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7 Easy Ways to Clean Your Car’s Upholstery

Clean Your Car’s Upholstery

7 Easy Ways to Clean Your Car’s Upholstery

As much as you like that the exterior of your car is well-maintained and clean, why not the interior. It is where you occupy the most when you drive. It is only proper that you maintain it clean and tidy for your own health. We will teach you here the 7 easy ways to clean your car’s upholstery, which fortunately is quite easy and simple.

There are various techniques that we will teach you, thanks to the proliferation of several cleaning products specifically designed for this purpose.

What you will need to clean your car’s upholstery

care-my-cars-Clean Your Car’s Upholstery rear-seats-orange
  • Commercial cleaner and conditioner
  • Stain remover
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Clean rags or towels
  • Spray bottle
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Vacuum cleaner (optional)

Here are 7 ways to clean car upholstery

1. Site-cleaning of stains

Clean the stains on your car’s upholstery without taking out the seats. But first, check whether your stain remover of choice is conducive to the material of your upholstery.

If you have a leather upholstery, try the . This is used to pre-treat stubborn stains on your leather and preserve the upholstery’s original condition. Apply a substantial amount of this conditioner to the stained part of the leather.

Then apply a stain remover on the stain (a good one is the Scotchguard Stain Remover) and rub it on. Allow the stain remover to sit for about 30 minutes and wipe it off to remove the stain. Do this for other stains on your seats.

2. Fabric upholstery cleaning

Clean Your Car’s Upholstery fabric

After removing all the stains adhering to your seats, it is now time to clean the entire seats. If you have a fabric upholstery, you can do the following:

Using homemade cleaner.

If you don’t you want to spend on commercial cleaners, you can make your own by using ingredients mostly found in your kitchen. For one, mix one part dishwashing liquid to one part water.

Mixed them thoroughly in a spray bottle. Spray this mixture onto the seats’ upholstery.

Get a soft-bristled brush and rub the mixture gently into the fabric upholstery. Use a clean cloth or rag to wipe and dry the area. Repeat this process on the other seats until you are done.

3. Vinyl upholstery cleaning

Clean Your Car’s Upholstery vinly

The vinyl upholstery is one of the easiest types of seat materials to clean. In fact, other untidiness, spills, and other liquid splashes into it can be easily wiped off. However, if the spills are not wiped off properly, the dried stain becomes hard to clean.

But thanks to modern technology, commercial cleaners with conditioner are easily available.

Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a commercial cleaner/conditioner, spray substantial amount of this one seat at a time. Scrub gently with a toothbrush the vinyl seat including the hard to reach crevices.

Once the dirt and other debris appear from scrubbing, wipe it with a clean cloth. Do this until all seats are cleaned.

Use dishwashing soap with water in cleaning the floor mats. Scrub it with the toothbrush until it is cleaned. Rinse the mat with warm water and hang to dry.

For a perfect vinyl upholstery treatment, you might want to use the Lexol Leather Cleaner, Conditioner, and Vinylex Combo Pack with Sponge, or the best-selling Leather Cleaner by Leather Honey: Leather Cleaner for Vinyl and Leather Apparel. These are the best treatment for vinyl upholstery, both available from Amazon.

4. Leather upholstery cleaning

​Cleaning leather upholstery involves more care compared to vinyl and fabric upholstery. The leather is more susceptible to fading when done without leather cleaner and conditioner. Choose from our recommended commercial cleaners below for a more long lasting and better results.

If your car has a heater, turn it on while you clean the leather when it is cold outside. If is is already warm inside the car (during summer), then you don’t need the heater. Do the following in cleaning your leather seat.

Pre-treat the leather with a conditioner to remove stubborn stains.

Then, put some leather stain remover on the stain and rub it thoroughly with care so as not to damage the leather. Let the stain remover for 30 minutes then wipe it off with a clean cloth or towel.

After discarding off all the stains, apply the leather cleaner focusing on one seat at a time. Be sure to use clean cloth or rag in rubbing the upholstery while following the cleaner’s instructions.Then rinse off the cleaner carefully with water.

Then, dry the surface of the leather thoroughly before applying a leather conditioner. Use a pH neutral leather conditioner (just like the 2 products below) so that it will retain its natural shine and will not damage the clothing of your passengers. Be sure that the leather is totally dried and free of any moisture so that the conditioner will adhere to the leather.

The TriNova Leather Conditioner and Cleaner or the Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner and Conditioner Complete Leather Care Kit (2 Items) are two of the most suitable conditioners for leather. You can choose between these two best-selling leather cleaners and conditioners to protect your leather upholstery like no other. Both are readily available from Amazon.

5. Vacuum cleaning you car interior


If you want a more comprehensive cleaning on your car’s interior to get rid of dirt, dust, and lint on your fabric upholstery, but not the stains, use a portable vacuum cleaner. Use the one with a long hose and narrow nozzle to clean the hard to reach crevices. Use also a plastic attachment instead of metal to avoid scratching your car or the upholstery.

6. Get professional help for car detailing


If you have no time doing the interior cleaning of your car, you can very well hire a professional auto detailer. An auto detailer will clean your car’s upholstery, vents, windows, dashboard, and even the exterior of the car. You can search online or you can check out your neighborhood for a professional one.

But before you bring your car to an auto detailer, please check the following:

Be assured that the one or the people you hire have been certified and trained to use tools and cleaners for the job.

Make sure they have insurance.

And, if they offer competitive fees.

7. Prevent future messes

To avoid the so many messes on your car’s upholstery and the car interior as a whole, be advised of this common practices:

Cover your car seat with washable car seat covers. Choose the one that will match your seat or any design you want.

Wipe off spills and clean other mess immediately.

Vacuum clean your car occasionally.

Avoid bringing food and beverages into the car.

Put stain repellent on your car seats’ upholstery.

Pro tips

Here’s another good choice for a leather cleaner and conditioner, the Meguiar's G10916 Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner & Conditioner. Also available from Amazon.

Meanwhile, a good portable vacuum cleaner is the Lolldeal 12V 75W Black Car Vacuum Cleaner Super Mini Portable. This mini cleaner has a long power cord, very light, and handy. Also available from Amazon.


Did you enjoy this tutorial? As car designs have evolved through the years, so do its seats which are now dressed with different materials. But whatever your upholstery materials could be, we got you covered.

Fortunately, cleaning those seats are now as simple as washing your dishes. Thanks to cleaning products that are now available in Amazon and covered mostly all upholstery materials of any car brand.

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