One of the most abused places in a car (like in most places where there are people) is obviously the floor area. In a car, the floor is usually covered by floor mats. Likewise, these mats are the parts that collect the most dirt and thereby needs frequent and regular cleaning.
For car owners, cleaning these floor covering devices can sometimes becomes a bore. The chore is also aggravated especially with some types of dirt that can be hard and stubborn to remove. For new car owners who want to do their own cleaning, what should one do? How should it be done?
Floor mats in cars come in different materials – fabric, plastic, or rubberized molded materials. These man-made synthetic materials have become popular among practical car owners who do their own car detailing and cleaning. The main reason is ease of washing and cleaning. Even drying these mats is not a problem. For a really immediate use, you can manually wipe off the water in a matter of minutes and they are ready for use. Floor mats with hard-to-remove stains and discoloration as well as those made of fabrics or a combination of synthetic and natural materials have their own methods of cleaning.
Washing fabric-based mats
Like the floor mats made of synthetic or man-made materials (plastic, rubber), mats made of natural fabrics have to be handled differently. The first step is to physically remove the mats and bring them out of the vehicle. Thoroughly vacuum the car’s floor (carpeted and otherwise) to remove grits, sand particles and dust that accumulated inside the car. Next, fill up a large container (big garbage cans, bath tub, big plastic containers, etc) with water.
Add enough non-chlorine liquid laundry detergent to the water. Without using your hands, stir the mix to make sure the detergent’s density in the water is uniform.
The amount of the cleaning liquid you can work on (and to be used as your basis to the estimated water-detergent mixture ratio on any container you may use) is one cup to a big garbage container. (You may use other size garbage plastic containers or other receptacles, but keep the same ratio.) Soak all your floor mats in this soapy water-detergent mix for at least half a day (12 hours). After which, proceed with the cleaning process – scrubbing off the dirt and other particles embedded in the mats.
For stained mats, make sure that they are soaked a bit longer than usual (3 to 5 more hours). After soaking, use a nylon brush or any soft fiber brush (metal brushes are out) to scrub out the stain in the area and the few inches around it. After the scrubbing, return the floor mats to the soaking solution for another 12 to 15 hours more. Rinse the mats with regular water in the open, using high-pressure garden hose water.
Hang the clean mats in open air to dry. You can have them under direct sunlight, although this can cause fading the colors after several cleaning. To preclude possible allergies and other adverse reactions, use rubber gloves and some paper masks.