Is it spring yet? Sprucing up your interior when winter finally ends
Scour and Scrub
Dash and Doors
Windows and Headlights
Bonus: Car Wash
The first step is to get all of that winter-only gear out of your car. You won’t be needing the ice scraper, collapsible shovel, etc. While it’s always a good idea to keep some safety gear in your car, you won’t need as much during the warmer months. The blankets and kitty litter can be stowed away until the next time the mercury dips below.
Time to dust off the vacuum. A long season of dirt, crumbs and salt-stained grit has gathered in your car. Taking out the rubber mats and giving them a good shake and vac is also a good move. Be sure to move the seats as far back as they’ll go (and vice versa) so you can get as much of the floor as possible.
You know all of those annoying salt stains on your shoes and pants that magically appear when you step out of your car? Time to make sure you won’t see them until the next winter. Take a soft cloth and clean water and wipe down those pesky areas. The door sills and footwell are prime targets, but you should give the whole inside a good wipe. Cotton swabs can be used to access tighter areas. Start from the top and work your way down.
Its inevitable during winter that you’ll get some snow inside your car, whether it blows in when you open the door or hitches a ride on your boots. With your heater on, that snow will melt, meaning there’s moisture gathering in your car. Moisture paves the way for bacteria which often translates to bad smells and potential fungus. Use your favourite carpet cleaner or maybe some mild shampoo and give the floors and carpet mats a thorough scrubbing. Your nose will thank you. If you want to stick to your rubber mats, a power wash will shake off any excess dirt.
They get used all year around, but during winter, your seats are subject to some additional abuse. If you have any snow on your coat or pants as you get into your car and your seat will end up absorbing that extra moisture. Leather seats can be dealt with pretty quickly. Just give it a wipe and treat it with leather conditioner. Fabric seats can be wiped down with detergent if needed, but require more time to dry out.
The soft headliner in your car is usually okay from winter, but if you’ve been wearing a larger hat or you’re very tall, there’s a potential of moisture transfer to the material above. The material is usually pretty sensitive so you’ll have to be careful. Use a damp cloth with a small amount of detergent if necessary. A gentle touch is key.
Dust and salt stains have adorned the hard surfaces of your interior for the majority of the season. Get them looking as fresh as a springtime daisy. Or at least as close to it as hard plastic and veneer can look. Any hardware store will have a number of interior treatment products specific to dashboard and door card surfaces available for a cheap price. You can start with a basic water and cloth wipe, but these treatments will leave the surface with a shine.
On a cold drive when your car takes its sweet time warming up, it’s hard to have a better companion than a hot drink. With drinks in a vehicle comes inevitable spillage. Check your vehicle’s cupholders and surrounding areas for remnants of spilled beverages. Even if you didn’t spill, small amounts could splash out when you put the drink back in the cupholder. These little spills can dry out and cause sticky spots and even stains if it hits fabric.
See clearly now the snow is gone. All those months of running your heater can leave a film of residue on your glass that can promote fogging up during springtime rain. That’s on top of existing dirt, dust, grease, etc. that found its way onto your windows. Your headlights took some damage as well. All of the salty slushy residue on the roads could have taken away some of its clarity. Use a glass cleaning solution designed for cars. The ammonia present in household window cleaner can damage a car window’s tinting.
Whether its some bags of sand for weight, a safety kit, extra fluids, or a sack of kitty litter to get your car out of a snowy rut, your car’s trunk has no doubt put up with some additional duty this winter. When cleaning the interior, don’t forget to give your trunk some love. Follow the same protocol as cleaning the inside. Pass the vacuum and give it a good wipedown. Use a bit of cleaner if you smell anything odd.
You’ve done the inside. No harm in giving the outside a wash. Whether its by hand or through a gas station, your car got you through a tough winter. It deserves some love. Getting all of that nasty salt residue off your car will not only improve its appearance. It also helps prevent rust from forming in vulnerable spots.