Commuters spend a lot of time in their cars: transporting kids, business colleagues, drinking coffee, eating meals. All this makes a vehicle’s interior very susceptible to stains. While there are an abundance of products designated for cleaning your automotive interior, some of your best stain removal options are actually the natural ones. Before we begin with these methods, remember that your best chance of removing any stain is when it initially happens. Waiting too long can set a stain into the fabric, making it next to impossible to remove.
It’s a good thing that most automotive carpets are rather dark in color, but if you have a light interior, you will want to pay particular attention here. For your basic everyday carpet refreshing, sprinkle a little clove, cinnamon, and baking soda around the carpet, allow to sit a few minutes, then vacuum the area. For general stains, mix 3 quarts HOT water, 1 cup vinegar, and 2 teaspoons castile soap.Dab mixture onto stain and gently massage the area with your fingertips (use rubber gloves if you prefer). Once the stain has been removed, rinse with water, blot with a clean cloth, and allow to dry. Vacuum the entire area, and if stain shows up again, you can repeat as necessary.
Leather and Vinyl Fabric
Leather and vinyl fabric stains can be tricky to remove. Due to the variations of dye used by each manufacturer, it is important to test each of these methods on a small area underneath the seat to make sure it is not going to effect the color of the dye.Simple Stains: Toothpaste
For surface stains, nothing beats toothpaste on either leather or vinyl surfaces. Apply a small dab on the stain, use an old toothbrush to gently rub the toothpaste into the area until the stain is removed. When finished, remove excess with a damp towel and allow to dry. If the stain is not removed, it is probably embedded into the dye and you’ll need a slightly more heavy-duty method, such as the two below.
Tougher Stains: Isopropyl Alcohol
When it comes to leather and vinyl, isopropyl alcohol can sometimes help release a stain embedded in the dye. You will definitely want to test a small area first to see how your dye reacts to the alcohol. Many dyes can be easily wiped away or discolored with too much alcohol, which is why you never want to soak the area, but rather dab it gently. If the stain has been resistant to both the methods discussed so far, it is going to require some gentle soaking in order to release the stain.
Toughest Stains: Cream of Tartar & Lemon Juice
Mix equal parts of cream of tartar and lemon juice. After testing on an inconspicuous area, apply the mixture to the stain and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Gently wipe the excess mixture with a damp cloth. Check to see if the stain has become lighter in color, or if you’re really lucky, disappeared completely. Repeat until desired outcome is attained, then wipe entire area with a damp cloth and allowing to dry.
Note: Professional leather experts often claim that many store purchased cleaners, protectants, and waxes actually do more harm than good on natural leather. A very gentle leather soap (not saddle soap) is all you should need for general maintenance and cleaning. While various products will tell you leather needs special oils and waxes to maintain its condition, in truth, most natural leathers need only be wiped with a damp cloth from time to time to maintain their moisture and softness.
Sometimes the oldest tricks are the best tricks!
Original article posted on Planet Green
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By Eric Leech, Planet Green