How to Clean a Very Dirty Car Carpetby Melynda Sorrels
Dirty carpets are inevitable, particularly if you have kids or dogs. Even if you wash your car every week, pretty soon the contrast between how your car looks on the outside and how it looks on the inside can be pretty distressing. Most folks leave the carpets for a professional detailer, aside from the occasional vacuuming. But you can deep-clean your carpets the same way professionals do.
Remove the floor mats and clean out any trash that may be littering your car’s carpet. Vacuum the carpet with a wet/dry vac or use one of the vacuum cleaners at your local car wash or gas station. Remove as much of the loose dirt and debris as possible.
If there are stains, treat them with an auto carpet stain remover according to the product's directions. Generally, this will involve spraying the stain, allowing the specified time to soak, then brushing the stain with a stiff brush.
Spray a section of carpet liberally with auto carpet cleaner. Allow the time specified by the product's instructions for the cleaner to soak in.
Brush the carpet with the stiff nylon brush, using circular motions. Brush each area thoroughly. This brings the dirt up from the nap of the carpet.
If you have access to a carpet extractor, use it to remove the dirt and cleaning solution. Otherwise, use a clean terry-cloth towel to rub the carpet dry.
Vacuum the carpet again, to remove the last of the dirt that the cleaner brought up.
Clean the floor mats, outside the vehicle, in the same fashion. Allow the carpet and mats to dry completely before putting the mats back in the car.
If the carpets still have an odor after cleaning, sprinkle baking soda liberally over the carpet and let it sit overnight, then vacuum the carpet again.
- There are several brands of auto carpet stain removers and cleaners available at any auto parts store. Turtle Wax, Meguiars and 3M, among others, all make excellent products.
- Some folks favor using a homemade solution of water, vinegar, etc. The problem with this method is that it's easy to use too much water. If water soaks through the carpet into the padding beneath, it won't dry readily, and could form mold or mildew underneath the carpet.
- Using a dedicated product that was specifically formulated for the job will net you the best results.
Things You'll Need
- Wet/dry vac
- Dedicated auto carpet stain remover (optional)
- Dedicated auto carpet cleaning product
- Stiff nylon brush
- Carpet extractor (optional) or clean terry cloth towels
- Baking soda (optional)
Melynda Sorrels spent 10 years in the military working in different capacities of the medical field, including dental assisting, health services administration, decontamination and urgent medical care. Awarded the National Guardsman’s Medal for Lifesaving efforts in 2002, Sorrels was also a nominee for a Red Cross Award and a certified EMT-B for four years.