DRIVING WITH PETS
Caring for your Lexus interior when a favorite passenger has four legs
If you’re a Lexus-driving pet owner, then you know your four-legged family member needs to go places, from vet visits and grooming appointments to recreational excursions to parks, trails-even family road trips.
But as pets owners also know, even the gentlest animals can take their toll on vehicle interiors. Fortunately, you can protect your well-appointed Lexus cabin-and take care of pet-related cleaning issues the right way.
“The two most common cleaning challenges we see from pets are hair build-up and accidents,” reports Paul Anguiano, a veteran Lexus-dealership detailing manager. “Paw prints definitely come in third place.”
Interior cabin protection is the number one thing you can do to help protect your seats and carpets, says Anguiano, and Lexus detailers highly recommend all-weather floor liners (and all-weather cargo mats for SUVs) if you don’t already have them. These are heavy duty, and they’re designed to act like trays to help keep liquids from reaching the carpet beneath. Check your model’s floor-protection options on the Lexus accessories page.
Detailing teams also recommend rear seat covers if you regularly transport a pet, and there are plenty of aftermarket covers that fit Lexus models.
REMOVING TRACKS AND HAIR
When it comes to dusty or muddy paw prints, follow these TIPS FOR CLEANING DIFFERENT VEHICLE AREAS. Most importantly, says Anguiano, if your pet tracks in mud, try to clean it before it dries, as drying can cause a stain.
For pet hair, detailers use a “friction tool” to gather the hair into little piles while, with the other hand, simultaneously using a vacuum to remove the collections. “Generally you want to use something rubber to grab the hairs, such as a pet-hair brush with rubber bristles,” says Anguiano. “Hair from short-haired pets can be tougher to gather, so Lexus detailers sometimes use latex gloves-which are also high friction-to sweep the hair with the hand and fingers into piles. The gloves will tear so have a few pairs on hand.”
And while it’s fine to vacuum seats, ceiling fabric, and, of course, carpets, avoid vacuuming hairs from soft trim or the soft dashboard covering, which risks damage to these materials. Instead, remove hair from these areas with a slightly damp microfiber cloth.
CLEANING UP ACCIDENTS
“For pet accidents on Lexus seats or carpet areas, the key thing is to clean it right away, especially in summer or warm environments,” explains Anguiano. “Heat will amplify smells, and drying will increase your stain risk. With seats especially, you’re trying to keep the liquid from seeping into the underlying seat foam. If this happens you’re usually looking at a seat replacement, as foam is usually extremely difficult to fully clean.”
First, wipe the seat or blot the carpet; detailers recommend keeping absorbent cloths in cars, just in case. Keep the area damp until you can apply what dealership pros use in this situation: a protein stain remover. This special-and strong-cleaner is designed to remove organic liquids and neutralize odors.
“Lexus dealerships generally use Meguiar’s brand protein cleaner, and you can find it at auto parts stores,” says Anguiano.
Follow all bottle instructions (and make sure to wear gloves and dilute if required), and spray the cleaner directly onto the affected area. It will foam up on contact, similar to hydrogen peroxide on a finger cut. Blot the foam with a dry cloth, and keep repeating the process of spraying, foaming, and blotting until foam no longer appears after a squirt, which indicates that the offending liquid has been neutralized.
After that, apply a second general cleaning. If the affected area is on a seat, lightly spray a non-concentrated, all-purpose citrus cleaner onto a microfiber cloth, then wipe the area well. On carpets or carpet floor mats, rub dish soap into the area with a dishtowel (avoid bathroom and ammonia-based cleaners). After that, blot the area with a wet cloth to fully remove the soap.
If you’re confident that the offending liquid, protein cleaner, and secondary cleaner have all been fully removed, you can switch to drying. Leave the doors open to prevent mold, and if you have a wet/dry vac, use it to soak up remaining moisture.
And if for any reason you’re not fully confident you’ve got everything removed (drying of pet accidents and non-removed cleaners can cause stains), or you just want to play it safe, keep the area damp with a wet cloth and bring the vehicle to our Lexus of Northborough detailing team.
 Carpet and all-weather floor liners/mats are model-specific with model names. Floor liners/mats are designed for use in a specific model and model year vehicle and SHOULD NOT be used in any other vehicle. To avoid potential interference with pedal operation, each liner/mat must be secured with its fasteners. Do not install a floor liner/mat on top of an existing floor liner/mat.