Learn how to clean your car’s interior from ceiling to floorboards with this step by step guide so you can have a neat and tidy vehicle without spending all day working on it. Sponsored by HART Tools.
How do cars get so dirty so quickly? It seems like one day my car is spotless and the next thing I know it looks like a family of raccoons decided to throw a reunion for all their distant relatives, then left the party for me to clean up later. Over the years I have found some really helpful methods and hacks to clean my car quickly and efficiently. Today I want to share the step by step process I use once a month to keep my car from getting out of control, along with all the handy HART tools that shave so much time off this task.
How To Easily Clean The Inside Of Your Vehicle
1. Remove Anything That Doesn’t Belong
First things first, it’s purge time. Bring a laundry basket out to your driveway and fill it up with everything that’s in your car that doesn’t belong in it. Don’t worry about sorting; just put everything in the basket to put away later. You’ll also need a trash bag for any garbage you come across.
Once your car is emptied out and only the essentials are left inside, you can start the cleaning process. I suggest cleaning your car like you clean your bathroom and kitchen—from top to bottom.
2. Vacuum The Ceiling
Use a small handheld vacuum like this mini wet/dry vac from HART tools to vacuum the ceiling of your vehicle. A lightweight vacuum like this that has a long hose is perfect for cleaning the roof and “shelf” area behind the back seats.
3. Vacuum & Spot Clean Seats
Next you’ll vacuum your seats. Again, start vacuuming from the headrest and work your way down to the base of the seat so any dust, crumbs, and dog fur doesn’t get missed. To get in seat creases, between the seats and middle console, and around seatbelt pockets, this micro-tip kit is the perfect add-on accessory for a wet/dry vac.
If there are any stains on the seats, you can use a spot cleaner like this one to remove them. I like to make my own gentle upholstery solution for my car’s seats with hot water, a splash of hydrogen peroxide, and a drop of dish soap. This pulls stains up without discoloration.
4. Clean Dashboard & Middle Console
Once your seats are vacuumed you can move to the dashboard and middle console area. Use a cleaner that is made for the type of material your dashboard is made of, because some require special solutions. Wipe the dashboard and middle console area with a microfiber cloth and be sure to spray the solution on the cloth instead of directly on the surface to prevent spotting.
For small crevices like around cup holders and grooves near the gear shifter, you can wrap a damp paper towel around a flathead screwdriver and slide it through to push the crumbs and dust out. And to quickly clean vents and speakers, skip wiping each slat individually and instead use an air hose. The air pressure blows the dust right out without having to wipe them down at all. This air compressor is battery powered, and I use this hose with it.
5. Clean doors & windows
Follow this same method for the inside of the car’s doors, using a cleaning solution that’s made for the material your door panels are made of. If you need a well-rounded collection of car cleaners, I like this starter set from Walmart. That screwdriver trick works well here too for the creases between window buttons and the small storage pockets built into the doors.
6. Vacuum & Spot Clean Floors
Finally, vacuum the floors of your vehicle. I prefer to use the HART wet/dry vac because it has super strong suction power. I honestly think it works even better than the ones at our local car wash, and you can swap out the hose heads for whatever size you need. Plus, if you accidentally suck up something you shouldn’t have, you can retrieve it easily from the vacuum basin. You can use the Spot Cleaner to get any mud stains out of the carpet, too.
Step By Step Car Interior Cleaning Recap
- Remove any trash and items that don’t belong in the vehicle
- Vacuum ceilings
- Vacuum seats
- Spot-clean seat stains (if needed)
- Clean dashboard and middle console
- Clean inside of doors & windows
- Vacuum floors
- Spot clean floors (if needed)