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February 21, 2014

How To Keep Your Car’s Upholstery In Great Shape

In most cases, a vehicle’s upholstery is used as frequently as the engine and other essential parts. For drivers and passengers, upholstery that is clean and in tact is as important as overall comfort. Fortunately, cleaning and maintaining the interior of a vehicle is easy and can be done by most vehicle owners without professional assistance.


Because most vehicle interiors consist of a combination of different materials, it is likely that more than one cleaning product will be needed. Leather surfaces should be cleaned with products that are specifically designed to clean and condition leather, and cloth upholstery should be cleaned with a product that specifically cleans cloth interior surfaces. There are also automotive carpet cleaning products that are available. All products warn that it is better to test a new cleaner out on a small section of the material that is not easily visible to ensure the product is safe to use on the entire surface.

Clearing Space

The first step in cleaning a vehicle’s interior is to remove all large items, trash, and clutter that may get in the way while doing a deep cleaning. Items that may be left in the car overnight or for extended periods such as toolboxes, tires, blanket, sporting equipment should be removed and temporarily stored in the trunk or inside the driver’s residence while cleaning.


When vacuuming the interior, a household vacuum is suitable in most cases. It may be necessary to use a rechargeable vacuum or to use an extension cord to connect with the residential power source. High power vacuums are also available at car washes. Much of the debris can be removed by vacuuming the floors and seats of the vehicle.

Removing Dirt and Stains from Upholstery

Once all debris has been vacuumed, the next step is to use the wet cleaning products of choice to eliminate dirt, grime, and stains from the upholstery, dashboard, and interior panels. The steering wheel may be a good starting point. Leather-wrapped steering wheels may be cleaned by applying a leather spray. The spray can be removed using an old sock or terrycloth. Q-tips are effective in cleaning steering wheel crevices and other small spaces. A leather spray should also be used to clean larger leather surfaces like seats and door panels. Instead of simply rubbing the solution on and off with a cloth, gently scrubbing with a toothbrush or other small, soft brush with bristles can remove dirt from between the grain.

Removing Dirt and Stains from Carpet

Carpet that is particularly soiled or has stubborn stains should be treated with a stain lifter after vacuuming. The spots should be sprayed with a stain lifter and left to soak according to directions. After soaking, most stain removers work best when the area is scrubbed using a cloth or brush and then vacuumed a second time. The entire carpet may also be treated using a rug shampooer in more extreme cases. If a carpet shampooer is used, the car should be allowed to thoroughly dry with the windows down.

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