How to Deep Clean Your Car With a Rug Doctor

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

rsz  rug deep clean car   blog

Aug 10, 2020

How to Deep Clean Your Car With a Rug Doctor

One of the most common questions we get asked is if you can use Rug Doctor to clean the interior of a car to a professional standard? The short answer is yes!

Our products can absolutely be used to perform a thorough clean and get rid of offending dust, dirt and stains that can accumulate over time. We recommend hiring the Rug Doctor Machine, Hand Tool and purchase the correct Rug Doctor products for your stains. (You can get the Ultimate Stain Removal Guide at the end of this page!)

The trick is using the right products in the correct way, in order to see the best results. This blog will outline those best practices, so that you can take to your car with our products and come out with your car interior looking like new.

Step One: Preemptively Vacuum and Dust

Before bringing out your Rug Doctor products, we'd suggest going over you car with a vacuum cleaner (or dust buster if your vacuum cord can't reach) and getting rid of any surface layer dust and dirt.

Make sure to take out any floor mats and seat covers and clean these separately before undertaking any upholstery cleaning. Seat covers can be run through a washing machine (make sure to check the label first). Floor mats can be shaken out and vacuumed before Rug Doctoring.

Finally, the last preemptive measure is to dust down surfaces. Take a damp mircofibre cloth and wipe down dashboards, plastic interior fittings, seat belts and steering wheels.

Step Two: Identify Any Stubborn Spots & Stains

Before using the Hand Tool, take a look over your car seats and mats for any stubborn stains that might need removing before your full upholstery clean. We have two great spot and stain cleaners that can help to lift any stubborn stains out effectively that are commonly found in cars.

Here's a quick list of car-related stains and the correct product to use with each. (See the full list at the end of this page).

Stain Remover:

  • Coffee
  • Urine
  • Vomit (also best used with odour remover)

Spot Remover:

  • Dirt, Mud, Clay, Grass
  • Gum
  • Ice Cream
  • Motor Grease/Oil

Once you've identified the stain and purchase the correct product to remove it, follow the instructions on the bottle. Lightly spray and gently blot (do not rub vigorously), and use a spoon to scoop up any solids. Do not press hard and always blot and clean towards the centre. For a full break-down of how to use these two products, click on the videos below.

Stain Remover Instructions:

Spot Remover Instructions:

Step Three: Clean with Upholstery Cleaner & Hand Tool

Our Upholstery Cleaner is the perfect solution to deep clean your car interior to a professional standard without damaging. With this in mind, make sure to check that your car seat fabric is okay for water extraction method cleaners, and do not use the Rug Doctor machine or cleaning products on materials such as leather or non-colourfast fabrics. Most car seat fabric is absolutely cleanable with Rug Doctor products.

We'd highly recommend hiring the hand tool attachment for cleaning ease when it comes to maneuvering around the interior of a car. Once you've hired your Rug Doctor machine, hand tool and upholstery cleaner, you're ready to go! (For the ultimate deep clean get the Odour Remover too!)

Set Up

  1. First, pull free the grey vacuum hose at the back of the machine. Then connect the top grey hose on the machine to the grey vacuum hose on the Hand Tool. Next, screw brass connection to small diversion valve, ensure it is on tightly to engage.
  2. Remove the UPPER (white) tank. Mix Rug Doctor Upholstery Cleaner with water in a clean bucket according to the label directions and POUR into the LOWER red tank. (Odour Remover can also be added, great if you have pets or smoke smells)
  3. Fit UPPER white tank back in place, seal tank and clear dome securely by replacing restraining wire.
  4. Plug in the power cord and position the machine next to your car. Refer to the label on top of machine and turn the machine ON for Hand Tool cleaning.

Start Cleaning

  1. Working at a slow, steady pace, begin cleaning by squeezing the hand tool lever as you pull the tool over fabric. Overlap strokes slightly. IMPORTANT: Do NOT press the red button on machine handle while using the hand tool.
  2. If foam builds up around the hand tool, pull a little bit faster or vacuum excess solution by passing over area a second time without squeezing solution lever.
  3. When cleaning is complete, disconnect the upholstery tool then empty any remaining solution by taking the machine outside or over drain and turn machine ON for Hand Tool, this will empty lower tank.
  4. Before returning to store, ensure machine is cleaned according to instructions at back of machine and vacuum hose is securely reconnected. Switch should be in OFF position.

For a full explanation, check out the video below:

Step Four: Apply the Finishing Touches and Allow to Dry

Once your upholstery cleaning is complete, you're at the final stage of the perfect car clean. To finish, we'd recommend using a glass cleaner to wipe down all windows, vinyl polish for any vinyl finish surfaces (available from stores like Bunnings and Mitre 10) and adding an air freshener to keep that 'new car' smell present after your clean.

If you have any questions at all or would like some tips on how to effectively use our stain removal products, download the FREE guide below!


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!