Cleaning car mats, whether rubber or textile, is one of the quickest ways to improve the overall appearance of the interior. The car will also smell good!
Method 1 of 3: Preparation
Step 1. If possible, remove the mats (rubber or textile) from the car
Open all the doors one at a time and remove them, if they are removable; you do not have to clean them while they are still in the cockpit.
- It is important to remove them so as not to damage the interior with water; in addition, you must avoid that oily or foaming cleaning products come into contact with the accelerator, brake and clutch pedal, as your foot could lose traction while you drive, with potentially dangerous consequences.
- Clean them out of the car; you can proceed to the gas station or home to the parking lot or garage. Most of the mats are removable, even if they are sometimes incorporated into the floor of the passenger compartment; in this second case, you have to clean from the inside.
Step 2. First, use the vacuum cleaner
Make sure you get rid of all dust particles and traces of dirt before moving on to a deeper action.
- It is not easy to clean them when they are wet, you should sprinkle them with a light layer of baking soda to absorb moisture and bad smells; wait 10-20 minutes before vacuuming.
- Use the appliance on both sides to make sure you get rid of any crumbs and residue of dust.
Step 3. Shake or tap them to remove dirt
By doing so, you drop the dirt that got stuck between the fibers of the fabric or in the rubber; do this outdoors.
- Beat them on the floor a couple of times.
- Find a hard surface to shake them against; this method is effective for both fabric and rubber models. You can also use a scraper to get rid of hardened materials before washing the mats.
Method 2 of 3: Wash the Rubber Mats
Step 1. Choose good quality ones
Generally, they are made with this material, especially in the Nordic countries, as they offer excellent protection from snow moisture, rain and dry faster than fabric ones.
- You should get good quality models, otherwise they could puncture over time, letting water through and rotting the cabin floor.
- If the latter begins to degrade, a very unpleasant odor develops inside the car.
Step 2. Get a garden hose
Use it to wash only the dirty side of the mat, avoid wetting the one underneath.
- The flow of water allows you to eliminate loose dirt or food residues.
- Alternatively, you can use a bucket of water, although the flow pressure is useful for loosening the soil from the surface; you can also go to a car wash and use the pressure gun for this cleaning step.
Step 3. Apply soap
Mix the laundry detergent with water and baking soda; this mixture fizzes and lifts dirt. If you don't have baking soda, just use any liquid soap.
- You can spread the cleaning solution with a spray bottle or with a damp cloth. It is not difficult to remove residues from rubber mats, most of the time soap and water are sufficient.
- Increase the pressure of the garden hose to rinse them in the best and most thorough way possible; you can also wipe them with wet wipes and hand sanitizer.
Step 4. Let them dry
You must eliminate all traces of humidity before storing them in the car; however, if you are at the gas station, you can't always wait for them to dry.
- In this case, put them back in their place in the passenger compartment, turn on the car air conditioner at the highest temperature and run the fan at maximum power.
- To get the best results faster, direct the airflow downwards to dry them quickly.
Method 3 of 3: Wash the Textile Mats
Step 1. Rub them with baking soda
It is a product capable of eliminating stains.
- The baking soda neutralizes the odors of animals, food and dirt.
- You can apply it to the stiff bristles of a wet brush and scrub the fabric.
Step 2. Wash the mats with soapy water
You can add a detergent to the soapy water and wash the fabric with a stiff bristle brush.
- Make a mixture with two tablespoons of laundry detergent and an equal amount of any liquid soap or shampoo; scrub it on the mats with a brush. This household cleaner also works great on plastic bumpers, but be aware that there are many cleaning products available to you.
- Eliminate any residue using a small manual brush (with soft bristles) or a scrubbing brush; apply some pressure and when finished, wash off all the soap with clean water.
Step 3. Give it a try with a spray cleaner
You could use that for the carpet and let it sit for half an hour; alternatively, you can purchase a specific upholstery product at an auto parts store.
- Carpet cleaner evaporates or is absorbed by the fabric; you must then use a manual brush to make sure that the product acts on the entire surface and in depth.
- You can make a home cleaner by pouring equal parts white vinegar and very hot water into a spray bottle. apply it to the mats and scrub with a brush. This method is perfect for removing salt stains.
- If there are traces of chewing gum, you can coat them with peanut butter and salt before brushing the surface and removing the stain.
Step 4. Use a pressure washer or steam
You can opt for a machine that produces and sucks the steam to clean and sanitize the mats; it is a very effective appliance, just like on the carpet at home.
- If you don't have it, you can usually find it at gas stations where you do this cleaning.
- You can also put the mats in the washing machine with regular laundry detergent; but remember to apply a stain remover first.
Step 5. Use the vacuum cleaner again
This step allows you to get rid of the water and the last particles of dirt.
- In this case, you should choose a wet vacuum, because it is an appliance made specifically to eliminate humidity; Also consider using a hose attachment, as it exerts a lot of sucking force.
- Take a model with at least 680 watts to ensure good power, attach it to a thin attachment for greater suction force, and use it to clean the mats.
Step 6. Dry them completely
Hang them somewhere or put them in the dryer; if you neglect this step, they will give off a wet musky smell.
- You could also spray them with a refreshing deodorant or leave them exposed to the sun for the same result.
- If you decide to put them in the dryer, take a razor and remove the excess threads that hang down; just slide the blade over the entire surface to get rid of the fluff.