By Robby DeGraff on March 4, 2013
Spring is almost here and for many car owners that means saying goodbye to snow, slush and street salt.
All three of those elements can wind up inside your car no matter how careful you are during winter driving. Your car's floor mats and carpet end up being victims of this wintery mess, and oftentimes it can be a pain to clean the aftermath. Thankfully, when it comes to cleaning salt-crusted carpet and floor mats there's a remedy that's inexpensive and easy to follow. We're also fans of buying winter floor mats that are less arduous to clean, but inevitably those are often forgotten until the first snow of the year has already left a stain or two.
1. Mix a 50/50 solution of household distilled white vinegar and hot water in a bucket or spray bottle.
2. Pour or spray the water-vinegar solution onto the salt-crusted carpet or floor mats, making sure to avoid contact with any electrical connections. Filling an empty spray bottle with this solution allows you to easily spray the area you're working on.
3. Let sit for a few seconds.
5. Using a paper towel, sponge or clean cloth, dab and soak up the remaining mixture. *You can repeat steps 2 through 4 a few times, if desired, for stubborn salt stains.*
6. You can stop here or finish the job with a vacuum, preferably a wet shop vac that can suck up any leftover salt that was removed from the carpet.
7. When done, hang your floor mats up to dry or leave your windows rolled down (if inside) for the car to air out. The last thing you want is to drive to a fancy restaurant and have your date think you're wearing vinegar for cologne. The night could quickly turn sour.
Inexpensive rubber floor mats from your local auto parts store can help eliminate this hassle. Swap these with the regular mats during the winter driving months, and keep your cloth floor mats safe in your trunk or garage. We've even splurged on custom-fit floor mats from time to time.
Do you have any secret tips for spring cleaning your car? Let us know in the comments below.
**While we hope to help you, Cars.com is not responsible for any damage that may occur to your vehicle by following the steps above.