Car upholstery being steam cleaned.

You’ve dusted the dash, shined the windows, and polished every surface in your car until it looks as good as new, but you might be forgetting something: your car’s carpet and upholstery. 

What about it?

Well, it’s pretty gross when you stop to think about it. Dirt and mud from shoes, crumbs from meals on the go, and spilled coffee from rushed mornings. Not to mention the messes that come with your kids and pets. Now, that said, is vacuuming really enough? 


3 carpet cleaning tips for the next time you clean your car

Vacuum the carpet and use a dry brush before you reach for the carpet cleaner.

You probably use glass cleaner for your windows and a car-safe wash for the exterior of your car, but if you reach straight for the spray bottle of carpet cleaner or fabric freshener without vacuuming first, you’re more likely to end up with a sticky mess than a clean car interior. Remove your car mats to expose the carpeted material and vacuum any dirt and debris up and then use a dry, stiff-bristled brush to loosen any compacted dirt, dust, and debris from the fabrics in your car. Once you’ve brushed down the upholstery and carpets, vacuum again to get rid of any loosened debris. 

Stain treatment

For most stains, you can make your own cleaning solution with a gallon of hot water, several pumps of dish detergent, and a cup of white vinegar. Spray the carpet liberally with this DIY-solution and let it sit for about half an hour before scrubbing in circular motions with a cleaning brush. This dish soap solution is usually safe for both carpets and upholstery, but be gentle when scrubbing upholstery to prevent fraying or tearing fibers. As always, be sure to test a small section of the fabric before dousing your car in any new cleaning solution. 

Once the solution has set for 30 minutes, blot the area with plain white cotton cloths (to prevent color transfer) until its dry. If you’ve treated a large area and have access to a wet-dry vac, this can speed up the drying process. 

For stain removal from blood stains, grease, and pet messes, you’ll want to use a different form of treatment, like laundry starch and cold water, paint thinner, or baking soda and water. Here’s a guide to getting stubborn stains out safely and effectively. 

Steam cleaning

Sometimes spot cleaning and regular maintenance just aren’t enough to get that stain (or that smell) gone for good. Steam cleaners aren’t cheap, but you can affordably hire a professional detailer to steam clean your car’s carpets and upholstery every now and then to help keep your car clean and fresh.

They say you can tell a lot about a person by how clean (or messy) their car is, but what about the type of vehicle they drive? Have a little fun with: What Your Car Says About You.

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CategoryCar Care
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