How to Clean Your Car Interior

Whether you’re trying to clean up your car to sell it and finance a new car, or you simply want to engage in a DIY (do it yourself) interior car clean — you’re in the right place.

We’re going to discuss everything. Whether it’s a full-on seats de-attached cleanup, an in-car upholstery cleanup, or a simple, quick interior cleaning, we got you covered.

Quick Clean: Clean Your Car Interior Dashboard and Console

Starting with the simplest and quickest of the three cleaning options, the quick interior clean is a great way to bond with your car (yes, that’s a thing) and get more acquainted with your cars bits and pieces.

Start with removing any large pieces of trash, be it candy wrappers, receipts, or plastic bags. Next, you want to remove any dust or bread crumbs using a vacuum cleaner or an air-blower/air hose which can be found at your local filling station. Blow air even on your dashboard and car console. Start from the highest levels of the car and then gradually move down to the floor to ensure no unwanted particles remain.

Depending on the material of your car’s dashboard and console, the substance you will use to wipe these components will be different. 

How to Clean Leather Dashboards

Generally speaking, leather dashboards, or rather leather components, are what you want to be careful with. If your leather dashboard/console isn’t that dirty, simply dampen a microfibre cloth with some water and clean the intended surface areas. It gets tricky, however, when your leather components are a bit messier. In that case, use a few drops of an oil-based soap such as Castile soap mixed with a lot of water or a non-alkaline leather cleaner. Engage in a spot test before engulfing your whole console with these substances. To do that, use a little drop of the solution and apply it to a hard to see part of the leather compartment — a downward-facing side is ideal so that if things go wrong due to the cleaning substance the discoloured area is out of sight. Allow the area to dry and ensure that the substance does not have an adverse effect on your leather. Only after that should you engage in a complete wipe of the area using a microfibre cloth.

How to Clean Car Dashboards: Rubber, Plastic, and Vinyl

Commonly, however, consoles are made of rubber, plastic, or vinyl. In those cases, dampen a microfiber cloth and then apply a bit of mild detergent directly on the damp cloth. Wipe your components using this and use a toothbrush on hard-to-reach areas such as your vents.

Use a glass cleaner for your radio screen, GPS system and anything glass. Apply the cleaner directly on a dry microfiber cloth and get cleaning.

Lastly, you can polish your cleaned parts using car dashboard polish and a microfiber cloth. Use small amounts of the liquid and increase the amount as need be. Just make sure you have the right polish for your dashboard’s/console’s material. Lastly, dry clean the now shining console with a dry microfiber cloth and you’re good to go.

How to Clean Car Upholstery Without Removing the Seats

While removing your seats from the car is ideal and will give you good manoeuvrability while cleaning, it’s not always necessary and sometimes too troublesome for someone who doesn’t have the right equipment. Furthermore, keeping wet seats outdoors to dry up may prove risky in a dusty environment like the UAE.

Upholstery is commonly used to mean the seats of a vehicle. Technically speaking, however, the cars roof, console, any fabric component, and well, the entirety of the car’s interior is considered upholstery.

In the case of leather seats, with your car seats beautifully attached to your car (as they should be), use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to rub away any significant stains on the seats. Then use the appropriate leather cleaner (a high-quality one) to wipe what remains on the seats. Be sure to do a spot test with the cleaner before going all in.

As for fabric seats you have two options. You can use a DIY soap, or you can buy an interior car shampoo (or upholstery cleaner).

With the shampoo, first, make sure you have the right cleaner for your fabric type (nylon or polyester) or use an all-purpose shampoo. Refer to your car user’s manual if you are unsure of the fabric type on your seats.

Start by vacuuming your car seat of any breadcrumbs and debris it might have gathered. Extending your car seat back to the maximum as if you were reclining will help greatly. Next, spray the shampoo a few times on a stain or an area you intend to clean (only work on one portion of the seat at a time). Next, get a new sponge, dampen it and get working on the areas you just sprayed the shampoo on. Sponges are easy on the fabric, so give the seat a bit more oomph when cleaning. Keep a clean bucket of water nearby to dip and clean the sponge in as you proceed. Apply more shampoo as necessary and continue cleaning until you are satisfied. Be sure not to wet the seats too much, as this method of cleaning relies on capturing the dirt through shampoo foam. Also, make sure that the sponge is squeezed of any water once it is being rinsed. After you’re satisfied grab a clean, dry absorbent cloth and start drying the part you just scrubbed. Repeat this process for the rest of the seat.

The next process is beneficial for tough and singular stains such as ketchup on the seats. Start by filling a spray bottle with warm water and adding a tablespoon of dishwasher soap for every litre of water. Now, spray this solution on the area you intend to clean. Next, agitate the stain just a little with a toothbrush, and then use a vacuum cleaner to suck in the gooey mixture. Make sure your vacuum head is clean as not to add to the mess. Repeat this process several times until you are satisfied with the seat.

In both of the above methods, it’s an absolute must that you let the washed areas dry completely and NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE close the doors of your car while the seats are still wet. As a matter of fact, you should keep your doors and windows open for a safe interval even after you think the seats have dried. And as your doors are going to be open, your battery could become depleted due to the door sensor lights. So to prevent that, disconnect your car’s battery during this time.

Click on the following link for the “Removed Seats: How to Clean Car Seats at Home” guide. Or click on this one for the full “What to Do Before You Sell Your Car” guide.

Sell Your Motors

Presentation is everything, and it’s a well-known fact that a cleaner vehicle can fetch a higher price. If you want to clean your car interior because you’re in the process of selling your car, then consider Sell Your Motors a potential buyer. With many branches spread across the UAE, we are a car buying specialist that prides itself on completing everything from car inspection to finalising sales paperwork in only 30 minutes. So even if you want to continue exploring other potential buyers, come and hear our offer, and then continue with your exploration. You literally have nothing to lose.

There’s no vehicle we won’t buy, not even scrap cars. Try our free online car price estimator and get a call from us, or call us directly at 04 330 1030