One of my favorite things to do is to drive barefoot and run my toes through the clean, soft, plush carpet of my floor mat. But let’s face it, one of the most disgusting flooring surfaces is none other than our carpet car mats.
While these pieces are protecting the factory interior of your vehicle, they are also collecting every dirt, sludge, gravel, and mud that comes into contact with your shoes.
Regularly cleaning your car mats can actually improve the appearance of your vehicle. Best of all, you don’t even need to hire a professional because you can do it yourself in a few easy steps.
- Rubber gloves
- Wet/dry vacuum with flat nozzle attachment
- Upholstery cleaner or laundry soap
- Dish soap
- Remove the carpet mats from your vehicle and place them on an outdoor table, or the nearest pavement.
- Vacuum the interior carpet of your vehicle thoroughly. A wet/dry vacuum should provide enough suction to clean up even the deepest grime. If you don’t have one these, then consider visiting your local car wash and using the vacuums provided by them. Vacuum the car mats until all visible debris is gone.
- Turn the mats so that the plastic side is facing up. If they are cloth on both sides then disregard this step. Use a few drops of dish soap on the plastic and agitate it using your garden hose on medium to low pressure. Using a sponge, scrub the various nooks and crannies of the plastic until all dirt and residue is removed. Rinse completely with the garden hose before flipping the mats over, and allowing the carpet side to be face up.
- Spray the upholstery with upholstery cleaner or laundry soap. Upholstery cleaner is often the first choice when cleaning automotive mats, however, this is only necessary if the mats are heavily soiled. For light to medium messes, you can stick to normal laundry soap. The benefit of using laundry soap is that it’s already available in your home and it will leave your carpet mats smelling fresh, and feeling very soft.
- Spray mats with water to agitate the cleanser. Using a scrub brush, work the cleaner into the carpet. Use a circular motion to break up any dirt or debris that’s caked on. This step will require you to use a bit of elbow grease to really remove any stains or debris.
- Rinse floor mats until all of the soap bubbles are gone. Remove excess water with your wet/dry vacuum. If you do not have one of these units then simply hang your mats with heavy duty clips and allow them to dry completely. This will take approximately 24-hours. If you do have one, then it will be relatively quick to remove any excess moisture and leave your mats lightly damp. Allow it to dry completely before putting the car mats back into your vehicle in order to avoid mildew buildup.
Bonus Tip: Help increase the life of your mats by spraying them with scotch guard after each cleaning session, or after every six months. This product will add a protective coating to the fabric which prevents items from seeping into the fibers. For best results, vacuum your interior carpets regularly and perform an at-home deep cleaning every three to six months.