How to Clean Your Car Interior

Even for the most obsessive individuals when it comes to cleanliness, it doesn’t take long for dirt and debris to accumulate in your vehicle. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise when you’re taking regular trips, especially when you have kids and/or pets in the equation. The importance of a clean interior cannot be overstated and that’s why we’re here to help.

Not only does a clean car interior improve your driving experience, but it is also important for health, hygiene and last but not least, the aesthetic appearance of your vehicle. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll provide practical advice and effective methods to help restore your car’s interior to its pristine condition.

Tools You’ll Need

Before we delve into how to clean your car interior, you’ll need to equip yourself with some tools which include:
●Upholstery cleaner
●Handheld vacuum
●Glass cleaner
●Microfiber cloth
●All-purpose cleaning spray
●Compressed air can
●Disinfecting spray

How to Clean Your Car Interior, Step by Step

Now that you have all the tools you need, it’s time to get started on rejuvenating your vehicle’s interior.

1. Sweep Clutter Away

To start things off, you’re going to want to declutter. Grab a rubbish bag and throw all wrappers, disposable cups, expired receipts and other unwanted items in the bag.

2. Remove and Clean the Floor Mats

Before you start vacuuming your carpet, take the floor mats out of the car and give them a good shake. Rubber mats can be washed with a hose to remove excess dirt and soil. For a more thorough clean, add dishwashing soap and warm water to a bucket and scrub the mats with a brush. Once you’ve done that then rinse the mats thoroughly to remove any soap residue and allow them to air-dry.
When vacuuming, you’re going to want to use a crevice tool, as this will allow you to do a better job without causing any damage to the seat.

3. Wipe the Windows Down

You should never use products that aren’t specifically designed for the purpose of cleaning glass when it comes to washing interior windows. If you are using glass cleaning products inside your vehicle, make sure to use at least 2 microfiber cleaning cloths. Use one cloth to spray the product on the cloth and apply the cleaner directly to the glass. Use the other cloth to wipe the window clean.

4. Clear Dust and Disinfect Dashboard

The dashboard is the focal part of your car’s interior, so it’s no surprise that it’s a prime target for dust and grime. Take care of this as soon as possible by wiping down the dashboard with a microfiber cloth or using a vacuum to get rid of the grime quickly. Apply compressed air to get to the hard-to-reach areas, then wipe down thoroughly with an all purpose cleaner. Finally, sanitise high traffic areas using disinfectant wipes, and add an air freshener to remove odours.

5. Clean Console

The best way to clean your car’s console is to take it one step at a time. Start by wiping down the console with a microfibre cloth to get rid of dust and fingerprints on the often-touched surface. If you’re dealing with more complex surfaces and spills, you’ll want to use a soft bristles brush for a deep clean.

6. Clean the Seats

The best way to clean car seats is dependent on the type of car seats that you have. Generally you will start by vacuuming your seats thoroughly to get rid of loose dirt and debris. For fabric seats, look for any stains and choose the right upholstery cleaner. Apply the upholstery cleaner using a soft brush for a gentle yet effective cleaning. For leather seats, use a special leather cleaner and leather conditioner. This will help maintain the quality of your leather seats and prevent cracks.
For those with leather upholstery, check out our article on how to clean and restore leather car seats.

 7. Deodorize

For a refreshing touch, apply a layer of dry baking soda onto your car’s carpet and fabric seats, allowing it to settle overnight. This natural deodorizer absorbs lingering odours effectively.

How Often Should You Clean the Inside of Your Car?

The amount of times your car’s interior needs to be cleaned within a certain period varies depending on your driving habits and lifestyle. For example, if you frequently transport children and pets, your interior may need to be cleaned more often for obvious reasons. For all the car enthusiasts out there that want to keep the inside of their car in top condition, we recommend cleaning your vehicle’s interior at least a couple of times each month.

How to Keep Your Car Interior Clean

So now that you’ve thoroughly cleaned your car’s interior, you might be wondering how you can keep it that way and prevent your next cleaning job from being as equally exhausting. Fear not, as we’ve laid out some steps to maintain a clean car interior.

Regular Cleaning Routine

It should go without saying that one of the most important things you can do to keep your car interior clean is to make sure you clean it regularly. Everyday wear and tear and exposure to different elements can quickly build up dust, dirt and debris in your car. By making sure you clean your car regularly, you’re not only preserving the look of your car, but you’re also preventing the build-up of allergens, bacteria and more.

Don’t Eat in the Car

Steering clear of eating in the car minimises the chances of spills and food crumbs that can be challenging to eliminate. Not only does it make your car easier to clean, but it also ensures a more enjoyable and tidy driving experience.

Use Seat Covers

Opting for seat covers is a smart move when it comes to preserving a clean car interior. Seat covers protect your upholstery from spills, stains and everyday wear, protecting it from damage. Another useful feature is the fact that they are easy to take off and wash, keeping your car interior fresh and clean.

Use Shoe Protectors

Shoe protectors are a great way to keep your car interior clean. These handy accessories act as a barrier to keep dirt, mud and grime out of your car. By requiring your passengers to put on their shoes before stepping foot in your car, you reduce the chances of unwanted stains and dirt on your carpet and floor mats.

Keep a Rubbish Bag in the Car

Keeping a rubbish bag in your car is a small yet impactful step toward maintaining a clean interior. It’s an easy way to keep wrappers and tissues out of your car, as well as a great way to get rid of small items that build up over time.

Carry a Portable Vacuum

A portable vacuum is a must-have for keeping your car interior clean. It’s compact and easy to use, so you don’t have to worry about dirt, grime, and debris piling up. Whether you’re dealing with an unexpected spill or just need to keep your vehicle looking nice and tidy between deep cleanings, portable vacuums provide the versatility and speed needed to quickly clean up messes.

How Espresso Car Wash Can Help

A clean car interior is not only aesthetically pleasing but also hygienic. When you’re trying to keep your car clean, it’s important to follow a regular cleaning routine. While the DIY approach we’ve laid out can be rewarding, sometimes the convenience of having a professional clean your car is too good an option to turn down. This is where we come in.

Espresso Car Wash is New Zealand’s leading professional hand wash & detailing provider. Our approach to cleaning your car’s interior is personalised for each vehicle, addressing its unique needs. Book online or visit your nearest Espresso Car Wash branch today to revitalise the inside of your treasured vehicle.


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