Removing Stains from Auto Upholstery

by Amy Gordon
(last updated February 20, 2009)

Most people these days treat their cars as extensions of their homes: they eat and drink liberally in the car. That kind of behavior results in stains, and removing stains from auto upholstery can be a tough job. As a general rule, the first step with any stain is to blot the spill and absorb as much of it as possible. Then, depending on the stain, you should take your next steps.

  • Food. After removing the excess food residue, spray on a small amount of auto upholstery cleaner, which is available at most auto parts stores. After a few minutes, scrub the stain gently with a soft brush, and dry off the area with a clean cloth. Repeat the process until the stain is no longer visible and the cloth you are using to dry the area comes off clean. Some people recommend homemade cleaners like shaving cream for removing food stains from auto upholstery, but only if the stain is small.
  • Ink. For ink stains on your auto upholstery, first blot the area to remove excess ink. Then spray on some hairspray and let it sit for a few minutes. Use a clean, soft cloth to wipe the area, and change the cloth frequently to prevent reverse staining. You can also use rubbing alcohol to remove ink stains from auto upholstery. In that case, you would have to use cotton pads instead of cloth to wipe the stain. Also, alcohol should only be applied on the actual stain. Once the excess alcohol comes off, use a cloth to wipe the stain as usual.
  • Lipstick. Toothpaste is usually a good way to remove lipstick stains from auto upholstery. For best results, rub the stain gently with a white, non-gel toothpaste. Afterwards, wipe the area clean with a soft, damp cloth.
  • Battery acid. For battery acid stains, make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the affected area. Wait for at least an hour before you wipe the paste off with a clean, damp cloth. Another useful homemade cleaner can be prepared by mixing ˝ teaspoon dishwashing detergent in some warm water. Once you have a lot of suds, use these to clean your auto upholstery. Then rinse the area gently with water and dry thoroughly.
  • Gasoline. To remove gasoline stains from your auto upholstery, dab on a mixture of vinegar, liquid dish detergent, and warm water in proportion. Dry the area thoroughly. For residual stains, repeat the process.
  • Crayon. To remove crayon marks from auto upholstery, scrape the excess crayon off with a spatula or metal spoon. Next, spray the stain with upholstery cleaner and let it sit for a few minutes. Scrub the area gently with a hard brush, and then sponge it with paper towels. Re-spray the cleaner and apply liquid dishwashing detergent on the area. Scrub gently with the brush and wipe the stain with a damp sponge.
  • Mold and mildew. To remove mold and mildew from auto upholstery, use products that contain peroxide and detergents. All you need to do is spray the cleaner on the affected area and wait about ten minutes. Then, blot the area until it is dry using a clean cloth. If the stain or odor persists, repeat the process.

Remember, removing stains from your auto upholstery not only keeps your car clean, but also increases its value in the resale market.

Author Bio

Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon loves keeping things simple, natural, and safe so she can spend more time having fun. Every day she learns new things about making life at home easier and she loves to share it with you! ...

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