Having your own car is one of the most convenient things you will experience. This means that you no longer have to take the train going to work and to worry about where to stash your stuff. It’s also easier to go to other states with a car. However, a good deal of maintenance should be done if you want to keep your car looking like new.
If there is one part of the car that is always dirty aside from the exterior, it would be the floor mats. The floor mats are always being stepped on and it’s just unfortunate to see floor mats full of dirt or mud. If you spot these things on your mat, then it is time to give your car a clean.
Tips On Cleaning Car Floor Mats
Before you decide to bring your car to a car wash, know that cleaning your car floor mats is easy that you can do it alone or with the help of a friend. Here are a few things you can do before cleaning:
- Organize your car
Even if your goal is just to clean the floor mats, you shouldn’t neglect cleaning the rest of your car. Before taking out the floor mats, make sure that all the objects lying on the interior floor are picked up, thrown away, or organized inside your car’s compartments. In this way, it would be a lot easier to see any dirt or stain found on your mats and on the carpet.
- Remove the mats inside the car
If there is one thing you should never forget, that would be to remove the mats from the car before you clean them. There are parts of the car that should not have any moisture on them (like the brake and clutch pedals) so you do not want to risk spraying or putting soap on the mats while they are inside.
- Look for a mat cleaner made especially for car floor mats
When you go to a hardware store, you will notice that there are different kinds of car cleaners and the best way to know which goes best for your mat is to know what kind of material your floor mat is made of. If it’s rubber, you would only need laundry soap and baking soda (sometimes you would need vinegar as a disinfectant), but if your floor mat resembles a carpet, then only a car carpet cleaner would suffice.
- Pick an easy-to-use brush
You probably know by now that it is not enough to just vacuum your car floor mats and carpets until you don’t see any dirt. To fully clean your car mats, you need to scrub it with soap or a cleaning solution to ensure that no stains and no bacteria reside on them. A good brush can let you do just that.
It is highly recommended that the brush you buy is one that has a sturdy handle where you can place your whole hand to control it. Pick a brush that is compact too so that it is easier to clean the corners and the crevices on the mat (if your mat is made of rubber or plastic).
- Clean your carpet
And since you are already cleaning your floor mats, it pays to put a little more effort to clean your car’s carpets too. You don’t want to put clean floor mats on a carpet that is full of dust and stains, right? To do this, simply vacuum the carpet itself and to remove additional crumbs and litter that were left behind. It would pay to use a car carpet cleaner to rinse off the stains on the carpet.
Steps In Cleaning Your Car’s Floor Mats
Once you are done prepping and gathering the materials you need, it’s time to clean the car mats. There are two ways to clean a floor mat and it depends on the kind of material your mat is made of.
- The first step is to remove the car mats from inside the car. Make sure that you take out all the floor mats and lay them down on a flat surface.
- Using a car vacuum, remove all the dirt and the dust from your floor mats. Do not bother about rushing this process because you want to make sure that your mat is free from dust before cleaning them with water. You should also use a vacuum to clean the other side of the mat.
- After you think that there is no more dust left of the mat, you can use a carpet cleaning solution or plain old vinegar to spray on top of the mat. In fact, just using plain white vinegar is enough to clean the carpet. You do not have to worry about the smell because once the carpet is dried under the sun, the sour smell will also go away.
- Once you have sprayed vinegar or cleaning solution over your mat (you are not supposed to soak it wet), use your brush to remove the salt and stains that have stayed behind. Don’t scrub too harshly because this might damage the carpet material. You can repeat this step twice for better cleaning.
- The next step is to rinse off the vinegar and the dust that was lifted from the scrubbing. Use a high-pressure nozzle on your hose if you have it so that the dust will be pushed from the car mat. Make sure that you rinse each part of the hose even the back.
- Finally, let the floor mats drip and leave them under the sun to dry. You can also hang them using clothespins.
Rubber / Plastic Mats
- Although rubber mats are made from a totally different material, cleaning it also uses the same steps. The only difference is that instead of using just a cleaner or vinegar, you should also use laundry powder or a dishwashing liquid and mix it with equal parts of water.
- Take out the floor mats from your car and use a high-pressure hose to rinse the floor mat off of dirt and dust. It’s ideal to rinse it first so your brush does not directly go into contact with the dirt.
- Then, dip your brush into the mixture of soap and water and then scrub your car floor mat. Since the material is made of either rubber or plastic, it would be better to scrub a little harder to make sure that the dried-up stains get removed. Maximize the use of a brush to scrub the corners of the mat and don’t forget to clean the other side of it.
- When you think you have scrubbed the mat clean enough, rinse the mat using a high-pressure hose to make sure that both the dirt and the soap are removed. You can give additional scrubs if you see that there are stubborn stains.
- An additional step to this cleaning is spraying vinegar onto the damp plastic or rubber floor mats. This will ensure that your mats will be very clean. And just like the carpet car mats, you do not have to worry about the stench staying because it will be gone after a while.
- Since rubber and plastic mats can easily be wiped dry, use a microfiber towel to wipe the mats. You can also lay them in the sun to dry them further.
Whether you have plastic, rubber, or carpet floor mats, there will be times that there are stains that are harder to remove. This can be due to a long time that has passed before they were washed off.
What you can do is to make a baking soda, soap and vinegar mixture. All you need is one cup of baking soda, one cup of vinegar, and half a cup of liquid dishwashing soap. Mix all these three together and put them in a spray bottle. Spray it onto the part where the stain is (it would also help to spray the nearby areas) and let it sit for a few minutes. Using a brush or a towel, wipe the stain in circular motion.
If this mixture is too mild for the stain, you can also buy a carpet cleaner from the hardware store. Carpet cleaners differ in the ingredients, but you can always ask the staff about the stains that the product can remove. Most of the time, car cleaners remove stains easily because of their formula.
If you have grease stains on your car floor mat, it would be useful to try using paint thinner. Just apply a small amount on a clean towel and gently wipe the grease stain off. Apply salt over the stain to make sure that the oil is absorbed. After a few hours, you can either vacuum it up or leave it out to dry.
Cleaning a car can be fun even if it gets you a little messy and wet. If you aren’t doing anything on the weekends, then dedicating an hour or so to cleaning your vehicle would do wonders for your car.