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Top Tips for Removing Stains from Your Vehicle Interior

We can’t always clean an accident or a spill right away, leaving a nasty stain that can set over time. If you have children, you probably face an even greater share of messes that can leave your upholstery looking less than wonderful. Read on for some top tips on how to get these stubborn stains out of your car’s seats and carpets.

Pat, don’t rub
It’s our first instinct, but never, ever rub at a spill – you will only dig the stain deeper into the carpet or upholstery, making it harder than ever to remove. If you’re dealing with something thick like mud or chocolate, let it dry and harden first, then chip it off. It’s actually easier to clean this way than it is while still wet.

Blot liquid spills
Again, don’t rub. Instead, place a towel over the wet area and press firmly, allowing as much of the liquid as possible to soak into the towel. Consider keeping a roll of kitchen paper in the car for these emergencies. Continue to blot with a new towel until you can no longer soak up any liquid.

Use an upholstery cleaner
There are numerous high-quality upholstery cleaners on the market, and many are designed to remove specific types of stains, so make sure you have a product that’s right for you before you start cleaning. Always test a new cleaner in an inconspicuous area before you begin to ensure it won’t discolour your upholstery. Portable upholstery and carpet cleaning machines can make this job a lot easier, too. If you have a very big stain to remove, you may wish to consider removing the seats from your car before getting started, which will not only make it easier to clean but will allow you to do a thorough job as well.

Scotchgard your seats
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so consider using special upholstery protection sprays such as Scotchgard to prevent stains from forming on your seats and carpets. These sprays are inexpensive, easy to apply, and provide a barrier to keep liquids and other messes from penetrating the surface of your upholstery, allowing you to clean them more quickly and easily.

Take care of your leather
Always use products that are designed specifically for the materials in your car. Cleaners that are great for upholstery are too harsh for leather. That’s why if you have leather seats, you’ll want to keep a small leather cleaning kit in the glovebox so that you’ll always have one to hand. With leather, it’s essential to clean any spills as soon as they occur to prevent cracking and staining. When a spill does occur, use the special leather cleaner to wipe up the mess and then apply a leather conditioner to keep your seats supple and looking their best.

Always follow the instructions
Every cleaner is different, so it is crucial that you always read the label and follow the instructions exactly. Take care not to use too much product or you can risk damaging your upholstery – again, always read the instructions to get the best results. Also check whether you need to leave the cleaner on or rinse it off. If you do need to rinse, only use a wet sponge or gentle misting of water. You don’t want to soak the upholstery any more than necessary.

Use the appropriate cloth or sponge
Depending on the material of your fabrics and how tough the stain you’re dealing with is, you’ll need to use a thicker or softer brush or sponge. Leather will require a more gentle approach, so be sure not to attack it with a stiff brush or you’ll risk doing permanent damage.

Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned the area in question, you’ll want to give it a good vacuuming to ensure all the bits of dirt and dust are lifted up. If you’ve followed these instructions, this will be the last step, hopefully leaving your car looking as good as new!