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How to Clean Car Interior by Yourself?

get stains out of headliner in car

Daily activities will sooner or later result in your car’s interior becoming dirty. Quality and professional car interior cleaning services tend to cost you quite an amount of money. It would be best to clean the car interior by yourself.

Therefore, this article will walk you through how to clean the following car interior parts relatively easily and cheaply.


Cleaning Materials and Tools You Will Need

clean inside of windshield and mirror

Before you start cleaning your car’s interior, collect the following tools and material:

  • Suitable chemical products

Most of the items used in making your car’s interior are similar to those used in your house. Therefore, note the various surfaces in your car.

Whether vinyl, fabric, or plastic, then get them from your home. Ensure you take your time to know the different types of surfaces in your car to avoid making numerous trips to the house.

  • Applicators and suitable brushes

While acquiring suitable chemical cleaners for various surfaces, keep in mind that the different chemicals require different types of applicators: whether brushes or sponges.

Therefore, collect appropriate applicators. Also, collect different sized brushes to use when cleaning the air vents and other areas you might find challenging to reach.

  • Vacuum

Find a vacuum cleaner with handheld attachments and an extension hose to clean hard to reach areas and your car’s carpets. If the need arises, an auto steam cleaner might be helpful.

  • Wiping and shining materials

Ensure you collect various rags and towels to use in wiping your car’s interior. If you need to shine the surfaces, few materials are better than a microfiber cloth.

As you will realize, all these are things you generally use. Therefore, the cleaning process will not be confusing.


How to Clean a Car Interior?

Having collected all the tools and materials you need. All you need is to clean the car’s interior parts. However, before you start the process, ensure you declutter the vehicle by removing personal items. Here is a video to instruct you to clean inside of your auto.

Followings are detailed steps to clean every part of your car:

 Carpet and Seats

  • Carpets

Use the various nozzles and brush attachments you had collected earlier to clean hard to reach areas around the seats.

Use the vacuum to remove all the dirt and debris from your carpet.

If you brought a steam cleaning machine with you, use it to clean the carpet. If you do not have one, use a commercial carpet cleaner. Apply the carpet cleaner and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use it.

If there is chewing gum stuck on the carpet, place ice cubes on it till it becomes brittle, then pry it off. Rinse the carpet thoroughly and dry it.

  • Seats

Car seats come in different designs. Therefore, know the material used in making your seat. Then, vacuum the seat to remove the dust and debris, then proceed to the below steps.

Leather and Vinyl

clean beige leather car seats

With your seats vacuumed, now check on the material the seat is composed of and proceed as necessary. Note that these processes will also apply to surfaces made of these materials.

  • Leather

Leather interiors are usually very luxurious. To clean leather:

Spray or apply your lather cleaning product on to the seat.

Use a piece of towel to rub the product into the material, flipping routinely to ensure dirt does not accumulate. If the towel becomes dirty, change it.

Use a piece of microfiber cloth to dry the seat.

Note that leather needs conditioning. Otherwise, it will crack. Therefore after cleaning, apply a leather conditioner if your leather cleaner does not entail it.

  • keep in mind:

If you are trying out a new product, test it on a small, hidden area to see its effects on the leather.
If the leather is extensively cracked, with worn-out colors, you may have to consider replacing them.

  • Vinyl

Vinyl surfaces are faster and easier to clean than leather surfaces.

Take your vinyl surface cleaner and spray it on the seat.

Use a clean piece of rag to clean the seat.

Use a clean piece of cloth to dry the seat.

Hard surfaces

clean car seats stains on windshield

When cleaning hard surfaces in your vehicle, be cautious as you may not completely know the materials used in making them.

Use a dry piece of rag to remove the dust from the surfaces. Use the brushes you came with to remove dirt in hard to reach areas.

Mix two cups of water with an appropriate amount of mild detergent. Ensure there is minimal or no foam whatsoever.
Dip a clean piece of cloth into the mixture.

Wring the cloth till it is damp.

Use the damp cloth to clean the surface.

  • Windshield

Place towels on the dashboard to prevent water from dripping on them.

Spray your glass cleaner on the windshield and squirt some on the scrub pad.

While in the passenger’s seat, start the cleaning from the top-right passenger’s side of the windshield.

Move your scrub pad down along the passenger’s side of the windshield in parallel movements.

Repeat the movements till you reach the driver’s side of the windshield.

Dry the windshield using a dry piece of microfiber cloth by scrubbing the windshield in small tight circles.

  • keep in mind:

Do not use water to clean the interior side of the windshield to avoid streaks.
If there are oily residues on the windshield, use a specialized commercial product to remove the oil build-up.

  • Windows

clean inside car windows without streaks

Always ensure the window or rearview mirror is entirely glass, especially in tinted windows. If you are not sure, contact the person you bought the vehicle from or the one who applied the tint if you had it placed independently.

To clean windows and rearview mirrors, you need to:

Squirt the glass cleaner onto your piece of cloth and not the glass itself to minimize the probability of streaking.

Use the piece of cloth to scrub the glass surface.

Roll the window down to reveal the grime line.

Use the piece of cloth infused with a glass cleaner to clean this section too.

Keep in mind that there is always a chance streaks might form. Therefore, never clean the interior and exterior windows in the same orientation.

Failure to do so will make it challenging for you to notice if the streak is in the interior or exterior.

Moreover, note that if your glass cleaner contains ammonia, it might dry the plastic in your car and even destroy your car’s windows.

  • Rearview Mirrors

Cleaning your car’s rearview mirrors is similar to the process you use to clean the windows. However, keep the following tips in mind:

Avoid multipurpose cleaners as they often leave smudges and streaks behind due to the creation of suds.

Before you clean the mirrors, park the car in a shady area and let it cool because the hot car surface will result in faster evaporation of the water and cleaner, leaving streaks and spots behind.

Clean the mirrors using circular motions and not horizontal or diagonal ones.

Touch Screens

Nowadays, vehicle designs incorporate touch screens due to their ease of operations and the amount of space they save that keypads would have otherwise occupied, congesting the vehicle’s interior.

However, touch screens are touched frequently, and as such, they quickly become dirt. To clean touch screens:

Heat water till it is lukewarm.

Place a clean piece of cloth in the lukewarm water and wring it thoroughly.

Use the damp piece of cloth to clean the touch screen surface.

However, never use a substance like the ones listed below to clean your car’s touch screen surfaces as they will stain and even discolor the screen:

  • Alcohol
  • Kerosene
  • Solvents
  • Gasoline
  • Acidic solutions
  • Alkaline solutions

Interior Door

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Car’s interior doors incorporate various materials in their design. You will find some vinyl parts, while others are leather and others are plastic.

Therefore, while cleaning the interior door, use the materials and techniques earlier described for each surface type.

Moreover, interior doors have open compartments and cup holders, all of which tend to accumulate plenty of dirt. Therefore:

Use a piece of cloth to remove the dirt and debris that may have accumulated in the compartments.

Use your various sized brushes to remove dirt and debris in hard–to–reach areas. You can also vacuum the dirt off.

Follow the earlier mentioned techniques to clean the various parts of the interior door. However, take care not to damage other components that may react with the chemicals.

Air Vents and Center Console

steps to detail a car interior

  •  Air Vents

Though relatively easy to clean, cleaning air vent grills can be quite tiresome due to their numerous parts.

To clean air vent grills quickly and easily:

Use a soft, long-bristled brush to wipe as much dirt off the air vents as possible.

Use a can of compressed air to remove any remaining dirt particles from the grills.

Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water to make a cleaning solution. If you are uncomfortable with the smell of vinegar, squeeze a few lemon juice drops in the solution or buy lemon-scented vinegar.

Dip a foam brush into the solution and use it to clean the vents. Ensure you rinse the foam brush regularly to avoid the accumulation of debris and dirt.

Use a dry foam brush to dry the air vents.

  • Center Console

The center console is a tricky part of your car’s interior to clean as it has numerous buttons that are touched now and then. Therefore, cleaning will take longer.

To clean the center console:

Use a glass cleaner or any mild household cleaner you have to moisten a clean piece of cloth.

Starting from the cleanest sections, work your way to the dirtiest components, with the grunge coming last.

Wipe down the steering wheel, dashboard area, and center console. Also, clean the gearstick.

Use a damp piece of cloth to clean the buttons on your car’s dashboard. You can alternatively use a flat-headed screwdriver whose tip is covered; with a thin piece of cloth.

Run the screwdriver wrapped with a rag over the buttons to remove any accumulated grime and dust.

Dry the buttons using a clean piece of cloth.

Use an old toothbrush to detail the car by cleaning tough spots.

  • keep in mind:

Always rinse the cloth regularly to avoid the accumulation and redistribution of dirt.
Car wipes or even rags will suffice while cleaning cup holders.



From the carpets and seats to the air vents and center console, ensuring you have a clean interior will go further in making your drives more comfortable.

As such, ensure you always keep your car’s interior as clean as possible. If the car’s interior becomes dirty, use the above methods to clean the various sections. However, if you encounter any problem during the cleaning process, contact a professional.