Automotive Maintenance And Detailing


Automotive Maintenance And Detailing

Interior Car Detailing

What is interior car detailing?.

The interior car detailing is one of the most important procedures of car cleaning besides the exterior. The inside of a car has many parts that need to clean.   It is because dust and dirt can accumulate on the internal parts and materials.   There are dashboards, car control knobs, and dials, floor mats, carpet, steering wheel, seat even the roof panel above your head.

The best way to cope with this dirt is by using cleaning products and cleaning tools.   You can use the normal tools at your home to do this job to clean your car.   The interior car detailing can be done every 6-8 months, however, it depends on your living area, too.   You may need to clean more often if you drive in a dusty town or work area.   This is because most of the dirt in the car is normally contaminated by the driver and passengers such as sand and mud on their boots, clothes.   And dirty steering wheel from dirty driver’s hands.

The pet lover is another cause of car dirt also.  The dog or cat hairs can collect on the floor mats and carpet, which is the most difficult to clean it off with the normal cleaning tools.


What is the equipment and cleaning product for interior car detailing?.

The beginners who just have their new car, want to do interior car detailing by yourselves and don’t want to spend a lot of money on the professional detailing guys. You may invest one time of cleaning products and tools to use later for several times. The equipment and cleaning product comprises.

  • Microfiber towel, rag
  • Vacuum machine
  • Drill brush
  • Steam cleaner
  • Soft hairbrush
  • Water sprayer or a hose of tap water
  • An all-purpose cleaner (you can find from our Top Lists page)
  • Leather, vinyl, upholstery conditioning product

Where to start the interior detailing?.

You could start from the less dirty part first as you could use your equipment like the rag, microfiber towel, sponge, etc. with the dirtiest area without washing before going to the next process. We assume you have a few towels as you are not the professional, right?. The example of those areas is the dashboard, center console, air vents, door panels or headlining. Then you can move to a more dirty area like car seats, seat rail, foot pedals, floor mats both passenger room and trunk, steering wheel, carpet.

You can easily define dirty from the touching area. This means the most touching from the driver and the passenger is normal to get dirty than the non-touch area. You can leave dirt on the seat every time you sit, dirt on the steering wheel when you driving, mud and sand on the floor mats and carpet from your feet even dirty seat belt from your dirty hands. The filthy will accumulated on these materials if you do not have a specific cleaning period.   

where and How to do interior cleaning?.

the dashboard

As mentioned above, you could start from the less dirty area first, the dashboard, instrument display, radio, air conditioning panel, cup holder, gear console or door panel.

In case you want to clean like a pro, you can wipe it out with the brush and microfiber towel then use all-purpose cleaner spray on these areas. The soft hairbrush can use to wipe off the dust from the air vent and use the vacuum cleaner together in one time. We recommend you brush off the dust from every part of the dashboard first such as crevices of the console, radio knobs & buttons, air conditioning dials, and all other parts. Then spray all-purpose cleaner and wipe with the microfiber towel.


The Door panel

The door panels are the simple part that we always make them dirty, either by hand or shoe. However, we can use the all-purpose cleaner with them. The most of car has vinyl material for the door panel. It easily wipes off with a microfiber towel and the cleaning solution. However, the most important is the door handle which you use your hand to pull for open the door. You need to clean thoroughly the inner surface of the handle, not only the outer part. That is because the dirt is normally built in the hidden part which you difficult to see it. A steam cleaner, if you have one, is a very useful tool for eliminating dirt from the surfaces. The hot steam will loosen up all kinds of dirt very easy then you just wipe it out with a microfiber towel.


The Roof panel parts

The parts above your head such as sun visor, roof panel, moon roof, panoramic sunroof  & its curtain and grab handle. Those parts are easy to clean with the same procedure. By the way, you may take more seriously with the sun visor and grab handle if you always touch or hold it. Moreover, the moon roof or panoramic sunroof is an electrical part that you should clean the glass and check its rubber seal in a good condition, don’t leave it dry or crack. You can use the rubber conditioner product for this and you must use it if you always drive amid high temperature. Otherwise, the dried rubber seal will cause water leaks into your car within a few years.

Cleaning the dirtiest area

The seat

The car seat cover has different kinds of materials. However, it consists of three main materials, leather, vinyl, and upholstery seat. The different material has a different cleaning method and In the case of the luxury car which normally comes with a high-quality leather seat, you may choose the cleaner and conditioner product of your car brand.. The carmaker has normally certified the quality of the product which will be used for their car. Of course, it could be an expensive cost but it is guaranteed that you will have the good thing for your premium car. Otherwise, you could find the product from the market which has a lot of brands and grades.

Genuine Leather and vinyl seat

The cleaning process of leather and vinyl seat are not different because these two types of material have almost the same texture. Smooth, flat grain (or grainy in genuine leather), pebble-grain or embossed. Nevertheless, you should understand that the premium car does not give you high-quality leather for all areas of the seat.  The vinyl will be used in the area of not often touching areas such as the side of the cushion, back of the seat. The genuine leather will be used only with the area where your body always touches it such as the upper part of the cushion, back, and headrest.


For the leather and vinyl, you need to start to clean all dirt from the surface first by a vacuum cleaner and follow with the all-purpose cleaner product. If you buy the generic product from the market, it may come together with the cleaner and the conditioner.

After vacuuming at all crevices of the seat, you should use a sponge for cleaning in this step by spray the cleaner on a sponge and wipe with one direction on the surface of the seat. This method will save time more than wiping back and forth as the dirt will be removed more easily. Then leave the cleaner to dry at least 5-10 minutes or as in the direction of each product. Now, spray the leather conditioner on the seat surface and wiping with a sponge or microfiber towel. The conditioner will keep your leather seats soften and preventing them from drying out, cracking, and fading from the wear and tear of regular use. You may use the conditioner every a couple of months to keep the good condition of leather and vinyl.


The cleaning of fabric, cloth and upholstery seat

You can clean the fabric, cloth or upholstery seat with the same procedure as the leather seat. First, start by using a dry vacuum cleaner to clean all surfaces and crevices of the seat. The detailing professional will follow with spraying a cleaner solution then drill brushing and have a wet vacuum to remove dirt in this step. You don’t need to do full step like the pro if your car seat is not filthy or extremely dirty. You can spray the all-purpose cleaner on the seat surface and wipe with a sponge or microfiber towel. Evidently, most of the cleaner will remove the dirt off the fabric.

Steering wheel & gear shifter cleaning

The steering wheel and gear shifter are the dirtiest parts of the car interior even you always clean your hand but we believe it is not 100% clean.   It may contaminate the bacteria or the dangerous virus. We recommend you clean it every time when you wash the car.
The carmakers are normally using genuine leather and polyurethane for most of the car steering wheel and shifter, except some racing or the high-performance car may use the special clothes for wrapping. The cleaner product is still the best choice for this job. First, start from wiping off dirt with a sponge that sprays with the cleaner. Wiping thoroughly the steering wheel both inner and outer, all the crevices and buttons. Next, use the conditioner if you have a leather of them. This would help to soften the leather and not crack when you grab it.

Floor mats and carpet

The floor mats are useful when you have it on the carpet of your car. It prevents the carpet from the dirt of dust, mud, sand, water, tear-off and so on. It is made of rubber or carpet mixes with rubber. First, you need to take it off and start cleaning by using the vacuum cleaner to remove dust, sand and all dirt. Then rinse with water and detergent then brush. In this step, you can use a floor mat cleaning product as it will help to lift the dirt off easily then rinse with water sprayer and let them dry before installing to the car.

The carpet on the car floor is something more different as it is a very big piece of floor material. The car factory installs it in a very first step then install car seats, gear console and other components. The detailing professional will not remove carpet off if it is not extremely dirty. They will spray a cleaner product and brush with a drill brush then use a wet vacuum to suck the dirty water off.   We assume your car is not dirty enough to use the pro’s method then you can use a dry vacuum to remove sand, dust, objects and spray a multi-purpose cleaner on the carpet.   In case you have an air compressor, you can either use a tornado gun to blow and loosen up the dust then vacuuming.

You should leave it about 5-10 minutes to allow the cleaner lift dirt off then wipe it with the microfiber towel. Repeat spraying the cleaner 2-3 times if you still find dirt or stain. Don’t forget to tackle carpet under the front, rear seats and trunk, too.


Window is the last one of the interior cleaning

The window is the last part of interior cleaning as it is very easy to clean both inside and outside. You can use any brands of window cleaner as it has almost the same quality. You can use plain water to clean as well but we suggest to use a specific cleaner product. It is because window cleaner has no harmful chemical formula and it can cut through dirt, grease, and grime. It would help a lot with great visibility when you are driving.

You can spray the window cleaner on the tinted window and wipe with a microfiber towel.  Make sure no streak or swirl left on the surface. 

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclaimer for more information.

Translate »