How to Limit Interior Wear and Tear

If you’re anything like most drivers, you do a lot of living in your car. From your daily commute and running errands to kids’ activities and family road trips, it’s easy to put a lot of miles—and a lot of time—on your car.

While regular car washes and interior detailing can go a long way in making sure your car looks its best (and keep it from depreciating in value too quickly), there are other ways to limit the amount of wear and tear you cause on the inside. Ideally, you’ll start integrating these tips and tricks as soon as you drive off the lot, but even if you’ve been in your car for years, it’s not too late to start a good routine.

  • Protect Surfaces: These days, there are countless ways to safely and creatively cover your car’s upholstery. Floor mats keep food and dirt from being ground into the carpet. Seat covers can be purchased from most retailers or made from old sweatshirts. Specialty pet blankets can easily cover a backseat or trunk. Even customized seat covers are a great way to protect your interior without sacrificing on looks.
  • Limit Food/Beverage Intake: We get it—if you spend a lot of time with kids in the car or you drive during mealtimes, it might not be possible to have a no-food and no-drink rule. If you do allow food in your car, make sure you enforce a few extra rules to go along with it. For example, drinks must always have lids. Save the ketchup packets and dipping sauces for when you get home. Pack snacks that aren’t easy to spill or lose between the seats (for example, slices of fruit, pre-cut sandwiches, protein bars, and string cheese tend to travel well without spilling). While you won’t eliminate interior stains this way, you can keep them to a minimum.
  • Spot Clean: Most experts recommend that you keep car-friendly cleaning wipes in your trunk or glove box. This way, you can address the occasional stain as soon as it arises. If your interior is leather, it’s important to choose a brand that’s friendly to leather; otherwise, the same wipes you use at home will probably be fine.
  • Spot Vacuum: Every time you go to the car wash, make sure you stop by the vacuums for a quick clean of the interior. Our powerful vacuums allow you to quickly and easily suck up any big messes, and because they have such long hoses, you can sneak into all those hard-to-reach places. It’s a five-minute fix that will ensure nothing has a chance to get ground in.
  • Let in the Air: It might sound strange, but your car likes the fresh air as much as you do—especially if you smoke in the car or travel with pets. When the sun is shining and it’s not too damp out, take a moment to roll down the windows a crack and let your car breathe. This will be much more effective than heavily scented deodorizers, which only mask the smells.

Other steps to protect your car’s interior include parking somewhere that’s covered to avoid UV damage, getting your car detailed once or twice a year for that deep, lasting shine, and always removing snow and mud before you get in. With a few common-sense rules that the whole family can stick to, your car will look and smell great for a much longer amount of time overall.