Classic Car Tips: How to Detail the Interior of your Car
Are you looking for tips on how you can take care of the interior of your classic car yourself?
Of course, we do recommend professional detailing, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t step in to take extra care of your car in between the pro visits. A good regular cleaning takes a bit of elbow grease, but it will go a long way to contribute to the quality, value, and longevity of your vehicle.
When we talk about interior cleaning, we don’t mean just renting the car vacuum at the car wash. Here are our tips for taking care of the interior of your classic car.
- Microfiber towels
- A microfiber towel specifically for glass – for the windshield, etc.
- Brush with bristles
- Dry brush
- Wet brush
- A good vacuum with a hose attachment
- Automotive glass cleaner
- Interior cleaner
- Carpet cleaner
- Rubber preservative
- Mister Clean Dry Eraser
- Leather cleaner & conditioner (if you have leather)
- Cloth upholstery cleaner (if you have fabric upholstery)
- Spray-on plastic and vinyl preservatives (but not silicone) – Optional
- Pledge furniture polish
Follow the directions on the automotive glass cleaner of your choice, using the microfiber towel that’s specifically dedicated to glass. Never share the towel for use on anything other than glass as fine particles from other parts of your vehicle could scratch the glass. Always wipe the glass surfaces dry. Repeat the process multiple times if there’s any buildup on the glass. For newer vehicles with defroster elements on the back window, be gentle.
Remove any floor mats first and vacuum them outside of the car. For tough stains, test the colorfastness first, then use carpet cleaner.
Use the dry brush to sweep dust out of any vents and along hard areas of the car such as the dashboard instrument pods and the arm rests that may have accumulated dust. Then, with the mats removed, vacuum the interior of the car, paying attention to all of the nooks and crannies. Don’t miss vacuuming between the seat cushions, under the seats, and along the seat backs.
Determine if fabric upholstery requires shampooing, in which case use the carpet cleaner and wet brush and follow the instructions as necessary. The same goes for leather or vinyl – use the appropriate cleaner and follow the instructions provided with the product. When scrubbing, use the least amount of pressure that you can to achieve the desired results.
If the car is in good condition, you might just spot clean or spray your leather or vinyl seats with the cleaner and wipe them off with a microfiber cloth.
If you have leather upholstery, you should add an extra step and apply a leather preservative so that the leather doesn’t become dry which will lead to brittle cracking. A light application is best. You won’t want to follow this procedure on anything that shouldn’t be slippery—like the steering wheel!
Instead, use the wet soft-bristle brush to clean any leather in your car like the shift knobs or the steering wheel. Lather one small area at a time and wipe with a microfiber cloth. Take care never to allow any foam to dry on the surfaces.
Other Hard Surfaces
Wipe the console, door panels, door armrests, etc. with a microfiber cloth. If you feel that there’s a buildup of any kind of “gunk” (food oils, sunscreen, etc.) then use interior cleaner with the wet brush. Use the minimal amount of cleaner on a microfiber towel to clean the dashboard.
NB: Always apply the cleaning products directly to your cloth or brush, not onto the surface of your vehicle.
Scuffs and Scratches
Are there any shoe scuffmarks or scratches in your vehicle? Try the Mister Clean Dry Eraser. It works wonders! We’ve also heard that a tennis ball will work much the same way. If it’s an actual scratch that’s gone into the material, it won’t work, but often what looks like a scratch is actually scuff and the dry eraser will remove it…like magic.
For door and window seals, always use a rubber preservative to protect the original rubber on your car, or any rubber that’s been used by a professional to replace that original rubber.
Worth the Effort!
Is that enough elbow grease for you? Yes, detailing your car can take some effort, but it’s worth it. Taking care of the interior of your car will certainly help to extend the life of your vehicle. Proper upkeep is worth it for both your own enjoyment of the car, and for the value of the car if you ever decide to sell it.