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Adam’s Polishes How-To Clean & Protect The Inside Of Your Car

 

Introduction:

We are very proud to introduce a major update to one of our best-selling interior products -Adam’s Interior Detailer with Microban®.Microban® is the industry leader in antimicrobial technology. With this Microban® technology, our Interior Detailer now works continuously in between cleaning sessions. In other words, it actively reduces bacteria on the surface, but it continues to work 24/7 to make surfaces inhospitable to germs and bacteria, keeping the surface even more clean than before.

We thought now would be the perfect time to provide a full interior detailing blog to go along with this exciting new product launch for Interior Detailer with Microban®. Most people spend a large amount of time inside of their vehicle. For the majority of vehicles, you’re driving and riding inside of them more than you’re washing them, so the interior is an investment in your time and hard-earned money just as much as exterior washing and vehicle maintenance. You want to keep the interior clean and protected, looking and smelling great for years to come. In this blog, we’ll cover many aspects of interior detailing - to clean, maintain, and protect several types of interior surfaces. 


Clean:

Cleaning the inside of your vehicle is the first step in having a fully detailed interior. There are multiple products and accessories you will need to target various interior surfaces. Some chemicals and towels can be used on more than one surface, but others are specific to a particular surface, which we will explain below.

Everyone may have their own process for cleaning interiors, but first we would recommend removing the floor mats and vacuuming out most of the heavy debris (gravel, dirt, sand, salt, etc). While the floor mats are out, now is the perfect time to clean them. This gives them a proper amount of time to dry out before putting them back into the vehicle, whether they are carpet or rubberized floor mats.

 

 

Carpet Fabric, & Upholstery


Chemicals

Accessories

All Purpose Interior Cleaning Gel

Carpet Drill Brush

Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

Edgeless Utility Towel

Multi-Use Foaming Cleaner

Interior Cleaning Gun

Cockpit Brush (Large and Mini)


For cleaning carpet floor mats, carpeted flooring, and upholstered areas (cloth seats, carpeted inserts in door panels, etc.), you will need a few key products, outlined in the chart above. Generously spray Adam’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner onto the soiled area, then agitate the area. For light cleaning, Adam’s Edgeless Utility Towel might be enough agitation to remove some spots or stains, but you will usually need more aggressive agitation with Adam’s Cockpit Brush - we offer both a Large and Small brush to cover various areas. 


For heavy stains, we have a few options here as well. Adam’s Multi-Use Foaming Cleaner is an aerosol foaming cleaner designed to target and clean small areas with heavier stains.Spray a small amount of foaming cleaner approximately 1 foot away from the area. Make sure the area is well-ventilated, then agitate with a water-dampened Edgeless Utility Towel, Interior Scrubbing Mitt, or Cockpit Brush by working the cleaner into the stain until the foam disappears. Wipe clean in one direction with a second dry Edgeless Utility Towel to lift the nap of the carpet/upholstery, and then air-dry for a few hours. After the area is mostly dry, vacuum to remove any dried up cleaner and loosened dirt particles.

Even more thorough scrubbing can be done with Adam’s Carpet Drill Brush. Simply attach this brush to a cordless drill, and then you can use the spinning power of the drill to deep-clean carpets, pairing either Adam’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner, Multi-Use Foaming Cleaner, or All Purpose Interior Cleaning Gel with the Carpet Drill Brush. Make sure to use the Cockpit Brush and an Edgeless Utility Towel afterward to soak up extra cleaner and even out the carpet material.

Adam’s Interior Cleaning Gun uses forced air from an air compressor combined with a water and chemical solution to deep clean carpet by penetrating the surface with a pressurized spiral of a mixture of Adam’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner and water. The Adam’s Interior Cleaning Gun has a switch to use forced air only, or to pull a mixture of Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner and water from the included canister. The Interior Cleaning Gun works in much the same way that our Foam Guns and Foam Cannons work for washing; however, without actually foaming the area since the Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is a non-foaming formula.

The next option for heavy cleaning with Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is to use 1-2oz mixed with water in the cleaning solution canister of a portable spot remover/carpet cleaning vacuum. This can be a very effective method to spray solution onto the area and then vacuum to pull heavy stains from carpet fibers, such as coffee or soda spills, mud and dirt stains, and so on. You can then use forced air from the Interior Cleaning Gun or the Adam’s Blaster Sidekick to help dry the area more quickly if you are pressed for time; otherwise allow the area to air-out for a few hours.

 

 

Rubberized & Hard Plastic Floor Mats


Chemicals

Accessories

All Purpose Cleaner

20” Fender Brush

Interior Detailer with Microban®

Blaster Sidekick

Tire & Rubber Cleaner

Edgeless Utility Towel

Tire Brush


Cleaning rubber or textured floor mats like Weathertech is a very easy process! Adam’s Tire & Rubber Cleaner is the preferred chemical for cleaning. With the mats out of the vehicle and in a secure spot, generously spray Tire & Rubber Cleaner onto the mats and allow it to soak for 30-60 seconds. Next use the 20” Fender Brush or Tire Brush to scrub the mat. You will notice the cleaner foams up as you begin to scrub. If it foams up brownish-orange, rinse the mats and spray them down again with the cleaner. Scrub them a second time and the cleaner should now foam up white. This indicates that you have removed the majority of the dirt from the surface. Fully rinse them a second time and then dry them off with an Edgeless Utility Towel or forced air from the Blaster Sidekick. For adding a layer of protection to these types of floor mats, without adding any slippery feeling, please see the section underConditioning later in this blog.

 


 

Headliner and Sun Visors

Chemicals

Accessories

Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

Edgeless Utility Towel

Glass Cleaner

Green Microfiber Glass Scrubbing Towel

Leather & Interior Cleaner


Now that carpeted areas and floor mats have been addressed, as they are drying, we will continue with a top-down approach to cleaning the interior. If the headliner needs any cleaning, a few light sprays of Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner into an Edgeless Utility Towel and then gently dabbing and wiping the headliner with the towel will usually suffice. 


If there are heavier stains in the headliner, you may need to do multiple light cleanings of that area of the headliner, making sure to allow for some drying time in between each scrubbing so as to not over saturate it and possibly weaken any glue holding the fabric onto the backing board. If the headliner is made of Alcantara or suede, please follow the guidelines below in the Alcantara/Suede section of this write-up.

Make sure to clean the overhead visors at this time too. Blow them off with the Interior Cleaning Gun or the Blaster Sidekick to remove any built-up dust, then use the appropriate cleaner with an Edgeless Utility Towel for cleaning - Carpet & Upholstery for cloth visors, Leather & Interior Cleaner for leather or plastic visors, and so on. Don’t forget the visor mirrors - a small mist of Glass Cleaner into a Green Glass Towel will make them look great with very little effort!

 

Leather, Door Panels, Dashboard, Center Console


Chemicals

Accessories

All Purpose Interior Cleaning Gel

Cockpit Brush (Large and Mini)

Interior Cleaning Wipes

Edgeless Utility Towel

Interior Detailer with Microban®

Interior Cleaning Gun

Leather & Interior Cleaner

Interior Detailing Brush (Large and Small)

Interior Detailing Swabs

Interior Microfiber Towel

Interior Scrubbing Mitt


With the headliner and visors now clean, skip the glass for now and move onto the dashboard and door panels. We do this slightly out-of-order because if you get any cleaner over spray onto the inside windshield or windows, you can then address it by cleaning the glass afterward. This way you are not wiping down the glass twice, thus saving some time during the detailing process.

Before cleaning the dashboard, now is the time to use forced air from the the Blaster Sidekick or Interior Cleaning Gun to blow the top of the dashboard and air vents to remove any heavy dust build-up, then blow dust out of the center console, seat crevices, and underneath the seats. This way any excess debris is down onto the carpeted areas in easy to reach areas for one quick final vacuum at the end of the cleaning process. Now is a perfect time to use the delicate fibers of the Large or Small Interior Detailing Brush to clean the gauge cluster and instrument panel screens as well.

If the dashboard, door panels, and other areas have some dust build-up or a light amount of dirt, Adam’s new Interior Detailer with Microban® is the fastest and most efficient way to clean and protect these areas in one step. The Microban® technology also fights to keep bacteria and other microbes off of these surfaces even after you’re done cleaning them. Interior Detailer with Microban® is an excellent choice for wiping down the steering wheel, steering column, turn signal and wiper levers, gear shifter, door handles, and switches - all high-traffic areas that you want to keep free of germs and bacteria.

For a deep cleaning of the dashboard to remove heavier dirt, Adam’s Leather & Interior Cleaner is a powerful cleaner that can cut through any previous dressings to get down to the bare dashboard surface. It is safe for use on leather, plastic, and vinyl dashboards. For cleaning an Alcantara/suede dashboard, please see the Alcantara/Suede section below. Use Leather & Interior Cleaner with the Edgeless Utility Towel (or Interior Scrubbing Mitt for a deeper clean), then flip the Utility Towel over to wipe away any excess residue.

On door panels, Adam’s All Purpose Interior Cleaning Gel works great, since it will cling to the door panel and not drip down as easily when scrubbing with the Edgeless Utility Towel or Interior Scrubbing Mitt. To clean underneath and around door switches and handles, Adam’s Interior Detailing Swabs are perfect to get into those tight areas and can be used with Interior Detailer, Leather & Interior Cleaner, or All Purpose Interior Cleaning Gel, depending on the level of cleaning necessary.

Moving onto the center console, use the Sidekick or Interior Cleaning Gun to blast out as much dirt, dust, crumbs, etc from the console first. Adam’s Leather & Interior Cleaner can then be used here along with the Interior Detailing Swabs or Cockpit Brush to deep-clean around buttons, gear shift knob, parking brake handle, cup holders, arm rest, and any other pockets or compartments to remove the remaining dirt, dust, crumbs, and sticky residue from spills and so forth. Then use an Edgeless Utility Towel to wipe away any excess residue.

One of the last areas to clean before a final vacuum of the floor will be the leather seats. Adam’s Leather & Interior Cleaner with the Large or Mini Cockpit Brush is a great combination to deep-clean leather and take it down to a bare surface to prepare it for conditioning afterward. The Cockpit Brush works to get down into the perforations of the leather, found in many modern heated/cooled seats. Then use an Edgeless Utility Towel to wipe away the excess cleaner.

While cleaning the seat areas, make sure to clean all of the areas around the seats too. Use the Sidekick or Interior Cleaning Gun to blow debris out from underneath the seats and seat rails - move the front seats as far forward and backward as they can go to make sure that you are able to clean out the seat rail area and the tight spots in between the seats and center console. Clean the door sill kick panel areas, as well as the seat belt mounting locations, with Leather & Interior Cleaner or All Purpose Interior Cleaning Gel, since these are typically plastic and can easily become dirty and discolored over time. Finally, clean the pedals with Leather & Interior Cleaner or Interior Detailer with Microban®.Do not condition the pedals, as this could lead to a slippery feeling and accidents when driving.

 

 

Glass - Windshield and Windows


Chemicals

Accessories

Brilliant Glaze

Borderless Gray Towel

Glass Cleaner

Gray Microfiber Applicator Pad

Green Microfiber Glass Scrubbing Towel

Microsilk Glass Towel


Now that the dash and door panels down have been addressed, next we will clean the inside of the windshield, side glass, and rear glass. For most interior glass, we recommend our green liquid Glass Cleaner. This is because the green Glass Cleaner does not contain any alcohol or ammonia, and it is also tint-safe. The Green Glass Towel pairs perfectly with it, using the thicker pile side of the towel for the initial scrub and then the thin side to leave a streak-free finish. Once the windows are complete, make sure to clean the rear view mirror, navigation screen, and gauge cluster with the Adam’s Microsilk Glass Towel, since these are all delicate surface areas that can be more susceptible to scratching with a less delicate towel.

Pro Tip: Removing Film Build-Up on Windshields

If you ever find a film build-up on the windshield that is difficult to remove - either from off-gassing of dashboard materials or cigarettes/e-cigarettes/vape pens/etc - Adam’s Brilliant Glaze with a Microfiber Applicator is a very easy and effective way to cut through this film. 


Simply apply a few drops of Brilliant Glaze onto a Microfiber Applicator, spread evenly over the inside of the windshield, and buff away the residue with a microfiber towel (Green Glass Towel or Borderless Gray work great). 


You will notice how easily Brilliant Glaze cuts through any fogginess or film-like build-up, leaving clear and streak-free glass. Maintenance cleaning of the windshield afterward will be easier too - just a Borderless Gray Towel to wipe it down occasionally should be enough for the next few months, then repeat the Brilliant Glaze application.



Alcantara/Suede

Chemicals

Accessories

Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

Edgeless Utility Towel

Water

Interior Cleaning Gun

Large Cockpit Brush

Mini Cockpit Brush


Alcantara and suede (or synthetic micro-suede) require more special care than the rest of the interior surfaces of a vehicle. Alcantara is becoming more and more popular in high-performance and exotic vehicles - sometimes as an upgraded interior option package - but it (and suede-like surfaces) are becoming more common in everyday vehicles as well. Weekly cleaning by simply brushing the surface with the Cockpit Brush can keep the material from becoming matted down, while also pulling small dirt particles out of the material. 


For cleaning of stains, you must make sure that you do not get the Alcantara or micro-suede too wet - if the surface becomes oversaturated, this can cause near-permanent matting of the surface that may not be able to be fixed. Use 1-2 light mists of Adam’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner sprayed directly into an Edgeless Utility Towel, then gently wipe the affected area. You can then work the cleaner in further by gently scrubbing with the Cockpit Brush. Then use a second dry Edgeless Utility Towel to pull up an excess moisture. If suede surfaces become heavily saturated with a liquid, vacuum out with a wet-dry vacuum as quickly as possible.

For a much more in-depth write-up on Alcantara and Suede surfaces, please view our Tech Tip Thread in the Detailing Library section of Adamsforums.com.

 

 

Eliminating Odors - Carpet, Upholstery, and HVAC System

Chemicals

Accessories

Odor Neutralizer

Odor Bomb


The final topic that we did not cover yet in the cleaning section of this blog is dealing with unwanted odors in the vehicle’s interior. Adam’s Odor Neutralizer and Odor Bomb are two very effective ways of removing unwanted smells, depending on the severity of the odor. For removing most odors from things like food and pets, Adam’s Odor Neutralizer is a spray formula that attempts to remove odors rather than mask them with another scent. You can spray it into the carpets, cloth seats, and headliner - one or two sprays in each area will usually be enough. Odor Neutralizer can also be used to clean out the heating and air conditioning vents of the vehicle by turning on the vehicle, setting the air conditioning system to Recirculate and High, then spraying the Odor Neutralizer into the intake vents below the dashboard. This will then pull the spray through the system and out the air vents, to remove musty smells.


The second, more involved option for eliminating heavier smells - spilled milk, pet accidents, and so on - is the Adam’s Odor Bomb.The Adam’s Odor Bomb uses Eco-friendly Chlorine Dioxide vapors to eliminate odors, with no dangerous residue left behind. It works on all chemical and organic odors. Each Odor Bomb is good for one use in a vehicle interior up to 250 cubic feet. For more specific instructions on how to use these, please refer to the included instructions in the Odor Bomb packaging.

 


Condition & Protect:

With interior cleaning complete, you will now want to protect all of these bare surfaces. As with cleaning, there are multiple product options and accessories designed for specific surfaces and looks. Order of operations for conditioning are not as critical as the cleaning steps, but we generally will follow a top-down approach for conditioning as well.


Leather, Plastic, Vinyl

Chemicals

Accessories

Interior Detailer with Microban®

Edgeless Utility Towel

Interior Protection Paste

Gray Microfiber Applicator

Leather Conditioner

Premium Interior Dressing Applicator

Leather & Interior Dressing


We have three distinct options for conditioning leather, plastic, and vinyl surfaces, and a fourth option that cleans and protects in one product:

  • Adam’s Leather Conditioner is safe for use on leather, plastic, and vinyl. It offers a deep, rich look to these surfaces that is not too shiny, no sticky residue afterward, and a pleasant leather scent. It is applied with our red Premium Interior Dressing Applicator, and just a few drops will typically treat a bottom seat cover for example. 
  • Adam’s Leather & Interior Dressing is applied in the same manner as Leather Conditioner; however, it leaves a matte surface with no change in appearance or scent. 
  • Adam’s Interior Protection Paste goes a step further, to bring back more color, restore dry leather, and protect with natural beeswax and lanolin oil. It can be applied with the included gray foam applicator, or even by hand since it is an all-organic product. 
  • Adam’s Interior Detailer with Microban® is a spray-on and wipe-off formula that does light cleaning and protection in one easy-to-use product. This product was recently updated to include Microban® antimicrobial product protection. This powerful Microban® technologyactively inhibits the growth of bacteria on surfaces and continues to work long after application to keep interior surfaces protected against bacteria that can cause stains, odors, and surface deterioration. Interior Detailer with Microban® is now available in four scents - Cucumber Aloe, Eucalyptus Mint, Sweet Almond, and Sweet Pea.

Pro Tip: Conditioning Perforated Leather


For conditioning perforated leather surfaces with Leather Conditioner, Leather & Interior Dressing, or Interior Protection Paste, you must evenly spread the product on the applicator before applying to the surface. If there are globs of product on the applicator, these will clog the perforations on the leather; however, by spreading the product evenly over the applicator with your fingers (or by folding the applicator inward on itself), you have a light layer that will evenly cover the surface without clogging up the perforations. If the side bolsters of the seats are smooth and not perforated, you can also spread the conditioner on the bolsters first (rather than spreading it around on the applicator with your fingers), then move onto the perforated areas once the conditioner has been spread evenly onto the applicator.


Rubberized Floor Mats


Chemicals

Accessories

Ceramic Spray Coating

Edgeless Utility Towel

Interior Detailer with Microban®

Gray Microfiber Applicator


Rubberized floor mats like Weathertech and other brands can be protected, but you must ensure that you use a safe product that will keep a non-slip surface. Two of our products stand out for these types of floor mats. Adam’s Ceramic Spray Coating gives the floor mats a slightly darker, more rich appearance, with the benefits of the hydrophobic behaviors that ceramic coatings provide. This makes clean-up of mud and other dirt much easier on the mats afterward. Interior Detailer with Microban® can also be used to clean the mats and offer a small amount of protection, but it will not darken their appearance.


 


MAINTENANCE:

Once you have the interior cleaned and conditioned, you will need to maintain it properly during the weeks or months in between full interior details. This can be done very easily with just a few products outlined below.


Glass

Chemicals

Accessories

Glass Cleaner

Green Microfiber Glass Scrubbing Towel


Adam’s Glass Cleaner combined with our Green Microfiber Glass Scrubbing Towel is the easiest way to clean your side windows quickly and streak-free. With our Glass Cleaner, a little product goes a long way, so typically only one full-trigger spray is needed to clean an entire door window for example. If you clean the windshield using the Brilliant Glaze Pro-Tip from earlier, in most cases you can simply wipe the windshield down with a clean and dry Borderless Gray Towel in between heavier cleaning with the glaze.


Leather, Plastic, Vinyl

Chemicals

Accessories

Interior Detailer with Microban®

Interior Detailing Swabs

Premium Interior Towel


Adam’s Interior Detailer with Microban® is designed for in-between maintenance on nearly every interior surface, with the exception of carpet, upholstery, and Alcantara/suede. It is a light cleaner and protectant in one that leaves a no-gloss appearance, to leave the interior looking factory fresh. Interior Detailing Swabs and the Adam’s Premium Interior Towel should be all you need for quick maintenance wipe-downs on a weekly or bi-weekly time frame. The Microban® technology in all four scents of our Interior Detailer will keep the interior more clean for a longer amount of time too.

 


 

Odor Elimination

Chemicals

Accessories

Odor Neutralizer

Air Freshener

Charcoal Odor Bag


We offer a few different products to maintain a fresh smell in your vehicle as well. Adam’s Odor Neutralizer comes in four scents to help kill odors while leaving a pleasant scent behind. We offer many different scents of hanging air fresheners that change throughout the seasons of the year. Lastly, the Adam’s Charcoal Odor Bag is good to leave under a seat or in a rear cargo area to absorb unwanted smells.


SUMMARY:

In this blog, we covered a lot of products, but also why and how each is used to clean, condition, and maintain the interior of your vehicle. If you are uncertain about any product or process, or have any questions in general, feel free to contact us at  tips@adamspolishes.com, or reach us on our online communities on Adamsforums.com and facebook as well!

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