Most of the time, washing the outer surface of your car is often just a matter of turning on the power hose at a car wash and giving the car a good spray. However, certain chemicals can stick to the paint of your car or even to the rubber seals around your windows. Cleaning the interior can be a much more complicated process as different materials repel liquids and other chemicals differently. Moreover, even with the same interior cloth, different chemicals will stain differently. For instance, water-based stains will simply vanish with enough effort while oil-based stains will linger regardless of how dedicated you are to removing them. That said, oils might seem like an impossible problem. However, whether you are cleaning the interior or the exterior, you just need to know the different types of counteracting agents.
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- Soap and water
To remove fresh oil from your car paint, you can press a damp cloth to the paint and dab until all of the standing liquid is soaked into the cloth. You might be inclined to wipe the oil, but doing so will spread the stain. If you dab, it will take longer, but the oil will be contained to the smallest area possible.
To remove oil from inside your car, you can spray soap on a cloth and dab the stain. Dabbing works better than wiping because it pulls the stain upward from the upholstery and into the cloth. Although wiping soap and water on the stain will help a little, it also serves to spread the stain outward and inward.
For heavy stains, it might be necessary to let a drop of liquid soap sit on the stain for a while. As the soap soaks the stain, the stain will break apart. After an hour of pre-soaking the area, you can simply dab the area with a damp cloth.
Depending on where the stain is, you can use some type of de-greaser to dissolve the stain prior to wiping it away. De-greaser, however, can harm paint or fade material, so you want to test it out on the underside of something prior to using it on an exposed area. Additionally, there are different types of de-greaser, so it important to note which ones are safe for paint, leather, or cloth.
Something known as a melamine sponge is one of the most effective tools to help remove oil from within your car or off the surface. Melamine sponges have very small pores, and they can wipe away just about any material from just about any surface.
Commercial sponges come with a cleaning agent already soaked into the sponge, but you can buy sheets of melamine and cut it into shape. If you then spread an agent like soap or a mild solvent on the surface, you can then buff the stain off the surface of your car. Once you have cleaned the surface, you can actually protect the paint with car paint protection. Doing so will ensure that future oil or other stains sit on top of the protectant. Because the protectant will keep the oil from soaking into the paint, you can easily spray or wipe it off.
For some stains, vinegar is better than solvent as it can be used alone or even mixed with soap. For example, you can mix half a cup of vinegar with an equal part of soap and water. The vinegar will not immediately mix with soap, so you will need to stir it into a frothy liquid. Once the mixture is consistent, you can spray it onto the stain and wipe it off with a cloth.
If the stain does not come off easily, you can use the aforementioned sponge, or you can use a toothbrush. The bristles can help eat away at the stain, allowing you to wipe the residue clean.
- Hydrogen peroxide
You can pour hydrogen peroxide into a cup and dip a toothbrush into it. With the bristles dripping with the liquid, you can scrub the stain. Hydrogen peroxide is a mild cleaner that will work on a variety of stains. However, it can cause the material to fade, so you should test it out on a spot that is hidden or out of view.
Eric Reyes is a passionate thought leader having been featured in 50 distinguished online and offline platforms. His passion and knowledge in Finance and Business made him a sought after contributor providing valuable insights to his readers. You can find him reading a book and discussing current events in his spare time.