Best Way to Clean Car Carpet

by Melynda Sorrels

The carpeting in your car gets subjected to every piece of dirt your shoes pick up while out and about for the day--especially during the winter, when snow helps the process of tracking dirt into the car. The carpets in your car can act as a hiding place for germs and bacteria and should be cleaned regularly. You can accomplish this task easily.

Before You Clean

Remove the mats from your car and clean out any trash or anything covering the floor. Vacuum the carpets well to pick up any loose dirt and debris. Mix a gallon of warm water with a scoop of bleach-free detergent and a cup of white vinegar. Find a pair of gloves and a clean cloth or sponge to scrub with.

Cleaning Car Carpet

Don the gloves, and soak the cloth or sponge in the solution. Scrub well, making sure to get under the seats, and rinse out the sponge as it gets dirty. Do not saturate the carpet, as moisture may seep underneath and cause mold. Rinse the carpet with clean water and the sponge or cloth to remove the soapy water. Be sure to cover every inch of carpet to remove any residual soap and debris. Sprinkle baking soda on the carpet to help it dry more quickly. Baking soda will help to absorb any excess moisture and any lingering odors. Open up the windows in the car so fresh air can circulate and help the carpet to dry faster. Cleaning car carpet is best done on a sunny day, but if it is not sunny, leave the car in the garage or under a covered carport where rain can't get through the window and prevent the carpet from drying. Vacuum the carpet to remove the baking soda after 4 to 6 hours.

Stains and Odors

Treat most stains on the carpet with white vinegar and a clean cloth. Hydrogen peroxide is the best thing for organic stains, such as blood. Be sure to use 3 percent hydrogen peroxide instead of the industrial-strength variety hairdressers use. Test an indiscreet area of the carpet first to check the colorfastness; hydrogen peroxide can fade some types of carpet and fabric. If sprinkling baking soda on the carpet doesn't get rid of the odor, cut up an onion and place it in a bowl of water. Set the bowl in the car and roll up the windows to sit overnight. In the morning, dispose of the onion and water and spray the carpets with Febreze or another carpet refresher.

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Dana Dowling/Demand Media