How to Clean Car Interior – Seats, Carpet & More

How to Clean Car Interior – Seats, Carpet & More

We’ve all been there. Colleagues, friends or your in-laws ask the dreaded question, ‘are we OK to travel with you?’. You begin to shudder at the thought of their reaction to the mass of crumbs, the loose change and dust that will greet them as they step in. Not to mention the fact that you only took the dog for a walk this morning and the nose marks on the windows, and paw prints on the seats, are testament to what a great time he had. As embarrassed as you may be, you can’t say no.

Avoid the embarrassment and the unwanted costs of a professional valet by giving your car’s interior a thorough and professional looking clean, with our tips and advice on inside car cleaning. Here, we will cover how to clean car seats, what to use to clean car carpet and upholstery and, naturally, our recommendation for the best car vacuum cleaner to make your cockpit sparkle.

How to clean the inside of your car

To do a thorough job from your own garage or driveway, you need the right equipment. There are plenty of awkward spaces in your car’s interior including down the edge of your seats, air vents, cup holders and the centre console.

Equipment you’ll need includes:

  • A powerful vacuum cleaner
  • Soft brush - our Car Accessory Kit is perfect for inside car cleaning
  • Multipurpose cloths
  • Wet wipes
  • Dashboard polish
  • Upholstery cleaner
  • Hose pipe or pressure washer
  • Baking soda or detergent

As well as powerful, you’ll need an easy to manoeuvre vacuum cleaner. An upright vacuum just isn’t practical due to the roof height and amount of space available. As you move to each side of the vehicle, you don’t want to be dragging a heavy unit behind you or limited by the length of a cable from your nearest power point, particularly if you are outside. The Gtech Multi MK2 has been specifically designed to overcome the difficulties of car cleaning - cordless, lightweight and handheld, you can easily cover every area of your interior.


The standard fitments included will ensure you get all those loose crumbs and debris from the seats and surrounding areas, but for a thorough clean and removal of any engrained dirt, consider the Car Cleaning Accessory Kit. With additional fitments, including dusting brush, upholstery tool and flexible extension, you’ll be able to dislodge any dirt and grime engrained into the upholstery – so your furry best friend doesn’t need to miss out on his morning trip to the woods just because you have an important meeting the same day.

With your equipment sorted, here’s how to put them to use.

Use the Gtech Multi’s attachments to clean car interior

How to clean carpets and mats

It’s not the done thing to ask passengers to remove their footwear as they enter your car, which means your car mats will likely be the part of your interior which holds the most grime and needs the most attention. They’re also worth going the extra mile for, as they will be the first thing your passengers see as they set foot inside.

1. Remove them from the car

For speed, it can be tempting to try and clean your car mats without removing them, especially if you have a handheld vacuum. But the mats are removable for a reason – they are far easier to clean outside of the vehicle, and removing them also ensures that you don’t miss any of the mess which has built up under and around them.

2. Vacuum

Now they are removed from the car and laid flat on the drive, you can conveniently vacuum them just like any normal rug or carpet. You won’t need a handheld vacuum for this procedure and you can cover the width of your mat swiftly with the use of an upright vacuum, such as the Gtech AirRam MK2.

3. Soak

You might have thought we’d gone mad above when we suggested a hose or pressure washer, but don’t worry, we are not advocating soaking your interior. Instead, use this to soak your car mats.

4. Add baking soda or detergent

Sprinkle on a recommended load’s worth of cleaning detergent or baking soda like you’d use in your washing machine. Cover the entire soaked mat.

5. Brush

Using a stiff bristled brush or broom, scrub the mat thoroughly back and forth and side to side, to remove any engrained mud and dirt.

6. Rinse and dry

Using your hose or pressure washer, wash the suds from the mat and then hang to dry – either over the clothes line or laid over a wall until thoroughly dry – make sure you do not refit them whilst still damp, to avoid the smell and the risk of any slipping, particularly for the driver’s mat.

How to clean car interior with a cordless vacuum cleaner

How to clean car dashboards

Your hands are always busy when driving a car – changing gear, turning the wheel and applying the handbrake all result in a mass of skin cells and bacteria building up inside the car and manifesting in finger marks and a thick layer of dust.

1. Vacuum and brush

As recommended above, with the Gtech Multi Car Accessory Kit, you can add your soft dusting brush to your handheld Gtech Multi MK2 to remove any loose dust and crumbs that have built up around the vents, the surround of your gear stick, steering wheel and dash.

2. Polish

There are a number of specific polishes available for car interiors, specifically designed to be safe on surfaces, whether leather, plastic or wood effect. Your dash is of course located directly underneath your windscreen and is exposed to plenty of UV rays. Many car polishes include protectants to ensure your dash is protected against discolouring or cracking due this exposure.

Add to a microfibre towel or multipurpose cloth and wipe the dashboard and displays thoroughly, but AVOID the steering wheel and pedals. It is not recommended that you apply any polish to these areas as they may become slippery, which could affect your ability to control the car. Instead, for these areas, use a damp cloth or wet wipe and allow to thoroughly dry before driving.

How to clean car seats

Regular visits to a drive-thru or long journeys with children and pets can take their toll on your car’s seats. Unlike the mats, these aren’t so easily removable, so here your handheld vacuum cleaner will certainly come in handy!

How to clean fabric car seats

With your Gtech Multi MK2 fitted with small upholstery tool, you can really get into the fibres of your fabric seats to remove crumbs and other loose dirt. However, sometimes on long journeys, spillages or accidents can happen leading to stains. To remove these, you can wash the the seats in your car by spraying on some upholstery cleaner and leave to soak before using your small upholstery tool – the tool is designed with stiff bristles to help bring out any embedded grime and germs.

If you have leather seats, there are two reasons for regular cleaning. The first is obvious – keeping every passenger healthy and comfortable (whilst avoiding any embarrassment on your part) but secondly, keeping your leather in good condition. Due to this, we’d recommend a two-stage cleaning solution, a cleaner and a conditioner.

Firstly, give your seats a vacuum using your Gtech Multi MK2 with standard fitment, instead of the upholstery tool which could mark the leather. Then, apply your leather cleaner to a microfibre towel and apply. Finish with leather conditioner and your car is ready for its next adventure.

So, that’s how to clean your car interior. Avoid embarrassment or the cost of a valet, by doing a professional job of cleaning your car’s interior at home with the help of Gtech. Explore our best car vacuum cleaners and feel proud next time you’re asked to provide a taxi service.