How To Clean Car Interior

When was the last time you cleaned your car interior? Probably not in the near past. We all hit the car wash as soon as our car exterior gets dirty but often don’t pay attention to the grime, gunk, and crumbs on the inside of the car. 

For most of us, dusting the interior and taking out the trash is all it takes to clean the car interior. But there’s more than that and the buildup of dirt, grime, and gunk can fade off the shine of your interior and degrade its material in the long run. 

Cleaning your car interior is not a daunting task if we don’t exaggerate and we are here to help you with some mind-blowing car interior cleaning tips to free your car from all those sticky residues, gunk of the cup holders, and crumbs as we all have been there. 

Keeping your car squeaky clean will leave a pleasant effect on the passengers as well as it will elevate your driving experience because who doesn’t like an organized dashboard, dazzling windows, and clean car mats? 

Things You Need 

Professional detailing can be pretty expensive but who needs to go to professionals when you can get a super clean car interior with a few handy gadgets that are available in every household? 

While you should avoid using household cleaners on the interior of your car as it can take a toll on leather quality, plastic, rubber, and other material. But you can always go for that affordable car cleaning agent on the market or you can even get ammonia-free best car glass cleaners to achieve the best results. 

While the other pieces of equipment you will need include:

  • Microfiber cloth or the Best car wash mitt
  • Sponge
  • Trash can
  • Duster 
  • Cleaning agent
  • Scraper 
  • Disinfecting wipes 
  • Vacuum 
  • Soft bristle brush

Get these gears and let the drill begin to get the shiny, squeaky clean car like you just drove it out of the showroom. And get rid of those baked gunk, snack crumbs, and those sticky stains from your car. 

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Toss The Rubbish 

Start by removing the rubbish from the car cabin, seat cracks, or foot mats. Take everything out like toys or any decorative items along with the trash like plastic bottles, snack wrappers, crumbs, or anything before you vacuum. 

Step 2: Remove & Wash Floor Mats

The next step should be the removal and washing of the floor mats of your car as they can be the dirtiest. Give them a good shake to remove dirt and debris. You can also use a vacuum to remove dirt that is embedded in it. 

If you use floor mats made of rubber, vinyl, or synthetic they can be pretty easy to wash. As you can use water pressure with a hose to wash it clean or else take water in a bucket and dissolve dishwashing liquid or any other cleaning agent to clean the floor mats. 

But if you use carpeted mats for your car they can be a bit daunting to clean. First, you should use a vacuum to collect the crumbs and dirt. Then you can wash it by mixing a cleaning solution into the water and using a soft brush and dipping it into the water to rub the carpet clean. 

But make sure you do this before the interior detailing of your car because by the time you will be done with the retailing your floor mats will be also dry. Another precaution here is that you do not put your mats on dirty floors to dry. You can hang them or place them in the trap under sunlight. 

Step 3: Clean & Disinfect Your Dashboard 

Don’t just start vacuuming the surface after you remove the mats as you might end up with more dirt on floors when you clean the dashboard and other interior areas. To clean the dashboard you can also use a vacuum if you have attachments that can navigate through congested areas of your dashboard. 

Otherwise, you can use the best car wash mitt or microfiber cloth to absorb the unwanted dirt without spreading it. Clean the whole surface thoroughly for sticky marks and stubborn stains you can also use a damp microfiber cloth with some cleaning agents to wipe the surface. 

But before you use any chemical on your car interior make sure to read the label and avoid using products that involve bleaching agents. You can also use cotton swabs or old toothbrushes to clean narrow crevices and areas near the vent as dirt gets trapped there. 

Now it’s time to disinfect the surface and you should never neglect bacterial growth because of spills and crumbs. Use some good quality disinfectant wipes, gently clean the whole surface, and reach out to every corner you can. 

Step 4: Clean The Console Thoroughly 

Interior car detailing is about cleaning all those parts that trap dirt and the central console is one of them. Make sure to thoroughly clean the area from dirt and debris using a damp microfiber cloth. But be gentle with your gearstick and console controls. 

If you have installed some infotainment screen or navigation screen be even cautious while using any chemicals to clean it. Do not use any bleach or ammonia-based product to clean the plastic areas and you will thank me later. 

Be gentle when cleaning the switch panel that holds the radio and other buttons and the surface can be pretty delicate and sensitive. While to clean narrow crevices you can use a soft toothbrush or damp cotton swab to ensure that you do not leave any corner of your interior dirty. 

Step 5: Clean & Disinfect Cup Holders & Steering Wheel 

Most cars are now equipped with detachable cup holders and that has made cleaning easier. So simply remove the cup holder from your car and dip it into a basket with water and the best car wash soap you can simply go for the dishwashing liquid, both will work.

You can scrub it using some old toothbrush or sponge that is gentle and cleans all those parts that harbor grime. Keep it out to dry in air or sunlight and in the meantime disinfects your steering wheel and other high touchpoints. 

Take reliable disinfecting wipes and rub them on the surface of the steering wheel. Wipe all the area or gearsticks to eliminate any bacteria but avoid using any cleaning agent as it might make the surface slippery which is not an ideal scenario. 

Step 6: Clean The Car Seats 

If your car has leather seats, cleaning will be a lot easier and you can start by vacuuming with a hose attachment. Vacuum the crumbs, dust, and debris from the stitching area and the lower point where the seats are attached to the car. 

Use some certified leather cleaner that is specifically safe for leather seats. Spray it on the microfiber cloth and wipe off the seats gently and thoroughly. Afterward, you can use leather treatment or protection spray to restore the shine of your leather seats. 

On the other hand, fabric car seats can be tricky to clean and time-consuming too. But we have got you covered with some amazing and easy techniques to get the job done. Firstly treat the stubborn stains with upholstery cleaners and scrub the area with a soft-bristled brush. You can also use oxygen-based bleach if the stain won’t go away. 

Then simply clean the seat with a wet microfiber cloth and dab it with a dry towel to eliminate any chances of mold growth. Then let it air dry unless you clean other areas of your car. 

Step 7: Clean The Interior Window 

Your car interior detailing is complete without squeaky clean interior window glass. For the removal of smears, dirt, and smudges from your car, it’s always reliable to use the best car glass cleaner.

Here’s a thing that you should avoid ammonia-based glass cleaner and go for the one that is alcohol based. And never directly spray any cleaning solution directly on the surface of the car. Spray it onto the microfiber cloth and then rub it on the surface it will save you from a lot of nuisance. 

If you are sure that your glass cleaner does not have ammonia you can spray it onto the glass directly but avoid its spills on plastic. Now gently wipe the window with a soft and clean cloth in a circular motion like the digit 8. By using a clean microfiber cloth you can prevent any possible scratches to the surface. 

Clean all the windows and windscreen too as a clean windscreen holds significant value. In the end, use another clean cloth to wipe off the glass or any residue as this strategy is ideal for streak-free and abrasion-free car windows. 

Step 8: Clean The Door Panel

Door panels are the areas often with the most germs hence disinfecting them is vital. Use a damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust and make sure to clean all those narrow spaces nicely. 

To do so you can wrap a damp towel around a flat screwdriver and thoroughly clean all the nooks and crannies to get that fine clean look of the interior. Do not forget to disinfect as it will save you from a lot of infectious diseases. 

Step 9: Vacuum & Clean The Surface 

Now it’s time to vacuum the carpets and you can use the basic household vacuum or the specialized portable one that is super easy to use with your car. But it depends on personal preference. 

Vacuum all the carpeted areas and you can use the brush attachment with the vacuum to clean all that embedded dirt that is trapped inside the carpet. If you witness any stains on the carpet use specialized carpet cleaners and avoid a lot of scrubbing as it will damage the fiber. 

Step 10: Eliminate Foul Odor 

Even after all the cleaning if your car doesn’t smell fresh and its odor is still stale. It is better to tackle the issue when you are detailing your interior. In that regard, you can use factory-made specialized odor removers as they effectively get the job done without any mess. 

Besides that, you can use baking soda that’s super efficient in tackling odor. Just sprinkle it onto the carpet or car seats and leave it overnight. The next day uses the vacuum to collect all the residue and boom all the bad odor is gone. 

You can also keep activated charcoal or baking soda in some slitted container under your car key to permanently tackle this issue. 

Step 11: Kill Bacteria & Disinfect

During this time of pandemic disinfecting your car should be a vital cleaning ritual now and then, especially when you have a family to protect. And you do not have to purchase any expensive disinfecting liquids to get the job done. As you can simply go for the solution of water and soap because it fights the germs effectively. 

Spray it everywhere and wipe it off with a soft microfiber towel do not scrub a lot as friction can damage the surface. Common household disinfecting sprays can do an excellent job too but make sure you use alcohol-based disinfectant. As alcohol is super efficient for the elimination of germs and bacteria up to 90%. 

You can also use disinfecting wipes to wipe off all the surfaces and keep them in your car for often use. 

Step 12: Deodorize

Let me tell you the most significant factor of the car interior is to make it smell fresh and pleasant. I love to drive and ride a car that smells good as it lifts my mood within a matter of minutes. 

Nowadays numerous gel-based car fresheners are available to keep your car smelling amazing, they are not expensive and go a long way. Besides that purchasing car air fresheners or trying homemade fresheners is not a bad idea. 

Take baking soda in a container with a few drops of essential oil. Now make a few holes in the lid of the container and place it somewhere under the seats. It will not only tackle the odor but will make your car smell fresh all the time which will lift your spirits too. 

Additional Car Interior Cleaning Tips To Keep It Clean For Longer 

Here are a few secrets that will help you keep your car interior cleaner for longer in between detailing. 

  • Cup holders harbor the most dirt and to prevent that use silicon lining or baking cups to keep your cup holders clean. 
  • Keep gel or car putty in your car to clean those tiny crevices and vent areas while you are stuck in traffic. 
  • Keep your glove compartment arranged and sort out the documents often. While you can also use a mini expanding file to keep small items organized and to prevent them from falling. 
  • You can also go for some little organizer to keep stuff like jewelry, travel items, or snacks arranged in a place. 
  • A little car basket or a sealed bag is also vital to keep in the car to put your trash in instead of throwing it onto the carpet. 
  • If you are a pet parent never forget to get a lint roller and backseat cover to wipe off the animal fur. 
  • Before you install the air freshener make sure it’s up to your liking because using one with a strong smell that you despise will never be a good experience. 

How Often Should I Clean The Interior Of My Car? 

How to clean car interior

Well, that depends upon the driving condition and if you are an organized person who does not keep the trash in the car for longer. 

You should do the thorough interior detailing twice or thrice a year and it will be more than enough. But you should never forget to do a little cleaning in between the time like wiping off the windows for better visibility and organizing your dashboard at least once a month. 

Throw the trash out every time you park or go to the department store to avoid any filthy odor. While disinfecting the touch points often will also do wonders in keeping you and your family healthy. 

Clean any crumbs or coffee spills as soon as you can avoid any build-up or also germs and bugs from getting into your car. These strategies will keep your car interior in top-notch condition and hence the sales value of your car increase in case you plan to trade it. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Have more queries regarding your car interior cleaning and detailing? No worries we are here to serve you with our world-class research and knowledge regarding car cleaning tips and gears. 

Q.1. How to clean the dashboard of the car? 

The best strategy to clean the dashboard of the car is to wipe it clean with a soft microfiber cloth using gentle hand movements. You can also use commercial dashboard cleaners if there are stubborn smudges or streaks. While these cleaners will also protect the dash from cracking or fading. Read More.

Q.2. What is the best solution to clean the car interior fabric? 

For the car interior fabric, you can use any household cleaner or laundry detergent and it will work as efficiently as a commercial cleaner. Mix the solution with water and spray it onto the stained or dirty area. Rub with a cloth or soft brush and wipe off and dry with a towel. 

Q.3. What is the best car interior cleaner?

There are so many household remedies and professional cleaners for the interior of your car. To clean the windows you can use rubbing alcohol for smudge free finish. Besides that soap water can do amazing cleaning along with removing germs. You can also use distilled water with vinegar and baking soda to tackle those oily stains from your car. 

Q.4. How to bring back the shine of the dashboard?

To make your dashboard look shiny and squeaky clean use commercial dashboard cleaner and polish to make it look shiny. Some people go for vegetable or essential oils to make it shine but that is not a reliable option to do so as it is unable to offer surface protection. 

Final Words 

Together we share a passion for car cleaning and we are here to aid with your passion by giving you better insights on the most reliable way of cleaning the interior of the car. Follow the steps for proper cleaning and to keep your fresh like a new one.

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Austin was obsessed with cars even before he started university. And this obsession with automotive products leads him to join the team of CarSciences as a writer and managing editor.

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