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What are the Best Tips for Cleaning a Car Interior?

By Misty Amber Brighton
Updated Feb 01, 2024
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Before cleaning a car interior, it can be helpful to gather all the necessary cleaning materials. This can include carpet and upholstery shampoo, soft cloths, and detail brushes. Clean the dashboard and console first, followed by the door panels, seats, and floor. Do not get the interior excessively wet, as this could cause damage or create a musty odor.

One of the first things an automobile owner should do when cleaning a car interior is check the car upholstery, headliner, and carpet for signs of stains. These can then be pre-treated with a stain remover designed especially for automobiles. While the solution is working, the rest of the car can be detailed.

It is important to work from top to bottom as much as possible. This is because any dirt or grime removed from one area is likely to fall onto lower surfaces. For this reason, the carpet should be the last area of the vehicle to be cleaned.

A vehicle owner should know what the interior of his car is made from and buy products designed to clean them. Owners should also use a soft cloth or sponge so as not to scratch the dashboard or trim. Some people may want to buy brushes designed for interior detailing so they can get into tight crevices inside the vehicle. It can be helpful to keep all these products in a tote so they can be readily available when cleaning a car interior.

After all the hard surfaces of the car have been wiped down, the soft surfaces are ready to be vacuumed. Heavy stains or matted fibers might mean they need to be shampooed. When doing so, people should take care not to soak the seats or floors, as they take longer than household carpets to dry. Cleaning a car interior with spray-on foam is generally preferred over using a carpet shampooer for that reason.

Detailing a car interior is a task that should be performed on a regular basis in order to keep the vehicle looking like new and smelling fresh. Doing this often also prevents people from having to do heavy cleaning because the car is extremely dirty on the inside. Interior cleaning can be a cumbersome chore, especially if the vehicle has multiple compartments or a great deal of accessories. Proper planning can help make this job easier and faster, which benefits both the car owner and the vehicle.

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Discussion Comments

By truman12 — On Jan 02, 2012

Be sure to smell any products that you intend to use on the interior of your car. Some of them have very strong odors and they can linger in your car for weeks.

I remember I once got a bottle of cheap interior cleaner and just went to town with it. I rubbed it into every surface of my car. I knew from the start that the smell wasn't great but I thought it would go away after I drove around with the windows down for a second. Well, it lasted much longer. I almost considered selling the car because of it.

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