Sour vinegar a sweet way to clean salt

By DAVID THOME
Special to ADAMM

Salt helps keep your car on the road all winter, but you do not want to keep what dripped onto your floor mats and carpet in your car all summer. Fortunately, there’s a quick, easy — and environmentally friendly — way to remove salt stains.
“Vinegar and water is the best way to handle that,” said Mark Czerwinski, service director at NEWMAN Chevrolet in Cedarburg. “You don’t need any professional products. Our detailers even use vinegar and water.”
A 4-DYIers video on You Tube suggests vacuuming the affected area first, then using a spray bottle to apply a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water to the white, crusty stains that build up on mats and in the carpet surrounding the mat. After waiting a few minutes to soak, dab the area with a damp cloth. If some salt remains after one application, repeat.

4-DIYers recommends scrubbing lightly with a toothbrush, but Czerwinski said any clean nylon brush will loosen hardpacked salt. “If it’s really crusty, you can’t just wipe it out,” he explained. WikiHow.com also suggests that you avoid pressing on the stain, which can push salt farther in to the carpet pile. Czerwinski said you can’t harm your vehicle by using vinegar and water. The only aftereffect may be a vinegary smell, but that’s nothing to worry about: “If you want to remove
the salt, you’re going to have to put up with the smell. But it doesn’t last long. It’s usually gone within half a day.” He also noted that salt removal is always included in detailing packages available at dealerships.  Costs vary from dealer to dealer, but packages run from less than $100 to thoroughly clean just the interior or exterior to a little over $200 to give the entire vehicle a good going-over.  “The majority of work in any detailing project is in the interior,” Czerwinski said, “so if you want to have the interior done, you might as well go for the package deal.”