How to Clean Car Interior? Step by Step Guide

Driving around in a clean, shining car is a great feeling, creating an environment for smooth rides and a pleasant experience. After all, who doesn’t like having a car interior that looks like it’s just rolled out of the car factory?

Whether you own a classic or modern car, cleaning the car interior is an essential part of the car maintenance process. It helps keep the vehicle in good condition and prevents any foul odors from accumulating. Now, let’s look at how to clean car interior.

how to clean car interior

What to Use to Clean A Car Interior

When cleaning your car’s interior, choosing the right cleaning products is essential. The wrong cleaning products might damage your car’s interior surfaces or cause permanent staining.

Here’s a look at some of the cleaning products you should use when cleaning your car’s interior:

Tools/ Equipment

  • Trash bin
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Cotton swab
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Duster
  • Tarp or drop cloth
  • Spray bottle
  • Old toothbrush


  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Ammonia-free window cleaner
  • Upholstery cleaner
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Cleaning solution
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Leather cleaner
  • White vinegar
  • Carpet cleaner

How to Clean Car Interior

From the dashboard to the carpet and upholstery, there are several steps you need to take to keep your car interior clean. Here is how to clean car interior step by step –

1. Vacuum the Interior

Before you use any cleaning products, you need to clean all the dirt, dust, and debris from the car. Vacuum the entire vehicle, including the corners and crevices.

Start at the top and work your way down. Ensure the vacuum can fit into all the compartments to get all the stuck-on dirt and dust from inside your car.

2. Clean the Upholstery and Carpet

Use an upholstery and floor mats cleaner to remove any stains on the carpets and upholstery. If the stain is stubborn, use a brush to scrub it away. Don’t forget to check the car doors’ headrests, armrests, and sides.

Related: How To Clean Car Floor Carpet

3. Clean the Dashboard and Console

Use a microfiber cloth and mild car-cleaning soap to remove dust and dirt from the dashboard and console. You can use a soft toothbrush to get into hard-to-reach crevices. Please don’t use harsh cleaning chemicals as they can damage the car.

4. Clean the Windows and Mirrors

Start by wiping the windows and mirrors with a damp cloth to remove dust and dirt. After that, you can mix equal parts vinegar and water to make your natural glass cleaner. Spray the mixture on the surface and use a lint-free cloth to wipe away the dirt.

5. Clean the Air Vents

The air vents are one of the dirtiest parts of the car, apart from the carpet. Vacuum them first, then use a damp cloth and mild car-cleaning soap to wipe off the dirt. Don’t forget to deep clean in between and behind the vents to eliminate the crud stuck there.

6. Clean the Door Frames

Wipe down the door frames with a damp cloth and mild car-cleaning soap. Use a soft toothbrush to scrub off any tough dirt and stains.

7. Clean the Gear Shift,  Car Seats, and Other Surfaces

Pay special attention to the gear shift, seats, and other surfaces. Vacuum them first to remove dirt and dust. Afterward, use a damp cloth and mild car-cleaning soap to remove dirt and stains. Don’t forget to clean your car underneath the seats and in between the cushions.

How to Clean Car Interior Roof

Here are some tips on cleaning your car’s interior roof to help you with this task.

1. Vacuum the Roof

Vacuuming the interior roof of your car is the first step to getting it clean. Make sure to purchase a handheld, crevice-style vacuum cleaner especially made for car cleanup.

This tool will allow you to access tight spaces and clean hard-to-reach spots. Once your vacuum cleaner is ready, focus on removing any loose dirt and debris you can see.

2. Clean the Leather

If your roof is made of leather, use a leather cleaner specifically for car care. To apply the cleaner, use a cloth and lightly massage the cleanser into the leather.

Keep working in small sections until the entire roof is done. Once finished, use a separate cloth to wipe away any excess cleaner.

3. Clean the Upholstery

If your car interior roof has upholstery, use an upholstery cleaner to clean the fabric. Avoid harsh chemicals and solvents that damage your upholstery, and opt for a mild, pH-neutral cleanser. When cleaning, gently massage the cleaner into the fabric and use a separate cloth to wipe away any excess cleaner.

4. Treat the Vinyl

You can use a mild all-purpose cleaner to treat any vinyl on your car’s interior roof. Spray the cleaner onto a soft cloth and gently rub it in a circular motion. Make sure to use a different material to clean around any buttons and seams. Once finished, use a clean cloth to wipe away any excess cleaner.

These are some easy steps to clean your car’s interior roof. If you are looking for more intensive cleaning, you can use a soft brush to help get rid of any stubborn dirt and debris.

How to Clean Car Interior Plastic

Getting Started

Before you begin, you must ensure your car is parked in a safe and well-ventilated area. Once you’ve verified this, gather your supplies. You’ll need a soft cloth, a toothbrush, soap and water, and a high-quality interior plastic cleaner or protectant. Avoid using harsh or abrasive materials or cleaners that can scratch the plastic surface.

Clearing the Surface

Begin by vacuuming the plastic surfaces to remove dirt, dust, or debris. If any accumulated gunk or finish softening residue on the interior plastic, you may need to wet a cloth and gently scrub it off before vacuuming. Use the toothbrush to get into any crevices or hard-to-reach areas.

Cleaning the Plastic

Once the surface is cleared, it’s time to begin cleaning. Fill a bucket with warm water, add mild dish soap, or use an interior plastic cleaner if you like. Test the solution on an inconspicuous spot to ensure it won’t cause discoloration or damage.

Then, use the cloth to clean in small circles, slowly increasing the intensity. Avoid rubbing too hard, as this can cause scratches or harm to the plastic surface.

Protecting the Plastic

When the plastic is cleaned and dry, it’s essential to apply a protectant to help keep it looking its best and protect it from future dirt and dust. Opt for an interior plastic protectant or conditioner, as they usually repel water- and oil-based stains. Make sure to apply to all surfaces, including around buttons, switches, and dash components.

Finishing Up

Once the protectant is applied, you’re finished. You can use a towel to buff any remaining streaks or smudges on the plastic surface.

Your car’s interior should look clean, shiny, and new again. Remember to clean every interior plastic regularly to keep it looking its best. Good luck, and enjoy your newly cleaned car interior!

Tips To Clean Car Interior

Having a clean car interior is important to maintain a safe and comfortable environment for you and your passengers. Here is how to clean car interior without damaging:

When it comes to cleaning your car interior, there are several tips to keep in mind. Firstly, it’s important to regularly vacuum the inside of your car to remove dirt and dust. You can also use a damp cloth to wipe down surfaces such as the dashboard, steering wheel, and door panels.

Additionally, consider using an upholstery cleaner or shampoo on your seats and carpets. For hard-to-reach areas such as air vents and cup holders, you can use a soft brush or cotton swab dipped in soapy water. After vacuuming and wiping down surfaces with a damp cloth, you may want to consider using an auto interior protectant to help preserve the look of your car’s interior.

Finally, be sure to clean any spills immediately so they don’t stain or damage your vehicle’s interior. Following these tips will help ensure that you maintain the cleanliness of your car’s interior for years to come.


  • What is best to clean the car dashboard?

It is best to use oil soap and water solution. Avoid using detergents or harsh chemicals, as these may damage your dashboard and leave behind residue. When wiping down your dashboard, use circular motions and start from the outside, making your way inward. Depending on how dirty it is, you should do a deep clean now and then.

  • What is the best way to clean plastic car interior?

When cleaning plastic car interior, remember to never use an abrasive cloth, brush or cleaner as it may scratch the surface. Use only a soft cloth and mild soap and water when cleaning. Furthermore, always take special care of any buttons, knobs and switches as they can easily become dirty over time.

  • What is the best homemade car interior cleaner?

An excellent natural cleaning solution that combines white vinegar and warm water. Vinegar is an excellent natural cleaner, as it has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, making it perfect for cleaning cars. Mix one cup of vinegar with a gallon of warm water to create your cleaning solution.


Cleaning your car interior can seem like a daunting task. So how to clean car interior? By following the above steps, you can ensure that it looks new and stays clean for a longer time. Regularly vacuuming and wiping down surfaces and knowing how to care for leather, cloth, and plastic surfaces can help you keep your car interior clean and looking great.

With the right supplies and some elbow grease, you can keep the inside of your car looking as good as the day you bought it.

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