets can transform the interior of your vehicle, yet, they’re one of the hardest surfaces to keep clean. Start by regularly vacuuming the carpets – a few times each month is best. Another tip: Remove stains as quickly as possible, because stains become more difficult to remove the longer they set.
If you have some tough stains on your carpets, use a stain lifting solution and work it into the fabric with a brush. Then, after you’ve treated the carpets, you should vacuum once again.
The vehicle’s interior can be a challenge to keep clean – especially if you and your passengers spend a lot of time in the vehicle. Remember: A basic clean once or twice per month can do a lot to keep the interior looking sharp. Beyond this, you should detail the interior every 3-4 months to protect and remove built up grime.