Expert Tips to Keep Your Car's Interior Clean : Things To Do & Not To Do.

Expert Tips to Keep Your Car’s Interior Clean : Things To Do & Not To Do.

How to polish and clean your car interior

Maintaining your car’s interior is like pampering a cherished work of art. From the soft caress of supple leather or fabric on the seats, to the gleaming allure of a clean dashboard, each surface deserves meticulous care. In this blog, we will guide you through the process of car interior maintenance, providing valuable tips for a much-necessary interior car wash. Whether you prefer to learn how to clean your car interior at home or desire a thorough car deep cleaning, we have you covered.

But that’s not all—we’ll also reveal the secrets to banishing sticky residue from your car console. Bid farewell to those stubborn remnants as we share effective techniques on how to remove sticky residue from car consoles. Read up to know more and say hello to a ride that radiates pure sophistication!

What You’ll Need To Clean Your Car’s Interior

When it comes to cleaning your car’s interior, having the right tools and materials is essential. Here’s a comprehensive list of what you’ll need to achieve a pristine and inviting interior:

  • Vacuum Cleaner

A powerful vacuum cleaner with attachments is crucial for removing dirt, dust, and debris from carpets, upholstery, and crevices.

  • Microfiber Cloths

These soft and lint-free cloths are perfect for wiping down surfaces without leaving scratches or streaks.

  • Soft-Bristled Brushes

Use brushes with gentle bristles to clean delicate surfaces like leather, vinyl, and dashboard components. They effectively remove dust and grime without causing damage.

  • Interior Cleaner

Choose a high-quality, non-abrasive interior cleaner suitable for the different surfaces in your car. Ensure it is specifically formulated for upholstery, plastics, and vinyl.

  • Glass Cleaner

Opt for a streak-free glass cleaner to restore clarity and shine to your windows and mirrors.

  • Upholstery Shampoo

If your seats or carpets have stains or odours, a suitable upholstery shampoo will help lift and remove them effectively.

  • Leather Conditioner

Keep your leather seats looking supple and prevent cracking by using a leather conditioner. Apply it after cleaning to maintain the leather’s natural beauty.

  • Plastic Protectant

To rejuvenate and protect plastic surfaces from fading and cracking, apply a quality plastic protectant.

  • Compressed Air

Use compressed air to blow dust and debris out of hard-to-reach areas like air vents and gaps between seats.

  • Applicator Pads

Soft foam or microfiber applicator pads are ideal for evenly applying interior cleaners, conditioners, and protectants.

Also Read : Best Car Accessories for the Ultimate Road Trips

Now that you know what materials you’ll need to clean your car’s interior, here’s how to use them for a thorough interior cleaning:

  • Begin by removing all loose items and trash from your car’s interior.
  • Use the vacuum cleaner with appropriate attachments to clean the carpets, upholstery, and floor mats. Pay attention to crevices, under the seats, and between the cushions.
  • Wipe down surfaces like the dashboard, steering wheel, door panels, and centre console with a microfiber cloth and interior cleaner. For stubborn grime, use a soft-bristled brush.
  • Spray glass cleaner onto a microfiber cloth and clean the windows and mirrors, ensuring a streak-free finish.
  • Treat any stains on upholstery or carpets with a suitable upholstery shampoo. Follow the product instructions for the best results.
  • Apply a small amount of leather conditioner onto a clean cloth and gently rub it into the seats. Allow it to absorb for the recommended time before wiping off any excess.
  • Protect plastic surfaces by applying a plastic protectant using an applicator pad. Buff off any excess for a natural shine.
  • Finally, use compressed air to blow out dust and debris from air vents and other hard-to-reach areas.

Also Read : How to Keep Your Old Car Shining Like New: A Simple Guide

Other Materials That Are Commonly Available and How To Use Them

In addition to the essential equipment mentioned earlier, there are a few more materials that can enhance your car cleaning routine:

  • All-Purpose Cleaner

An all-purpose cleaner is versatile and can be used for multiple purposes, such as removing stubborn stains on upholstery or cleaning door sills. Dilute it according to the manufacturer’s instructions and apply it with a microfiber cloth or soft-bristled brush.

  • Stain Remover

For particularly stubborn stains on upholstery or carpets, a specialised stain remover can work wonders. Follow the product instructions and test it on a small, inconspicuous area first.

  • Odour Eliminator

If your car has lingering odours, an odour eliminator can help freshen up the interior. Choose an odour eliminator specifically designed for automotive use and follow the instructions for application.

  • Air Freshener

To add a pleasant fragrance to your car’s interior, consider using an air freshener. Choose a scent that suits your preferences and place it in a discreet location, such as behind the rearview mirror or under the seats.

  • Plastic Trim Restorer

Over time, plastic trim can fade and lose its lustre. A plastic trim restorer revitalises and brings back the original shine. Apply it with an applicator pad and buff off any excess.

  • Steam Cleaner

For a deep and thorough clean, a steam cleaner can be a valuable addition to your arsenal. It effectively removes dirt and grime from upholstery, carpets, and hard-to-reach areas. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for usage and ensure that it is suitable for automotive applications.

Remember, always refer to the product instructions and test any new cleaning materials on a small, inconspicuous area before applying them to larger surfaces. With the right tools, materials, and techniques, you can transform your car’s interior into a haven of cleanliness and comfort!

Also Read : Use Toothpaste to Remove Car Scratches! IT’S MAGIC!

Expert Tips to Clean Your Car’s Interior

Cleaning Upholstery and Carpets

What to do:

  • Start by removing any loose items and vacuum the upholstery and carpets thoroughly to remove loose dirt and debris.
  • Use a suitable upholstery cleaner and follow the product instructions for dilution and application. Apply the cleaner to a microfiber cloth or soft brush and gently scrub the surface.
  • For stubborn stains, apply a specialised stain remover and agitate the area with a brush. Blot the stain rather than scrubbing it vigorously to prevent spreading.
  • Rinse the upholstery or carpet using a damp cloth or sponge, ensuring you do not saturate the material.
  • Allow the upholstery and carpets to dry completely before using the car again.

What not to do:

  • Avoid using excessive water or soaking the upholstery and carpets, as it can lead to mould and mildew growth.
  • Do not use harsh brushes or abrasive materials that can damage the fabric or carpet fibres.
  • Avoid using bleach or strong chemical cleaners unless specifically recommended by the manufacturer.

Cleaning Surfaces and Components

What to do:

  • Use a microfiber cloth and a mild interior cleaner to wipe down surfaces such as the dashboard, door panels, and console.
  • For textured surfaces, use a soft-bristled brush to loosen dirt and dust.
  • Pay attention to hard-to-reach areas like air vents and crevices, using compressed air or a brush to dislodge debris.
  • Clean the windows and mirrors using a glass cleaner and a lint-free cloth, ensuring a streak-free finish.
  • Apply a suitable plastic protectant to maintain and restore the shine of plastic surfaces.
  • Treat leather surfaces with a leather cleaner and conditioner to keep them supple and prevent cracking.

What not to do:

  • Avoid using abrasive cleaners or rough materials that can scratch or damage surfaces.
  • Do not spray cleaner directly onto electronic components, as it can cause damage. Spray the cleaner onto a cloth instead.
  • Refrain from using ammonia-based cleaners on tinted windows, as they can cause damage to the tint film.
  • Do not use excessive force when cleaning delicate components like buttons or touchscreens, as it can lead to malfunctions.

Cleaning Leather Surfaces

What to do:

  • Start by vacuuming the leather surfaces to remove loose dirt and debris.
  • Use a leather cleaner specifically formulated for automotive use. Apply it to a microfiber cloth and gently clean the leather in small, circular motions.
  • For stubborn stains, use a soft-bristled brush or a specialised leather cleaning brush to agitate the area.
  • After cleaning, apply a leather conditioner to nourish and protect the leather. Follow the product instructions for application and buff off any excess conditioner.

What not to do:

  • Avoid using harsh chemicals, such as bleach or ammonia-based cleaners, as they can damage and discolour the leather.
  • Do not use excessive water or soak the leather, as it can cause it to become brittle or develop mould.
  • Avoid using abrasive materials that can scratch or damage the leather surface.

Cleaning and Protecting Dashboard and Trim

What to do:

  • Wipe down the dashboard and trim with a microfiber cloth or a soft brush to remove dust and debris.
  • For stubborn stains, use a mild interior cleaner and a soft cloth to gently scrub the affected areas.
  • Apply a suitable plastic protectant to maintain the shine and prevent fading or cracking of the dashboard and trim.
  • Use a detailing brush or a soft brush to clean air vents and other hard-to-reach areas.

What not to do:

  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can cause damage to the dashboard and trim surfaces.
  • Do not use silicone-based products on the dashboard, as they can create a slippery surface and attract dust.
  • Refrain from using excessive amounts of the protectant, as it can leave behind a greasy residue.

Cleaning and Refreshing Air Vents

What to do:

  • Use compressed air or a detailing brush to remove dust and debris from air vents.
  • Apply an air vent cleaner or use a cotton swab dipped in a mild cleaning solution to reach the interior parts of the vents.
  • Consider using an air freshener specifically designed for automotive use to keep the air vents smelling fresh, as the air conditioning system will circulate the perfume.

What not to do:

  • Do not use water or cleaning solutions directly on the interior parts of the vents, as it can cause damage to the ventilation system.
  • Refrain from using strong chemical cleaners that can leave behind a lingering odour or damage the vent components.

Cleaning Seat Belts

What to do:

  • Extend the seat belts fully to access the entire length.
  • Use a fabric cleaner or a mild detergent solution to clean the seat belts. Apply the cleaner to a cloth or a soft-bristled brush and gently scrub along the length of the belts.
  • Pay attention to any stains or spots and give them extra attention.
  • After cleaning, wipe the seat belts with a clean, damp cloth to remove any residue or cleaner.
  • Allow the seat belts to air dry completely before retracting them.

What not to do:

  • Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals on seat belts, as they can weaken the fabric.
  • Do not soak the seat belts or expose them to excessive moisture, as it can affect their integrity.
  • Refrain from pulling on the seat belts forcefully or using excessive pressure when cleaning, as it can cause damage.

Cleaning Interior Door Handles and Controls

What to do:

  • Use a microfiber cloth or a soft brush to wipe down the interior door handles and controls.
    • Pay special attention to areas that are frequently touched, such as window switches, door lock buttons, and control panels.
      • For hard-to-reach areas or intricate designs, use a detailing brush or a cotton swab dipped in a mild cleaning solution.
        • Wipe the surfaces thoroughly to remove any dirt, fingerprints, or grime.
        • Dry the surfaces with a clean cloth to prevent water spots or streaks.

        What not to do:

        • Avoid using excessive amounts of cleaning solution that can drip into the control panels or switches.
        • Do not use abrasive materials or scrub too vigorously, as it can cause scratches or damage to the surface finish.
        • Refrain from using excessive water, as it can seep into the control panels or electrical components and cause malfunctions.

        Also Read : 100 Car Hacks, Tricks, and DIY Hacks Everyone Needs To Know

        By paying attention to these often neglected areas, you’ll be able to achieve a thorough cleaning of your car’s interior. Remember, a little extra effort in these overlooked spots can make a significant difference in the overall cleanliness and aesthetics of your vehicle.

        How Often to Clean Your Car Interior

        Maintaining a clean and fresh car interior is not only essential for aesthetics but also for a healthy and comfortable driving experience. The frequency of cleaning will depend on various factors such as usage, climate, and personal preference. 

        Here are some guidelines on how often to clean different aspects of your car’s interior:

        • Regular Dusting and Vacuuming

        Aim to dust and vacuum your car’s interior at least once a week to remove loose dirt, debris, and dust particles.

        Pay special attention to high-traffic areas such as the driver’s seat, passenger seats, and floor mats.

        • Upholstery and Carpets

        Depending on usage and spillage, deep clean the upholstery and carpets every 3 to 6 months.

        If you have pets or children, more frequent cleaning may be necessary.

        Spot clean any spills or stains immediately to prevent them from setting and becoming difficult to remove.

        • Leather Care

        Leather surfaces should be cleaned and conditioned every 2 to 3 months to maintain their suppleness and prevent cracking.

        Wipe down leather seats regularly with a microfiber cloth to remove surface dust and oils.

        • Dashboard and Interior Trim

        Wipe down the dashboard and interior trim every 1 to 2 weeks to remove dust and fingerprints.

        Apply a suitable protectant to prevent fading and cracking of the surfaces.

        • Air Vents and Cabin Filters

        Clean air vents and replace cabin filters every 6 to 12 months to ensure clean and fresh airflow in the cabin.

        Regularly check the cabin filter for signs of dirt and debris accumulation, and replace it as needed.

        • Window Cleaning

        Clean the interior windows and mirrors at least once a month to maintain clear visibility.

        Use a streak-free glass cleaner and a lint-free cloth for the best results.

        Remember, you may need to adjust the frequency based on the season, car usage circumstances, and personal preferences. Regular maintenance and cleaning will not only keep your car’s interior looking its best but also contribute to a more enjoyable and comfortable driving experience.

        Additional Tips to Keep Your Car Interior Clean

        Prevention and regular maintenance are key to preserving the condition and value of your vehicle. By incorporating these additional tips into your car care routine, you’ll be able to keep your car’s interior looking clean and fresh to give you the ultimate driving experience. Here’s what you need to keep in mind: 

        • Regular Maintenance

        Establish a routine for cleaning your car’s interior to prevent dirt and grime buildup. A few minutes each week can make a significant difference in the long run.

        • Protective Mats

        Invest in high-quality floor mats that are easy to clean and can trap dirt, mud, and spills. Remove and clean them regularly to prevent debris from spreading throughout the car.

        • Organise and Declutter

        Keep your car clutter-free by assigning designated spots for essential items like sunglasses, tissues, and documents. Use organisers and storage solutions to prevent loose items from accumulating.

        • No Eating or Drinking

        Avoid eating or drinking in the car to minimise the risk of spills and food stains. If necessary, use spill-proof containers and dispose of trash promptly.

        • Regular Air Freshening

        Maintain a pleasant scent in your car by using air fresheners or natural alternatives like hanging dried herbs or essential oil diffusers. Ventilate the car regularly to let fresh air circulate.

        • Tackle Stains Immediately

        Act quickly when spills occur to prevent stains from setting. Blot the affected area with a clean cloth or use appropriate stain removers as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

        • Professional Detailing

        Consider professional interior detailing at least once or twice a year to deep clean and revitalise your car’s interior. Detailing services can address hard-to-reach areas and provide a thorough cleaning.

        • Sunshade Usage

        Park your car in shaded areas or use a sunshade to protect the interior from harmful UV rays. Sunlight can fade upholstery and damage dashboard surfaces over time.

        • Pet Protection

        If you travel with pets, use seat covers, pet blankets, or carriers to protect your car’s interior from pet hair, scratches, and accidents. Regularly clean and groom your pets to minimise shedding.

        • Regular Inspection

        Conduct regular inspections of your car’s interior to identify any issues like stains, tears, or damaged components. Address these problems promptly to prevent further damage and maintain the value of your car.

        What Not to Use When Cleaning Your Car Interior

        When it comes to cleaning your car’s interior, it’s crucial to be mindful of the products and tools you use. Some items may seem harmless and effective but can cause damage to the surfaces or compromise the overall condition of your car. 

        Here are some things to avoid when cleaning your car’s interior:

        • Harsh Chemicals

        Avoid using harsh chemicals, such as bleach, ammonia, or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage upholstery, vinyl, and plastic surfaces.

        These chemicals may cause discolouration, fading, or even deterioration of the materials.

        • Rough or Abrasive Materials

        Stay away from using rough or abrasive materials like hard-bristled brushes, steel wool, or rough towels.

        These can scratch or damage delicate surfaces, leaving behind unsightly marks.

        • Excessive Water

        While some level of moisture is necessary for cleaning, excessive water can seep into electronic components or cause mildew and mould growth.

        Be cautious and avoid soaking surfaces, especially around control panels, switches, and electrical connections.

        • Oil-based Products

        Steer clear of using oil-based products or cleaners on interior surfaces, as they can leave greasy residues that attract dust and dirt.

        These residues can be difficult to remove and may result in a sticky or grimy feel.

        • Window Cleaners with Ammonia

        Avoid using window cleaners that contain ammonia on your car’s interior windows.

        Ammonia-based cleaners can damage window tints, anti-glare coatings, and plastic surfaces.

        • Paper Towels

        While paper towels may seem convenient, they can leave behind lint and scratches on surfaces.

        Use microfiber cloths or soft, lint-free towels for a gentle and effective cleaning experience.

        The Bottom Line 

        Regular cleaning and maintenance are key to preventing dirt, stains, and odours from accumulating. Use appropriate cleaning products and tools that are safe for your car’s surfaces. Pay attention to often neglected areas, such as seat belts and interior controls. Establish a cleaning routine and stick to it to maintain a consistently clean interior. Protect your car’s interior from harmful elements like excessive moisture and UV rays.

        By implementing these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy a pristine car interior that reflects your pride in ownership and provides a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience.

        In conclusion, maintaining a clean and well-maintained car interior not only enhances the overall driving experience but also preserves the value and longevity of your vehicle. By following the expert tips provided in this article, you can ensure that your car’s interior remains polished and inviting. Here’s wishing you the best for your next car cleaning spree!


        Q. What is the best household cleaner to use for cleaning a car’s interior?

        The best household cleaner to use for cleaning a car’s interior is a mild all-purpose cleaner or a specifically formulated car interior cleaner. These cleaners are gentle on surfaces while effectively removing dirt, stains, and grime.

        Q. What are the best tools for cleaning a car dashboard?

        The best tools for cleaning a car dashboard are soft microfiber cloths or detailing brushes. Microfiber cloths are ideal for dusting and wiping down surfaces while detailing brushes help reach into crevices and remove stubborn dirt.

        Q. Are soap and water good for car interiors?

        Soap and water can be suitable for cleaning certain areas of a car’s interior, such as fabric upholstery or floor mats. However, it’s important to use a mild soap specifically designed for automotive use and to avoid excessive moisture that can seep into electronic components or cause mould and mildew.

        Q. Can we wash the car daily with water?

        Washing a car with water daily is not recommended. While occasional rinsing with water is fine, excessive water exposure can damage electronic components, promote rust formation, and lead to interior mould growth. It’s best to follow a regular cleaning routine and use appropriate cleaning products for different surfaces inside the car.