Jun 25, 2019 update to the BMW 318is project car

Project BMW 318is: Cleaning and Repairing the Interior

With the mechanical work done, and a new dash pad in our BMW 318is, it was time to really focus on cleaning up the rest of our interior.

This involved mostly scrubbing. From the headliner to the door and other interior panels to the carpet, we just scrubbed and scrubbed until we got everything cleaned up.

We used Simple Green, mixed with warm water and brushes and rags on interior panels.

On the carpets, we first used Resolve carpet cleaner and a vacuum cleaner. When we were wholly unsatisfied with the results, we dove back in with a carpet steamer filled with detergent and bleach.

We then used a truly amazing product we have found called Auto Shocker. Available on Amazon, this product completely eliminates odors.

This Auto Shocker stuff really works, knocking all the remaining stink out of our 318is. Simple to use, and supposedly not even dangerous, you simply add some water and set in in your car overnight and it sucks all the smell out.

With all the cleaning done, we went back over all of our vinyl panels with Armor All.

Normally we have pretty good luck with Resolve carpet cleaner. But this car was just too nasty!

This one called for some serious scrubbing with a carpet steam cleaner and bleach. And yes, we could have replaced the carpets, but nothing fits like the originals. Other than being filthy, they were in great shape.

This is the dirty water that came out of our BMW. Just gross!


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View comments on the GRM forums
Tom_T New Reader
6/29/19 6:00 p.m.

Tim et al,


Try using Folex on carpets & upholstery, but test it on an unseen area first.  I've used in on my original owner `85 325e carpet & `88 VW Westfalia carpet & cloth upholstery with great results.


Folex is sold in spray qt & gal jugs at Home Depot etc., as well as by Waxie Inc in Santa Ana CA (online for you back east & midwest). 


You'll find that it does a far better job than Resolve & any of the other products which you tried on this 318is refurb. 


PS - Forget Armour All - it off gasses oils etc. & leaves the vinyl greasy.  I find Vinylex better (Leatherex for leather).





Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
7/5/19 2:43 p.m.

RE:  Armor-All.  STP Son of a Gun is better in that respect also.

Error404 New Reader
7/6/19 11:32 a.m.

RE: Armor All. For hard surfaces, I like a wipe and cloth buff with some 303 Aerospace. Plastic and vinyl look and feel clean with none of the Armor All off gassing, greasy feel, slipperiness, etc... Even better, it's a UV protectant so it helps prevent fading, cracking, and other UV on plastic ailments.

sfisher71 New Reader
9/30/19 9:45 p.m.

I just did a first pass at the interior in my '91 318is, after driving it home from Montana to the Oregon Coast last week. The vinyl surfaces got scrubbed with Griot's Interior Cleaner, which got the muddy boot streaks off the driver's door. I didn't find it at first, so the dash pad (which looks about like the "before" picture from yours) just got a spritz with some "interior quick detail" and then my favorite treatment for really any interior vinyl, Mother's Back-to-Black.

While the Griot's black-bumper stuff actually has black pigment in it (and the rear bumper rub strip on my 318is will need it), the Mother's stuff is just a thick white goop that soaks into any plastic. I used it on my wife's grey Audi interior. All it does is intensify the color a bit and give it good protection.

We haven't tackled the carpets and upholstery yet; the carpet looks pretty good (with properly sized black mats over the grey loop pile carpet), and the seats are okay except for the ubiquitous driver's outboard bolster. I resorted to the well-known trick of slipping a black T-shirt over the seatback for the drive home. My wife is a dab hand with a sewing machine and makes her own patterns (she did a GREAT protective cover for the M.G. TD a couple years ago), and she's looking forward to preparing something cool for the driver's seat.

We're also probably going to make a dash cover out of black alcantara and some kind of backing/batting, just because we can. I'm trying to decide whether to glue it down to the entire surface like a WRC car or use velcro tabs so we can take it off. That would be smartest, but in the immortal words of Firesign Theater, "I think we're all bozos on this bus."

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