Most of us try to keep our cars fairly clean by washing the car when it becomes dirty and perhaps the occasional wax job to help protect the paint but how much attention gets paid to protecting the interior of the car? When you think about it, the interior gets the most wear and tear and has the greatest potential for dirt and grime building up over time. It’s interesting to see how much time is actually spent in our cars. With newer cars having timers and all sorts of information available to the drivers it gives a clearer picture of the time we spend inside our automobiles. I was surprised to find that I spend from 1 to 1.5 hours most days in my car. It’s a 12 minute commute which doesn’t seem like much but a single trip home for lunch with no other errands places me in the car for 48 minutes with no other trips or deviations except work to home.

It is easy to see how one can be in the car for 1 to 2 hours without even thinking about it. We eat in the car, we step in all kinds of grime walking to and from the car, sand and dirt get carried in on our shoes, trash accumulates, arm rests get grime over time as well as the seats and dash, etc. Here are some ways to keep that interior looking fresh and neat.

One easy thing is to place a small container in the rear floorboard for bits and pieces of trash and those flyers or other paperwork you carry into the car but are not going to keep. Or, you can keep a small plastic trash bag for such items. Next, vacuum the floorboards at least once a month and wipe down the dash with a moist cloth and mild cleaner. Wipe the seats and crevices after cleaning the dash to clean those food bits and other debris that accumulates in the crevices of the seats and upholstery.

A very inexpensive way to keep the interior smelling fresh is to occasionally toss a dryer sheet under the front seat which will keep the interior smelling fresh. And last but not least, be sure you change the cabin air filter at least every 30,000 miles. It should be visually inspected at 15,000 mile intervals as the environment plays a key role in how often the cabin air filter should be replaced. Remember, when you are riding in your car, the air you are breathing has flowed through the cabin air filter which can contain hair, insects, leaves, rodent droppings, etc. I’m sure you get the point! Change the cabin filter sooner than later is my advice.


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