Should I deep clean car carpets?

For many people, their cars feel like their second home. They spend a lot of time there, whether driving long distances in a family SUV like the Isuzu mu-X or sitting in traffic aboard a city car like the Toyota Vios.

The point is car cabins can take a beating, and when left unchecked, they can even get highly unhygienic—to the state that they can become dirtier than a public toilet seat. We're pretty sure no one wants that, so what can you do to prevent it from happening? 

The carpets lining your vehicle receive a lot of foot traffic, and they can be the culprit for much of the dirt and grime in question. While you may clean them every so often, it's worth exploring whether you should take an extra step and do some deep cleaning.

Should I deep clean car carpets?

The answer depends on the state of your carpets. If you only bought your vehicle recently and haven't used it much since then, you might be able to get away with quicker cleaning methods. On the other hand, if it's been a while since you even lifted the carpets or if you've never cleaned them at all, you would do well to do some deep cleaning.

Should I deep clean car carpets?

If you've decided to take the plunge and give your carpets some in-depth attention, these steps could help make the job easier.

First, give the inside of your car a once-over and remove all the trash and other unnecessary items. Take your personal belongings and put them on one side, or take them out of the car altogether.

Next, remove the floor mats while being careful not to spill any dirt and dust. You will want to clean the mats separately to get the best result. Once that's done, you should be able to see the bare carpets and assess their state.

Depending on how severe of a state the carpets are in, you may need to take an extra step and remove the car seats. That will allow you to access the entirety of the carpets unobstructed. As an important note, you also have the option of removing all the carpets from your vehicle, but only do this in the presence of a professional detailer.

Regardless, you'll need to vacuum the entire interior from top to bottom. You may use a car-specific vacuum or a household vacuum cleaner. Either way, you should equip a brush attachment or a stiff carpet brush to get the desired result. 

Vacuum the carpet fibers thoroughly and make sure you get all the dried mud and grime out of them. Get into the little nooks and crannies of the vehicle to get any dirt you might have missed.

Once done vacuuming, you should proceed with shampooing the carpets. If there are any darker stains, use a spot treatment to remove them before applying the shampoo. With general stains like dirt, mud, and food spillage, a 1:1 mixture of water and vinegar with a few drops of dish soap could do the trick. As for more resistant stains, you may need to purchase a commercial stain cleaner to remove them.

The best way to shampoo car carpets is with a specialty cleaning product. There are many products you can buy specifically for shampooing carpets. These will be your best bet for the job. When you have that in hand, apply a generous amount of cleaning product to the surface of the carpet. Then, scrub thoroughly with a nylon brush to get the deep-seated dirt and grime out of the way. Try to avoid getting the carpets overly wet, as this can degrade their quality in the long run.

Once you're satisfied with how clean the carpets are, you may wipe them down with microfiber cloths to get the remaining moisture out. Hang the carpets out to dry before putting them back into your car.

Many home detailers also like to use steam cleaning as an alternative or add-on to shampooing. If you have a handheld steam cleaner lying around your house, you could steam the carpets before using shampoo. It isn't necessary in most cases, however.

Deep cleaning carpets can be a practical way to rid your car of harmful and unhygienic dirt and grime. The process is simple, and most people can do it with a few cleaning products and some patience. If your carpets haven't received TLC in a while, some deep cleaning might be in order.

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