Properly Cleaning the Car’s Interior

Regular vacuuming and dusting of your car’s interior is the best way to keep it looking great. However, surface cleaning alone is not enough. You need to clean the entire interior upholstery at least two or three times a year in order to maintain its look. However, before using any product on your car’s interior components like fabric upholstery, carpet, leather or vinyl, test for colour fading by cleaning a small, inconspicuous area. Do not use the product if it adversely changes your fabric’s colour or texture. With the variety of materials used inside the modern car’s interior, knowing how to clean them is not always a straightforward matter. The following tips should guide you when cleaning your car’s interior

  1. Remove the floor mats from front and back areas and give them a good shake outside.
  2. Vacuum all seating areas, getting inside the gaps and cracks of the seats as much as possible. A hand held vacuum works well and if you intend to use a household vacuum for this, a narrow crevice tool hose attachment is best for getting into those cracks and crevices. Most self-service car washes have vacuums on the premises you can use for a small fee. Be sure to move the seats to the farthest back position and check the floor for loose items, pens, change, etc, and then vacuum under, around and behind the seats. Don’t forget to vacuum out consoles, door/map pockets, storage bins and ash trays.
  3. If your floor mats are vinyl, use a sponge or soft cleaning brush and soap and water. Scrub mats vigorously on both sides and rinse with clean water. Dry both sides with a towel or let air-dry. If your mats are carpet, vacuum and use a carpet cleaner or carpet shampoo specifically made for cars, as needed, following product directions.
  4. If the seats or carpeting are stained, use an auto specific carpet cleaner or carpet shampoo on all stains following product directions. Food and drink stains will require a cleaner with enzymes to effectively remove the stain and any odour causing bacteria. Enzyme cleaners can be found in the pet supplies aisle of discount stores.
    A compact deep carpet cleaner works best to lift stains, but elbow grease and a brush can sometimes do the trick, too.
  5. Clean windows using standard window cleaner or our home made cleaner and lint free or micro-fibre towels or cloths if at all possible, since paper towels leave a lot of lint and residue behind.
  6. Using a micro-fibre towel or cloth, paper towel or rag; wipe down dashboard, vinyl doors, cup holders, air vents, knobs and other visible areas.
  7. Leather seats require special attention, so you’ll need to use leather cleaner specially designed for car seats, following product directions. When seats are dry, follow up with leather conditioner.
  8. If seats are vinyl, wipe down with a vinyl cleaner and follow up with a vinyl protectant. Also use vinyl cleaner to wipe down all other vinyl areas, such as door handles and dashboard. Again, don’t skip consoles and storage pockets or bins.


Most of us spend 8 to 15 hours a week inside our cars, so it makes sense that we should keep them neat and tidy. Yet finding the time to clean the interior of our cars is difficult with our busy schedules. If you take just five minutes each time you wash your car to remove the trash, shake out the mats, and wipe down the dash, console and seats, you can stay on top of this detailing chore. Then when it comes time for a full interior detail, the task will not seem quite so daunting.

For more tips and information visit our website or have a look at more articles on this blog.


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