How to Clean a Car Interior

How to Clean a Car Interior

How to clean the interior of a car interior varies depending on the surface, and car interiors can comprise many different materials, each with their own special cleaning methods. We intend to give you a guide on how to effectively and quickly clean a range of car interior surfaces with the fewest items possible.

Car interiors comprise a a myriad of surfaces including plastics, upholstery, leather, glass & rubber.

Remember that anything that touches your hands can end up on your steering wheel, dashboard controls, hand-brake and gear stick. Anything in the air, such as pollution and pollen, can end up embedded in upholstery or coating your dashboard in layers. Therefore, it is important to regularly clean it, so read on to find out how to clean a car interior quickly and efficiently. Our cleaning solution is eco-friendly and helps kill bugs too.

It’s All About the Right Tools

When it comes to how to clean the car interior, you need to have the right tools.
Things to grab:

  • Vacuum Cleaner + attachments
  • Lint-Free Cloths
  • Eco-friendly Glass cleaner (see below!), water, or your favourite window/surface cleaner

Portable vacuums are great, but you will need to spend quite a lot of money to get one powerful enough. Grab your crevice tool (some manufacturers do flexible ones), dusting brush, and upholstery/stair cleaner. If you have pet hairs to contend with, a spinning brush tool is a huge time saver.

You can make your own home-made, eco-friendly glass cleaner by mixing equal parts of white vinegar and water (try to use distilled or filtered), as well a dozen or so drops of essential oils for the smell. Pop this mixture into a spray bottle, shake, and keep it handy to use all around your home!

Wait, vinegar? Yes – it’s worth it. As well as cutting through grease, vinegar is a great disinfectant. Cars can harbour a lot of germs and bacteria, so this solution is a kind of one-for-all that you can also use for the plastics.

Let’s get started…

How to Clean a Car Interior

Textile Upholstery

Just match the correct vacuum tool for the job, and remember to plug in the machine and turn it on. Use a “stair tool”, or better yet a spinning brush tool, for the upholstery, and starting with the headrests, work your way down.

The floor needs to be the last thing you vacuum, but a handy thing to do (if you have a full-size vacuum cleaner) is to remove the floor mats and use the larger main vacuum floor tool on them. This also gives you a chance to vacuum under the mats and removing those little stones that can increase the wear-and-tear.


Take your Eco-Friendly Glass cleaner, spray it onto the surface and give it a wipe! Circular motions are best, and your lint-free cloth will not leave irritating fibres over your otherwise clean surface.

Plastic Dashboard

Important: – If you have leather or wood veneers, then swap out your home-made window cleaner solution for water, or better yet, a specialist cleaner or polish that contains the oils that properly maintain the leather or veneer surface.

Spray your window cleaning solution directly onto your cleaning cloth liberally, and wipe with circular motions. If you collect a lot of dust on one side of the cloth, just fold it in on itself so the dust is contained and not spread.

Use small circular motions and keep your lint-free cloth nice and damp. For stubborn areas, use a bit more cleaning solution and leave it for 30 seconds.

Don’t forget your handbrake and gearstick – these harbour as much bacteria as your steering wheel. Now clean the side windows, handles and other hard parts of the car’s interior.

Final Notes & Special Surfaces

If you have leather surfaces, you could refer to our guide on cleaning leather sofas or white leather.

We hope you have enjoyed our guide and that your car interior will soon be spotless. Remember to clean your car regularly to keep it in the best condition – and remember – the more regularly you clean it, the quicker the cleaning will be!