How To Deep Clean Your Car Upholstery & Interior

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Rug Doctor machines cannot be used for flooding purposes

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Aug 10, 2020

How To Deep Clean Your Car Upholstery & Interior

There is nothing quite like stepping into your freshly cleaned car. A lot of us think that a professional valet service is necessary but you can deliver a professional, thorough job yourself from home.

The key is to deep clean the fabric within your car – the carpet and the upholstery. After a little preparation with some common household items, Rug Doctor will help you get that deep clean by removing deep-seated stains, bacteria, and dust from your upholstery and carpet.

With our tips and tricks you should have a beautifully clean car interior in no time.

House Hold Equipment You Will Need

  • Rubbish Bag
  • Tote bag or box
  • Mircrofibre Cloth x 2 (Use one for the interior and one for your windows)
  • Rubber dishwash glove or roll of tape
  • Small brush (a soft-bristled toothbrush will work), toothpicks or even a paintbrush.
  • Leather wipes (only if you have leather seats)
  • Glass Cleaner
  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Rug Doctor Products: Rug Doctor Machine and Hand Tool, Upholstery CleanerOdour RemoverStain RemoverSpot Remover.

1.  Start with the big stuff

Before you get into the deep clean you’re going to need to remove anything that isn’t bolted down. Clothes, receipts, drink bottles, rubbish, shoes,  and sports gear all accumulate in our cars as we go about living our lives. We can’t get a good deep clean if this is all in there so grab a rubbish bag and a box and remove everything off the seats, floor and in the middle consoles of your car. Check under the seats and your backseat pockets too!

Throw all rubbish into the rubbish bag, and use the box to store things you don’t want to throw out so you can sort them out afterwards.

2.  Getting Rid of The Dust and Debris From Your Car

  • The Hard Plastics

Use a mircofibre cloth to wipe down your dashboard, steering wheel, hand break and gear stick, door handles, middle consoles, and arm rests first – you want to get rid of all the dust here. You can dampen the cloth if the dust isn’t coming off easily. Sometimes dust will settle deep into these plastics – use your soft bristled brush and warm water to gently loosen this dust, and then wipe off with your cloth.

  • Air Conditioning Vents

Get into the gaps between the vents with a dry foam brush or paintbrush and sweep out all the dust. Use a low setting and a soft bristled head on your vacuum cleaner to gently clean any dust from your air conditioning vents as you go (to prevent the dust settling elsewhere). 

  • Shake Out the Floor Mats

Your floor mats collect gravel, sand, and dust, so give them a good shake outside to get rid of all the debris.

  • Hair and Fur

Carpet and Upholstery love collecting hair and your pets fur.

A rubber dishwash glove will help lift this out of the seats and carpet, making it very easy to pick up clumps and throw it into your rubbish bag. If you don’t have a rubber glove you can use sticky side of the tape to lift the hair and fur.

  • Vacuuming Your Car

Vacuum the seats and the floor. Take the head off your vacuum cleaner and use the smaller nozzle to get into those harder to reach places down the side of the seats and seat seams.

Slide your seats backwards and forwards to open up as much space around them so you can get in there with the vacuum.

Don’t forget about your floor mats, and the space under them. 

3.  How to Deep Clean Your Car Interior

Once your car interior is vacuumed you can really get the deep-clean feeling with our Rug Doctor Machine, Hand Tool and Rug Doctor Upholstery Cleaner. Just add the Rug Doctor Upholstery Cleaner and follow the instructions. You will enjoy knowing that germs, dust and stains will be no longer. The hand tool will allow you to get into those hard to reach places, and the deodorising agents mean your car will smell fresher reminding you of the great job you did.

  • Fabric Upholstery

Using Rug Doctor Upholstery Cleaner (ensuring you follow the directions on the bottle), you will be able to run the hand tool connection along your upholstery removing germs and stains, and giving you the peace of mind that your car’s hygiene is top notch. The Rug Doctor hand tool will allow you to manoeuvre into some of those trickier places in you car, as well as remove any excess moisture to avoid that damp smell.

  • Car Floor Mats

Repeat the previous steps above with the machine, we suggest taking the floor mats out of your car and placing on the concrete ground, this will make them easy to clean.

  • Leather Upholstery

After a good vacuum, wipe your seats down with the leather wipes.

  • The Final Touches

Use a glass cleaner to make your car windows and windscreen transparent again. Make sure you wipe this off effectively so you don’t get streaks or have any residue.

  • Maintaining Your Clean Car

Keep a plastic box in the boot of your car so you can throw wet gear and have a place to tidily store clothes and gear as you go.

If you are prone to leaving rubbish in your car, keep a small rubbish bin or bag, this is handy to hide the rubbish from view and make it easier to dispose of more regularly.

Remove stains as you go from spills, sticky little hands, and pets with a good stain remover. 

  • For acidic brown and yellow stains we recommend Rug Doctor Stain Remover. 
  • For heavier oil and food based stains we recommend Rug Doctor Spot Remover – both which will help your car look as good as new.

If you have pets, you can give your car an extra clean feeling with the Rug Doctor Odour Remover, which is handy to have in the car for giving a light spray to keep your car fresh and hygienic.

You should now be left with a hygienic, clean, fresh-smelling car!

Want to get your home as clean as your car? No worries! Click below to enter your details and we'll send you through your very own personalised cleaning guide tailored to your home.


Gina Gibbs

Author: Gina Gibbs

Gina is the Business Manager at Rug Doctor NZ. With over 20 years at Rug Doctor, she's dedicated to helping New Zealanders keep their homes clean and healthy. Outside of work, Gina enjoys hiking, reading, and enjoying Vietnamese and Asian fusion cuisine. Oh, and let's not forget her expertise in cleaning up after everyone, especially her two kids!