How to clean your car like a pro

Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee

Cleaning the inside of your car not only keeps your driving environment fresh, you’ll also get to keep that new car feeling for months to come. Whether you use your car for your daily commute, school runs, or going on pet adventures, a clean and spotless cabin is going to keep you and your passengers feeling great. You’ll also find many of the materials and tools you’ll need can be found in your own home as well.

Dirt or grime that builds up over time can also degrade your car’s cabin materials, so you’ll want to keep up that regular cleaning maintenance from time to time. Ready to bust the dust? Here’s our guide and how to clean the different parts of your car’s cabin like a pro.

What you’ll need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Microfibre towels
  • Glass cleaner spray
  • Detailing brush / soft toothbrush
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Drill brush attachment (optional)
  • Leather conditioner (optional)

Carpet and floor mats

Scrubbing down rubber carpets.
Scrubbing down rubber carpets.

Start by taking out any rubbish from your car and then remove the floor mats from your car and shake off loose dirt and debris. For rubber or all-weather mats, lay them on a rack to hose down, scrub with carpet cleaner using a brush, then rinsing off. To make things easier, getting a brush drill attachment can help speed up everything.

If you have fabric mats, check whether they’re machine washable first. If not, you can start by vacuuming them then scrub gently with carpet cleaner. Let the mats hang dry or laid out on a tarp before putting them back in the car.


With the floor mats removed, work your vacuum through the interior from top to bottom and side to side so dirt doesn’t land on already cleaned spots. Don’t forget to run your vacuum over your seats into all the nooks and crannies and move the seats up to pick up all those bits of dirt and crumbs.


On leather seats and door trim upholstery, gently work a detailing brush (or a soft toothbrush if you don’t have one) with cleaner in a circular motion, always applying cleaning solution directly on the brush instead of the seat to prevent over-wetting the seat or getting cleaner on spots you’re not working on. After scrubbing you can wipe it all off in one go with a microfibre cloth, then apply a leather conditioner.

With fabric seats, thoroughly vacuuming should do the trick. For stains, brush in some general purpose cleaner with a small amount of water. If your fabric seats need a proper clean to get stubborn stains out, use a wet vacuum. Try not to soak your seats, as trapped moisture can create mould.

Using a wet vacuum to clean fabric seats.
Using a wet vacuum to clean fabric seats.

Dashboard and console

Dashboards and consoles are usually made of plastic, vinyl, leather (or leatherette), or wood varnishing, which are all pretty easy to clean. Spray all-purpose cleaner into a clean microfibre cloth and work your way across. Gently wipe down the dashboard, steering wheel, and gear shift.

If your car has an infotainment screen, use a dry microfibre cloth to wipe off dust or fingerprints. Infotainment screens usually have anti-glare or anti-fingerprint coatings, so you’ll want to avoid using a cleaning spray or glass cleaner here. Instead, use isopropyl alcohol (at least 70% concentration) to wipe down the screen and buttons.

Glass and mirrors

For cleaning the glass and mirrors inside your car, use a glass cleaner spray. Spray the cleaner on a lint-free microfibre cloth, then wipe the windows from side to side for a streak-free finish.

Air freshener

For the final touch, pick an air freshener you like. There’s different types from sprays, vent clips, or hanging ones like the ones that come with every Carma Car. If you’re using a spray, turn the climate control to circulate before spraying so it gets spread throughout the cabin.

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