How To Clean Your Car Interior Step-by-Step Process

How To Clean Your Car Interior

If you’re a car enthusiast or simply someone who cares about maintaining the appearance and comfort of your vehicle, then ensuring your car’s interior is clean and well-maintained is a top priority. A clean car interior not only enhances your driving experience but also contributes to the overall longevity of your vehicle. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of effectively cleaning your car’s interior, from the dashboard to the upholstery.

Gathering Your Supplies

Before you embark on your car interior cleaning journey, gather all the necessary supplies. This will ensure that you have everything you need within arm’s reach, saving you time and effort. Here’s a list of essential supplies you’ll need:

1. Vacuum Cleaner

A vacuum cleaner designed specifically for cars is an indispensable tool for effectively eliminating the accumulation of dust, dirt, and debris that often finds its way into the hidden corners and crevices of your vehicle’s interior. This specialized cleaning device, whether in the form of a powerful handheld vacuum or a car-specific model, plays a pivotal role in maintaining a pristine interior. 

Its advantage lies in the ability to reach even the most confined spaces, thanks to an assortment of attachments that cater to tight and challenging areas. By opting for a vacuum cleaner with versatile attachments, you ensure a thorough cleaning process that leaves no nook untouched, resulting in a remarkably clean and inviting car cabin that is free from the clutches of unwanted particles.

Related Articles: How To Remove Hair Dye From Leather Car Seats

2. Microfiber Cloths

Microfiber cloths are essential tools in your car cleaning arsenal, known for their remarkable ability to treat surfaces with care while efficiently capturing dirt and dust. These specialized cloths boast a soft and gentle texture that minimizes the risk of scratching, making them the perfect choice for delicate surfaces like your car’s dashboard, infotainment screen, and steering wheel. 

Unlike traditional cloths that can sometimes spread particles around, microfiber cloths use their unique composition to trap dirt effectively, leaving surfaces not only clean but also scratch-free. This makes them indispensable companions in your mission to maintain a spotless and polished car interior, ensuring that every wipe contributes to the longevity and pristine appearance of your vehicle’s surfaces.

3. Interior Cleaner

Investing in a top-tier interior cleaner is a strategic move towards preserving the immaculate condition of your car’s interior surfaces. When selecting an interior cleaner, prioritize its compatibility with the diverse range of materials present in your vehicle, including plastics, vinyl, leather, and fabric. 

Opt for a product that has been specially formulated to cater to these surfaces, ensuring not only effective cleaning but also safeguarding against any potential damage. 

By choosing an interior cleaner that is tailored to your car’s specific materials, you guarantee a cleaning process that is both thorough and gentle, resulting in surfaces that not only shine but also maintain their integrity over time.

Top 8 Best Car Interior Cleaners


Product Name & Details 

Check Price

Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant

Overall Best Car Interior Cleaner

Griot's Garage Interior Cleaner

A Close Second Car Interior Cleaners

Meguiar's Quik Interior Detailer

Budgeted Car Interior Cleaners

Carfidant Ultimate Cleaner

Most Versatile Car Interior Cleaners

Armor All Cleaning Wipes

Easy To Use Car Interior Cleaners

Adam's Polishes Total Interior Cleaner

Best Scent Car Interior Cleaners

Meguiar's Ultimate Interior Detailer

Best For Show Cars

Mothers Speed Interior Detailer

4. Upholstery Shampoo

When it comes to maintaining the freshness and allure of your car’s fabric seats and carpets, an upholstery shampoo emerges as a vital component of your cleaning regimen. 

This specialized product is designed to tackle stubborn stains and lingering odors that can accumulate over time. Whether it’s spilled coffee or muddy footprints, an upholstery shampoo possesses the power to effectively lift away blemishes, leaving your fabric surfaces revitalized. To ensure the utmost success, it’s imperative to select an upholstery shampoo that harmonizes with the specific upholstery material in your vehicle. 

By doing so, you take a proactive step towards safeguarding the appearance and comfort of your car’s interior, allowing it to exude a sense of cleanliness and charm that extends far beyond the surface.

5. Glass Cleaner

When aiming for impeccably clear windows and mirrors that enhance both visibility while driving and the overall aesthetics of your car’s interior, the choice of a streak-free glass cleaner becomes pivotal. This specialized cleaner is designed to eliminate any smudges, fingerprints, and grime that can accumulate on glass surfaces. 

By opting for a streak-free formula, you ensure that the end result is not only visibly stunning but also devoid of unsightly streaks that can hinder your view. The impact of this choice extends beyond mere appearances – it directly contributes to driving safety by maintaining unobstructed vision. In elevating the cleanliness and clarity of your car’s glass surfaces, you amplify both the visual appeal and functional integrity of your vehicle’s interior environment.

6. Brush and Toothbrush

Equipping yourself with a soft-bristle brush and a toothbrush proves to be an invaluable strategy when it comes to addressing those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies within your car’s interior. These unassuming tools play a crucial role in agitating and dislodging accumulated dust and debris in areas that are typically challenging to access. Air vents, buttons, and intricate crevices are among the prime beneficiaries of their precision. 

The soft-bristle brush’s delicate yet effective touch ensures surfaces remain unharmed while being thoroughly cleaned. Meanwhile, the toothbrush’s small size and nimble bristles prove their worth in navigating the tiniest of spaces. Incorporating these unassuming tools into your cleaning routine is akin to unlocking hidden pathways to a comprehensively pristine interior, ensuring that every corner receives the attention it deserves.

Related Articles: How To Paint A Car Without A Paint Booth

Step-by-Step Process To Clean Your Car Interior

Now that you’ve armed yourself with the essential tools and supplies necessary for the task at hand, it’s time to delve into a comprehensive and methodical approach to transforming your car’s interior from mundane to magnificently clean. 

This step-by-step guide will navigate you through a carefully orchestrated sequence of actions, ensuring that no inch of your car’s interior escapes the rejuvenating touch of your meticulous cleaning efforts. So, roll up your sleeves, channel your inner car care aficionado, and let’s embark on a journey of revitalizing your driving haven to its ultimate brilliance

1. Declutter and Remove Trash

Start your cleaning journey by tidying up and getting rid of any unnecessary items or trash from your car. Take a moment to empty out the glove compartment, center console, and door pockets. This simple step creates a clean slate and sets the stage for a smoother and more effective cleaning process.

2. Vacuum the Interior

Now that you’ve set the stage for a transformative cleaning session, it’s time to harness the power of your vacuum cleaner and its versatile attachments. This step is crucial in banishing the accumulation of dust, dirt, and debris that may have taken residence in the hidden recesses of your car’s interior. 

Begin this process from the highest points, such as the roof and upper panels, and systematically work your way downward. Remember to extend your efforts beneath the seats and into the often-neglected corners, leaving no hiding place untouched. 

By employing a top-to-bottom approach, you ensure a thorough cleansing that lifts away the remnants of everyday travels and ushers in a refreshing atmosphere that perfectly complements your meticulous care.

3. Clean Surfaces

Clean Surfaces With your interior cleaner at the ready, it’s time to bestow a rejuvenating touch upon the surfaces that define your car’s cabin. Begin by liberally spraying the interior cleaner onto a soft microfiber cloth, which acts as your trusted ally in this endeavor. 

Gently guide the cloth across a symphony of surfaces, ranging from the commanding dashboard and the intricate center console to the welcoming embrace of the door panels. This choreography of care ensures that no area is left untouched by your cleansing prowess. 

When it comes to the elegance of leather surfaces, it’s paramount to choose an interior cleaner that not only cleans but also nurtures. Opt for a formula that extends its embrace beyond mere cleanliness – one that conditions the leather, safeguarding it against the perils of drying and cracking. 

This dual-purpose approach transforms your car’s interior into a sanctuary of both visual brilliance and tactile luxury, a testament to your impeccable attention to detail.

4. Tackle Upholstery and Carpets

As we venture deeper into the realm of interior revitalization, let’s focus our attention on the fabric seats and carpets that provide both comfort and style to your vehicle’s interior. The tool of choice for this mission is the trusty upholstery shampoo, a formula designed to dissolve stains and erase odors that may have taken residence in these textile havens. 

Embrace the manufacturer’s instructions as your guiding light, applying the upholstery shampoo with care and precision. Armed with a gentle brush, initiate a dance of restoration by softly agitating the shampoo into the fabric, coaxing out embedded particles and blemishes. Once the choreography is complete, rinse these rejuvenated surfaces thoroughly, leaving no trace of the shampoo behind. 

It’s essential to exercise patience at this juncture, allowing the seats and carpets ample time to air-dry in their newfound splendor before inviting passengers to embark on new adventures within your car’s cozy confines. By meticulously following this sequence, you master the art of nurturing fabric surfaces, turning each ride into an experience of unrivaled comfort and allu

5. Polish Interior Glass

Now, let’s shift our focus to the windows and mirrors that frame your driving experience, offering a glimpse into the world beyond. Armed with your chosen glass cleaner, transform a simple microfiber cloth into a tool of transparency. 

Begin by spraying the glass cleaner generously onto the cloth, infusing it with the magic needed to dispel smudges and marks that might obscure your view. Embrace the elegance of circular motions as you guide the cloth across the interior windows and mirrors as if orchestrating a symphony of clarity. 

This deliberate choreography eliminates the possibility of streaks, ensuring that each wipe unveils a surface that’s not just clean but gleams with unparalleled radiance. As you navigate through this process, take a moment to envision the delight of navigating roads unobstructed by fingerprints and dirt, your view embellished with the clarity that only meticulous care can deliver.

6. Address Air Vents and Crevices

Venture into the intricate world of air vents, buttons, and labyrinthine crevices that are often overlooked in the expanse of your car’s interior. Armed with either a soft brush or a toothbrush, embark on a journey of meticulous care. 

These unassuming tools become your allies in dislodging the silent culprits of accumulated dust and debris that have taken residence in these less-explored realms. The gentle bristles of your chosen implement act as a guiding hand, weaving through the intricate maze of air vents and dancing across buttons, disentangling particles that might have settled over time. 

This symphony of agitation rejuvenates these seemingly insignificant elements, ensuring that every detail contributes to the symphony of cleanliness. As you navigate through this choreography, envision the renewed elegance that these revitalized areas bring to your driving experience, amplifying the sense of meticulous care that defines your car’s interior sanctuary.

7. Refresh with an Air Freshener

With the canvas of your car’s interior now meticulously cleansed and revived, it’s time to add a final flourish to your masterpiece. Enter the realm of air fresheners, where the art of choosing the right scent becomes paramount. 

As the finishing touch to your cleaning process, introduce a breath of fresh air that rejuvenates the senses. As you select an air freshener, consider a scent that resonates with your preferences, offering a note of joy and comfort each time you step into your car. Strive for a fragrance that embodies subtlety, choosing a scent that delicately dances in the air without overpowering your driving haven. 

This seemingly small gesture serves as a reminder of the meticulous care invested in every inch of your car’s interior, transforming it into not just a vessel of transportation, but a sanctuary of comfort and delight that accompanies you on every journey.

Maintaining a Clean Interior

Maintaining a clean car interior is an ongoing effort. Here are some tips to help you keep your car’s interior looking its best:

Regular Vacuuming

Regular Vacuuming: Making vacuuming the interior of your car a consistent part of your routine can yield remarkable results in maintaining a clean and inviting driving environment. Even dedicating a brief moment to a weekly vacuum session holds the power to thwart the gradual accumulation of dirt and debris. By integrating this simple yet effective practice into your schedule, you create a proactive defense against the buildup of unwanted particles that can diminish the aesthetics and comfort of your vehicle’s interior. The act of vacuuming, even if done swiftly, captures and removes these intruders, preventing them from embedding themselves further into the fabric of your car’s upholstery and carpets. This routine ensures that your driving experience remains a refreshing and pleasant one, as you embark on journeys enveloped in a space that reflects your commitment to cleanliness and attention to detail.

Wipe Down Surfaces

Wipe Down Surfaces: Keep a pack of microfiber cloths in your car for a swift response to dust or fingerprints. With these handy cloths, you can gently remove these minor blemishes as soon as you spot them, maintaining the impeccable appearance of your car’s interior effortlessly.

Avoid Eating in the Car

To mitigate the risk of spills and crumbs, adopt the practice of refraining from eating while inside your vehicle. By observing this simple guideline, you create a barrier against potential messes that can mar the cleanliness and orderliness of your car’s interior.

Use Seat Covers

Enhance the longevity and appearance of your car’s seats by contemplating the use of seat covers. These protective layers act as a shield against stains and wear, preserving the pristine condition of your seats while adding a touch of personalized style to your vehicle’s interior.

Store Items Properly

Harness the power of organizers and storage solutions to orchestrate a clutter-free haven within your car’s interior. By diligently assigning designated spaces for your belongings, you not only cultivate an environment of orderliness but also prevent the encroachment of clutter. This strategic approach ensures that each item finds its place, contributing to the serenity and efficiency of your driving experience.

How to Clean Car Interior Plastic

Cleaning the plastic surfaces within your car’s interior requires a tailored approach that ensures their longevity and visual appeal. Here’s a three-step process to effectively clean car interior plastic:

1. Gather the Essentials

Before diving into the cleaning process, assemble the necessary supplies. You’ll need a microfiber cloth, a mild interior cleaner suitable for plastics, and a soft-bristle brush or toothbrush for intricate areas. Ensure the chosen cleaner is safe for use on plastic surfaces.

2. Dust and Wipe

Begin by gently dusting the plastic surfaces with the microfiber cloth to remove loose particles. Next, dampen the cloth with the interior cleaner and wipe down the plastic surfaces. This removes grime and dirt that might have accumulated over time. For stubborn stains, spray the cleaner directly onto the cloth and gently rub the affected area. Avoid using excessive force, as it could damage the plastic.

3. Address Crevices

Use the soft-bristle brush or toothbrush to reach into crevices, vents, and other hard-to-reach areas. Gently agitate these areas to dislodge any hidden debris. Once dislodged, wipe them clean with the microfiber cloth. For intricate patterns or textures on the plastic surfaces, pay extra attention to ensure every detail is cleaned effectively.

Best Car Interior Cleaners

We conducted tests on 8 interior cleaners to discover the optimal option for revitalizing your vehicle, whether it’s a grimy dashboard or a tacky steering wheel.

While considering automotive care, it’s easy to focus on products that enhance chrome’s shine or make your paint sparkle under the sun. These aspects are undoubtedly eye-catching. However, what’s the use of investing extensive time to eliminate stubborn swirls when the interior of your vehicle remains a breeding ground for dirt and grime?

Interior cleaning often doesn’t receive the attention it deserves within the realm of car care. While the idea of cleaning beneath your seats and around cupholders might appear intimidating, it’s important to remember that these are the areas where you predominantly spend your time. Thus, the question arises: What type of interior cleaner should you invest in?

Top 8 Best Car Interior Cleaners

In our quest to uncover the best car interior cleaner, we meticulously assessed nine of the top products in the market. These selections encompassed renowned brands like Meguiar’s and Chemical Guys. The comprehensive test featured a beloved (and somewhat legendary) 1990 Geo Tracker from a past beaters challenge, along with intriguing elements like a stick of butter, among others.

Before you roll up your sleeves to buff those chrome bumpers, remember not to neglect your vehicle’s interior. These cleaners are designed to revitalize steering wheels, dashboards, cupholders, and practically every nook in between. Without further ado, here are our top selections for the finest car interior cleaners.

Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant

Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant

Brand: Chemical Guys

Item Form: Liquid

Scent: Fresh

Specific Uses For Product: Carpet, Glass, Jeeps

Material Feature: Spray

About This Product: Here we have our ultimate selection: the Best Overall pick. Chemical Guys’ Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant stands out by effectively cleaning all interior surfaces, and it’s remarkably safe for use on various materials, including glass and screens. Its potency is equally impressive, as it effortlessly passed our butter test (details below).

Moreover, this cleaner serves a dual purpose as a protectant, safeguarding your dashboard and other interior components against damaging UV rays. The only slight drawback? The scent is quite potent, which might not be to everyone’s liking. However, if the fragrance doesn’t pose an issue for you, opting for this choice would undoubtedly be a solid decision.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that Chemical Guys has recently introduced a ‘wipes’ version of their Total Interior Cleaner. Although we didn’t include it in our testing alongside the other cleaners mentioned here, it could prove to be a convenient option for quick cleaning on the go.

Griot’s Garage Interior Cleaner

Griot's Garage Interior Cleaner

Brand: Griot’s Garage

Item Form: Wipe

Scent: Unscented 

Specific Uses For Product: Floor

Material Feature: Spray

About This Product: If you’re seeking robust and straightforward cleaning prowess, Griot’s Garage Interior Cleaner is the answer. We’ve designated it as our runner-up for the best car interior cleaner due to its uncomplicated yet efficient performance. With no fragrance and no lingering residue, its transparent color instills confidence that it won’t leave any stains.

Griot’s cleaner effortlessly removed regular grime and aced our butter test. The 22-ounce bottle size is also quite convenient and will serve you for an extended period. The only limitations? It isn’t suitable for use on screens or glass, and it doesn’t offer UV protection. Nevertheless, we’re more than willing to overlook these aspects given its exceptional cleaning capability.

Meguiar’s Quik Interior Detailer

Meguiar's Quik Interior Detailer

Manufacturer: ‎Meguiar’s

Brand: ‎Meguiar’s

Model: ‎Meguiar’s G13616SP Quik Interior Detailer Cleaner, 16 Fluid Ounces

Item Weight: ‎1.1 pounds

Product Dimensions: ‎4 x 2 x 10 inches

Item model number: ‎G-13616

About This Product: For individuals seeking a swift and budget-friendly spray to tidy up their car’s interior, Meguiar’s Quik Interior Detailer fits the bill perfectly. This cleaner performs adequately, successfully passing our butter test, while also leaving no streaks or residue in its wake.

While it might not match the potency of some other cleaners on our list, it’s worth noting that Meguiar’s Quik Interior Detailer does have a mild scent. However, it does come with a protective agent designed to maintain surfaces’ cleanliness for an extended period. When considering a cost-effective and speedy interior cleaning option, this stands as the top choice for budget-conscious individuals.

Carfidant Ultimate Cleaner

Carfidant Ultimate Cleaner

Brand: Carfidant

Item Form: Liquid

Scent: Fragrance-Free

Specific Uses For Product: Engine, Towel, Carpet, Upholstery, Car

Material Feature: Unscented

About This Product: Although this test focuses exclusively on interior cleaners, Carfidant introduced a product that extends its cleaning capabilities to various exterior components as well—a commendable two-in-one approach. The product’s cleaning effectiveness is clearly evident, as it excelled in our butter test and effortlessly tackled pre-existing grime.

According to Carfidant, this product is versatile enough to clean exhaust tips, degrease engines, and eliminate bugs from windshields. Although we didn’t evaluate these specific claims in this round of testing, we are inclined to believe in its potency for such tasks given its impressive strength. While the scent is notably robust and it falls on the higher end of the price spectrum among the cleaners on our list, its versatility far outweighs these concerns.

Armor All Cleaning Wipes

versatility far outweighs these concerns.
Armor All Cleaning Wipes

Scent: Natural

Brand: Armor All

Sheet Count: 50

Item Form: Wipes

Surface Recommendation: Fabric

About This Product: When you’re in need of swiftly cleaning your interior, it’s hard to match the rapidity of Armor All Cleaning Wipes. This container contains 50 wipes, yet we did encounter some difficulty with the pull-through opening. While these wipes excel in tackling light dirt and grime, they do struggle when faced with more substantial messes and, unfortunately, didn’t pass our butter test.

The fragrance of these wipes is notably potent, and they do leave a subtle residue that can attract airborne dust, potentially undermining your cleaning efforts. Nonetheless, the convenience they offer is unparalleled, although it does come at the expense of the thoroughness provided by cleaners that require more hands-on effort.

Adam’s Polishes Total Interior Cleaner

Adam's Polishes Total Interior Cleaner

Brand: Adam’s Polishes

Item Form: Liquid

Scent: Maine Blueberry

Specific Uses For Product: Wheel, Floor, Rug, Upholstery, Carpet, Door

Item Volume: 16 Fluid Ounces

About This Product: We generally aren’t enthusiasts of strong cleaner odors, yet this one managed to surprise us. Adam’s Polishes’ Total Interior Cleaner boasts a delightful fruity aroma, aptly named Maine Blueberry. This departure from the conventional chemical cleaner fragrances found in other products on this list was indeed a refreshing change.

Beyond its aroma, this cleaner offers substantial cleaning power and UV protection. However, it did leave behind a minor residue and produced an uneven finish. It’s safe to consider this product as a dual-purpose solution, effectively serving as both a cleaner and an air freshener—a combination that has its merits.

Meguiar’s Ultimate Interior Detailer

Brand: Meguiar’s

Item Form: Spray

Scent: Interior Detailer

Specific Uses For Product: Car, Door, Wheel

Item Volume: 15.2 Fluid Ounces

About This Product: Geared more towards enhancing appearances rather than heavy-duty cleaning, Meguiar’s Interior Detailer could be better suited for show cars rather than everyday vehicles. It falls short in terms of cleaning potency and imparts a sleek, nearly glossy finish. Meguiar’s advises against using this product on screens or glass surfaces.

With its notable fragrance and distinctive finish, this cleaner won’t cater to every preference. However, if you’re preparing your car for a Saturday car show, a few well-placed spritzes of this product will undoubtedly give your interior a polished appearance.

Mothers Speed Interior Detailer

Mothers Speed Interior Detailer

Manufacturer: Mothers

Brand: ‎Mothers

Model: ‎18324

Item Weight: ‎1.6 pounds

Product Dimensions: ‎1.97 x 2.76 x 10.63 inches

Item model number: ‎18324

About This Product: There’s no inherent flaw with Mothers Speed Interior Detailer; however, we do believe that the other sprays on our list outperform it. This product does offer commendable potency—it successfully passed our butter test and left no residue in its wake.

Nevertheless, it does carry a mild cleaner-like scent, and upon drying, we did observe a few streaky spots. It falls somewhere between not being subpar and not being exceptional. (On a positive note, the sprayer nozzle demonstrated a commendable dispersion, for those who appreciate such details.


A clean car interior not only enhances the aesthetics of your vehicle but also contributes to a pleasant driving experience. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can effectively clean and maintain your car’s interior, ensuring that it remains in top-notch condition for years to come. Remember, a well-maintained car interior is a reflection of your attention to detail and commitment to preserving your vehicle’s value.

Invest the time and effort into keeping your car’s interior clean, and you’ll undoubtedly enjoy the benefits of a comfortable and visually appealing driving environment. So, grab your cleaning supplies, put on your favorite playlist, and give your car the love and care it deserves.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here