car interior detailing

How To: Car Interior Detailing at Home

It’s here! Already we are staring down the end of 2017.  With the end of any year comes a few things, guaranteed. Holidays, family, friends, traveling, and a whole bunch of cargo. Whether you are shuttling the kids’ hauls from grandmas house or loading up everyone to go on a winter trip back home, the car is going to be seeing a lot of use this season. If you are going up North or on any sort of journey, the chance your ride ends up a little dirtier than usual is sky high. That’s where car interior detailing comes in.

Keeping the inside of your car clean is usually a pretty low effort job. Vacuum and a garbage bag will keep your vehicle looking good and tidy. But when the kid’s pile in, sweets in hand, or you take a road trip back home to see the folks, it can require a bigger job. Car interior detailing can be done by professionals (like ourselves) but there are also steps you can take in your own garage to get that interior a good detailing.

Tidy Up

First thing first, before getting all the tools of the trade out grab a trash bag and pick up the larger bits of trash. You won’t want to go whole hog with a vacuum too quick if you value your vacuum.


Get your vacuum and get to work cleaning the carpets. Start from the top town, working out and particles in the seat, sides, and then the floors last. This is to ensure that anything that dislodges and falls out from the sides and seat is eventually vacuumed as well when they hit the floor. You are doing detailing, but you don’t want to do it twice when you don’t have to.

Use the different attachments, upholstery nozzle, floor brush, and crevice tools, for the different jobs. There are tons of different spaces in a vehicle and for every different space, there is a different tool.


Depending on the surface and interior of your car, you will approach this step differently. Identify yours and get to work. If you have leather, vinyl, or cloth seats and interiors you will want to use cleaners and shampoos made specifically for those surfaces.


When it comes to the carpet in your vehicle, a steam cleaner will work on just about any kind. Steam cleaners can be a bit pricey if you do not already have one handy so if you are looking to tend to the upkeep of your car on the cheap then you may want another option.

Find a general spray carpet cleaner. Using a stiff bristle brush, work the spray into the carpet. Do pay attention and avoid getting your carpet too wet. That can lead to mildew or the damaging of nearby electronics.

If there are particular stains such as gum, oil, makeup or others you will want to take the extra step to get a specialty cleaning product for it.


Cleaning class surfaces are simple enough. Use a glass cleaner like you would for any windows, spraying the cleaner on the cloth instead of the window to avoid any streaks.


When it comes to cleaning leather you will want to use a specially made cleaning product. Leather soap exists! Use it with a damp cloth and softly rub the leather areas, being sure to remove any excess soap with another clean cloth. Pay attention to the seams, you don’t want the soap to sit and build up.


The most common upholstery. If you have a steam cleaner, make sure you are using any specific shampoo or attachments recommended. Otherwise, use a spray on cleaner and work it with a soft brush, let dry. Follow the individual instructions for the cleaning product. Don’t forget to clean the belts, seats, or the back parcel shelf.

Hard Surfaces

There are a number of surfaces in a car that doesn’t fit any of these. The dashboard, any rubber moldings on the door, etc. Use a household all-purpose to get any grit or grim off the surfaces. Use gentle brushes (a toothbrush can work perfectly) for cleaning the various components of the dash.

Final Details

Vacuum again, if you need to and use an odor removing product to get any lingering smells out of the fabrics and you will be golden. With these steps followed you can be reasonably certain that your car interior detailing is up to snuff. If your vehicle is a bigger job or has some seriously stubborn stains, contact a professional and be secure in knowing the job is going to get done right.