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Cleaning car seats and the like – The ultimate guide to interior cleaning

Every now and then everyone should have their car seats cleaned. Over the years, dust and dirt accumulate here and various stains can be found. So that they do not cause bacteria to grow, they are better removed. Those who don't want to do it themselves will come to you in the car wash.

First comes the tidying up.

Before you can clean the car upholstery, you need to tidy it up. If there are still food wrappers, magazines or other items in the car, remove them. Important! Don't just store them in a corner on the floor, but put them in a basket or box and keep them safe. Also remove any trinkets and, if necessary, remove the child safety seats from the back seat before you start cleaning the interior of the car.

The first steps in cleaning

Remove the car mats from the footwells and beat them out thoroughly on the racks provided. They are then shampooed and cleaned with a special carpet cleaner. Set the car's fan to the highest setting once for a few minutes to blow out the dust. Next, wipe all the instruments, steering wheel, handles and other plastic surfaces with a dust cloth. Next, moisten a microfibre cloth in water with some plastic cleaner and remove stains and deposits before wiping over with clean water. The same applies to the car windows with the appropriate cleaner.

The vacuum cleaner in action

Now first vacuum the floor and the boot and then the car seats carefully with the vacuum cleaner. For leather seats, choose a soft brush head. A nozzle attachment also allows the vacuuming of grooves and cracks – for example, where the upholstery of the seat and backrest meet.

How to clean upholstery in your car

After vacuuming, use the upholstery brush again to go over the fabric covering of the seats. This way you bring up deep-seated dirt particles so that they are removed when you clean the car upholstery. Now mix the cleaning agent for the car upholstery according to the instructions. You may need to pre-treat noticeable stains by hand before cleaning the seats with a wet vacuum cleaner or steam cleaner. Not only is this cleaning thorough – it is also what most car owners cannot do at home. Perhaps they have already tried cleaning the upholstery in advance with clear water or vinegar solution. Now you can show them how clean the seats are after professional cleaning. After cleaning, wipe over the fabric covers with a dry, clean microfibre cloth to absorb any remaining dissolved dirt.

How to clean leather car seats

Smooth leather is relatively easy to care for. After you have thoroughly vacuumed the seats made from this material, it is best to clean the seams with a soft brush. To do this, pull the leather apart slightly at the seams. Here no water is used for the cleaning, but a special leather care product, which you use according to the manufacturer's instructions. For a shiny finish, polish the seats with a leather polishing cloth.

If the car seats are made of suede or velour leather, use a suede brush for cleaning. After brushing, spray on a suede care product, following the manufacturer's instructions for quantity and distance. Otherwise, the care product may cause damp spots, which your customers may not like.
Alcantara isn't leather!
Alcantara looks and feels like leather, but is actually a microfibre fabric. If someone brings you a car with Alcantara seat covers that have already formed nodules, you can smooth them out using a fine sanding pad. It is best to clean the material only with water and then rub it dry and clean with a new microfibre cloth.

How to neutralise unpleasant odours

Sometimes the car interior can smell a bit. Cleaning the whole interior helps a bit in many cases. Often it is old stains in the upholstery or dirt in the carpets that smell unpleasant. However, if the smell has not vanished even after cleaning, you should replace the pollen filter of the car. Just hanging a scented tree doesn't help much. It can't neutralise the odour, just mask it. In cases of a stubborn stench, you can put the car through an ozone treatment. Also advise your customers to always switch the air conditioning off and the ventilation on about five minutes before the end of the journey. This prevents the formation of moisture, which then causes microorganisms to form.

Summary: The cleaning must be thorough

It is not enough to just clean the car seats of your customers' cars. The floor, boot, plastic parts and windows are also dirty and contribute to unpleasant odours. For this reason you should treat all parts individually with the appropriate cleaners and return the car hygienically clean. This way your customers feel comfortable, can relax and breathe again – and come back to you when the car needs to be cleaned again.