7 Easy Ways To Clean Car Upholstery (In-Steps)

Clean car interior brings many benefits, as you spend anywhere from one to multiple hours of driving every day. If you're spending long hours in your car driving to work and back, clean interior is a must for you to feel comfortable.

There are numerous quick and easy ways to clean car upholstery, and here are the best ones with simple steps to follow:

1. Grab Your Vacuum Cleaner!

The best way to get the dirt out of your car is to vacuum-clean it. Here are the basic steps for proper car vacuuming:

i. Choose the Right Vacuum Cleaner
ii. Use the Right Attachments as per manufacturer's instructions
iii. Make Room While Vacuuming by moving the seats

2. Spot- Clean the Interior

Before you get into the process of deep cleaning, you must remove the heaviest stains first. These could be stains from foods and drinks like coffee, wine, ketchup, or organic stains from blood or vomit. Here are the steps for removing the most stubborn of stains:

i. Test the Cleaning Products

Heavy stains require strong cleaners, but you want to avoid damaging the upholstery fabrics and materials. Before you start cleaning, apply a small amount of the chosen cleaner onto the surface in the area that's not easily visible. Use the cleaner only if it doesn't leave any trace on the fabric or cause any damage.

ii. Pretreat Stains

For sensitive materials like leather, it is the best to pretreat with conditioner.

iii. Remove different stains with appropriate cleaners

There are a couple of hacks for removing the toughest of stains. Here are some of them:

  • Clean ink stains with hairspray or rubbing alcohol. Use either hairspray or a mix of rubbing alcohol and water. Apply the cleaner onto the stain, blotting with a damp cloth.
  • Clean coffee stains with glass cleaner. To remove coffee stains, use a small amount of glass cleaner and leave it to sit for no longer than 5 minutes. Remove the stain using a clean cloth with blotting motions.

3. Scrub Fabric Upholstery

With fabric upholstery, you want to use mild cleaners, paying attention to avoid damaging it. There are multiple ways to remove stains from fabric upholstery, and these are the right steps to follow:

i. Apply All-Purpose Cleaner

  • You can choose between a store-bought cleaner, or you can mix one yourself. For a homemade all-purpose cleaner, mix equal parts of water and the dishwashing liquid, pouring the mix into a dish or a spray bottle.
  • Apply the cleaner onto the fabric using a clean cloth or a sponge.
  • Blot or rub gently over the fabric.

ii. Mix Soap and Borax

You can mix a highly effective cleaner by following these easy steps:

  1. Grade around 6 tablespoons of soap and add 2 tablespoons of borax into the bucket
  2. Add up to 2 cups of hot water, preferably boiling
  3. Add a couple of drops of essential oil of your choosing
  4. Whisk into a foam once the liquid cools down.

Here are a couple of additional steps for a true deep-cleaning effect:

  • Use a Specialized Upholstery Cleaner.
  • If you're unsure that the homemade cleaner is the best option, you can always choose a good-quality specialized cleaner that was produced for the type of fabric you're cleaning.

iii. Steam- Clean the Upholstery

Steam cleaning doesn't only remove stains. It penetrates the deeper layers of the upholstery, disinfecting the interior materials of car seats along the way. With steam cleaning, you will also kill off the bacteria inside the car, leaving the entire interior disinfected and fresh.

Here are a couple extra tips for an extra polished interior:

  • Clean Seams Using a Toothbrush. If you want every inch of your car interior to look flawless, treat the seams by scrubbing with a toothbrush.
  • Lint-Roll. To remove small specks of dust, crumbs, or hairs from the car interior, use a lint roller.

4. Clean Vinyl Upholstery

You won't find it hard to clean vinyl upholstery since the material itself allows to simply wipe the stains off. Here are the steps for cleaning vinyl upholstery:

i. Wipe the stains of using a glass cleaner
ii. Polish with baking soda and water paste.
iii. Scrub the seams using a toothbrush and don't forget to clean the floor mats by repeating steps i. and ii.

5. Clean Leather Upholstery

The best way to clean leather upholstery is to use specialized leather-cleaning kits. Here are the basic steps:

i. Clean Leather Seats

Using specialized cleaners and conditioners, apply small amounts of product onto a cloth and gently rub into the material. Clean the stains of using soft, round motions, until you remove the stain and the cleaner residue. You can also use a mild mix of soap and water.

ii. Activate Cleaners With Heat

Turn the heat on inside the car to help the leather absorb the cleaner and boost its effectiveness.

iii. Pretreat Heavy Stains

Before removing heavy stains from the leather, make sure to apply a small amount of leather conditioner.

iv. Dry the Leather Seats

After you've removed all of the stains, dry the leather out using a clean cloth, apply gentle blotting motions.

6. Hire a Professional

Ultimately, the best solution for you might be to have your car professionally cleaned. This is the best option in the following situations:

  • Stains on the upholstery are too heavy for you to get them out by yourself;
  • The fabrics are sensitive enough and you want to avoid damaging them with homemade cleaners;
  • You're unsure of your skills and want to avoid damaging the upholstery;

Professional cleaning is the best solution for more expensive materials like leather, and particularly if the staining is so heavy you fear you won't be able to get the stains out without creating further damage. Here are a couple of ways to find great professional services:

  1. Ask your fiends and family for recommendations;
  2. Compare service providers and prices;
  3. Call the cleaning company;
  4. Take your car to the expert;

7. Keep it Clean!

One of the best ways to avoid heavy staining, dust build-up, and sticky spots is to keep the car clean on a regular basis.

While thorough car upholstery cleaning might seem complex at a first glance, chances are it won't take longer than an hour to get the interior into the spotless, fresh-smelling state. With the right products and sufficient knowledge, you'll be able to clean the car upholstery on your own almost effortlessly.

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