How to Deep Clean a Car Interior: A Simple and Friendly Guide 2024

Keeping our car interiors clean and fresh is a necessity, especially while we spend a significant amount of time inside them, but sometimes, a regular cleaning just won’t do it anymore.
That’s when we should learn to deep clean a car interior to keep it looking and smelling its best.

We know the task of deep clean a car interior can be overwhelming, but there’s no need to worry! In this article, we will guide you through cleaning inch of your car’s interior. From the seats to the dashboard, our easy-to-follow tips will make your car look new again. So, let’s get started on this satisfying journey of how to deep clean a car interior.

Preparation for Deep Clean a car Interior

In the Process of deep clean a car interior, it’s essential to prepare ourselves and the car before we dive in. Following, we’ll go over three important preparatory steps:

  • Gathering necessary supplies
  • Removing personal items and trash
  • Vacuuming loose dirt and debris

Gathering Necessary Supplies

Before we start cleaning, let’s gather the essential supplies. Here’s a list of items we’ll need to deep clean a car interior:

  • Microfiber cloths
  • All-purpose cleaning spray
  • Compressed air
  • Deep-clean brush set
  • Dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Disinfecting spray
  • Vacuum-cleaner with attachments
  • Glass cleaner

It’s important to have all these items handy to make the cleaning process smoother and more efficient.

Removing Personal Items and Trash

Next, we should remove all personal items from our car. Check compartments, door pockets, cup holders, and under the seats, while deep clean a car interior needs to be prepared. Now let’s focus on removing any trash or larger debris.

Vacuuming Loose Dirt and Debris

Let’s start vacuuming loose dirt and debris. Use a vacuum cleaner with attachments like a crevice tool for small spaces, seams, and edges. It’s essential to vacuum floors, seats, and even the trunk to ensure we’re ready for the next steps to deep clean a car interior.

Boat Interior Design Dirty car carpet gets vacuum cleaned
by Pinterest

Deep Cleaning the Upholstery

When learning to deep clean a car interior, one of the most important aspects is taking care of the upholstery. Next, we’ll discuss shampooing fabric seats and conditioning leather surfaces to make your car look and feel like new.

Shampooing Fabric Seats

An important step to deep clean a car interior is vacuuming the fabric seats thoroughly to remove any loose dirt and debris. Then you’ll need a high-quality upholstery cleaner designed for automotive fabric. Apply the cleaner evenly with a soft bristle brush or a microfiber cloth.

Allow the cleaner to sit on the fabric for a few minutes, then use a clean, damp cloth to gently blot the area. Avoid rubbing, as it can push the dirt deeper into the fabric. Finally, use a wet-dry vacuum to remove any excess moisture from the seats. If necessary, go through the process a second time for stubborn stains.

When it comes to drying, make sure to keep the car’s windows open, and let the seats air dry completely.

Boat Interior Design Deep clean a car interior
by Pinterest

Conditioning Leather Surfaces

Just like fabric seats, it’s crucial to first vacuum any loose dirt from leather seats, after that, use a leather cleaner by applying a small amount onto a microfiber cloth and gently wiping down the leather surfaces. Be sure to test the cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area first to check for any adverse reactions.

Once the leather is cleaned, use a leather conditioner to restore and protect your seats. Apply the conditioner onto a clean microfiber cloth and distribute it evenly onto the leather. Allow the conditioner to absorb into the leather before wiping off any excess with a clean cloth.

It’s important to note that leather should be conditioned every three to six months to maintain its appearance and prevent cracks or fading.

Detailing the Dashboard and Center Console

When deep clean a car interior, the dashboard and center console are crucial areas that need great attention. Now, we will share some tips and tricks on how to effectively detail your car’s dashboard and center console.

Cleaning Vents and Creases

The air vents and small creases on your car’s dashboard accumulate dust and debris over time. To clean these areas efficiently, follow these steps:

Use a soft brush

Gently brush the dust out of the vents and creases. A makeup brush or paintbrush works well for this purpose.

Vacuum the loosened dust

Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove the dust you loosened with the brush.

Clean with a damp microfiber cloth

Wipe down the vents and creases using a damp microfiber cloth. Make sure the cloth is just slightly damp and not dripping water, as that might damage electrical components.

Dry with a soft cloth

After cleaning, gently dry the vents and creases with a clean, soft cloth.


Boat Interior Design A hand cleaning a cockpit surface with a yellow sponge
by Pinterest

Wiping Down Hard Surfaces

The dashboard and center console consist mostly of hard surfaces that can get dirty and require regular cleaning. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove loose dirt and debris: First, brush away any visible dirt particles using a soft brush or cloth.
  2. Make a cleaning solution: In a spray bottle, mix one part mild dish soap with ten parts water. Shake well to combine.
  3. Spray the cleaning solution onto a microfiber cloth: Be cautious not to spray the solution directly on your dashboard and center console to avoid damaging any electronic components.
  4. Wipe down the surfaces: Use the dampened microfiber cloth to gently clean the dashboard, center console, and other hard surfaces in your car. Be sure to get into all grooves and textured areas.
  5. Dry with a clean cloth: After cleaning, use another clean cloth to dry the surfaces, ensuring no residue from the cleaning solution remains.

By following these steps, you can effectively detail the dashboard and center console of your car, keeping it looking fresh and clean.

Cleaning Windows and Mirrors

When learning how to deep clean a car interior, one aspect that is often overlooked is the cleaning of windows and mirrors. However, having clean windows and mirrors not only enhances the overall appearance of your vehicle but also improves visibility and safety while driving especially in the winter. In this section, we’ll discuss techniques to achieve streak-free windows and mirrors.

Boat Interior Design Window gets cleaned
by Pinterest

Streak-Free Techniques

To get the best results while cleaning windows and mirrors, it’s crucial to use a proper cleaning method. Below is a step-by-step guide to obtaining spotless and streak-free surfaces:

1. Gather the necessary materials:
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Glass cleaner or glass cleaning wipes
  • Dry reversible microfiber cleaning cloth
2. Clean the windows and mirrors:
  • Spray a small amount of glass cleaner onto the microfiber cloth or use glass cleaning wipes. Avoid spraying the cleaner directly onto the surface as it may cause streaks.
  • Starting at the top, use an up-and-down motion to wipe the windows and mirrors.
  • Work your way down to the bottom, cover all areas.
3. Dry the surface with the second cloth:
  • Switch to the dry reversible microfiber-cleaning cloth.
  • Repeat the up-and-down motion from the top to the bottom of the windows and mirrors to remove any remaining residue and prevent streaks.

By using these simple steps and appropriate cleaning tools, you’ll be able to achieve streak-free windows and mirrors that contribute to a safer and visually appealing car interior. Remember, deep clean a car interior and keeping your car’s windows and mirrors clean is an essential part of a safe driving experience.

Final Touches

We know you’re eager to learn how to deep clean a car interior, so let’s dive into the final steps.

Boat Interior Design Shiny clean cockpit
by Pinterest

Deodorizing the Interior

Deep clean a car interior does not only mean brushing and scrubbing, now it’s time to give your car a pleasant scent. To do this, you can either use a commercial car deodorizer or try a natural alternative. Baking soda is a great option, as it absorbs odor and is cost-effective. Simply sprinkle it on the seats and floor, let it sit for a few hours, and then vacuum it up. For a quick and natural scent boost, keep some essential oil-scented cotton balls in the glove compartment or under your seats. Popular scents include lavender, lemon, and eucalyptus.

Replacing Items Neatly

The last step to deep clean a car interior is to not make a mess again…the heaviest one in my opinion 🙂
When placing items back into your vehicle, use storage solutions to maintain order. Some ideas include:

Car Organizers

Utilize organizers for your trunk and backseat to keep everything in its place.

Door Storage Pockets

Use your car’s built-in door pockets to store small items like sunglasses, charging cables, or a small umbrella.

Glove Compartment:

File important documents, like your vehicle registration and insurance, in a compact accordion folder.

With all the clutter properly stowed away, your car will not only look better, but it’ll be more enjoyable to drive. Enjoy your revitalized ride!


What do professionals use to clean the inside of a car?

What do professionals use to clean car interiors? Among the top products the professionals use are Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant for the dash and hard surfaces and Armor All Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner Power Foam for upholstery. Also, a good car vacuum is a tool the pros rely on most.

Will WD40 restore black plastic?

As an added bonus, you can also use WD-40 to polish plastic surfaces on your car. Whether they’re a black or chrome finish, they’ll look as shiny as they did in the showroom. WD-40 Multi-use product is great for most plastic surfaces that have had a lot of outdoor exposure, so it’s fantastic for garden furniture.

What do car detailers use to clean carpet?

What do auto detailers use to clean car carpets? Auto detailers usually have professional steam cleaners and hot water extractors.

What do you think of our how-to deep clean a car interior? We would love to hear your opinion or maybe some tips you work with yourself.
Let us know in the comments or send us a Mail. See you next time and till then…
…Let´s Ride!

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Carsten Theermann
Articles: 519

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