In the fall, people begin to think about the harsh roads of winter that lie ahead. That means checking the tires, the oil and other mechanical systems. If you’ve taken good care of your car during the year, then you might not have much to do. In fact, you might want to give yourself a treat and detail the interior of your car. Here are some tips.

Basically, cars have two types of surfaces: hard and soft. Vacuuming is really your first step, and you’ll want to make sure you have enough power in your vacuum to do the job. Often, plug-in vacuums just don’t have the power, so haul your household vacuum or your shop vac out to the driveway. Be careful not to scratch any hard surfaces. Most vacuums come with a brush attachment that you can use to clean the hard surfaces without scratching them.

Take the floor mats out and wash them with a hose, detergent and scrubber. These are usually the dirtiest areas of the car, and taking them out will allow you to really put some elbow grease into cleaning them. Vinyl hard surfaces are the easiest to clean. Any surface cleaning agent will do, although you will want to make sure you read the label to check for any warnings. Saturate a towel with solution, swab the area and then use a microfiber towel to wipe off any excess. Stubborn stains might take a couple of washings. If you want to do a really thorough job, take the seats out. This will give you access to the entire seat as well as the surrounding area.

Next, you’ll want to turn your attention to the soft surfaces. Are they leather or cloth? Often, the only real leather in a leather interior is on the seating surfaces and the rest of the surfaces are vinyl. Know the specs on your car to ensure you use the right products. Leather cleaners require special cleaning materials, so contact a local expert to see what they recommend. The best option for cloth seats is a good foam carpet cleaner, but that will require a wet/dry vacuum to clean. With any product, try cleaning a small, hidden area first to ensure you won’t be removing the color or causing any other harm to the interior.

Detailing the interior is a job you can do on your own, although you may have to buy a few products. Keeping the interior in excellent shape will provide you with a better feel in the car and will add to the resale value. You can put as much or as little time into this interior remodel as you like, but the more energy you put in, the higher your return will be.

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