Throughout winter you began to collect stuff inside and outside your car, from garbage and ice scrapers to the dirt and salt. By the end of the season, you barely even recognize your car. Follow these steps to make it look brand new.
Clear Out The Trash
When you’re cleaning any car, much less a winter-weather-beaten one, start by removing all the junk you’ve been ignoring. Have a garbage bag and a “keep” box handy, because you’ll want to hang on to some of the stuff. Be thorough: Get under and beside the seats and in the trunk.
Vacuum the Inside
You’ll want to work from the top down, because gravity dictates that stuff stirred up works its way floorward. Also, yank out the salt-caked floor mats for a quick pass with the vacuum. Then use a house or shop vac and a rigid tool such as a screwdriver to work dirt out of the creases.
Scrub Carpet and Upholstery
This step is optional but worth the satisfying results. Grab a spray bottle of automotive-upholstery-and-carpet cleaner and a heavy-duty scrub brush to clean the soft parts of the interior. Spray the seats or anything cloth- covered; scrub, then wipe down. Repeat at least one more time, moving to the carpet for the same job. Being thorough with the carpet is important, as it can act like a filthy, salty, wet rag that accelerates rusting. When you’re done, pull the drain plugs under the floor and let things air out for a few days. You’ll be amazed at how much better the car smells.
Power-Wash the Floor Mats
The floor mats are without question the parts of the interior that take winter abuse the hardest. If you’ve got all-rubber floor mats, they won’t take long to clean, but carpeted mats will likely take two passes with a power washer to get all the salt and dirt out. If you don’t have a power washer, use one at a self-service car wash. Let the mats dry thoroughly before putting them back into the car or you could be begging for mold growth in the carpet.