Car Interior Cleaning Tips
The industry has you chasing your tail

Welcome to car interior cleaning tips!

You didn't know this but the industry has you chasing your tail.

If you were to follow the lead of the industry, your garage shelves would be lined with endless dedicated cleaners all labeled specifically based on the countless types of materials you will encounter when trying to clean the interior of your car.

And if you are tired of being seduced by the next shiny object the industry dangles in front of you, then you have come to the right place.

Car Interior Cleaning Tips
Simpler, Smarter, Easier

car interior cleaning tips

I am going to break this page down into sections based on products, tools, and techniques. All designed to show you a much better way to get the results you want with less time, less effort, and less products!

Sounds like a WIN to me! I hope you agree...

Car Upholstery Cleaners

Rather than bury you with the vast sea of automotive upholstery cleaners, I am going to limit my recommendations to three basic choices (you will understand why I am offering up three as you read further). This one topic alone is saturated with endless options where the industry has you thinking you need individual products for every material within your cars interior.

But this just isn't the case...

Adam's car Upholstery Cleaner- RTU (ready to use)

Adam's Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner 16oz

  • One of my favorite ready-to-use (RTU) car upholstery cleaners.
  • Despite the labeling, this cleaner can be used on any surface within your cars interior: cloth, velour, fabric, vinyl, and even car leather.
  • For anyone who has limited use for an upholstery shampoo. (This means you basically just have one or two cars to clean and take care of)
  • Professional results in a retail type version.

Griot's Garage Interior Cleaner-RTU (ready to use)

Griot's Garage 10956 Interior Cleaner 22oz

  • Another one of my favorite ready-to-use (RTU) car upholstery cleaners.
  • Professional results in a retail version.
  • Also for for anyone who doesn't need gallons of upholstery cleaners.
  • Suitable for any material within your cars interior: cloth, velour, fabric, vinyl, and even car leather.

Chemical Guys Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Kit

Chemical Guys HOL315 Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Kit (3 Items), 16. Fluid_Ounces

  • Concentrate; mix according to directions
  • One of my top performers when cleaning car upholstery!
  • Economical choice since it is a concentrate
  • Professional results!
  • One of my top picks in an upholstery cleaner
  • I add this car upholstery cleaner for anyone looking to get more for their money with the anticipation of using more upholstery cleaner, not less
  • Custom blend/dilute based on the desired strength
  • Comes with super effective upholstery scrubber that attaches to any household drill motor

Car Interior Cleaning Tips:
Detailing Vacuum

RIDGID 50313 4000RV Portable Wet Dry Vacuum, 4-Gallon Small Wet Dry Vac with 5.0 Peak HP Motor, Pro Hose, Ergonomic Handle, Cord Wrap, Blower Port

  • If you don't have a dedicated shop vac for your car; it's about time!
  • A dedicated car vacuum will be way more convenient than you realize.
  • Pre-vacuuming before you shampoo your cars upholstery is more important to getting the results you want than most people realize.
  • One of the biggest car interior cleaning tips I can recommend is not only a dedicated car vacuum, but pre-vacuuming before you start to shampoo.
  • The exact detail vacuum I use professionally.
  • The winning balance between size and performance!

RIDGID VT2534 6-Piece Auto Detailing Vacuum Hose Accessory Kit for 1 1/4 Inch RIDGID Vacuums

  • This kit may seem redundant to you if you buy the Ridgid detail vacuum above, but this extension hose and accessory kit is ideal for actual vacuuming and detailing of cars
  • Extension crevice tool and other tips will be greatly appreciated if you are serious about car interior cleaning and detailing
  • If I am going to stress one of the points to car interior cleaning tips it would be this added vacuum extension kit

Car Interior Cleaning Tips:
Car upholstery scrub brushes

Upholstery Cleaner Scrub Brush Set Cleaning Brush and Horsehair Detailing Brush for Car Interior, Seats, Boat, Couch, Sofa and Carpet

  • The perfect car interior scrub brush set
  • packaged for the boat world, but perfect for car interior cleaning
  • Comes with two brushes to handle all the materials you will be required to clean the inside of your car: carpeting, velour, leather, plastic, headliner, etc.
  • One brush is super soft for more delicate car interior materials like leather
  • The other brush is stiffer to perform more better on materials like carpeting, cloth seats, velour, etc.
  • The most convenient set of brushes to clean car interiors

Car Interior Cleaning Tips:
Detail brushes

Maxshine Ever So Soft (ESS) Detailing Brush, Set-Small+Large

  • Perfect set of detail brushes for the extra sensitive areas of your cars interior
  • Two sized brushes makes for a perfect detail brush set
  • One could be dedicated as a dry detail brush, the other could be dedicated to use with car interior cleaners

Car Interior Cleaning Tips:
The right steps, the right techniques

car interior cleaning tips detail brushes

Despite what you may think, cleaning the interior of your car does not require carpet extractors, commercial equipment, or even specialized equipment.

So far I have laid out easy to get products and tools that will deliver truly professional results. Now I want to lay out the necessary steps for success as part of my car interior cleaning tips that promise to put a smile on your face.

  • Vacuum FIRST

I know this represents a big buzz-kill to many of you. But vacuuming first truly serves an important step to your success. Teaching you this would be among the most useful car interior cleaning tips due to so many people who overlook this important step. Removing dirt that is dry is far easier than dirt you need to use a cleaner on. And there is no better way to removing as much dry dirt as possible first than there is with vacuuming. I even go as far as scrubbing any areas with one of the chosen scrubbers above to further loosen embedded dirt that you can simply vacuum up prior to introducing a liquid cleaner to the equation.

using detail brush for car interior cleaning
  • Apply Upholstery Cleaner

One of the biggest mistakes people will make will be to over-saturate the area being cleaned with far too much upholstery cleaner. You simply need to spray the area to be cleaned with 3-5 sprays of your chosen cleaner as the initial cleaning. Dismiss the idea of thinking you will be able to remove all the dirt with one big sloppy application of upholstery cleaner.

  • Scrub area

After you have sprayed cleaner, then you scrub to break up dirt. Pick the most appropriate scrub brush and scrub away. You will literally see the dirt beak down and the area begins to look clean even before you mop up the actual dirt.

  • Mop up

Despite the dirt disappearing before your eyes as you scrub, you need to mop up the area you have just scrubbed with some type of clean cloth. I always prefer the use of a micro-fiber cloth over any other type of cloth. Micro-fiber cloths are far more absorbent and don't leave lint.Once you embrace the use of micro-fiber cloths, you will never go back to traditional cotton towels or cloths!

Kirkland Signature Ultra High Pile Premium Microfiber Towels, 36 Count (Pack of 1), Yellow - 713160

  • I consider micro-fibers as the 9th wonder of the world!
  • Highly absorbent and lint free!
  • If you do use them to clean your car interior with and are used to other cloths, it will take some getting used to as they will grab materials due to the very fine fibers. This will feel different than traditional cotton cloths. But once you adapt, you will never look back as they are that great!
  • These cloths represent the winning balance of size, thickness, and cost as to my choice in cloths for my car interior cleaning tips. (you can spend far more but you don't have to over-think micro-fibers for car interior cleaning)

Car Interior Cleaning Tips Summary

I hope at this point you have come to some new conclusions with my car interior cleaning tips designed to empower you with professional experience so that you too can get professional results.

car interior cleaning brushes

I promise if you follow the recommendations on this page you will not only produce amazing results, but your results will put a huge smile on your face!

If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of cleaning the car interior of your car that may be severely neglected and is severely dirty,; just break your car interior cleaning efforts down into bite-size areas oc cleaning and detailing.

There's no rule that says you have to tackle the entire car upholstery cleaning all at one time. I find it very useful to attack specific areas in stages based on your time and energy constraints in the moment.


Darren Priest

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