As Good as New

3 min read
Rejuvenate your car with these cleaning tips.

Many drivers take pride in making sure their cars look good. The queues at car washes and car detailing workshops are a common sight here in Singapore, especially when festive occasions draw near.

But what about the car’s interior? While there are some workshops that do a great job of making the interior sparkle, it is still important to maintain cleanliness on a day-to-day basis so we don’t get nasty surprises. Imagine you are cruising down the highway in your car and an insect emerges from your car vent and starts causing havoc among your passengers — definitely a road-hazard kind of situation! Perhaps something doesn’t smell right and you have to guess whether the source is last night’s takeaway or the sweaty workout attire that has been sitting in your car for a few days.

Cleaning out the car should be a regular affair, because it will spare you these nightmare scenarios.

Dust
The static in a car attracts dust easily, especially when most vehicles are decked out in loads of plastic. An easy way to get rid of the dust is using an old pair of socks acting as a pair of gloves to run over the hard plastic surfaces — these pick up dust pretty well. Because your hands are pretty flexible, you can easily clean out difficult-to-reach crevices. For crumbs in the seat seams, recycle an old but firm toothbrush to run through the seams.

Stains
To clean out stains on your mats, use a normal laundry stain remover and give them a good wash through.

For upholstery, use a carpet cleaner with an old toothbrush. Work in the stained areas and blot it up. If you have leather seats, use laundry detergent designed for delicate fabrics, and mix with water at 1:10 ratio. Work in similarly with the toothbrush and wipe up with a microfibre cloth. In fact, you can keep the mixture handy in a spray bottle to clean up the leather portions of your car as and when needed.

Ventilation

Remember to air out your car’s cabin when you can. Wind down the windows and let fresh air circulate in the cabin. This will help rid the car of stagnant smells.

If you find that your car has the smell of mold or mildew, it is likely that moisture has accumulated somewhere in your vehicle that is hidden from view. Check these areas:

  • Boot, especially around the spare tyre storage area
  • Car floor, especially near the air con

Once you have found a wet spot, dry the affected area, and scrub off any mould or mildew. You may also wish to apply some anti-mildew solution. If the spot has a covering, sun- or air-dry it and add some baking soda, which helps to absorb odours.

Creepy crawlies
Cleaning out your cabin is one way to prevent pests from coming back since their food source would have run out. To prevent them from coming back, you can try dabbing or spraying a mixture of peppermint oil and water around the footwells and crevices. Use 15 drops of oil per 250ml of water in a handy spray bottle for this natural remedy.


Other tips
If you have gaps between your seats and centre console, you may want to get a cover to fill them in — nobody relishes accidentally dropping keys, cards or small change in there. These covers are made from neoprene and filled with foam, which fits easily into the side gaps.

If you have small kids or pets occupying the back seat, consider getting a waterproof backseat cover to keep the seats free from stains from accidental spills.

Have a kick mat hanging from the back of your seats to protect them from dirty shoe prints.

A clean and fresh-smelling car makes for a happier commute, so give these tips a go.