How to Clean the Inside of Your Car

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How to Clean the Inside of Your Car

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Cleaning the inside of your car can make it feel brand new again. In addition to looking great, your car’s interior will last longer when its properly maintained and cleaned on a regular basis. Cleaning the inside of your car isn’t difficult, but there are a few tips that will help you get the job done.

The Supplies You Need

You don’t need fancy, expensive chemicals to clean your car’s interior, but you should gather a few supplies, including:

  • Vacuum cleaner with attachments or car vac
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Soft cleaning cloths
  • Toothbrush
  • Cotton swabs
  • Mild detergent
  • Saddle soap (for leather interiors)
  • Glass cleaner
  • Leather protectant
  • Vinyl protectant

Here are the steps to cleaning the inside of your car:

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Vacuum the interior.

Install a crevice attachment to your vacuum, or use a car vac. Vacuum carpets, seats, cargo area or trunk.

Dust hard surfaces.

Using a clean, soft cloth, first dry-dust the dashboard, control panels, console and any other area that has collected dust.

Clean and wipe hard surfaces.

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Combine water and a small amount of mild detergent in a bucket. Use a soft cleaning cloth to clean all the hard interior surfaces of the car. To get into small crevices in the console and heating vents, use the toothbrush or cotton swabs.

Protect hard surfaces.

Use a vinyl protectant such as ArmorAll to keep your dashboard, console and door panels moisturized and protected. Vinyl protectant keeps your car’s interior free of cracks from sun exposure and helps protect against scratches.

If you have a leather steering wheel, dashboard or car panels, use leather protectant on these areas to keep them supple and free of cracks.

Clean carpet and upholstery.

Use a damp cleaning cloth to wipe down upholstery (for leather seats, use saddle soap in place of mild detergent). Stains on carpet and fabric upholstery can be removed with the same type of cleaners you use in your home.

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Protect leather seats.

Leather seats require extra protection; cold weather and sun exposure can cause the leather to crack and wear. After thoroughly vacuuming the seats, wipe them off as needed, using saddle soap. Then, apply a leather protectant to the entire seat.

Clean windows and mirror.

Use the glass cleaner on the inside of all windows to clean smudges and remove dust. Wipe your rearview mirror as well, but don’t spray glass cleaner directly on the mirror, especially if it has electronic features on it. Instead, spray a small amount of the cleaner onto the cloth before applying.

A few things to avoid:

Don’t use too much water when cleaning the inside of your car. Water and car electronics don’t mix—make sure to use a damp cloth when wiping the dash, stereo, door controls, etc. Soft cleaning cloths, well rung-out work best—sponges can retain too much water.

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