Beginner's Guide: Cleaning a Car's Interior
Follow these steps in order
1) VACUUM CARPET AND SEATS
Using the small extension of a vacuum cleaner or the vacuum at a gas station, vacuum the carpet and the seats.
2) CLEAN DOOR JAMS
Wipe down door jams with wet cloth. This is the entire area of painted metal that is exposed when you open a door. Dirt makes its way inside onto these surfaces.
3) SHAMPOO CARPET AND SEATS
Use a small steam cleaner such as the Green Machine to soak and clean the carpets and fabric seats. You will be amazed at how dirt is trapped in your car's fabrics. This can be a messy step which is why you should clean all plastics/trim afterwards.
Carpet will take a few hours to fully dry, but you may proceed with the following steps.
Leather or vinyl seats should not be shampoo'd. They require a leather cleaner and leather conditioner that is applied with a cloth.
4) CLEAN PLASTICS, TRIM, DASH
If your car is very dirty, use a cloth moistened with warm water to wipe down all plastic trim, center console, dashboard, etc. This will remove dirt, spilled drinks, gunk, etc.
Use an interior cleaner/protectant on all areas that you have wiped down. Armor All is common but it creates an excessive shine. This can reflect into your windshield and be distracting while driving. Mothers brand makes an excellent cleaning product that comes in a red bottle. It smells very good and does not make your dashboard too shiny.
5) CLEAN WINDOWS
Use Windex or other glass cleaner to clean the inside (and outside) of all windows and the rear view mirror.
Notes: Choice of cleaning products is ultimately up to you. Rubber floor mats are a good investment that keep the carpet cleaner.
Please also see my other tutorial on how to detail the exterior of a vehicle.
- Tutorial: How To Detail a Car's Exterior
Full process of cleaning and protecting a car's exterior.