Really, your car is your home on wheels. That means it quickly becomes the catch-all spot for toys, food wrappers, bottles, and just about anything else. Even if you don’t have a family road trip on the horizon, it’s always a good idea to give your car’s interior a deep cleaning, so that you can maximize space for sports gear, groceries, and whatever else you need to tote from one place to the next.
While it might seem like a tedious task, cleaning your car at home is more affordable and convenient than getting it detailed by a professional. So, when the mess starts to get out of control, follow this expert-approved guide on how to clean your car’s interior, car seats and all.
How to Clean Your Car’s Interior
It’s recommended that you wash the exterior of your car approximately every two weeks to prevent salt, dirt, and other buildup from ruining its paint job. And while the interior can follow a looser schedule, it’s best to clean the inside of your vehicle once a month. While your car may not require a deep cleaning every few weeks, a quick floor mat shakeout or vacuum job is recommended. Tackle every nook and cranny with this step-by-step guide:
Before you tackle the carpet, remove the floor mats from the car and shake them out. Whether you have rubber or carpet floor mats, use a medium-stiff brush to break up any dirt or debris, and vacuum. To get rid of carpet stains, use a carpet cleaner like Bissell Carpet Cleaning Foam. Simply spray the carpet cleaner on any trouble spots and brush it in with a medium-stiff brush, applying more pressure for severe stains. Blot the carpet with an absorbent cloth to dry.
Start by vacuuming the carpet completely. Use the brush attachment and smaller nozzles to clean crevices and seat pockets. To get rid of unsightly stains and leave your car smelling fresh, use a carpet cleaner like Bissell Carpet Cleaning Foam. Spray it on any trouble spots and brush it in with a medium-stiff brush. It’s best to apply more pressure for severe stains. Dry the carpet by blotting it with an absorbent cloth.
Think about it: You and your kids sometimes sit in these seats when you’re sweaty, dirty, or sick. By thoroughly cleaning car seats — leather, vinyl, or cloth — you’ll reduce unwanted odors, and give your car’s interior a clean, refreshed look. First, vacuum car seats with a soft brush head, and then follow the appropriate targeted cleaning method:
- Leather Car Seats: For a one-step option, wipe your seats down with Weiman Leather Cleaning Wipes. One small area at a time, work a leather cleaner, like Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner and Conditioner, or mild soap into the leather with a soft, damp cloth. Rinse with another damp cloth until all soap or cleaner is removed. Buff with a dry cloth. Apply a protectant to condition the leather, making it easier to remove future stains. Note: If the leather car seats have perforations, use as little liquid as possible.
- Vinyl Upholstery Car Seats: Spray an all-purpose cleaner, like Car Guys Super Cleaner, over any trouble areas, and let dry.
- Cloth Car Seats: Spray an all-purpose cleaner, like Car Guys Super Cleaner, over any trouble areas, and let dry. For set-in stains, use a carpet cleaner like Bissell Carpet Cleaning Foam. To use, spray it on any stains and brush it in with a medium-stiff brush, applying more pressure for severe stains. Blot the carpet with an absorbent cloth to dry.
Front Panel, Dashboard, and Console
Because it’s the focal point in your car, this is where you’ll first spot dust and dirt. Wipe it down with a microfiber cloth or vacuum away any dirt and grime for a quick fix. To give it a just-like-new look, refresh air vents with a spritz of compressed air and wipe down the dashboard with a cloth wet with an all-purpose cleaner like Car Guys Super Cleaner. Finish it off by sanitizing any high-traffic spots with disinfectant wipes, and adding an air freshener to mask odors.