How to Remove Salt Stains from Your Car’s Carpet During Winter

Get rid of wintery residue with these methods for cleaning salt stains.

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If you live in a region where winter is a five-month-long ice and snow storm, it’s always a good idea to do a little car cleaning when the temperatures start warm. But don’t wait until the spring. Do it between bouts of winter weather so that the dirt and grime from winter can cause lasting damage to your ride. Rock sale and ice melt in particular can be corrosive, and the can cause lasting stains to the materials on the interior of your car. Fortunately, you can remove those stains before it’s too late.

Salt and deicer is important to keep around during the winter. Not only does it help keep the roads safe and clear, it’s useful to have around the house to get rid of snow and ice on the driveway and sidewalks. But it does cause stains. Ice melt and salt contain minerals like sodium chloride,¬†calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate that leave white stains on carpet. Fortunately, those stains are easy to remove while they’re still fresh, just follow the steps below.

If you have rubber car mats, it’s a lot easier to clean those; just pull them out of the car and wash them down. Still, even with rubber mats, there’s still a good chance you can get salt stains on the upholstery or other parts of the interior, so take some time to keep those clean.

How to Remove Salt Stains With Vinegar

Here is everything you’ll need to create this vinegar-based cleaning solution and the car-cleaning tools you should use to apply it:

  • 1 spray bottle
  • 1 bottle of household distilled white vinegar
  • Hot water
  • Scrub brush with hard bristles
  • Dry cleaning cloth
  • Wet/dry vac

Here’s the step-by-step process:

  1. In the spray bottle, make a cleaning solution consisting of 50-percent vinegar and 50-percent hot water.
  2. Spray the solution onto the affected areas (carpet and floormats will likely have the most salt stains).
  3. Let the solution sit for a few seconds, then scrub vigorously with the scrub brush.
  4. Soak up the remaining mixture with a dry cleaning cloth.
  5. Use a wet/dry vac to suck up any remaining solution and salt residue.
  6. Hang floor mats to dry. If parked inside, you can keep the windows rolled down to air out the vinegar smell.

How to Remove Salt Stains With Foaming Carpet Cleaner

Here is everything you’ll need:

  • Foaming carpet cleaner
  • Scrub brush
  • Wet/dry vacuum

Here’s the step-by-step process:

  1. Spray the foaming carpet cleaner generously on the salt stains.
  2. Use the scrub brush to gently work the salt up to the surface.
  3. Allow the cleaner to dry.
  4. Vacuum up the dried residue.

Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer, currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty and scientific news. Follow her traveling adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: [email protected] and check out her website: