How To Clean Car Interior (Cleaning Routine)

How to clean car interior from A clean car interior goes a long way toward making that daily commute less painful. Most of us are in our cars at least once a day, and quite often we’re grabbing a bite on the go. Add in kids, a dog or two, and all of the messes they bring, and it’s no wonder our cars get dirty quickly. Here’s how to get a clean car interior quickly to improve its feel and preserve your car’s value, too.

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You will need:

  • Two empty garbage bags or boxes.
  • Vacuum cleaner with hose attachment.
  • Your vacuum’s crevice, brush and upholstery tools.
  • Microfiber cleaning cloths.
  • A bucket of clean, warm water.
  • Glass cleaner.
  • Liquid dish soap or carpet cleaner.
  • Scrub brush.


  1. Remove all garbage and place it garbage bag. Toss.
  2. Remove any items that don’t belong in your car and place it in second bag. Set aside to put them away after you’re finished cleaning your car.
  3. Using the vacuum’s upholstery attachment, vacuum the floor mats then remove them and set them aside. Vacuum the ceiling of your car (especially important if you’re a smoker), the car seats, under the seats, and finally the floor.
  4. Using the vacuum’s crevice attachment, vacuum between the seats and console, under the seats, around the edges of the seat rails and all other crevices.
  5. Using the vacuum’s brush attachment, vacuum the dashboard, the console, the inside of all cupholders and all other surfaces where dust collects.
  6. Dip a microfiber cloth into the bucket of warm water and wipe down the dashboard, steering wheel, console, door handles and all other vinyl surfaces. Be sure to rinse and wring the rag frequently so you’re not just smearing dirt around. Change rags as needed.
  7. Remove stickier messes using a small amount of soapy water. Be sure to rinse with clean water afterward.
  8. Inspect the floor for stains. Remove them by dabbing (not rubbing) on warm, soapy water with a cleaning cloth then scrubbing to lift stain. Dab dry with a clean cloth. Repeat for stains on seat upholstery.
  9. Hose off the floor mats in your driveway and allow them to sun dry.
  10. Use glass cleaner and a clean, dry microfiber cloth to clean fingerprints and haze from the inside of windows.
  11. Return floor mats to car when they’re completely dry.
  12. Once you have a clean car interior, make a habit of stashing a couple of plastic shopping bags in your car for future trash and to corral items that don’t belong in your car. And, to keep your car smelling lovely between cleanings, consider spraying it regularly with homemade air freshener, or keeping a jar of homemade gel air freshener tucked beneath a seat.

    Equipment I Use For This:


  1. Maranda Gaither says

    I love this! I wish it was a printable like so many of your lovely routines. I have all of them laminated and posted in respective rooms. I clean my car weekly and would love to have a schedule there as well. Thank you so much for all your wonderful tips and schedules they have seriously helped keep my life clean! (I have a seriously messy husband 😉 haha.)

    • Katie Berry says

      I’ll try to make it a printable by this summer, Maranda. It does my heart so good to know you’re printing and laminating them! God bless you and your messy husband. (I have one, too, though I have to give mine a pass due to the brain cancer. Or so they tell me.)

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