[Infographic] An Inside Look at Cleaning Car Interiors

Cleaning a car’s exterior can be an art form in and of itself. Cleaning its interior? Even more so. There are multiple steps involved in the process, from decluttering to vacuuming to spraying the correct types of cleaner on its parts. You’ll need a number of different tools during the process, and it can be time-consuming depending on the state of the car’s interior—especially if crumbs, spilled coffee, and pet fur can be found. Nevertheless, it’s a task that’s entirely doable, and you can turn the car from ashy to classy in a matter of hours!

If you’re looking for a career in auto detailing, you’d do well to become a master in cleaning the inside of a car. From the carpet to the gear shift to the steering wheel and everywhere in between, you’ll be able to recondition the car to make it look as good as new—especially after you’ve completed your auto detailing training. Here’s an inside look (pun very much intended) into why it’s important to clean a car’s interior, and the steps necessary for a job well done.

An Inside Look at Cleaning Car Interiors

Things You’ll Need:

  • Towels and microfibre cloths
  • Portable vacuum
  • Protectant wipes
  • Glass cleaner for vehicles
  • Upholstery cleaner for fabric-based seats
  • Leather cleaner for leather seats
  • Upholstery or carpet brush
  • Conditioner
  • Protectant
  • Dashboard polish
  • Toothbrushes

Optional tools:

  • canned air
  • degreasing product
  • cleaning foam

Step 1: Cleaning Glass

  • Make sure you’re using car-specific cleaning products
  • Spray the product on your towel
  • Move the towel back and forth along the windows

Step 2: Steering Wheel and Dashboard

  • Clean both the steering wheel and gear shift with protectant wipes
  • Apply all-purpose cleaner onto a cloth and wipe the steering wheel
  • Use a toothbrush for the stitching
  • Wipe the wheel down with a dry towel
  • Use a damp cloth and toothbrush to remove dirt and bacteria from the dashboard
  • You can also use canned air to clean the dashboard
  • Apply polish onto a dry cloth and wipe down the dashboard

Step 3: Cleaning Seats

For fabric seats:

  • Spray upholstery cleaner
  • Scrub the seats with a brush
  • Use a towel to soak up what’s left of the solution
  • Leave to dry

For leather seats:

  • Use cleaner to remove stains
  • Use conditioner to keep the leather soft

Step 4: Vacuuming and Decluttering

  • Remove any unnecessary items or debris
  • Use a brush to clean dirt
  • Dust areas of the car with a microfibre cloth
  • Clean upper areas of the car first to avoid dirt falling back onto the carpet

Use portable vacuum to clean:

  • Carpet
  • Centre console
  • Cup holders
  • Seats

Step 5: Carpets

  • Wash carpet with upholstery cleaner or cleaning foam
  • Do not get the carpet too wet, as this can lead to mildew and mold
  • If you have to, move the seats to make sure you’re cleaning everything

Step 6: Floor Mats

  • Remove mats from the car
  • shake mats out to remove debris

Rubber mats:

  • Rinse with a hose
  • Spray with a degreasing product
  • Brush away dirt
  • Leave to dry

Fabric-based mats:

  • Vacuum
  • Apply upholstery cleaner
  • Scrub with upholstery brush
  • Use microfibre cloth to wipe away excess moisture

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