We all want to keep that pristine interior just as nice as the paint and polish on the outside of our classics. Read on for tough-to-remove stain and soil solutions.
Battery acid: Apply ordinary household ammonia water, with a brush or cloth, to the affected area. Saturate thoroughly. Permit the ammonia water to remain on the spot for about a minute, and then rinse the spot with a clean cloth and cold water. No treatment will repair acid damage to fabric fibers.
Blood: Do not use hot water or soap and water, because they will set the blood stain. Use a clean cloth and cold water until no more of the stain will come out. If all the blood isn’t gone, apply a small amount of household ammonia water with a cloth or brush. After a minute, rub the stain with a clean cloth dipped in clear water. If the stain remains, a thick paste of corn starch and water may be applied. Allow the paste to remain until it has dried and absorbed the stain. Then pick off the dried starch and brush the surface to remove starch particles that remain. Several applications of starch paste may be required.
Candy: Candy stains not containing chocolate can be removed by rubbing the affected area with a cloth soaked in very hot water. If the stain is not completely removed, rub area lightly (after drying) with a cloth wetted with a volatile cleaner.
Stains resulting from crème- and fruit-filled chocolates can be removed more easily by rubbing with a cloth soaked in lukewarm soap suds (use mild neutral soap), and scraping, while wet, with a dull knife. This treatment should be followed by a rinsing with a cloth and cold water. Chocolate or milk chocolate stains can be removed by rubbing with a cloth wet with lukewarm water. After the spot dries, rub it lightly with a cloth dipped into a volatile cleaner.
Chewing gum: Harden the gum with an ice cube and scrape off particles with a dull knife. If gum cannot be completely removed by this method, moisten it with a volatile cleaner. Work it from the fabric, with a dull knife.
Fruit, liquor, wine: Practically all fruit stains can be removed by treatment with very hot water. Wet the stain well by applying hot water with a clean cloth. If the stain is very old or deep, it may be necessary to pour very hot water directly on the spot, followed by scraping and rubbing. If the stain lingers, allow fabric to dry thoroughly, and then rub lightly with a clean cloth dipped in a volatile cleaner. Soap and water shouldn’t be used, as they will set the stain and cause permanent discoloration.
Grease/oil: If grease has spilled on upholstery, as much as possible should be removed by scraping with a dull knife or spatula. Such stains can be removed by rubbing lightly with a clean cloth saturated with a volatile cleaner. Make sure that all rubbing motions are toward the center of the stained area, to decrease the possibility of spreading the stain.
Ice cream: Use the fruit stains procedure. If the stain is persistent, rubbing the spot with a cloth wetted with warm suds from mild, neutral soap can be tried after the hot-water treatment. This should be followed with a rinsing, and then rubbing lightly with a cloth wetted with a volatile cleaner.
Tar: Remove as much tar as possible with a dull knife. Moisten the spot slightly with a volatile cleaner, and again remove as much of the stain as possible with a dull knife. Follow this operation by rubbing the spot lightly with a cloth wet with the cleaner until the stain is removed.
Lipstick: The composition of different brands of lipsticks vary, which makes such stains difficult to remove. In some instances, a volatile cleaner may remove the stain. If some stains remain after repeated applications of the volatile cleaner, it is best to leave it, rather than to try more aggressive measures.
John “Gunner” Gunnell is the automotive books editor at Krause Publications in Iola, Wis., and former editor of Old Cars Weekly and Old Cars Price Guide.