If you have ever accidentally spilled milk or other dairy products in your car then you will probably know that the spillage will soon begin to give off a stale odour that can prove to be very difficult to remove. The reason these spillages quickly begin to smell is because of living bacteria that is found in milk & dairy products. Ideally, the affected area needs to be cleaned and as much of the spillage removed as soon as possible after it has occurred to prevent it from spreading and sinking deeply into the surface, but obviously this is not always possible due to the nature of the accident.
The key to successfully cleaning up a milk or dairy spillage and preventing any stale odours from emerging is to ensure that you use a specific biological upholstery cleaning product. This is essential as biological cleaners contain active enzymes that will kill the living bacteria in the spillage therefore preventing, or eliminating any odours from emerging. You can use a normal non biological upholstery cleaning product to clean the area and whilst it may initially seem to do a satisfactory job as soon as the cleaning product residue dries the stale odour will reemerge as the bacteria causing the odour will have not been killed by the normal cleaner.
If you do not have access to a biological cleaner right away you can to use a normal upholstery cleaning product to remove and clean up as much of the spillage as possible until you can follow up with a biological cleaner to kill the bacteria. Ideally the cleaning process should be undertaken with a wet-vac extraction machine as this ensures that the cleaning product penetrates deep into the fibres of the upholstery and that all fluid is thoroughly extracted.
However not everyone has, or can gain access to an extraction machine so in this case the process needs to be undertaken by hand. Cleaning the affected area by hand may take a little more time, but if done correctly you should still be able to achieve satisfactory results.
As much of the spillage as possible should first be mopped and soaked up with micro fibre towels. Then a biological upholstery cleaning product should be applied liberally via a trigger spray to ensure sufficient penetration. It can be left to soak for a few minutes before being worked in. Depending on the type of upholstery affected, a micro fibre towel, a stiff bristled detailing/nail brush or a combination of the two should be used to thoroughly work the cleaner in and help lift out the spillage residue.
After working the cleaner in, the area should be thoroughly patted and rubbed over with a clean micro fibre towel. The towel should be rinsed & wrung out in warm water before repeating the process. You should continue to dry the area until the towel does not lift out any more residue. Ideally a vacuum cleaner should then be used on the area to further ensure that as much moisture as possible is removed.
During the cleaning process you should open all the doors of the vehicle to aerate it. After the spillage has been thoroughly cleaned and aerated you can apply an air freshening product, close the car up and allow to dry.
Depending on your climate and how damp the cleaned area remains, you can speed up the drying process by leaving the windows open an inch or by leaving the vehicles hot blowers on with the engine running. You should wait until the affected area is completely dry and then recheck for odours. The process may need to be repeated in order to successfully remove all of the bacteria as it can penetrate deep down into the fibres of the upholstery.