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Between dirt, food crumbs, liquid spills, pet hair and more, your car’s interior can get dirty fast. This filth can make your outings uncomfortable for you and your passengers. More than that, they directly affect your vehicle’s condition and even its resale value when you are ready to trade up to a newer model.


When you learn how to clean your car interior, you can make light work of a big job.

How Often Should You Clean the Inside of Your Car?


After each trip, take a moment to remove all trash and miscellaneous items from the vehicle. By doing so, you eliminate the matter of junk building up in the car over time.


Interior detailing generally should be done at least twice a year. You may need to thoroughly clean the interior more frequently if you travel with pets or kids regularly. In between these major cleaning sessions, however, you may need to wipe down windows every few weeks to optimize visibility.


What Can I Use to Clean the Interior of My Car?


Car Wash Interior Image Cleaning the Interior of a Car with a Piece of Cloth


You’ll need several supplies to thoroughly clean the car. These include:

  • Upholstery scrub brushes
  • Dish soap
  • Trash bags
  • A handheld vacuum
  • Glass cleaner
  • A microfiber cloth
  • An old rag
  • Compressed air
  • A multi-purpose cleaner
  • A stain removal product
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Air freshener


How to Clean Your Car Interior, Step By Step


Floor Mats


Pull out the floor mats and cargo area mat. Shake the mats to remove loose debris. If the mats are stained, use a carpet cleaning product and a scrub brush to remove them. Then, combine the dish soap with water in a bowl. Use the scrub brush to scrub all of the mats thoroughly with the soapy water. Then, rinse them off with the garden hose and allow them to air dry.


Vacuum Interior


Thoroughly vacuum the cupholders and the various nooks and crannies throughout the vehicle using your vacuum’s attachments. Clean any sticky spots with the multi-purpose spray and an old rag.




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The dashboard is a focal point in the vehicle, so its grime tends to stand out. Use the attachments on your vacuum to suction away loose debris. Use the compressed air to blow away debris that is inaccessible by hand.


Dampen a cloth with a multi-purpose cleaner, and wipe down the surfaces. Then, apply the disinfectant spray using another clean rag.




The process for cleaning the dashboard is comparable to the process for cleaning the console. After cleaning both the dashboard and console, use your preferred air freshener to enhance the vehicle’s ambiance.


Cupholders, Door Panels, and Steering Wheel


These areas can be among the dirtiest in the vehicle. Vacuum debris out of the cupholders. If grime is built up, scrape away as much of the filth as possible. You can use the dishwasher to clean removable cupholders.


Spray the steering wheel, door panels and non-removable cupholders directly with the multi-purpose cleaner, and wipe them down with a microfiber cloth. Repeat this process using a disinfectant spray to sanitize the area.




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The seats can also get grimy in your vehicle. First, vacuum them thoroughly, including on the backs and sides of the seats. For stains, use an upholstery stain removal product and the scrub brush on cloth seats. Use a leather cleaning product on leather seats or a multi-purpose cleaner on vinyl seats.


Interior Windows


When cleaning the interior windows, brush off the dust and loose debris. Then, apply the glass cleaner directly to the windows. Avoid over-spraying. Use the microfiber cloth to wipe away smudges and dirt. An alternative to the spray is glass cleaning wipes.


How to Keep Your Car Interior Clean


Detailing your car is a big job, and you want the results to last as long as possible. You can keep your car cleaner for longer with a few easy steps. Throw away all trash after each outing. Avoid eating and drinking in your car.


If your shoes are muddy, shake them off before entering the vehicle. You can also use a car seat cover when your pets travel with you. Run a lint roller over the seats from time to time to remove pet hair and loose debris.


Here are more cleaning recommendations from the pros on how to keep your car interior clean and fresh.





What not to use when cleaning car interior?


Many of the same products that you use to clean your home can be used inside your vehicle. However, avoid using bleach as it can stain the upholstery. You also should not use abrasive products as they can damage the upholstery, trim and dashboard surfaces.


Can you use soapy water to clean car interior?


Car Wash Fun GIF by Sing Movie


Soapy water is safe to use in some areas of your vehicle’s interior. However, you should not get USB ports, power outlets and other electrical features wet.


How to Remove Smells From a Car


Numerous items can make your car stink. These include wet pets, lost food that spoils, spilt liquids, smelly sneakers and more.


To remove the odors, identify the cause of the smell and remove it from the vehicle. Then, open all of the car doors, and follow the steps to deep clean the interior. After cleaning, pour baking soda in a small Tupperware container. Poke holes in the top of the container. Put this container underneath a seat. Change the baking soda monthly to prevent odors in the future.


Because cars grow dirtier with each use, cleaning the interior regularly is an important part of vehicle maintenance. However, it’s challenging to find time to keep your home and car clean at the same time.


When you let the Cleanzen housekeepers clean your home’s interior, you’ll enjoy more time to spend on other important things. To learn more about our home cleaning services, contact us today.


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