Car interior cleaning is almost more important than a shiny paint: Who wants to get into a stuffy, dirty and spoiled car? But before you tear out the carpets and spread twenty scented trees in the car, we’ll show you some tips that really help. How to make your car fresh again from the inside.
First of all, of course, the entire interior should be thoroughly vacuumed. Suction stations at the petrol station are practical for quick interior cleaning but too expensive for intensive deep care. If you have the possibility, you should use your own vacuum cleaner. It is also possible to combine both. After the car wash, the basic cleaning is done at the powerful suction station, and at home the corners and inaccessible places are vacuumed with smaller nozzles.
The Best Car Carpet Cleaner 2020
I spent quite a while searching for the best car carpet cleaner and today I want to share with you some of the recommendations that I came across and that I would recommend checking out if you want your carpets to smell great and look fresh.
Tuff Stuff Floor Cleaner
- 12 Pack! Save some money.
- Aerosol's intense foaming action floats dirt away without scrubbing
The Tuff Stuff Floor Cleaner is great if you’re looking for a cleaner to use with the carpets in your car as well as various other places in your car or home.
It can be used with the carpets along with floor mats, vinyl, fabric upholstery, and just about any other surfaces (such as the car seats) that you would feel comfortable using soap on.
The way it works is by taking advantage of a foaming action that’s able to clean deep and lift dirt and other debris out of the carpet and then it can be vacuumed or brushed away.
I also like it because it doesn’t contain any fluorocarbons or phosphates and I find that the foaming really helps to get the carpets clean in my car.
I definitely recommend checking out the Tuff Stuff Floor Cleaner if you’re looking to keep the carpet in your car clean as well as have a cleaning product to use on other surfaces in your vehicle.
Turtle Wax Interior Multi-Purpose Cleaner and Stain Remover
- Advanced cleaning formula deep cleans and deodorizes carpet and...
- Formulated with oxygenated cleaners for incredible cleaning and...
- Deep cleans, deodorizes, and protects carpet and fabrics
- Encapsulates and removes odors caused by smoke, pets, food and more
- Use in the car, boat, RV and home
The Turtle Wax Interior Multi-Purpose Cleaner and Stain Remover can be used for cleaning stains off of the car carpentry and can also be used to clean seat upholstery as well.
The way it works is by taking advantage of an advanced cleaning formula that offers a deep clean that helps to remove stains and also deodorizes the carpet or other fabric so that it’s left clean and smelling fresh.
Not only can it be used to remove stains from the carpet and seats of the car but it also helps to remove odors that are left behind from smoking, food, pets, and other common smells.
I really like this cleaner because it can be used for cleaning stains from the carpet as well as leaving it smelling quite fresh and the top of the aerosol spray can has a built-in brush so after applying some cleaner I can use the brush to really get into the carpet or fabric to effectively remove dirt and stains.
I’ve had a lot of success over the years with Turtle Wax products and if you’re looking to clean the carpets of your car or the fabric on the seats then I would definitely recommend checking out the Turtle Wax Interior Multi-Purpose Cleaner and Stain Remover.
Armor All Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner
- Watch the toughest stains disappear like magic!
- Penetrates deep into fibers to break up tough, ground-in dirt
- Dissolves the toughest automotive stains – like mud, coffee, cola,...
- Restores carpet and upholstery's plush, luxurious beauty
- Deep cleans with powerful Oxygen action
The Armor All Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner comes in a spray bottle, which I prefer over the aerosol cans for its accuracy and ease-of-use, and this cleaner can be used on carpets as well as floor mats, door panels, fabrics, vinyl, and seat upholstery.
After spraying the cleaner it’s able to penetrate deep into the fibers of the carpet where it can break down dirt, stains, and other debris.
I’ve used it to get rid of the stains in my car that have been caused by mud, soda, grease from fast food, and even those pesky coffee stains that seem to get everywhere.
To use it effectively simply spray it onto the carpet or any spots that you want to clean, let it sit for a short while, and either wipe it up with a microfiber cloth or use a brush to scrub any problem spots.
With this method I’ve had no problem getting rid of the majority of stains that have settled into the carpet as well as the leather of the seats in my car and the spray bottle factor makes it easy to use in those hard-to-reach places underneath the seats.
Chemical Guys Fabric Clean Carpet and Upholstery Shampoo and Odor Eliminator
- Breaks down and removes stubborn stains
- Works on indoor and outdoor fabric, upholstery and carpet
- Deep cleaning benefits of biotechnology
- No toxic chemicals, ammonia, bleach, color damaging deterrents or...
- No hard rubbing or scrubbing necessary
The Chemical Guys Clean Carpet and Upholstery Shampoo takes a different approach when it comes down to cleaning and removing stains in the upholstery or carpet of your car.
Rather than coming in a spray bottle this cleaner actually comes as a liquid detergent that needs to be added to water for it to be used effectively.
It is a highly concentrated solution so it’s meant to be used as one part of the cleaner along with 20 parts of water and it features a biodegradable degreaser along with an enzymatic odor eliminator that helps to break down grease and other stains while eliminating odors and leaving behind a fresh smelling scent.
I really like the products by Chemical Guys because they don’t come with any toxic chemicals that you really don’t want to interact with like some of the other products I use on a regular basis and I find that they work quite well as well.
To use it properly just mix together the solution and then apply it to the area that you want cleaned.
Let it sit for a short while and then using a scrubbing-brush just lightly scrub away any of the debris, dirt, or stains that you want gone.
Hopefully by the time you’re done rubbing it away the carpet or upholstery will look fresh and clean, any of the stains will be gone, and it should smell quite nice as well.
Meguiar’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner
- DEEP CLEAN: deep cleaning, professional strength formula removes...
- REMOVE ODORS: Features Maguire's permanent odor eliminating...
- QUICK AND EASY: fast acting foam breaks down stains for quick & easy...
- RESIDUE FREE: dries quickly without leaving behind a sticky residue
- NEW CAR SCENT: leaves behind a fresh, new car scent
The Meguiar’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner can be used for cleaning both the carpet and the upholstery in your car.
It features a professional strength cleaning foam that takes advantage of a deep cleansing power that’s able to remove stains and odors from carpet materials and upholstery without leaving behind any residue or unsightly marks.
The foam works very fast add breaking down the stain or dirt components and can be easily removed with a microfiber cloth, scrubbing brush, or by vacuuming.
You can use the Meguiar’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner for spot cleaning and specific removal of stains or just to clean all the carpets during your detailing.
Car Carpet Cleaning Tools
Having the right product is only half the battle for me and there’s a few other tools that I use when it comes to cleaning the carpets in my car.
One of the most important tools that I have with me when I’m carpet cleaning is a variety of different brushes depending on the severity of the stains and dirt buildup that I want to clean away.
Apart from the brush I also have some microfiber cloths on hand to wipe up any spots that I missed or to wipe away any of the cleaner if I happen get it on the seats or anywhere else that I don’t want it sitting.
Chemical Guys Medium Duty Carpet Brush with Drill Attachment
- Easy drill attachment
- Great for carpets, upholstery and even leather
- Made of 100 percentage polypropylene - the most durable material for...
- Great for spot removal
- 5 inch diameter
The Chemical Guys Medium Duty Carpet Brush with Drill Attachment is one of the brushes that I use for cleaning the carpets in my Volvo.
While it’s possible to hold it by hand, I would actually recommend checking out my next suggestion if you’re looking for a hand-held brush.
I really like this one because I can attach it to the drill and take advantage of a deep and rigorous scrubbing of the carpets to get them really clean and free from dirt, stains, and debris.
The bristles are quite stiff and after applying a cleaning product I let it sit for a short while before attaching this brush to a drill and then rigorously scrubbing the carpet so that it’s as fresh and clean as I can possibly get it.
Not only can it be used on the carpets but it can also be used on upholstery throughout the interior of the vehicle and the seats for any dirt or stains that aren’t able to be easily removed by hand.
Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Brush
- Tough bristles remove dirt and grime
- Contoured, comfortable design
- Extremely durable
When it comes to spotting cleaning or just doing a light detailing of the carpets it’s the Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Brush that I use since I don’t need the heavy-duty power of the one that attaches to the drill.
This brush features a contoured design that’s comfortable to hold and offers an ample grip when it comes to scrubbing out stains, dirt, and grime from carpets.
The hard part is designed from a hard plastic material and the bristles are quite tough and are able to really get down into the carpet fibers which makes it possible for the brush to break up all of the particles that need to be cleaned away.
Depending on what your cleaning, especially with sensitive leather seats, make sure to test a spot first since the bristles are quite stiff and I would recommend using them on the carpet while just using a microfiber cloth or soft brush for the seats.
Best Car Carpet Cleaner Buying Guide 2020
Car seats are exposed to high stress: You rub on them, sit on them with wet or dirty clothes, and over time stains, fluff and dirty edges accumulate – not real sales arguments.
The first step in cleaning a car seat is to vacuum thoroughly: choose a narrow nozzle attachment for the vacuum cleaner and use it to go into every crevice and crease of the car seat. Stubborn crumbs can be removed with a brush.
As soon as the seat is free of dust on the surface, the chemical cleaning comes.
Special upholstery cleaners are recommended for seats made of fabric, velour or Alcantara that become increasingly dirty over the years. Conventional household carpet cleaners are less suitable as they soak the seats thoroughly and may attack the pattern or fabric.
To use the cleaner, simply follow the instructions on the packaging; as a rule, the products must be sprayed on and then worked into the fiber. The final step is then a powerful vacuuming.
After treatment, the seats are clean, odorless and the colors are refreshed. At the same time, high-quality products provide a light dirt impregnation – so the car stays clean longer.
Leather seats not only look noble in a car but are also demanding in terms of care and cleaning: Scrubbing the sensitive animal skin with household cleaning agents destroys the structure, appearance and elasticity of the upholstery.
There are plenty of special leather cleaners, which usually also care products in the same operation – the price range is enormous. For practical use and for newer vehicles a product of the middle class is sufficient. For historical vehicles, or if money is not an issue, it may, of course, be a little more exclusive for the noble seat skin.
In any case, especially leather seats must be subjected to special care in order to preserve them for a long time. This is the only way to ensure added value when reselling them.
How to Clean Carpeting in Vehicles
Car carpets have a hard life: Very few people wipe their feet before they get in their car. Wetness, road salt, mud, dirt, dust, animal hair, crumbs… all this and much more makes the carpet unsightly over the years.
A good tip: Before vacuuming, switch the car fan to the highest level and switch through all ventilation modes once: Dust will be blown out of the air ducts and can be vacuumed up with it.
Here too, the cleaning procedure starts with a thorough vacuuming, preferably with a brush attachment on the vacuum cleaner. It goes without saying that the floor mats are removed from the car beforehand and beaten separately.
Afterward, the carpet should be foamed over the entire surface with a carpet cleaner. This is much more effective when worked in with a root brush. If stubborn stains, such as oil, tar or food residues, are still present afterward, use an additional intensive carpet stain remover. The carpet will then shine in new splendor – and smell freshly washed!
6 Common Car Smells and How to Remove Them
Stinks in the car? Not nice! Anyone who gets into a car that smells of cigarette smoke, dog hair, and old socks is very reluctant to buy the car. Therefore the air has to get better – a scented tree is not the first choice!
Bad air in the car can have many causes: First of all, you should check if moisture is getting in anywhere – some cars leak at the windscreen rubbers, at the water box under the windscreen wipers, and also at the ventilation/air conditioning system. Have any leaks removed first? Strong smelling carpets (mold!) must either be replaced or specially treated.
Odor control methods used individually or in combination:
- in case of a damp smell, and an open bucket of salt in the boot helps as a pre-treatment: the salt binds moisture and odors
- afterward – or from the outset in the case of a dry stench, a tray of standard, finely ground coffee powder is placed in the trolley for 24 hours. The coffee absorbs the odors and spreads a good aroma, which soon evaporates but does not allow the stench to return.
- For fine treatment, the seats and carpet should be treated with a commercially available odor spray or textile freshener (e.g. Febreze).
Mold odor in the car, usually coming from damp insulation materials or carpet, is an extremely annoying and disgusting thing. With these instructions, you can remove the smell from car carpets and insulation material.
- A bit labor-intensive, but the carpet must be removed. During the transition period, doormats should be gentle on the floor and the car can still be used.
- Then spread the carpet out or hang it up to dry. Direct sunlight and dry weather will speed up the process. Then spray the carpet with Schimmel-Ex from the building materials store – preferably soaking. First test the colorfastness of the carpet in an inconspicuous place (many mold removers contain chlorine compounds that have a bleaching effect).
- Allow to dry for at least 48 hours and test the odor. If the mold odor is not eliminated, the procedure can be repeated.
- A final treatment with a textile freshener improves the effect and the carpet can be reinstalled. Leaks in the car should, of course, be eliminated in the meantime.
Refresh plastics and clean windows
Now that you have cleaned the textiles, it’s time to clean the surfaces in the car: First, you should remove the dust with a lint-free cloth, in the cracks a wooden stick under the cloth helps. Afterwards a special plastic cleaner should be used: This will remove grease, nicotine, and other dirt reliably and gently. A final treatment with cockpit spray gives the cleaning action a shiny finish – and fresh scent in the car.
The windows also require special care: In the car wash, they are usually only superficially clean: exhaust gas and grease residues remain on the outside, nicotine and grease residues on the inside. With the well-known cleaning agent Sidol, also available in a spray bottle, can be used to give the windows a high gloss – thanks to the light sanding effect and the fat-dissolving additives, it is much better than conventional glass cleaner. You should forget the old trick with the newspaper – this only greases the pane. It is better to use an old, but a lint-free towel.
Car Carpet Cleaning Tips
Keeping your car clean, both on the inside and out, not only help it to maintain its value but also makes it more enjoyable to drive.
With a clean car you don’t have to worry about any awkward smells, unpleasant odors, or being too embarrassed to invite your friends or family into your vehicle because of how dirty or unsanitary it might be.
A few helpful carpet cleaning tips that will help to increase the lifespan of the carpets in your car as well as leave them smelling nice and looking fresh.
Deal With Spills Immediately
Before you even start cleaning anything up it’s a good idea to deal with any spills that happen as soon as you can.
Using cool water and a microfiber cloth blot at the stain and try to dilute its strength so that it doesn’t leave as big of a mark or any mark at all.
You could use some soap but this could discolor the carpeting and if the stain remains then you’ll want to use one of the cleaners are recommended up above again with a microfiber cloth or a dedicated cleaning brush.
Clean a Large Area First
Unless you’re spot painting a specific stain I recommend cleaning his carpet separately before dealing with any specific problem areas.
This is so that you can avoid having tiny little areas on the carpet that are very clean with the rest being off-color or not clean at all.
After cleaning the carpet you can then focus on problem spots and take the time to make sure that they blend in with the rest of the carpeted area.
You don’t have to but the first thing I do before applying any cleaner or soap is to vacuum the area that I want to clean first.
Vacuuming picks up all of the dust, loose dirt, and any other loose debris that could hinder the cleaning process and in most cases, a good vacuuming is all the carpet needs to look fresh.
Once I’m finished vacuuming I’ll apply cleaner to get rid of any stains or just to make the fibers look newer and to help the car smell nice as well.
Remove the Carpets from the Car
One thing I’ve noticed a lot of people doing both online and throughout my neighborhood is cleaning the carpets while they’re still inside the car.
I don’t find this to be an effective method at all and I would recommend removing the carpets from the vehicle and then cleaning them outside so that it’s possible to access all of the different surface areas and ensure that the whole carpet gets equal cleaning treatment.
Also, with the carpets removed, it’s possible to give a thorough cleaning to the interior carpets that are not covered by a mat.
Dry It Out
One of the last things I recommend doing is once you’re done cleaning the interior of your car is to leave the doors open for a short period of time and let the interior dry out.
It’s not a good idea to close the doors and leave the damp carpets sitting inside the car as this could lead to further problems with moisture build-up.
If you’re not comfortable you could just leave the windows open but then you would have to clean them at a different time.