DIY: Keep your car looking brand new

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Carwash

“Sure, I can wash my own car. But what about the stains on the upholstery?”

Don’t go to the car wash, or replace the seats! Have a go yourself. Many upholstery stains can be removed but remember that, as with all stains, new ones come out more easily than old, ingrained ones.

Note: When you use heavy cleaning fluid in the car, remember to leave the doors open while it dries off, as the fumes are poisonous.

Method: Use a damp clean pad such as a baby wipe, and clean the stain with a circular motion.

For bloodstains, use cold water, household ammonia, and if the stain proves stubborn, add a thick paste of cornstarch and water. Apply the paste to the stain, letting it dry. Then, scrape it off, rubbing away the smaller pieces. Re-apply the starch paste, and pick it off until the bloodstain disappears.

Candy, fruit juice and gum stains are almost impossible to remove and take perseverance.

Chocolate stains can be removed with repeated applications of lukewarm water, whereas other candy stains use very hot water.

If the gum stuck to your seat is soft, press on an ice cube to harden it, scraping it off the seat afterwards with a butter knife or blade with a dull surface. For remaining gum, rub it with a volatile cleaner such as Soft Scrub, or spray with WD40 and scrape it off with a knife while the spot is still damp.

Fresh juice stains can be removed by pouring fizzy water (like soda water), the bubbles fizz up the colored stains and you can dab them off.

Grease and oil can be removed with a dull blade saturated in Soft Scrub, rubbing in towards the center of the stain to keep it from spreading. Folding a square of kitchen towel over the stain and pressing a hot iron on it can also remove grease. The grease melts into the absorbent towel. This trick also works on spilt wax. (Be careful moving the hot iron around and don’t use this approach if your car seats are vinyl or likely to melt.)

Ice cream, lipstick and vomit can be removed with a soapy washcloth, followed by a regular upholstery cleaner.