Winter interior care can be an unpleasant task especially in extremely cold temperatures.
Lets face it, when its so cold out that its tough to move your fingers, you aren't going to be outside cleaning your vehicles interior!
In the cold months, my cleaning procedure is pretty basic. I vacuum the
interior, dust the vinyl/plastic with a dry microfiber cloth and make sure the
windows are clean.
The only thing you can do is do what you can when the temperature is tolerable. Unless you are lucky enough to have access to a heated garage, a project such as shampooing fabric isn't going to be possible until spring.
Getting in and out of your vehicle everyday causes snow and ice build up on the carpet and floor mats. This means for much of the winter, the mats and sections of the carpet are going to be wet.
To combat this situation, I highly recommend removing your fabric mats in the fall. Put them away until spring. Fabric mats will hold onto water for a long time. During the winter months they never have enough heat or time to dry properly.
Purchasing a set of rubber or hard plastic floor mats is the best way to
protect your carpet during the winter time. Obviously rubber and plastic
dries much faster than fabric. An ideal set of mats will have deep channels to
trap snow and water, making it difficult to get the carpet wet.
This is one of the rubber mats I use in the winter. Notice the deep grooves meant to trap moisture.
The absolute best plastic mats you can buy are ones custom molded to fit your
vehicles floor. They cover almost the entire carpet and do a fantastic job
protecting it from moisture, dirt, and salt.
The downside to the molded mats is the price tag. They are quite expensive but
hey you get what you pay for!
You may spot a set of rubber mats at the store that are completely flat, no
channels. They may be the cheapest ones on the shelf, but avoid them. Without
channels to trap moisture, the carpet will get soaked, so what's the point?
This is an example of how rubber mats can protect your carpet in the winter. This car is 10 years old, its driven everyday all winter long. The carpet has not been shampooed since fall, and this is how it looks at the end of April! Still looking good!
Keeping your carpet clean and dry all winter is great, but I believe the most important winter interior care tip is make sure your windows are clean.
Driving home at night in a blizzard is hard enough, if you have streaky dirty
windows, the glare from on coming headlights is going to be distracting and
If you live in a very cold climate, cleaning your glass
is still possible. Simply start your vehicle and turn the heat/defrost
on. Once the interior warms up you should have no trouble with the glass
cleaner freezing on the windows. Just make sure to keep the vehicle running
while you are cleaning!
Like I mentioned before, cleaning interiors in below freezing temperatures is not a realistic task. However, simple steps like protective mats, keeping windows clean, and dusting off your vinyl/plastic surfaces will make your spring time detail a much easier procedure.