One of the best investments you can make is to purchase your car. The freedom and independence that comes with it are on a whole new level –– you’ll never need to squeeze in crowded trains, and worry about carrying loads of stuff. Cars are great, but they require regular maintenance work to maintain proper hygiene and cleanliness.
Unfortunately, no matter how hard you keep the interior squeaky clean, dirt accumulates and spills are bound to happen. Car floors often hold more of the grime than anywhere else; it’s subject to dirt from footprints, loose debris from bags, and occasional food and drinks spillage.
Take a look at your car floor mats now –– if you haven’t cleaned them yet, you should get down to it as soon as possible! Here’s how you can save money on professional car washes, and do-it-yourself. And if your car mats are beyond saving? Replace them at Simply Car Mats.
How To Clean Floor Mats
Before deciding to begin cleaning your car, here are a few steps that you should take first.
1. Declutter Your Car
Decluttering is a great way to remove the garbage, dispose of unwanted objects, and organize the items in your car. Before you begin removing the mats, ensure that there is no external rubbish that might hinder your cleaning process –– this way, you’ll have greater visibility in seeing any dirt and stains found on the carpet or floor mats.
2. Remove Your Mats
Do remember to remove the floor mats before you begin cleaning them! There are some areas of the car that water should not touch (such as the brake and clutch pedal), hence you must avoid risking them getting wet or soapy whilst cleaning the mats.
3. Get An Appropriate Mat Cleaner
Different floor mats require different types of car cleaners. The best way to know for sure which car cleaner is suitable for your car is to check the material of the floor mat at a hardware store. For rubber floor mats, you’ll require laundry soap, baking soda, and vinegar; if you have a carpet floor mat, a car carpet cleaner would suffice.
4. Choose Brush Styles
It’s important to choose the correct brush style for scrubbing your floor mats, as you want to ensure that your cleaning removes the stains and germs residing within it. We recommend purchasing a brush that is compact and has a sturdy handle, as it would help to give you ample control over it to reach the corners and crevices of the mat (especially if it is made of rubber or plastic).
5. Clean The Carpet
Once you’ve successfully cleaned your floor mats, it won’t be nice to place it on a dirty and stain-filled carpet, right? Take the extra step to clean your car’s carpet; I promise you that it’ll be worth it! This can be done by vacuuming the carpet to remove any external crumbs and rubbish and using a car carpet cleaner to rinse off any stains and grime.
Once you’ve prepared and gathered the materials you need, it’s time to get down and dirty with the car mats. However, do bear in mind that car mats made of different materials would require different cleaning techniques.
1. For Carpet Mats
Before cleaning carpet mats, remember to remove them from the car interior. Lay them down on a flat surface, and begin by using a car vacuum to extract all the dirt, dust, and crumbs from both sides. It’s important to not rush this process, as you want to ensure that the mats are dust-free before rinsing them with water.
Once there is no more external dust left to vacuum, use a carpet cleaning solution to spray on top of the mat. If you don’t have a carpet cleaning solution, plain white vinegar is good enough to kill all remaining bacteria and germs residing within the carpet. Don’t worry if there is a sharp or pungent smell from this –– once the carpet is left to dry in the sun, the sour odour will naturally go away. Remember to spray this only when the carpet is dry!
After you’ve finished spraying it with vinegar or cleaning solution, use a brush to remove the residual salt and stains. Please take extra precautions when scrubbing, as you don’t want to ruin the carpet material by applying too much pressure. Repeat this step until all the salt and stains have been removed to the best of your abilities.
Lastly, rinse off the vinegar and dust that have been lifted off by the brush. Hose it down with a high-pressure nozzle, so that the dust can be pushed out of the car mat. Once every part of the carpet has been hosed and rinsed, let them dry under the sun.
2. For Rubber and Plastic Mats
Begin by removing the floor mats from the car interior and laying them on flat ground. Next, use a high-pressure hose to rinse off the external dust and grime from these mats –– you don’t want your brush to touch the dirt directly!
Instead of using a cleaner or vinegar, rubber and plastic mats require scrubbing with basic soap and water. Plus, because it’s made of rubber or plastic, you’re free to scrub as hard and as long as you want! Maximize the brush to clean every crevice and corner of the mat, and ensure that all the dried-up stains have been removed.
Alternatively, you can opt to spray vinegar on the mats to kill the bacteria –– just remember to dry them out in the sun, and the strong odour will naturally dissipate.
Once the mat has been scrubbed thoroughly, rinse it again under a high-pressure hose to remove any residual soap or dirt. Repeat this step until there is no visible dirt or grime left on the mat. Lastly, you can opt to sun dry them or use a microfiber towel to wipe them dry.
3. For Stain Removal
Stains will always be inevitable, regardless if you have carpet or rubber floor mats or not. However, fret not –– cleaning long-term stains may be easier than it looks. Mix baking soda, liquid dishwashing soap, and vinegar in a spray bottle and apply it to the part where the stain is at. Let it sit for a few minutes, then use a microfiber towel or brush to wipe the stain in a circular motion.
If you’re dealing with stubborn grease stains, you’ll want to opt for paint thinners instead. Firstly, apply a small amount of thinner on a clean towel and gently wipe the stain off. Next, place salt over the stain to absorb the external oil. Leave it there to dry, and vacuum the residue up after a few hours.
Alternatively, if the mixture is still too mild for the stains, you can opt to purchase a carpet cleaner from the hardware store. Most of the time, these carpet cleaners should be able to remove any stains.
Cleaning your car can be seen as fun, or as a chore; it depends on how you look at it. Why not take some time off this weekend and prepare your cleaning gear –– you’ll be surprised at how cleaning can work wonders for your car!