11 Great Car Interior Cleaning Tips

11 Great Car Interior Cleaning Tips

Cleaning your car’s interior can be difficult and time consuming.

Here are 11 clever car interior cleaning tips to make the process quick and easy!

air vents

A part of your car’s interior that is often overlooked is the air vents.

Dust accumulates on your air vents as air passes through, leaving dust in the fins of your air vents which can be difficult to clean.

Use a small foam paint brush to reach between the cracks of your air vents, removing the dust. This makes it much easier to fully remove the dust.

air vents

Dusty air vents will ruin the appearance of an otherwise clean interior, so it is important to keep them clean!

2. Move the Gear Shifter

gear shifter

This is one of the easiest spots to miss, and you won’t notice it until you start driving!

With most gear shifters, a plastic piece shifts around beneath the surface as you move the shifter. This means dirt is easily trapped and hidden.

Even if you clean the crevices in your gear shifter, parts of the plastic are still hidden until the car is put into another gear. This means it’s impossible to clean this dirt unless the car is in gear.

To clean these hidden spots, you must move the gear shifter out of park into the other gears to reveal the dirty plastic.

gear shifter

Use caution while doing this. Make sure your foot is firmly on the brake and the parking brake is enabled. Be sure that you are not near any objects in case your car starts moving.

If you have someone that can help, have them hold the brake and shift the gears while you clean.

3. Use Q-Tips in Crevices and Edges

cup holders

There are loads are small crevices and tough-to-clean edges in your car. Although they may seem unimportant, they can really add up and decrease the look of your car’s interior.

One the best ways to clean these tight crevices is using a Q-tip.

Use the Q-tip to wipe the dirt out of any sharp angles or tough edges. Apply a touch of water to make it even easier.

I find them extremely useful to clean around the inside edge of cupholders, as this area is usually very dirty and difficult to reach.

cup holders

4. Work from Top to Bottom

cleaning car dashboard

This quick car interior cleaning tip can save you a ton of extra work.

Cleaning from the top of your car’s interior to the bottom will help you avoid having to clean the same area twice.

If you clean the top of the interior last, any dirt that is loosened up during the process may fall down onto the spots you already cleaned below.

Therefore, is it most efficient to clean from the top of the interior to the bottom, as you won’t have to re-clean the bottom of the car.

cleaning car dashboard

5. Use Brushes to Dislodge Dirt

brushes

This is a popular trick used by most professional cleaning services to remove dirt from the surface of your car’s interior.

Use a brush, such as a small paint brush, to agitate dirt and make it easier to remove. Loose dirt is much easier to remove than dirt that is packed onto the surface.

You could even use an interior detailing brush kit if you’re serious about keeping your car clean. 

brushes

This transitions into the next tip, which you will help you avoid spreading this dirt onto other spots of the interior.

6. Vacuum While Brushing

Although using brushes to dislodge dirt is super effective, it can spread dirt onto other parts of your car’s interior.

To avoid this, use a vacuum to suck up the dirt before it makes more of a mess.

Hold the suction end of the vacuum as close to the brush as you can get, therefore sucking up the dirt as you brush it away.

This will give help you achieve the best clean without spreading dirt all over your car.

7. Move Seats While Vacuuming

This car interior cleaning tip may be obvious but is worth mentioning in case you forget to do it.

When it comes time to vacuum the floor of your car, you should move the seats to make it easier to reach underneath (and make sure you don’t miss anything).

When cleaning from the back of the car, shift the seats as far forward as possible. This will reveal a much larger space to clean.

When cleaning the front, do the opposite. Move the seats all the way back and clean the rest of the area.

This is much easier than attempting to blindly clean underneath your car seats.

8. Deep Clean Your Carpets and Upholstery

scrubbing car seat

Rather than simply vacuuming your carpets, you should also consider giving them a proper, deep cleaning.

While vacuuming removes a lot of loose dirt, it will not clean the dirt that’s embedded into your carpets. This could even be causing discoloration of the material, which you will realize after cleaning it.

Deeping cleaning your carpets and upholstery can make a HUGE difference in the overall appearance of your car’s interior!

scrubbing car seat

9. Deodorize with Baking Soda

baking soda in bowl

While cleaning your carpets will remove dirt and other substances, you may still have a leftover odor in your car. Sometimes, these can be pretty difficult to remove.

Instead of simply masking the bad odor, you should remove it entirely using baking soda.

Baking soda neutralizes smells, rather than simple covering them up. This makes it a great, natural car deodorizer.

You can read the steps to removing odor with baking soda in: How to Clean Car Carpets and Upholstery.

baking soda in bowl

10. Add an Air Freshener as a Finishing Touch

air freshener in car

If you just got done cleaning your carpets and removing odors, a great finishing touch is the addition of a car air freshener.

If you haven’t used them before, car air fresheners attach to your air vents, adding a scent to the air as it enters the interior. 

It will make your car smell amazing to match the clean look of the interior!

air freshener in car

11. Replace Your Cabin Air Filter

Although it’s not the first thing you think of when cleaning your interior, your car’s air quality could be suffering if the cabin air filter hasn’t been replaced in a while.

A cabin air filter simply prevents particles and debris from circulating through your car’s air vents and into the interior of the car.

Your cabin air filter will become dirty over time and must be replaced to keep your car’s air clean.

This is important to keep your air clean and also eliminate smells from your air vent system.

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