We spend more time in our cars than we think. The condition of your car is bound to affect your mood, even if you don’t realize it! So, it’s best to know how to clean a car interior.

With a few basic cleaning tools and supplies, you can clean your car’s interior like an expert. 

Using some of the best high mileage oils you can enhance the performance of the car but how can you work on the interiors? Dive into this interior cleaning guide- and make a difference in how you feel when you get in the car! 

Preparation for the Cleaning

Here is a general list of everything that you will need for a spic and span interior.

  • Vacuum with a hose, crevice tool, and other attachments 
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Sponge
  • Cotton swab
  • Scrub brush with stiff bristles
  • Disinfectants 
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Ammonia-free window cleaner or distilled white vinegar
  • Activated charcoal or baking soda
  • Leather cleaner or conditioner 
  • Upholstery cleaner and carpet cleaner
  • Paper towel
  • An old toothbrush, toothpick, and tweezers
  • Water 




2. Clear out any Trash or Debris

Start with getting all the trash out of your car. Gather waste items from the floorboards, seat pockets, door pockets, and other compartments and dispose of them. 

After that, remove other items and place them elsewhere while you’re working.  

3. Clean the Floor Mats

Your floor mats are naturally going to be the dirtiest item in the car. 

Remove the floor mats and shake each of them well. Additionally, you can vacuum them too. 

If you have carpeted mats, strictly use an upholstery or carpet cleaner. However, you may be able to wash them in a machine.

In the case of silicone, rubber, or vinyl mats, you can use a hose to wash the excess dirt. After that, use a solution of warm water and dishwashing liquid to scrub the mats clean. Finally, rinse them properly and allow them to dry before you put them back inside the car.  

4. Ensure Spotless Interior Windows and Mirror 

You’ll need a microfiber cloth to clean the windows and mirror. Additionally, make sure you use an ammonia-free window cleaner in a spray bottle to clear out the haze. 

You can also form a window cleaner by mixing equal parts distilled white vinegar and water. 

While cleaning, slightly lower down the windows and begin at the top; you can catch the drips as you work downwards. 

If your car’s windows are tinted, ensure the cleaning product you’re using is safe for them. 

5. Scrub or Wipe the Center Console 

The center console typically has cup holders that are prone to messiness. If your cup holder is removable, soak it in a solution of warm water and dishwashing liquid. 

After that, scrub it clean using a sponge and wipe it down with a cloth and freshwater.

When you move onto the gearstick and the controls, make sure you use a clean, slightly damp microfiber cloth. You can use an old toothbrush to reach tight corners.

Tiny crevices are the hardest to clean. However, you can gently remove the dirt from them with a pair of tweezers or a toothpick. 

You can use your vacuum with its crevice tool to take care of dust particles over your console and dashboard.  

6. Dust the Dashboard

With a clean duster, remove as much grime and dust as possible from your dashboard. Cotton swabs will come in handy when you’re trying to clean the vents and knobs. 

Once you’re done dusting, use a damp microfiber cloth to take care of fingerprints and stubborn grime. 

A place that is easy to overlook is the narrow area of the dashboard joining the windshield. So, wrap a damp microfiber cloth around a ruler and pass it through the area. Consequently, the debris and grime will dislodge easily.  

7. Sanitize the Steering Wheel

The steering wheel perhaps has the greatest accumulation of bacteria and germs. Use disinfecting wipes or spray some disinfectant onto a soft cloth to clean the steering wheel. Buff dry with a fresh microfiber cloth.

Don’t forget to repeat this process for the gear shift knobs as well! 

8. Clean the Car Seats

The best way to clean your car seats depends upon the type of your seats. 

If they are leather seats, you can remove dust and grime with a vacuum and crevice tool. Then, wipe every seat down using a leather cleaner. 

You can think about using a leather conditioner as well. 

If you have cloth seats, start by vacuuming them thoroughly. In case of heavy stains, use upholstery cleaner or check out solutions for specific stains. Next, you can use a scrub or an old toothbrush to work the cleaners into the seats. 

You can use upholstery cleaner with a microfiber cloth to clean the seatbelts too. It is a vital part of being aware of how to clean a car interior.  

9. Vacuum the Interior Carpet

The carpets will be full of the dust and dirt that your cleaning has displaced, so vacuum them thoroughly. Use a commercial carpet cleaner if necessary. Remember the trunk carpet as well.  

10. Wipe Down the Door Panels

Your door panels may be a combination of two materials. With a damp microfiber cloth, wipe down the finishes and pockets. 

Ensure you keep the doors open so that the dust and dirt don’t fall into the car. Such little measures are a big part of knowing how to clean a car interior!  

11. Make Your Car Smell Good

Do you sense any tough odors inside your car despite cleaning it? There’s a solution. Sprinkling dry baking soda onto the seats and carpet and letting it sit overnight will help. Then, vacuum the baking soda away the next morning. 

You can also use activated charcoal in a plastic container with slits. Place this under the seats and replace it every month or two.  


Your car is a critical part of your everyday life, so you need to maintain it well. Therefore, it’s important to know how to clean a car interior. While it is not as effortless as using a power washer for car for exterior cleaning, it is easy! 

You can consider keeping some automotive gel handy to clean the vents frequently. If you have any pets, consider using seat covers. 



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