Interior Cleaning & Conditioning

Make your car interior glow with these simple steps.

Interior detailing is essential to maintaining the comfort, appearance, and resale value of your vehicle. After all, you see the inside of your vehicle more than anyone; shouldn’t the cockpit be as clean and comfortable as possible?

 

This guide will walk you through some simple steps to maintaining your car’s interior, including vacuuming, cleaning glass, and protecting the dash.



 

Weekly Maintenance

 

The key to detailing is maintenance. Regular light cleaning will keep the interior looking great and prevent stains from setting into fabrics and carpet. You wouldn’t let your yard go uncut for weeks during the summer. It would be a nightmare when you finally got around to it! The same principle applies to car care.

1

Use a clean, damp microfiber towel to wipe down the dashboard, door panels, console, and steering wheel. A quality microfiber towel will grab dust and it does a great job of wiping up spills without using a cleaner.

 

2

Shake out the floor mats. Unless your vehicle is a high traffic area, you probably do not need to vacuum on a weekly basis. If you spot some crumbs or dirt, use a whisk broom or a lint roller for small messes.


3

If you see any spills or spots, act fast! The longer stains linger; the harder they are to remove.  Use a spray-on spot treatment and a clean towel to rub out the spot.

 


 

Monthly Interior Deep Cleaning

 

Once a month, give your vehicle’s interior a deep cleaning. Since you’ve been maintaining it all along, this process should be relatively quick and easy.

 

1

Vacuum first. Vacuuming will allow you to discover any spots and spills on the carpet and seat. Vacuum under the seats, between cushions, and in crevices – anywhere dirt can hide. Push the seats all the way forward to vacuum the tracks and the carpet underneath the seats. Recline the seats to clean the crevice between cushions. Vacuum between the seats and the console. You may find enough spare change for lunch!

AutoDetail.org - Metro Car Vac

The Metro Vac N Blo Portable Vacuum is a great vacuum that comes with a lot of handy attachments. The vacuum has superior suction to a household vacuum and it doubles as a blower to quickly dry your vehicle.

 

2

Now that you know where the trouble spots are, use a quality spray-on carpet cleaner to remove them. Directions may differ, but for most cleaners you just spray the spot and work it in with a carpet brush. Use a clean, dry towel to blot the area dry. For tough spots, allow the cleaner to penetrate for 1-2 minutes. Vacuum again to fluff the carpet pile.


3

Some vacuums have tiny crevice attachments, others do not. If yours does not, use a small detail brush to clean out air vents and seams in the dash and so forth. Wipe the soiled brush in a microfiber towel to keep those dust bunnies from floating all over your vehicle.


4

      AutoDetail.org - Pinnacle Vinyl and Rubber ProtectantWipe down your dash, door panels, and all other plastic and vinyl panels with a quality protectant. If your interior panels only have a light layer of dust, you likely do not need a separate cleaner.

      • When choosing a rubber and vinyl protectant, choose a water-based product. Water-based products are just as effective as old-fashioned silicone-based protectants, and they’re actually safer over the long run. Silicone can cause plasticizers to leach out of the dash, causing it to gradually turn brittle. Silicone based products do tend to give more shine, but it will attract dust. Water-based protectants are always a better choice.

       

5

Clean the glass using an ammonia-free, tint-safe glass cleaner. Window tint is a material called Mylar®. Ammonia dries it out and can cause it to peel. A non-ammoniated glass cleaner is the safest choice on window tint. You may have heard that newspaper is a good choice for cleaning windows. Microfiber is a much better choice. Newspaper really isn’t the softest material and newsprint can end up all over your vehicle. A waffle weave microfiber towel offers great cleaning power, incomparable softness, and it erases streaks.


6

    AutoDetail.org - 303 Aerospace ProtectantIf you have vinyl or leather seats, you should apply a protectant at least once a month. Both leather and vinyl can be treated with 303 Aerospace Protectant to shield the seats from UV damage. It dries with a clear, matte finish that lets the real beauty of your seats show through. Again, you want to use only a water-based protectant like 303 on the seats. Silicone protectants can leave a greasy film that wipes off onto clothes. Most protectants wipe and wipe off.

 


 

That Smell

You can’t see them. You can’t escape them. Interior car odors are everywhere! It can feel like you’re trapped in a fish bowl of bad smells when you have an odor problem in your vehicle. Fortunately, there are some excellent products on the market to quickly and permanently eliminate odors.

 

One of the best is the Clean Air Genie Fogger. This one-time-use deodorizer permeates fabrics, air vents, and the air to destroy odors. It produces a temporary clean scent that gradually fades, but the foul smell never returns.