Spring clean your car!
So it’s finally spring. The blue birds are tweeting (on Twitter, as always), the bunnies are hopping about in the meadow (probably far from the urban centres where you live, but it is still a pleasant thought), the bears are coming out of hibernation and out their caves (we have bears, right?).
And it’s time to do a little spring cleaning to welcome the new season.
After all, your car may have gotten into quite a state. Mildew. Mess. Muck. Weird forms of life growing out of that cheddar cheeseburger you half ate, and is currently in a cranny playing nooky. If you leave it there too long, Earth may face the real threat of a horror new species…
No, the patriotic thing to do is simply clean your car before any of this grows out of hand.
So we have some spring cleaning tips for you.
Paint your car clean.
You must have some paint brushes lying around gathering dust. Time to gather more and clean out your AC vents. Those things can get filthy. You know a lot of dust is actually ‘the number 2’ of dust mites? Eating your dead skin? Yuck. And you’re breathing that in. Double yuck. Use the paint brush and get really into those vents.
Here it helps to have a cordless, portable vacuum cleaner. And they aren’t even that expensive. You can get them from any electronic store, many for less than R700. They’re worth the investment. Anyway, you’re going to be vacuuming as you dust with your paint brush. You’re painting with dust, we suppose you could say.
Liberal strokes, you’re an artist cleaner, now. Use them together. Our preference is the vacuum cleaner in your on-hand and the paint brush in your off. Just because the brush requires less control and precision, owing to size and weight. Make deft movements and as the dust picks up, vacuum it into oblivion.
That old car smell has to go.
We all love the smell of a new car (which is actually caused by over 60 relatively poisonous chemicals – bet that puts a new spin on things). But what about a car that’s been around the block… all the blocks, multiple times? Simple. Change your cabin’s air filter. That thing is probably filthy by now. All the air coming through is getting a serious spray of toilet eau de toilette. Consult your owner’s manual about where it’s located and how to change it. (Or just Google it).
“Houston, we have a problem”.
You may be terrified. Just as the deep-sea divers in those weird mechanical suits feel before going to great depths in an underworld chasm. What lurks at those fathoms? Giant squid? A dark Atlantean army hell-bent on conquering the surface world? Or even… Cthulhu? Unfortunately, for the sake of your car, you’re going to have to do it. Slide the seats forward. Climb into the back. Hold a small torch in your mouth, and scrape. With your hands. Mouldy sandwiches. Bits of bacon. Stale NikNaks. They’re in there. And they need to come out. Perhaps wear gloves. Even better, and just in case, fumigate your car 24 hours before this. We’re not taking responsibility for weird, exotic spider bites you may receive in the course of this action. When in doubt, ALWAYS fumigate.
Who knows? You may discover untold treasures. Like loose cigarettes. Maybe an entire pack. Coins. Coupons. Or even a R100 note (you lost it in mid-winter, when it was nose-deep in snow).
In any case, once you’re down, it’s time for an extension cord and your hardcore, heavy duty vacuum cleaner. You need to treat it like putting down a zombie – you remove the head and turn the sucker on.
Animal lover? Don’t make cleaning the car hair-raising.
We love our fur-babies too. So we know exactly what it’s like having them in the back seat and leaving a nest filled with more hair than Chewbacca’s chest. It can be such a mission getting rid of it too. But all you need is a spray bottle of water, and one of those squeegee mops. Most of them you can just unscrew from the handle, making life easier. Spray spray, squeegee away. It helps having a bucket of water by the door, just to rinse out all the hair after each vigorous scrubbing.
Remember to brush!
There’s nothing worse than those hard-to-remove crumbs and bits of dirt stuck in your car’s seat. They really get in the seams. Seems like there’s no way to get them out? Wrong! Simply find (or buy) a decent toothbrush. The thin, tight bristles are perfect for scraping the gunk and crud out. It helps to spritz the brush a bit with mildly soapy water. Don’t be too vigorous, but firm brushing movements will loosen and remove the ick easy enough.
Give your seats a good hair day.
Now to your seats. Look for an all-purpose cleaning agent in your cupboard (please, please, avoid using anything with bleach in it) and dilute it in a bucket (or what have you) of warm water. Then use a bath sponge, preferably one that is old and clean of all… hairs… and rinse it in the bucket. Then scrub your car seats, gently but firmly. Really get into it. Do a Mr Miyagi, and wax on, wax off with your movements. Pretend you’re shampooing a client at a hair salon. Then take your floor mats, toss them into the washing machine, and let them take a spin cycle.
Finally… baking soda!
Here’s the ultimate trick to getting rid of any lasting bad odours. Baking soda. Toss it into the car, sprinkled liberally, and leave it overnight. Next day, come with your vacuum cleaner and suck it all up. Why does this work? Because baking soda absorbs the molecules of bad odours. When you vacuum the soda, you take the odours with you. Once you’re done, take a very damp cloth, again with dilute general cleaner, and give your interior one last loving massage. Leave the windows slightly open, and for bonus points, leave a lavender car de-odoriser hanging on the rear-view mirror.
And… she’s done! Spring cleaned, perfect for giving rides to friends and family members, you can feel proud of your ride again!