Cleaning Tips That’ll Help You Maintain Your Car Upholstery

car upholstery

Have you recently purchased a new car? If so, the upholstery probably looks brand-spanking-new. Too bad it can’t stay that way.

Wait, it actually can! How, you ask? All it takes it some know-how and elbow grease.

Not literal grease, though, that won’t help your upholstery one bit.

So what does it take to maintain your car upholstery? Keep reading for some helpful tips.


Test First

Anything you plan to use as a stain remover should be tested first! The last thing you want to do is ruin the upholstery you’re intending to clean.

To test, simply use your cleaner on an area of the upholstery that isn’t visible. This could be a side next to the console or and area underneath the seat.

Don’t use the stain remover if it leaves any marks or damage! Simply use something else. Make sure you test each stain remover you’d like to use ahead of time.

Don’t Leave Food in Your Car

In an effort to prevent stains and smells, never leave food in your car. You especially don’t want to leave food directly touching the upholstery.

The peel from that banana you ate on the way to work? Yeah, throw it away. Don’t leave it on the seat!

Better yet, don’t eat in your car at all. Crumbs, spills, and any food paraphernalia can lead to stains or damage to your upholstery.

Choose Appropriate Cleaners

You may love store-bought cleaners, or you may prefer natural cleaning methods. Either way, make sure you choose cleaners that are appropriate for your upholstery.

What do we mean by that? Don’t use leather cleaner on fabric.

Determine what type of material you’re working with, then choose cleaners that are appropriate for that material.

Limit Messy Items

In general, it shouldn’t take much to keep your upholstery clean. Vacuuming regularly and keeping messy items out of your car will go a long way.

Food, wood, grass, dirt, leaves, gravel, and other items that can leave little bits should be kept from your car as much as possible.

You won’t be able to keep these types of things from your car entirely. That’s okay. Limit them as much as possible and vacuum your upholstery often.

Drinks and other liquids should be limited as well. If you bring any drinks in your car, make sure they’re tightly contained with a lid.

Use Leather Cleaner for Leather

To clean leather upholstery, start with a clean, damp rag. Apply leather cleaner in small amounts to your rag.

Don’t go crazy with the cleaner. You don’t want to over saturate the rag or leather.

Wipe the leather clean. Make sure you don’t miss any spots. Don’t leave any excess cleaner on the leather.

Clean your leather upholstery often to keep it looking its best.

Limit Water

You may be tempted to use a bunch of water when you’re cleaning the interior of your car. We have one thing to say to that: don’t!

Why not? Because water can damage your car, even the upholstery. It can also cause any metal pieces on the seat, such as zippers, to rust and cause further problems.

While some water is okay while cleaning upholstery, limit the amount you use. Use a damp cloth, not a wet one, when cleaning.

Clean Stains Quickly

When you spot a stain on your car’s upholstery, don’t wait to clean it. The longer you let it sit, the harder it will be to get out. If you let a stain sit for too long you may not be able to remove it.

You should especially act quickly if you find the stain during warm or hot weather. The heat that builds up inside your car may help the stain set more quickly.

Surprise Cleaners

You may be surprised what you can use to clean upholstery. Baking soda and water probably wouldn’t surprise anyone. Cleaners specifically for cleaning upholstery wouldn’t either.

But how about hairspray? Yep, you read that right. Hairspray can be used to remove ink stains from upholstery.

Who hasn’t accidentally left an open pen on the seat of their car? Luckily all you need to do is raid your wife’s hair product cupboard. You may want to ask her first though.

Another surprising cleaner is paint thinner. It needs to be watered down first, though. Used in a one-to-one ratio, water and paint thinner can remove grease and oil stains, including lipstick and food grease.

Cover the stain with salt or cornmeal after rubbing your cleaner into the stain. After letting it sit overnight, vacuum up the cornmeal or salt.

Don’t Forget the Carpets

Don’t stop at the seats in your car. Remember to clean the carpets too! The areas that run down from your seats and cover the floor of your car should be maintained just as much as the rest of your car.


Care for Your Car Upholstery

Whether your car is new or old, you should care for car upholstery. Your time and effort will be rewarded in how your car looks, feels, and smells.

You’ll love your constantly clean car! And, you may just be motivated to keep it cleaner.

If you ever decide to sell, you’ll be particularly glad you maintained your car upholstery. The better your car looks, the more likely you are to sell it.

Even if you plan to keep your car forever, keeping up with maintenance is well worth it.

Don’t forget to keep the exterior of your car clean too! Check out our articles on how to do it.

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