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No matter how tidy and careful you are there are always going to be small stones, dirt and debris in your car. This is inevitable especially if you are frequently exiting and entering your vehicle. In this case, people put floor mats in their vehicle in order to protect it from hard-to-remove stains and make it easier when it comes to cleaning it. Floor mats are available in different materials from rubber, to carpet, plastic and premium fabric mats. Regardless of the mat material keeping floor mats clean is basic car maintenance done no matter how often you use your vehicle as they also make for the ideal surface for mold to grow on.
Like every car maintenance job, you need to prepare your vehicle. In this case, you’ll need to open all car doors and remove the mats. Before you start to clean car mats at home you’ll need to ensure that any oily or foamy products don’t get on the clutch brake and gas pedals and prevent your foot from slipping off when driving. This needs to be done if your floor mats are not removable.
No matter the mat material you always need to start by vacuuming first. If your floor mats are damp you can put baking soda to absorb some of the moisture. Just make sure to sprinkle it lightly on the floor mat and let it sit for about 10-20 minutes. Then, vacuum both sides of the mat thoroughly so you can get all the debris off of it. Whack or shake the mats to get rid of leftover dirt. Make sure to do this outside by whacking the mats against the ground. You can also use a scraper to remove hardened stains.
- Get yourself a hose and wash the mats only on the dirty side, avoid making the downside wet. You can also use a bucket of water to do this but the pressure from the hose makes it easier to wash the mat and it is more efficient too. For the best results go to a car wash and pressure wash the mats.
- Once you’ve gone over the mats with the hose, mix baking soda and laundry soap with some water. You could apply this mixture with a rag or spray it on the mat. Make sure to wash the mats afterwards using a hose or pressure wash them. You can clean them with baby wipes and a hand sanitizer as well if you happen to have rubber floor mats.
The best way to dry the clean car mats at home is to put them back into your car and put the AC on full heat with the fan switch to full power. For the best results make sure to set the AC location switch to feet warming – this will blow the hot air in the direction of the mats.
Cleaning Cloth Floor Mats
For cloth floor mats you need to rub baking soda into them in order to get rid of stains as they are able to stick to cloth mats more easily. The baking soda will also help get rid of bad odors from food and pets. To get the most out of the effects of baking soda put some of it on the bristles of a stiff brush together with some water and then scrub away.
You can do the same with soapy water mixed together with detergent. This mixture is made with two tablespoons of washing powder and shampoo, the detergent is optional. Both a deck scrubber and a small hand brush can be used to scrub away the dirt just make sure you gently brush the mat but scrub hard. Make sure you remove all the soap from the mat with water afterwards.
You can also try some spray cleaner if you have cloth mats. This product needs to sit on the mats for half an hour in order to take effect. There’s nothing else you need to do as after those 30 minutes have passed the spray cleaner evaporates. Power washers or steam cleaners are also an option when it comes to cloth mats or you can put the mats in your washing machine with some regular detergent. Just remember to apply spray stain remover afterwards.
The best way to dry cloth floor mats is to hang them up in an open space or put them in a dryer. If a cloth mat is not dried properly it can have a damp and musky odor to it. To ensure that this doesn’t happen you can also spray cloth mats with a product that provides a clean and fresh scent. Remember to leave them outside do dry in the sun when you’ve applied the product as this will help freshen up the smell. If you plan to put cloth floor mats in the dryer make sure to use a razor afterwards to remove excess fur that’ll be hanging off the mat.