Cleaning Those Pesky Floor Mats

Cleaning the outside of the car is important. However, the inside occasionally needs some tender loving care as well. 

Car babies are no match for real babies who bring candy, chocolates, and slightly imperfect childproof sippy cups into the mix. All of a sudden, your beautiful floor mats and upholstery are a stained, gooey mess! 

Professional detailing can help, but that costs time and money. Here are a few low-cost tips for getting common interior vehicle stains out of fabric interiors and floor mats.

Crayons

Coloring books are a great way to keep the little ones distracted. It's also a great way to wind up with colorful marks all over your floor mats and seats. Mild liquid dish soap and warm water is your best bet, though the color of the crayon makes a big difference!

Chewing Gum

You've probably heard that freezing gum is a good way to remove it. This is true, however unless you want to throw your floor mats in the freezer or leave your windows open during a Michigan winter: there are a few other ways to deal with a Freedent fiasco or a Trident tragedy! 

Distilled white vinegar can help remove that gum while taking the sugary color it leaves behind with it.

Fruit Juice

When a sippy cup accident strikes, grab cold water to help dilute the stain. Follow up with warm water and a few drops of enzyme detergent to gently remove.

Coffee

It's not all about the little ones! How many of us have accidentally spilled their Bigby or Tim Horton's while trying to make a turn? Coffee accidents happen and coffee stains can be a pain to deal with! 

Coffee stains are best dealt with as quickly as possible, so don't delay! Drive safely, and when you're able to stop:

  • Soak up any excess coffee with a clean, dry cloth. Avoid pressing down too strongly, this will push the coffee into your carpet or seats. Blot the stain, don't push or scrub at it.
  • Use the vacuums available at any Xtreme Clean Auto Wash to remove excess grounds from the area. Coffee grounds can become stuck between seats, or worse: become pushed into the fabric which can cause further staining.
  • Use cold water to dilute the spill and soak up any excess coffee. 
  • Blot with a clean, dry cloth to remove moisture
  • Mild dish soap mixed with water or a vinegar / water mixture will help remove excess stains. Gently rub and rinse with cool water. 
  • Blot dry

Of course, not everyone has access to vinegar or dish soap while driving. In a pinch, unscented baby wipes can do the trick. They can be purchased at Meijer and left in the glove box until needed. 

Baby wipes are also good in a pinch for wiping down your console or dashboard. Make sure they're alcohol-free since alcohol can dry out your dashboard. Best of all, baby wipes leave behind an anti-static layer which repels dust! 

Ink

Drop a pen or have one explode? That can spell all sort of problems for your vehicle. Ink stains on your seats or floor mats can quickly turn into a disaster! Once spotted, quick action is needed.

  • Blot fresh stains immediately, taking care not to spread the stain or push it deeply into the fabric.
  • Rubbing alcohol is an effective stain remover, however it may also stain or discolor your fabric so it is best to test on a small area first.
  • Apply the rubbing alcohol to a clean, white cloth and dab at the stain gently. Again, do not scrub or press into the fabric.

A mixture of white vinegar and water is also an effective ink stain remover. Repeat the process from above with a white vinegar / water mixture. Keep dabbing at the stain until the ink is gone! 

The above tips work well on fabric and cloth interiors. Leather upholstery is typically better left to approved and tested leather cleaning products. 

Interior vehicle stains are a pain to deal with! Hopefully, the above tips can help you out when disaster strikes. Take care of the inside of your vehicle, and let Xtreme Clean Auto Wash worry about the outside!