When it comes to their car, most people spend ages cleaning them to ensure they have a shiny, sparkling clean car for all eyes to see. But what can be just as important, is cleaning and maintaining the inside too. It doesn’t just avoid embarrassment when giving someone a lift but can be an important part in the up-keep of your car.

Keeping Your Car Upholstery Clean

Keeping your car upholstery clean can be beneficial in a number of ways and not just for your own peace of mind.

Helps Retain Value

Keeping your car regularly serviced can help keep the value of your vehicle, but so can a clean car, including the car upholstery. If you’re likely to sell your car one day in the future, taking proper care of your car interior can help to keep the value as high as it can be over time. A clean car means a well-looked after car.

Addressing Stains Before they can’t be Removed

There are plenty of different types of interiors designed for cars but with some materials, getting a bit of dirt on your upholstery can cause staining, especially if you’ve got kids! Having your vehicle’s interior cleaned on a regular basis can help get those stains and dirt out of your car seats and carpets before it’s too late.

Anti-bacterial Properties

We all normally use our cars on a regular basis, and most people don’t just have themselves in their vehicle. With people coming in and out of our car’s they can be prone to bacteria and dirt. Cross-contamination with money, food and drinks can also bring extra bacteria into the vehicle. Getting a regular car upholstery clean can ensure that our car stays clean and doesn’t provide a feeding ground for bacteria. This can help prevent illnesses, coughs and colds and allergies.

Weather Damage

During winter months, there may be condensation in our vehicles or during the summer, dirt and sand can cause erosion to your floor mats. Addressing these issues and having your car upholstery cleaned before any further damage is caused can help to maintain them and keep your car interior clean for longer.

The Problem with Car Upholstery Cleaning Services

We all like to take advantage of services offered if we don’t have to do it ourselves for added convenience, but sometimes they don’t always do it in the way we would like. With car interior cleaners or upholstery cleaners there can be some issues that prop up time and time again.

It can be Expensive

Getting your car valeted can often be expensive, even if it means we have a clean car. Not only that, but they tend to focus more on the inside of the car, rather than the outside so you don’t tend to get your full money’s worth when it comes to the interior of your car. Decent car interior cleaners or upholstery cleaners are hard to find on their own so it can be worth checking out online car upholstery cleaner reviews to make sure you find a good one that’s worth the price.

Sub-par Standards

Often companies offering car upholstery cleaning services are a local garage whose business tends to focus on MOTs and servicing. Finding the right place to clean your car upholstery can be tough and often you can find yourself going to a place whose standards aren’t up to scratch. Finding the right place can take time and effort, and you might have to hunt around for a while before finding the right one.

Cleaning Needs to be Done Regularly

Like the rest of your vehicle, having your car’s interior cleaned really should be done on a regular basis. Finding the time in your busy schedule to take your car to a professional is bad enough, but having to do this every week? You also have to go without your car on a regular basis whilst the work is being done, which isn’t ideal in a busy working week or weekend. Often, you’ll have to fit in with their opening times and bookings too, so you’ll have to change your schedule to fit around theirs.

Do-it-Yourself Car Upholstery Cleaning Products

Whilst it can be convenient to get your car professionally cleaned on the inside, sometimes it’s easier and cheaper to do it yourself.

If you’re looking at taking on cleaning your car’s interior yourself, you’ll want to arm yourself with the best car upholstery cleaners and products on the market. This doesn’t just include a good car upholstery cleaner but shampoos, protectors and all-purpose cleaners too. Finding the best car upholstery cleaners and accessories can be tough, so we’ve listed some of the top upholstery cleaning products out there and reviewed each one, so you can choose which is best for your car and budget.

All-Purpose Cleaners

If you’re looking for one-size-fits-all car upholstery cleaners, then All-purpose cleaners are your go to. They’re normally suited for leather, plastics, vinyl, fabrics, and carpets so you can get all your interior done with one product.

Armor All Multi-Purpose Auto Cleaner

Armor All Multi-Purpose Auto Cleaner

Armor’s car interior cleaner is more versatile than most products out there with a list hosting every area in your car interior you can think of. It removes grease, ground in dirt and road grime to help keep your car looking lovely on the inside. It doesn’t discolour carpets or upholstery which some powerful cleaners can do and is really easy to use with just a nozzle spray. You spray it directly onto the area, leave to soak in briefly and then you can easily rinse or wipe it off with a damp cloth

  • Pros:

A great all-round cleaner that’s easy to use, smells nice and is affordable

  • Cons:

May still need to scrub at problem areas and comes in a small bottle so for larger cars or dirtier cars you might need to get more than one. Will still need to purchase a protector for a longer-lasting effect.

Meguiar’s D10101 Detailer All Purpose Cleaner

Meguiars D10101 Detailer All Purpose Cleaner

Meguiar’s All-Purpose cleaner is suited for all areas of your car’s interior. It comes in a 1-gallon container, so it safely covers all of the insides of your car. It’s really easy to use and has a gentle foaming agent which lifts away dirt. It contains optical brighteners and fabric softeners to really rejuvenate the inside of your vehicle. It works on leather, fabrics, vinyl and carpets and even works wonders lifting dirt of your tires too!

  • Pros:

Really is an all-purpose cleaner and is really easy to use. Just need to wipe away the dirt! No scrubbing needed.

  • Cons:

As it comes in a larger container, it is a little more expensive than others on the market, but it can easily do your whole vehicle in one go. If it’s not wiped off before it dries it can be a little sticky and don’t apply too heavy onto leather or plastic as it can leave a white residue, but this is easy to wipe off.

Chemical Guys Nonsense Colourless and Odourless All Surface Cleaner

Chemical Guys Nonsense Colourless and Odourless All Surface Cleaner

If you’re a little adverse to the smell of cleaning products, Chemical Guys Colourless and Odourless All Surface Cleaner is a great product. You can dilute it according to your needs and it is designed to remove dirt, grime and stains effectively. Its formula combines citrus extract with pH balanced odour-free cleaning to really get under the surface of any dirt. It’s really effective on heavier areas and is gentle so can be used on sensitive fabrics too including leather. As there isn’t any foam involved, it doesn’t leave a residue either.

  • Pros:

Worth buying – works really well on heavy duty areas and doesn’t leave your car smelling of chemicals.

  • Cons:

Doesn’t work well if weakly diluted, keep it stronger for a better outcome. For dirtier areas, it might be worth doing a second cleaning and really scrub out the dirt.

Car Upholstery Cleaner and Carpet Shampoo

All-purpose cleaners can be really good if you’re looking to get everything done with one product. However, sometimes specialist products designed to suit the exact area you’re working on can be beneficial if you’re looking for a really professional result. Getting a decent car upholstery cleaner and shampoo is worth investing in if they are the right product for you.

3D Upholstery and Carpet Shampoo

3D Upholstery and Carpet Shampoo

The 3D Upholstery and Carpet Shampoo is designed to work on both carpets and upholstery for a great clean, finish. It is a high foaming shampoo that deodorizes as it cleans and contains an optical brighter to really make a difference to your car’s interior. It gives out a lemon smell to your vehicle and works well with both carpet extractors and hand application.

  • Pros:

Smells great and cleans carpets really well. It can also be diluted for longer use and is environmentally friendly.

  • Cons:

Doesn’t work so well on seats and needs to be combined with an all-purpose cleaner. It works best with carpet extractors but can be applied by hand with a little more work involved.

Ultima Interior No Rinse Shampoo and Gentle Cleaner Gel

Ultima Interior No Rinse Shampoo and Gentle Cleaner Gel

The Ultima Interior Shampoo is a great product for cleaning carpets and Upholstery effectively. It’s a no-rinse cleaner as dirt and residue are easily wiped away after use. Its anti-bacterial properties help get rid of dirt and prevent allergies and it’s really simple to use. The gel uses unique cleaning technology that when applied, loosens and dissolves all the dirt, which is then easily wiped away. It works on leather too and comes highly recommended.

  • Pros:

Really easy to use, apply, wait for it to work and wipe off. Dries really quickly and leaves a lovely fresh scent.

  • Cons:

A little pricier than some of the other shampoos on the market and still needs to be used with a protector, but overall a great product.

Mothers 05424 Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

Mothers 05424 Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

The Mothers products always come highly recommended when it comes to car cleaning. This trigger spray carpet and upholstery cleaner is designed to loosen soil and dirt from the carpet and interior fabrics. It’s perfect for use after vacuuming and frees up dirt that can easily be removed. Scrubbing is required for stubborn areas and stains. It pulls out stubborn stains and is pH balanced for a great finish. It works on vinyl, velour, carpet and can even be used for home use too!

  • Pros:

Works especially well on stains and does a great job cleaning both your car interior and your home too!

  • Cons:

For the price, it doesn’t do as well as other shampoos and all-purpose cleaners and it to get the best out of this product you’ll need to hoover both before and after application, so a little extra work is involved.

Simoniz S86 TrimTastic Leather Cleaner and Conditioner

Simoniz S86 TrimTastic Leather Cleaner and Conditioner

If you’ve got a leather interior and want a product that works specifically to clean your leather, then this Simoniz TrimTastic Leather Cleaner is a great one. It doesn’t just clean your interior but always works to protect it against UB rays and future cracks and ageing. It’s pH Balanced to protect your leather from harsh chemicals and it’s a great way to restore the natural condition of your leather to bring life back into your vehicle.

  • Pros:

Is a great preventative product as well as cleaning protecting your seats from ageing and sun damage.

  • Cons:

Works solely on seats and cannot be utilised for carpets so you’ll need to get additional products for the full interior.

Surface Cleaners and Detailers

Getting your seats and carpets scrubbed is the hardest part of cleaning your car’s interior. But it can also be important to make sure all the plastics and other areas in your vehicle are all dusted and removed of dirt for a really professional finish.

Protect All 62016 All-Surface Care Cleaner

The Protect All All-Surface Care literally works on any part of your vehicle, inside and out. It works on all makes and models of cars as well as being recommended for motorcycles, boats, ATVs and more. It is formulated with Carnauba wax which provides a great shine for all interiors and paintwork. It’s water-repellent, durable, non-oily and provides protection against UV rays. It can work on your dashboard as well as any vinyl, leather, paint, aluminum, mirrors, plastic and glass. It’s a great product designed to clean and polish the areas of your vehicle with ease. It super easy to use, with just a spray and wipe until dry and doesn’t leave any residue.

  • Pros:

Great product for all surfaces and leaves a long-lasting shine

  • Cons:

Is a little pricey as it’s an all-purpose cleaner. But does work really well on the interior plastics and glass so no glass cleaner is required.

Meguiar’s G16216 Ultimate Interior Detailer

Meguiars G16216 Ultimate Interior Detailer

The Ultimate Interior Detailer by Meguiar is designed to clean all interior surfaces really easily. It’s fast-drying and leaves behind a protective finish which is great for areas that are subject to sunlight. It’s deep cleaning so removes all dirt as well as providing a great shine. It can be used in all areas including windscreens, stereos, dashboards, panels and more.

  • Pros:

Gets out tough stains, non-greasy and doesn’t leave too much of a shine for a natural, clean look.

  • Cons:

Whilst it does the job, it doesn’t leave the best odour. So, if you’re looking for a nice refreshing smell, it might not be the right product for you.

Detail King Pink Power Automotive Interior Cleaner

Detail King Pink Power Automotive Interior Cleaner

For a quality auto interior cleaner, Detail King Pink Power is definitely one you should consider. It contains optical brighteners to give a new lease of life to all interior vinyl and plastic as well as enhancing fabric fibre colour in addition to breaking down dirt. It doesn’t leave residue nor does it dry out any fibres and has a very pleasant berry scent.

  • Pros:

It smells delightful and is perfectly pH balanced as well as environmentally friendly. Is really great as an interior vinyl cleaner for door panels, dashboards and trims. It can also work on leathers and seats if required.

  • Cons:

The only real fault on this product is the price. If you’re not a fan of berry smells in your car, then a different scent might be preferable. It does a great job on the interiors, isn’t strongly kitted out for fabric so for the price you may find similar products online for cheaper.

Fabric Protector

Finding an effective carpet and upholstery cleaner is one thing, but in order to protect your car’s interior against future dirt and sun damage can be really useful. It helps ensure that future maintenance is kept to a minimum, making cleaning easier and more effective as well as reducing any future stains

303 Fabric Guard, Upholstery Protector and Water Stain Repellent

303 Fabric Guard, Upholstery Protector and Water Stain Repellent

The 303 Fabric Guar helps to protect your newly clean interior against stains, water and sun damage. It’s a high-quality, premium product which is reflected in the price but comes recommended by Sunbrella as well as other fabric manufacturers. Works on suede and fabric really well and is highly waterproof.

  • Pros:

Is extremely waterproof and provides great protection on fabric and suede

  • Cons:

Doesn’t work so well on leather and can be a little expensive compared to other products on the market.

Chemical Guys SPI_210_16 Fabric Guard Interior Protector Shield

Chemical Guys SPI_210_16 Fabric Guard Interior Protector Shield

The Chemical Guys Fabric Guard Interior Protect Shield spray is fully water repellant and creates an invisible shield to protect against all stains and odours. It helps your carpet and upholstery cleaner last a long longer increasing fibre durability and even protects against the sun’s UV rays.

  • Pros:

Provides protection against water and stains as well as odours. A recommended brand that is highly reliable and works on a number of different products.

  • Cons:

As Chemical Guys is a popular brand it can be a little over-priced. But considering the products work well and get good customer reviews, it’s still worth paying for.

Scotchgard Auto Fabric and Carpet Protector

Scotchguard Auto Fabric and Carpet ProtectorScotchgard’s Auto Fabric and Carpet Protector comes highly recommended like most of their products and has an impressively affordable price tag. It protects against water, oil and stains in the long term and is superior in resistance against a lot of other products on the market. It’s not intended for leather or plastic but works really well in a simple application on fabrics. It helps keep your newly cleaned interiors looking like new.

  • Pros:

Sits within the market at a respectable price, doesn’t change any colours of fabric and is a strong repellent for water and oil.

  • Cons:

Has quite a strong odour so windows open as per the instructions is recommended. Windows should be left open until the product dries so not ideal for wet or cold weather.

Cleaning Brushes

When you’ve invested in all the right products to get your car clean and protected, it is also useful to invest in the proper tools to ensure that they work efficiently. Having suitable brushes that don’t leave bristles left over and can really get to the root of the dirt can be beneficial in making sure you get a really thorough clean.

OXO Good Grips Heavy Duty Scrub Brush

OXO Good Grips Heavy Duty Scrub Brush

The OXO Good Grips Heavy Duty Scrub Brush is designed for scrubbing all kinds of surfaces but works really well on your car’s interior. It has a wide bristle area which means it’s great on wider surfaces but also has the ability to get the toughest stains out. It’s a great shape to fit perfectly in your hand whilst scrubbing your carpets and upholstery and you can even pop it in the dishwasher afterwards to give it a clean.

  • Pros:

Works on any surface and fits perfectly for optimised scrubbing. It’s pretty durable so works really well on tough spots.

  • Cons:

Isn’t designed for smaller areas as it has a wider surface area.

Nanoskin Whitewall/Sidwall Tire Brush

Nanoskin Whitewall

The Nanoskin Whitewall/Sidwall Tire Brush, although designed for tires, it works really well on your car’s interior. It’s the perfect balance between gentle and aggressive removing stains from carpeting, leather, suede, velour and leather as well as ensuring that it doesn’t damage the surface area. The handle means you can reach areas underneath the seats and feels comfortable.

  • Pros:

Further reach than hand-held brushes and allows efficient removal of dirt without damage.

  • Cons:

: The bristles on this brush can be a little tough for sensitive areas, is a good sized brush but doesn’t help with smaller spaces.

Horsehair Detail Brush

Horsehair Detail Brush

This small 7inch Detail Brush is perfect for the harder to reach areas that other efficient brushes can’t get to. The added handle means you can get into those tighter areas with ease for efficient cleaning. It’s made with natural horsehair and is made with a traditional wood handle. It’s really affordable and provides a great addition to another larger brush for wider spaces.

  • Pros:

Gets into those hard to reach areas efficiently and is super cheap

  • Cons:

Doesn’t work well on its own because of the size so is a great complement to larger brushes for wider areas.

How to Clean Your Car Upholstery

Now you’ve kitted yourself out with all the right car upholstery cleaner products, how do you actually go about cleaning your car’s interior. We’ve provided a step by step guide to help you clean your car’s upholstery for professional results.

You will need:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Upholstery and carpet shampoo
  • Bowl of warm water
  • Heavy duty brush
  • Smaller brush for harder to reach areas
  • Micro-fibre cloth
  • Fabric Protector

Step 1: Take out all the mats and any extra seat covers on your car and shake them out. You can hoover them individually once outside the car to make sure all added debris is removed.

Step 2: Vacuum all areas in your car first. This includes any nooks and crannies including down the sides and the doors. Try to move the seats around and get right in underneath all areas. The more lose debris you can remove, the better!

Step 3: Use the appropriate cleaner to wipe down and scrub at any other interior parts of your car that aren’t your seats or carpet such as your dashboard and door panels. Spray with the product and clean as instructed. You can wipe dry with a cloth for an added shine.

Step 4: Clean the carpets and upholstery. Simply spray each area with cleaner one by one. Start with the seats and higher up areas in case anything falls onto the floor and lower parts of the seats. Once you’ve sprayed with the appropriate product, get your brush and scrub away at any problem areas.

Step 5: For stains and dirtier areas you might want to reapply the product and spend extra time making sure that they’re removed. Apply and repeat as necessary until you get the desired effect. Light applications are normally recommended rather than one heavily saturated application where you can’t see the difference until it has dried.

Step 6: If you’ve got leather seats, at this stage you might want to buffer and dry your seats to ensure you’ve got the right effect. For any worn areas, you might have to do a small section at a time until desired results are achieved.

Step 7: Using quality shampoo and products will not leave your car with a sticky residue that will now attract more dirt. That’s not what they’re designed for. However, it is important to follow the instructions on your product to ensure that any residue, if let over, is wiped clean from surface areas before drying to your car.

Step 8: Your carpets will still have the ability to get dirty again over time, so once shampoo has been cleaned and dry, it can be worth applying a fabric protector as per instructions to keep a long-lasting finish.

Step 9: Once you’ve finished the inside, follow the same steps with your car floor mats. It’s best to place them on something rather than have them on the ground such as a wooden board. Spray on the shampoo and give them a good scrub. Leave them to dry fully before placing them back into the car and add a protective layer to them too.

Conclusion

Whilst ensuring that your car’s interior is fully cleaned and protected can be a big job to start with, using the right car upholstery cleaner can help keep it clean, smelling fresh and looking good for longer. We did our own research plus looked at car upholstery cleaner product reviews to find the best products to help. When you’ve got good upholstery cleaning products, once you’ve managed to get all excess dirt and dust away with a vacuum cleaner, the rest comes fairly easy.

When it came to cleaning my car, I wanted car upholstery cleaner products that helped remove some old coffee stains, gave my car a new clean smell and protected against future damage so I didn’t have to clean it so often. I also have a dog, so it was really important that any product I had wasn’t too chemically but also got rid of any odours.

Getting Started with My Car Cleaning

After I had cleaned out all the rubbish and vacuumed the insides, I chose to use the Protect All Surface Cleaner to remove the dirt and dust from my dashboard and plastic interiors. It worked wonders because I wasn’t actually aware of how much dirt was on there until I used this product. It was really easy to use and wipe each part clean. I bought this as I knew it would do the job, but I could also use it on my windows too for a better interior clean.

Upholstery and Carpet Clean

I chose to get Meguirs All-Purpose Cleaner combined with the Ultima carpet and upholstery shampoo as I had some tougher stains I wanted to get out of my car. I used the shampoo to get out the tougher stains on my seats and the all-purpose cleaner for my carpets and mats. A little scrubbing was involved with both, but overall, I’m really pleased with the result. The Ultima shampoo involved no rinsing, which was ideal for time-saving and left a lovely scent getting rid of any dog odour that was in my car previously.

To help me along the way, I invested in the OXO Heavy Duty Scrub Brush and the Horsehair Detail Brush to get to the smaller areas. It was much better than I anticipated, although fairly hard they make sure that any grime and dirt comes out easily. Combined with the ability of the shampoo to bring out any dirt, it meant I got a little workout without having to strain myself to get the dirt out. Overall, I’m super happy with the outcome.

The Finishing Touches

As I mentioned earlier, I have a dog and I often walk my parent’s dogs too, so having a clean car on the inside can be a little difficult. I put all this effort in, so I wanted to make sure that I protected my clean car against any future dirt and grime as much as possible. To protect my car, I invested in the Chemical Guys Fabric Guard Protector. I chose it because of its water repellent properties and protection against odours ensuring any dog walk damage would be minimised. It’s not the cheapest on the market but I’d rather invest in a quality product that does what it says it while than find a budget product that doesn’t work.

I researched and tried out the best products out there to ensure that I got what I wanted for optimal cleaning for my vehicle. When it comes to your car upholstery cleaning, you’re likely to want to tailor your choice to your certain circumstances. The product reviews provided are suited for different makes and models and cover most bases when it comes to your car clean. Finding the best products for DIY car upholstery cleaning can be difficult, but with the right help and tools, you can get a lot better value for your money than hiring someone else to do it. Keeping a clean car can be vital in making sure it remains safe, healthy and keeps its value so getting the best DIY upholstery products is beneficial for you.