Car Tips

How to Clean Your Car’s Interior Without Damaging the Trim or Seats

How bad does your car smell right now?

It doesn’t take long for organic material to start decaying when it tracks into your car on your shoes. If you have an earthy odor that seems to get worse as the days pass, you’ve got something stuck somewhere that needs to get cleaned.

Even something simple, like mud that dries on the plastic trim, can cause this odor.

These steps can help you detail your vehicle while sticking to a budget.

Steps to Follow When Cleaning Your Car’s Interior

1. Wipe down all of the plastic, vinyl, and leather surfaces with a damp cloth. If you use a microfiber detailing towel, you’ll get a sanitary finish that eliminates lint and dust.

2. Pull out all of your floor mats. You can brush or shake off the dirt. If there is extensive debris, a ShopVac-style vacuum can get it clean.

3. Pick up all of the trash that got left behind in the vehicle. You’ll want to dig underneath the front seats as that tends to be where everything collects. If you have storage areas in your car (like Stow-N-Go), you’ll want to review these areas during this step.

4. Empty the ashtray. It tends to fill up with trash if you don’t smoke cigarettes or cigars in your vehicle.

5. Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe down the door jambs and sills. You’ll want to focus on the vehicle’s interior only for this step.

6. Wipe down the interior glass with a paper towel and a small amount of cleaning spray. If the windows are clean, you can skip the chemicals. 

Once you’ve taken these steps, you’ll want to think about cleaning and protecting your upholstery. If you want a complete detailing project, your trunk, door, and hood seals could also use some attention.