Top 10 Cleaning Tips for the Inside of Your Car

If you drive a lot for work or have kids and pets, you know how hard it can be to keep the inside of your car clean. Here are 10 cleaning tips and tricks to make your car’s interior sparkle again.

Cleaning inside your car

#1. Clear Trash

Before you pull out the vacuum and cleaning supplies, clear out all the obvious trash. Check everywhere thoroughly. There will likely be trash on the floor, under the seats, and in the seat cracks. Toss out any wrappers, bottles, toys, and other objects that your vacuum can’t handle.

#2. Tackle Floor Mats

Pull the floor mats out of the vehicle and shake them out as much as possible. This will make vacuuming easier. Scrub them with soap and hot water or a foaming carpet cleaner and allow them to air dry completely before reinstalling them.

#3. Vacuum, Vacuum

Vacuum both front and back seats, the floor, and, if necessary, the trunk. Vacuum every area of the vehicle where you can get the nozzle, including under the pedals and along with the side door panels.

#4. Wipe Away Grime

Now that the car is vacuumed, grab a soft cloth or cleaning wipes to wipe up all that dirt, sticky stuff, and dust. You can also spray a small amount of car-specific cleaner over the console, steering wheel and the area between the seats to restore that new-car look.

#5. Clean Cup Holders

Cup holders can harbor grime, spilled coffee, and dead hair and skin cells (yuck). Try using a cotton swab dipped in a little cleaning solution to reach those difficult areas. In some vehicles, the entire cup holder is removable for easier cleaning.

#6. Wipe Windows

Spray a window cleaner solution on windows and wipe clean with a paper towel or microfiber cloth. You can also mix: one cup water, two tablespoons vinegar, and one cup rubbing alcohol for an effective homemade window cleaner.

#7. Attack Stains

If there are stains on the seats or on the carpet (and we guarantee there will be, especially if you have kids!) try this homemade solution. In a spray bottle mix two cups water, one cup vinegar and about a tablespoon of dish soap.

Spray on the stains and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then wipe clean with a wet cloth. If the stain persists, try a product like Spot Shot or Resolve. Spot-test in an inconspicuous area to make sure the upholstery fabric is colorfast.

#8. Remove Pet Hair

If you have a dog, you know the pain of dealing with pet hair in the car. If the vacuum doesn’t remove all the fur, try using a rubber-dipped glove. Simply brush the hair away with your hand, and it sticks to the glove like magic! To protect your car’s interior from any future pet damage, try a waterproof seat protector like this one.

#9. Get Into Crevices

Grab a paint stirrer or two next time at you’re at the hardware store. Wrap an end with a microfiber cloth and use the stick to get into those hard-to-reach areas between the seats and around the center console.

#10. Freshen Up

Create a homemade car freshener with one cup of baking soda and five drops of your favorite essential oil. Place both the soda and oil in a sealable plastic bag or glass jar for 24 hours. Then shake it up, sprinkle on the car’s floor and let it sit for 20 minutes. When the time has passed, vacuum up the baking soda. The scent will linger, making your car smell fresh and clean! Planning on spending the afternoon cleaning your car?

Cleaning Tips for the Inside of Your Car

How to clean car interior?

Cleaning the interior of your car may not bring back the heady smell of new cars, but it will certainly improve air quality. Washing the windows, cleaning up trash and clutter, and cleaning the carpet and seats can make breathing easier and even improve your driving skills.

Professional detailing can be quite costly, but with just a few tools and cleaning supplies you probably have on hand, you can clean your car like the pros.

#1. Remove and Clean the Floor Mats

Floor mats are often some of the dirtiest items in a car interior. Remove all of them from the car for easier cleaning. Give each mat a good shake or vacuuming before you begin cleaning. Then place them on a tarp or other type of drop cloth rather than on the dirty ground.

For carpeted mats, use a carpet or upholstery cleaner and follow the instructions.

For rubber, vinyl, or silicone mats, use a hose to wash away excess soil. Mix a solution of warm water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid in a bucket. Dip a scrub brush in the solution and clean the mats. Rinse well and let them air-dry before placing them back in the car and continue cleaning the other areas of the interior.

#2. Clean the Interior Windows and Mirror

Use a microfiber cloth and an ammonia-free commercial window cleaner (ammonia can damage interior plastics) in a spray bottle to remove the haze from interior windows. Make your own window cleaner by mixing a one-to-one solution of distilled white vinegar and water. Lower the windows slightly and start at the top of the window and work down so you will catch any drips.

#3. Clean the Center Console

The center console usually includes cup holders that can get messy. If the cup holder is removable, allow it to soak in some warm water and a bit of dishwashing liquid. Scrub it clean with a sponge. Finish by wiping it down with a soft cloth and rinsing well with fresh water. Dry and reassemble the console.

To clean the gearstick and other controls, use a clean microfiber cloth that is only slightly damp. To reach tight corners, use an old toothbrush, damp cotton swab, or wrap a damp paper towel around the tip of a dull knife or flat-head screwdriver.

#4. Remove Dashboard Dust and Grime

Use a duster to remove as much dust as possible from the dashboard and cotton swabs to get into small spaces around vents and knobs. After dusting, use a slightly damp microfiber cloth to remove any grime and fingerprints.

#5. Cleaning of the Steering Wheel

Eliminate the build-up of germs and bacteria from your steering wheel and gear shift knobs with a disinfecting wipe. Buff dry with a clean microfiber cloth.

#6. Clean Leather Car Seats

If you have leather car seats, use the vacuum crevice tool to carefully remove dust and grime from stitching and the area where the backs and bottom seats join. Wipe down each seat with a commercial leather cleaner or a solution of saddle soap and water.

After cleaning the seat, consider using a leather conditioner to restore suppleness and shine.

#7. Clean Cloth Car Seats

For cloth car seats, begin by vacuuming each seat well. Pretreat heavily-stained areas with a bit of upholstery cleaner or follow the guidelines for a specific type of stain. For dye-based stains like Kool-Aid, make a paste of powdered oxygen-based bleach and a bit of water. Apply the paste to the stained area and let it work for at least one hour before vacuuming away residue.

Once the heavy stains are removed, follow the instructions on the upholstery cleaner for the entire seat. Use a scrub brush to work the cleaner into the fabric and then use a microfiber cloth dipped in plain water to wipe away the cleaner and grime.

Repeat the steps if necessary and allow the seats to air-dry.

#8. Vacuum and Clean the Interior Carpet

Vacuum the car’s carpet or floor as one of the last steps to suck away all the dirt and debris that’s come out of your vents and crevices. If there are stains on the carpet, use a commercial carpet cleaner and follow the instructions. Don’t forget to vacuum the carpet that’s in the trunk.

#9. Clean the Door Panels

The door panels may be a combination of carpet and vinyl or leather. Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe down the finishes and wipe out the pockets. Don’t forget to clean the back door or hatchback. Keep the doors open when cleaning so the dirt and dander land on the outside of your car.

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