We spend a decent amount of our lives in our vehicles - about 4 years on average to be more concrete. That’s the same amount of time we spend in university as well. Surprising, isn’t it? We thought so too. Because of this, we decided to compile a list (in no specific order) of the 10 best cleaning products needed to keep your interior in mint condition.
Before we get started, however, let’s firstly go over a couple of important points:
How often should you clean the interior of your car?
The answer ultimately depends on how often you use the car and how quickly it gets dirty. Nevertheless, taking the time to clean your car interior at least once a month is highly recommended in order to avoid dirt, dust and grime build-up. In the meantime, do your best to occasionally wipe the surface dust, and to remove any rubbish.
And a question, which many of you are probably wondering now:
Is it better to clean your car at home or at a car wash?
Taking matters into your own hands is the obvious choice for most auto enthusiasts, but not everyone has the time or ability to maintain their car interior spotless. Contrastingly, always going to the car wash will end up needlessly affecting your budget. What you should do instead is to maintain your car clean as best you can with the tools and products we are about to list, and to occasionally have it detailed by experts.
Now, onto the main topic:
What are the 10 best car interior cleaning products?
1. Car Vacuum Cleaner
Apart from being affordable and easy to use, car vacuum cleaners are essential in keeping your car interior clean. After all, how else would you pick up the dirt, hairs and other debris from your car upholstery?
The specific model we would like to recommend is the Armor All AA255, which is a wet and dry vacuum. It comes in at a cost of about £50, which is roughly £20 more than the standard small portable vacuums that occupy Amazon’s top seller positions.
But why choose the AA255 instead of the cheaper models? Two reasons. Firstly, it has the ability to clean wet messes, such as vomit and pet diarrhoea. Secondly, it can also be used as a blower to blow out leaves and debris from the inside and outside of the car.
2. Microfibre Cloths
If you don’t already own a set of microfibre cloths, you best go out and buy one now! In particular, get the Happy Ending Edgeless Microfibre Towels (3 Pack), which are manufactured by Chemical Guys (absolute giants in the car detailing industry), and only cost £10. As the name suggests, the towels are edgeless, which completely eliminates the possibility of scratches. Something, which can very possibly happen with cotton cloths.
Moreover, they attract dirt, as well as germs and bacteria, incredibly well. They’re extremely absorbent and they dry quickly too! Once you’re done using them, simply throw them in the washer on a hot water setting, and you’re good to go. As this towel set only costs a tenner, there is literally no reason to not own one.
3. Detailing Brush Set
While amazing at what they do, microfibre cloths are simply unable to go into the nooks and crannies of your vehicle as well as detailing brushes can. And to ensure you do indeed reach all places where dirt and dust hide, opt for Jsdoin Car Detail Brush Set. At the time of writing this article, they’re priced at just under £8 – half of what you would normally pay for a similar set elsewhere.
Pro tip: When cleaning the plastics inside your car, firstly wipe them with a dry microfibre cloth to remove the surface dust, and then use the brushes to deal with smaller debris particles. For particularly grimy areas, make sure to use a cleaning spray, some water in order to rinse, and a microfibre towel to then absorb the moisture.
4. Hard Surface Cleaner
Any person passionate about cars will instantly cringe at the sight of someone using baby wipes to clean their dashboard. Why you might ask? Well, baby wipes do not contain alcohol, meaning they do a very poor job at actually cleaning surfaces, and they also leave streaks. What you should use to clean the hard surfaces of your interior instead is Armor All’s Protectant Gloss Finish.
It does a great job in removing grime and debris, and it also leaves a protective layer over the surface, guarding it against the harmful effects of oxygen, ozone and UV rays. But why does UV light protection matter? Simply put, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays can result in cracking and fading in plastic, vinyl and rubber materials.
Another reason why we recommend this cleaner is due to its ability to also clean leather and wood, as well as exterior elements like tires and bumpers. Priced at just under £7, it’s a worthwhile investment, which will help preserve your interior (and exterior) for a long, long time.
5. Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner
What can ruin the impression of someone entering your vehicle for the first time? Undoubtedly, it’s the presence of stains and smells. Luckily, Chemical Guys offer a solution for both in the form of just one product – it’s the Fabric Clean Carpet Upholstery Extractor Cleaner Shampoo (we know, a bit of a mouthful). It does come in a container of just about 473 ML, but it does need to be diluted either 20:1 for general purpose cleaning, or 8:1 for heavy duty work.
Now, you would still need to put in some work using a stiff brush to agitate the shampoo, then blotting up the foam and debris with a microfibre towel, but the results will be worth it. It’s available for purchase through the manufacturer’s main website, and it’s only about £15. Due to the product being a concentrate, you should be able to get a good few months use out of it.
6. Leather Cleaner and Conditioner
If you own a car with cloth seats, you might think that a leather interior doesn’t require as much effort to maintain. Truthfully, leather seats require as much if not more care that upholstered ones. But how exactly should you go about cleaning and conditioning your leather interior? With Leather Honey’s Leather Care Kit, of course! It has nearly 45 000 reviews and is currently sitting at a 4.5 rating.
While the set is somewhat pricy (£40), you certainly get what you pay for with Leather Honey. In the box, you will also find two lint-free cloths and instructions on how to apply the products. The results will certainly amaze you!
Important note: The conditioner isn’t suitable for synthetic leather, but the cleaner is. Still, we always advise testing ANY cleaning product on an inconspicuous area first.
7. Glass and window cleaner
The glass cleaner we are about to recommend despite not having a premium price is in fact a high quality product. We are speaking of Dodo Juice’s Clearly Menthol. It’s a 10 pound, alcohol-based glass and window cleaning spray with a pleasant menthol colour and scent. It’s amazing in picking up grime and dirt from interior and exterior window/ glass like elements.
What also makes us steer you to buy this cleaner is the fact that it does not leave streaks on your windows like many other cheap (and even expensive) products would. The Clearly Menthol spray was even selected as Auto Express’ best auto glass cleaner of 2021.
8. Stain Protection Spray
If you haven’t yet heard about Stain Protection sprays, you must be living under a rock. They’re after-care products that form an invisible layer over an item’s surface to help prevent stains, simple. They key word here is help, as having your seats or carpets protected does not mean they will not get stained at all. However, having a protective layer over your car upholstery will give you more time to react and deal with a spillage.
But which Stain Protection spray should you get for your car upholstery? Many options out there, all do more or less the same job, but Scotchgard’s Heavy Duty Water Shield is honestly a great choice all around. Now, to be fair, it’s not specifically tailored for cars, but based on our experience, it’s their best product. You can currently get it for just under £9 from Amazon or from Scotchgard’s official website.
Pro tip: Before applying the protection spray onto your car seats or carpets, ensure they are thoroughly cleaned beforehand.
9. Air Con Bomb Cleaner
If you’ve just bought a vehicle second hand, but it reeks of cigarettes, consider buying STP’s Air Con Cleaner. The product removes 99.9% of germs and bacteria stuck inside the air filtration system of your vehicle, which results in the removal of unpleasant smells. It’s easy to use and very effective. Plus, it’s only around £9, so you really don’t lose much.
Now, on the off chance that the product does not remove the smell it was supposed to, there’s a good possibility that the car air filter is due for replacement. Of course, no matter if you’re experiencing bad odours or not, you should indeed change your car air filter annually – this is something, which all car manufactures recommend anyway.
10. Pet Hair Remover
Going on rides with your dog can be a blast, but cleaning up their hairs after surely isn’t on nobody’s wishlist. In fact, removing pet hairs from carpets is a surprisingly difficult task, even for professionals. They don’t get picked up even by the most powerful vacuums, and dealing with them by hand, one-by-one takes forever. The solution? Petswoo Carpet Hair Remover Tools.
That’s right, for £7 you get two pet hair removal tools – one double-sided metal lint roller and one brush with a double layer of zigzag silica gel. The latter is made specifically for delicate materials, such as wool or wool-mix carpets and clothes. The main lint roller is perfect for car upholstery and we guarantee it will save you a good amount of time and efforts in getting hairs out of the car.
Going about and spending £165 for the products on this list may seem excessive to some, but given how long you’ll be able to use them for, in our opinion it’s completely worth it. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can get away without having your car professionally detailed every 6 months or so, but it’s a great place to start.
Plus, by keeping your car clean, it’s likely you’ll be charged less by professional detailers in the future as well! But…
What is professional car detailing?
Car interior detailing is a service offered by many professionals, which includes:
- Steam cleaning of the upholstery with an industrial machine
- Dusting and polishing of hard surfaces
- Interior window cleaning
- Stain and smell removal with eco-friendly products
- Application of Stain Protection and an Air Con Cleaner
The best part about it? The service can take place at your home or work address! And if this sounds too good to be true, it really isn’t. Feel free to submit a free quote request within our website form or simply call 020 3318 6387, and a member of our friendly customer service team will happily assist you!
Frequently Asked Questions
All products expire. Even car cleaning ones. Always check the expiration date before you purchase one and ensure the respective product is well-kept.
Car cleaning products are best stored in the garage or in a cabined in the laundry room, for example. If you don't have such a space in your house, just pick one without any access to direct sunlight. It's also recommended to avoid spaces that are extremely hot or cold.
Start by removing the car mats, in order to thoroughly hoover the carpet, as well as the seats and the boot. You should then turn your focus to any stains currently on the upholstery of the car, and do your best to deal with them. If not possible to remove certain ones, forget about them for the time being, and clean the interior hard surfaces and windows. Lastly, apply the air con bomb cleaner and the stain protection spray. If you're not fully satisfied with the end-results, consider calling in your local mobile interior detailers.
The answer to this question depends mostly on your area of living, and on the overall depth of the cleaning service. On average, for a standard saloon type car, a full interior cleaning service costs around £150. Other factors, which can affect the final fee for interior detailing are the overall condition of the interior and the availability of the respective company.