Winter Gear for Clean Interior

Concerned about maintaining their upholstery and carpet during wet winter months?

Consider some basic protection for your vehicle's interior: seat covers, rubber floor mats and containers for seasonal cargo.

“A durable, custom-fitted floor mat puts nature firmly in its place,” said Tara Duncan, director of marketing for Husky Liners, a company that designs and manufactures heavy-duty floor mats. “Custom-molded liners that fit your vehicle’s floorboards keeps dust, dirt and debris out of your carpet.”

Rubber mats, on the other hand, are durable enough to stand up to all the soil, salt, snow and rain so common in winter.

Mats add aesthetic appeal to a vehicle’s interior, but drivers should protect as a priority, Duncan said. Clean carpets keep the air in your car from becoming musty by reducing the amount of dust and allergens inside, she added.

A clean, orderly interior begins with investing in some organization accessories that reduce clutter.

“The average driver spends more non-sleeping time the car than in any room in their house,” said David McClees, president of the Talus Corp, a Maine-based manufacturer of car organizers. “That’s translated into people wanting to use their cabin space more efficiently.”

Seat covers are important all year long, whether it’s protecting the seats from sand and surf or snow.

Duncan and McClees offer the following advice when shopping for seat covers, floor mats and storage containers:

  • Look for products that come with a warranty. Such safeguards give consumers peace of mind.
  • Insist on custom-fitted mats. A mat designed specifically for your make, model and year fits best and provides maximum protection.
  • Check the cleats. Make sure the mat can grip the carpet so it won’t slide around during driving.
  • Protect your investment. Durable mats still need a thorough rinsing and the interior should still be vacuumed. Wash the mats regularly and clean the interior as they dry.
  • Check for accessibility. Some bench covers block access to rear seat belts and that can create problems for passenger safety.
  • Stylize your interior. Polycotton is a durable, stain-resistant blend available in many colors.
  • Double check for fit and function. Rear seat protectors commonly fit bench and bucket-style seats.
  • Test function. Does the product offer sturdy straps and a non-stick bottom to help secure a seat protector in place?
  • Check for manufacturer's warranty. This is your assurance of quality.