General Information: How to blot…

General Information: How to blot…

It sounds silly but this cleaning technique is critical to removing many household stains.
Blotting is the act of absorbing a stain with a dry absorbent towel such as a terry towel or even a paper towel (best using white towels so no colors from the towel will run into the carpet or fabric you are blotting.) Blotting immediately after a spill or stain has occurred is the best way to combat stains. Blot by placing the towel over the stain. First fold your towel in quarters so you can flip over the towel a few times to get the maximum absorbency of your towel.

Chili stains on carpet or upholtstery

General Info:
Be sure to check the helpful hints for the Do’s and Don’ts of stain removal and Six Sure Ways to Set Stains.

Tools & Chemicals:
Dish washing or fine fabric detergent, white terry towels, white vinegar, warm water, measuring cup, spoon, vacuum.


  • Work on removing the stain as soon as you notice it. The longer the stain is left on the carpet the greater the chances are of the stain setting.
  • In every case remove all excess wet or dry material before attempting to clean. Blot wet materials using a white terry towel (check helpful hints for a detailed description of blotting). Vacuum excess dry materials or gently scrape up materials with a spoon.
  • Mix 1/2 tsp. of dish washing soap or fine fabric detergent into 1 (8 oz.)cup of warm water.
  • Apply a small amount, blot or tamp and repeat until the stain is removed. Be patient. Complete removal may require repeating the same step several times. Tamp down on the carpet, do not scrub as this may distort the texture of the pile.
  • Cover the stain with the towel and press down repeatedly to absorb the stain material and detergent.
  • Once the stain is completely removed, rinse the area with cold water; blot with a dry white terry towel until all moisture is removed. Repeat this process several times to remove cleaning solution residue. (Residue can attract soils).
  • If the spot or stain turns brownish when dry, mix 1 part white vinegar and two parts water. Apply a small amount and blot. Repeat only once.

Never use a stronger concentration than is recommended. Never laundry detergent or automatic dish washing detergents because they may destroy or dye some fibers.

Car Cleaning Detail Tips

Washing your car several times per month, or even once a week, can keep your cars body in tip-top shape

Before you start washing your car, you will want to gather all the necessary supplies and car care cleaning products. You’ll need access to water- usually through a garden hose or pressure washer, a bucket, soap, sponges or soft cloths, scrub brush, glass cleaner, paper towels (or newspapers) and any other cleaning materials you may wish to use.

Once you have everything together then follow the following step to clean your car in an organize way

  1. Fill up the bucket with soap and water, making it really sudsy. Be sure to use a soap that is made to wash cars- shampoo and dish soap really won’t do the job.
  2. Choose a shady area to park your car, so as to avoid direct sunlight. Direct sun tends to dry the car prematurely, in turn leaving splotches on it. At the same time, make sure to keep the car away from trees that drip sap or drop leaves. But if you do find some sap drippings, don’t forget you can use WD-40 to remove tree sap from cars.
  3. Close all the doors and windows of your car and set all the cleaning equipments at your side.
  4. Fill a bucket with water and add car wash soap, as per directions given in the bottle. Keep another bucket full of water.
  5. Hose off the car, to remove excess dirt, starting from the roof to the tires. Be careful not to use strong jet, as that can rub grit over the paint and leave scratches.
  6. Lather a wash mitt or sponge in the soapy water and wipe your car with it, starting from the roof. Spray off the excess soap, after the entire roof has been cleaned.
  7. Wash the car section by section, washing one full side at a time, including the windows and fenders, and rinsing it with the hose, before going to the next one.
  8. Frequently get off the dirty water out of the sponge, by rinsing in plain, clear water.
  9. As you progress with the various steps, keep the entire car wet. It will ensure that the droplets don’t dry on the paint, leaving water-spots.
  10. The dirtiest and grimiest part of a car is its lower body and wheels. So, make it a point to scrub and clean them last. Use a different sponge for those parts.
  11. For cleaning the openings of the wheels, use a long, skinny wheel brush. To clean the tires, make use of steel-wool-soap pads, one for each tire.
  12. To dry the car, use chamois leather or towel and set it flat on the surface. Drag it along the surface, starting from the roofs and moving down to the tires. Make sure to pick up every water spot.
  13. Use rag, soaked in plain water, for cleaning the windows. After cleaning, dry them with a dry rag. Alternately, you can also use window cleaner and pieces of balled-up newspaper for both, the inside and outside of the windows.
  14. If you have spare time, clean and arrange the interior of the car as well.
  15. Take time out every week to make your car spotless, by following the tips on how to wash a car, as given above.

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Washing your car inside and out

Washing your car several times per month, or even once a week, can keep your cars body in tip-top shape

Before you start washing your car, you will want to gather all the necessary supplies. You’ll need access to water- usually through a garden hose or pressure washer, a bucket, soap, sponges or soft cloths, scrub brush, glass cleaner, paper towels (or newspapers) and any other cleaning materials you may wish to use.

Once you have everything together, fill up the bucket with soap and water, making it really sudsy. Be sure to use a soap that is made to wash cars- shampoo and dish soap really won’t do the job.

Begin with the wheels. It is important to have clean wheels because they are in constant contact with the road, and can be prone to corrosion caused by brake dust. You are riding on your tires, and your safety depends on them. Be sure they are clean! You’ll want to use lots of soapy water and a scrub brush to get them clean. You may also need to use a degreaser. You may need to use some good ˜ole elbow grease to get down deep in the tread to get all the dirt and debris. Once clean, rinse them good. Then, you can also use polish your tires and wheel covers to give a finishing touch.

Next, start on the car itself. Start by hosing down the car to get the surface wet. Then, start with small sections at a time so you can pay close attention to detail.

Next, you can wax/polish your car. This will rally help protect your car from the elements like dirt, road salt, pollutions and other debris.. Apply the wax to one panel section at a time using a dry cloth. After the wax dries, you can buff it with a towel. One coat is enough to make it shine- but heck, you can add another coat or two of you want to make it really shine! The wax job can last about two months.

While the interior really doesn’t help maintain the car itself, it’s just nice to have a clean car inside out. After you are done washing and waxing, start by vacuuming the floors, mats and seats. You may need to use the attachments to be able to get in all the nooks and crannies. (Crumbs are everywhere!) If you have rubber mats, those can be washed along with the exterior and laid out to dry. Replace them after the car is cleaned inside. Next, wipe down all the interior surfaces with a damp cloth. Then, just like you did the outside windows, do the same for the inside. Some people like to use a polish to make the dashboard shine. Just don’t polish the steering wheel! It’ll make it slippery.

Car Interiors

By David W. Bynon Copyright (c), 2000, Autopia Car Care — All Rights Reserved

With our active lifestyles and the amount of time we spend in our cars, the average car interior is easy prey for a myriad of stains and odors.  Stain and odor removal is almost a science into itself.  Upholstery fabrics and carpets widely vary, as do the composition of stains.  However, in my experience, there is a correct method and a suitable cleaner for most car interior problems.

Protection is Worth a Pound of Cure
Common upholstery fabrics are more likely to stain than vinyl or leather.  To best prevent stains altogether, it is necessary to properly treat upholstery, carpet, vinyl and leather.  The best treatment for carpet and fabric is a spray on fabric guard product.  The Scotch Guardâ„¢ brand products are the best know, and most widely available.  Other products, like 303 Hi Tech Fabric Guard, offer newer fabric protection formulas. To protect vinyl and leather, simply use your favorite cleaner and protectant on a regular basis.  Some leather protectant products, like Eagle One Leather Conditioner, contain mink oil, which is excellent for protecting against stains.

When the inevitable happens, and your three-year-old drops (or barfs!) his mustard-loaded hotdog on your brand new velour upholstery, stay calm, and remove as much of the spill as possible (by blotting, not wiping, with paper napkins, paper towels, etc).  Then, don’t let the stain sit too long before you get to work on it.  Within a day or two, most spills will set and permanently stain your upholstery or become very difficult to remove.  It will only take one such incident for you to realize that a  $15 investment in fabric and carpet protection is worth every penny.

Stain Removal Basics
Even without protection, you would be amazed at how easy it is to clean up most

stains with nothing more than a neutral detergent and water  A neutral detergent has a pH of 7 (on a scale of 0 to 14).
A detergent with a pH less than 7 means it is acidic, whereas a pH higher than 7 is alkaline.

Neutral detergents will not bleach fabric or remove fabric protection.

When cleaning a stain, try detergent and water first.  If this does not remove the stain, then go for a cleaner with a little more oomph!

Common cleaning agents for interior stains include:

Neutral detergent (Ivory Liquid) & water (1:20)
Mild ammonia & water solution (1:5)
Distilled white vinegar & water (1:1)
Dry-cleaning fluid (Carbona, Renuzit, Perk)
Tools you’ll need to remove interior stains include:

Spatula or putty knife
Clean, white terry cloth towels
Soft bristle scrub brush
Wet-dry vacuum
Some stains, no matter what you try, will be permanent.  If an indelible stain has penetrated the fibers of a material, they will not come out.  You might be able to make the stain less noticeable, but no cleaner or method will remove all of the stain.  You will have to live with it or have the section of carpet or upholstery replaced.  In some cases, leather and vinyl stains can be fixed by color matching the area with a leather or vinyl repair system (a job for a professional).

Removing Odors
I get a lot of questions about removing smells.  The most common questions are How do I remove the smell of cigarette smoke? and My child vomited, how do I get rid of the smell?  Most bad smells in cars are organic (i.e., food, urine, vomit, tobacco, grass, mold, mildew, etc.).  I recently had a professional detailer tell me a client had spilled fish in his car, which I know from experience is not pleasant.  As a teen I hid an open can of sardines under the seat of a neighbors car.  They had to sell the car to get rid of the smell!

Smell problems are pretty easy to take care of with some of the new cleaners on the market.  My favorite is called Kids & Pets Brand Stain & Odor Remover,by Paramount Chemical Specialties (www.kidsnpetsbrand.com).  This cleaner, and others like it, use enzymes, a surfactant, and denatured alcohol to remove stains and kill odors.  The enzymes kill odors in their tracks by stopping the organic material from decomposing.  So, spray this stuff where your girlfriend just heaved her guts all over the front seat, and the mess and stain are gone.  Don’t use it, and you’™ll be smelling that night for a long time. Other products that also work okay for dealing with organic smells and stains include Febreze (Proter & Gamble) and FreshCare (Clorox).

Tobacco smoke is one of the most difficult smells to remove from a car.  The smoke permeates everything, including the foam rubber used in seat cushions. You can successfully remove most of the tobacco smell by shampooing the carpets and upholstery with Kids & Pets Brand Stain & Odor Remover, and wiping down all other surfaces with a sponge and Kids & Pets Brand Stain & Odor Remover.  After the carpet has dried for 24 hours, sprinkle baking soda on the carpet, rub it in with your hands, and leave it for a week.  After a week, vacuum your carpets.  The baking soda will absorb the remaining odor in the carpet.  Don’t forget to scrub the headliner, as this is the source of a lot of the smell.

Automotive Upholstry

General Information:
There are many different types of upholstry in automobiles. There is cloth, velour, vinyl and leather. 
Tools & Technique

To clean automotive upholstery, first vacuum the surface and into the small cracks using a crevice tool. Leather and vinyl can be wiped off with an appropriate cleaner and protector. Protecting these surfaces helps keep them supple and will add years to there appeance. For liquid spills abosorb as much as possible from the surface, and on cloth or velour seats use a clean cotton rag or paper towels and apply pressure to help draw the liquid up from the foam cushion. For stains, refer to our quick reference guide describing removal of specific stains.

For stains that are very obvious, try to pre-treat the area with soda water or even dab it with a baby wipe

Automotive Vinyl

General Information:
To clean interior automotive vinyl, use a commercially available product to clean, and protect dashboards, consoles, and trim. These products are petroleum based and are slippery, and as a result they can be hazardous to apply to the steering wheel, brake, gas, and clutch pedals.

Tools and Techniques:
Best used on a cool surface, spray product on sparingly. Avoid windows, mirrors, and clear plexiglas on instrument cluster as the cleaner will leave an oily residue that streaks glass badly. Allow to sit momentarily, then wipe with a clean, dry, lint free rag. Some neglected surfaces may require two applications.

Ball Point Pen from Vinyl Dashboard

This question was submitted from Mark H.

“I got a ball point pen mark on the vinyl dash of my car. How I can get this off as I have tried everything I know?”

The quick answer for removing ink is rubbing alcohol or some kind of general purpose solvent.

Solvent can be harsh on some surfaces, but are generally ok on vinyl. Test a small area first.

Do not apply the solvent directly onto the dash. Apply a small amount on a q-tip or cotton ball and gentle wipe the ink.

You will have to re-polish the dash since the solvent will remove some of the shine.

Car ashtrays

Tools & Technique:
To clean the ashtray in your car, remove the tray, or vacuum it out at a service station.

Do not use your home vacuum or everything else that you clean with it will smell like cigarette smoke. Wipe the tray with a solution of a half a cup of water and 10 drops of peppermint extract to get rid of the smell.

Cleaning instrument cluster

The following question was aked by Rachel: I accidentally got some of the interior cleaner on the glass/clear surface where my clock is. Of course, it is very hard to see now. A car wash was able to clean it once, but I don’t want to have to pay them to get it clean again. Also, my gear shift appears to be extra soiled? It is very smooth and sticky when you try to clean it.

Any advice on getting it back to it’s original condition? The display where your clock is, is likely made from clear plastic or plexiglass/lexan. Using a harsh cleaner like fantastic can actually damage the finish and will leave a clouded appearance. If it is an armour all type cleaner that has smeared it, just wipe it with water mixed with some dish soap. Then wipe it off with a clean dry cotton cloth. As for the gear shift, it depends on if it is vinyl or leather.

For leather use a proper leather cleaner, and follow the manufacturers directions. As for vinyl try your regular car interior cleaner/treatment like armour all, and get a scotch brite pad to gently scrub the surface. The green pad found in most drug stores in the dishwashing scrubber section works great. Don’t be too aggresive or you will remove the color and the top finish from the gear shifter. Good luck!


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