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Everything You Need to Know About Car Interior Detailing

Everything You Need to Know about Car Interior Detailing

Everything You Need to Know About Car Interior Detailing

Car interior detailing is an essential part of car care. Not only does it make your car look and smell like new, but it also helps restore and preserve upholstery, carpets, and surfaces. Moreover, it creates a clean and comfortable space for you and your passengers.

However, car interior detailing can take several hours or more to complete. So, if you are too busy, why not leave the job to the experts? Download our Eco Car Wash Benefit Guide to learn about our steam green technology and water-saving services. You’ll save a whole lot of time, too!

What Is Car Interior Detailing?

Car interior detailing refers to thoroughly cleaning the inside of your vehicle. For example, you will clean the dashboard, seats, steering wheel, carpets, mats, and other interior surfaces. This process typically involves vacuuming, shampooing, and polishing. And if you enlist our help, we also use steam cleaning technology to remove stains and sanitize your car. Read on to discover our car interior detailing tips.

5 Car Interior Detailing Dos and Don’ts

If you have a good selection of car interior detailing tools, it makes the job much easier. And it helps to be organized. For instance, professional car detailers adhere to a systematic approach with great attention to detail. So, follow our lead to get sparkling results. Here are 5 important do’s and don’ts:

1. Do a General Clean up First

Prepare the car beforehand. Remove personal items, wrappers, papers, bottles, takeaway coffee cups and other items cluttering the car. Dispose of the stuff you don’t need and safely store anything important. A clutter-free vehicle makes DIY car interior cleaning and sanitizing easier.

2. Don’t Forget the Seat Belts

Don’t forget to clean your seatbelts when you sanitize your car seats. Seat belts are frequently touched items in the car. And the material can get grubby from food spills, coffee splashes, transfer from hand cream etc.

It is easy to overlook seatbelts during cleaning because they retract when not in use ­– out of sight, out of mind. So, use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the material with dish soap and warm water. Rinse with water, and then remove any excess water with a clean towel. Also, see our car interior cleaning tips for other parts of the car people often forget to clean.

3. Do Clean Underneath Child Safety Seats

Wherever there are small children, there are usually crumbs. It is no different in the car, especially when kids snack on car journeys. Therefore, car seats for children need regular vacuuming and cleaning. However, people can often forget to clean underneath the seats.

The best tip is to remove the safety seat completely to clean it and gain access to the upholstery underneath. Use the vacuum cleaner nozzle attachment for creases between the seats to get the best clean possible.

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4. Don’t Overlook the AC Vents When Car Interior Detailing

If you read our car cleaning facts, you’ll discover that AC vents need more than a quick wipe-down. It is not enough to just clean the surface of the vents. You need to get in between the slats, too. Overlooking the AC vents could result in a musty smell over time, which is unpleasant.

Use a foam or sponge paintbrush to access the hard-to-reach places in your car. You can buy them in an art supplies store. The softness of the sponge also ensures you won’t scratch or damage the AC vents while you clean.

5. Do Use the Right Cloths for Car Windows

A glass cleaner will transform the inside of car windows. Paper towels can leave traces of lint and fuzz on the glass. Instead, go for microfiber cloths. Spray directly onto the cloth first to ensure a streak-free finish. After cleaning, buff the glass with a fresh, clean cloth.

5 Reasons to Use Steam for Car Interior Detailing

Soap and water cut through dirt and grease, as do antibacterial sprays and disinfectants. However, these methods can leave a residue or excess water on your car seats and surfaces. Furthermore, chemical-heavy detergents are not environmentally friendly. Steam cleaning is a green alternative. Here are the main reasons why steam is your best option:

1. Cleaning with Steam Saves Water

Steam cleaning a car uses a minimal amount of water. For example, DetailXPerts can clean your vehicle using just 1 pint of water. We rely on the science behind steam cleaning vehicles to preserve the Earth’s natural resources.

2. It’s Better for the Environment

There is no chemical run-off with steam. It is a safe and eco-friendly way to clean car seats, carpets, air vents, door jambs, etc. In comparison, car wash wastewater often contains phosphates, detergents, and surfactants. If disposed of incorrectly, pollutants in wastewater can have cumulative, toxic effects on the environment.

Download our Eco Car Wash Benefit Guide to learn more about our environmentally friendly methods. And see how a better clean begins eco green!

3. Steam Sanitizes Car Interiors

Steam cleaning the interior of a car kills harmful E.coli and Staphylococcus bacteria that lurk on switches, controls, dashboards, carpets, and upholstery. The very high temperature of steam is powerful enough to sanitize interiors and leave them germ-free. Steam has the same effect on viruses as it does on bacteria, breaking down the internal structure of cells.

Killing viruses with steam also gives you peace of mind if you have passengers in your car. Taking greater hygiene measures helps to keep everyone safe and healthy on your travels.

4. Cleaning with Steam Saves Time

Steam cleaning is the best solution for car interior – a quick and efficient way to clean the inside of your car. You can clean those awkward places that are not easily accessible with cleaning cloths. For example, door jambs, creases between seats, and cup holders can all be quickly cleaned with steam, and it dries fast.

5. Car Interior Detailing with Steam Eliminates Odors

Steam cleaning allows you to swiftly eliminate mold, mildew, pet smells, and other unpleasant odors. Furthermore, steam cleaning is ideal for all types of car upholstery. This includes leather, faux leather, suede and polyester.

How to Perform the Best Steam Car Interior Detailing

You can use a steam cleaner to leave the inside of your car spotless, working from the top down to ensure you don’t miss any parts of the car interior. Vacuuming before and after a steam clean will ensure an immaculate finish.

If you are unsure about doing it yourself and want to know how to clean a car interior using steam, watch our video. It shows the professionals at DetailXPerts performing seat and upholstery cleaning.

How to Remove Stains from Car Interior

Accidents happen on car journeys. Spillages, broken pens, mold, and food can cause stains on car interiors. The good news is you can make an effective car carpet stain remover at home. And these DIY tips are generally good for car seats, too. However, if you are trying homemade remedies, always do a spot-check first on a hidden section of your car interior.

Salt Stains

There are different ways to clean salt from car carpet. For example, you can use a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar on your carpet to break down the crystalized salt. If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, steam cleaning does a brilliant job. DetailXPerts uses steam to dissolve stains like road salt without damaging your carpet.

Removing Blood Stains

Grazed knees and nosebleeds happen to kids. It is part of childhood adventure. Grown-ups are not immune to accidents, either. Fortunately, there are ways to remove blood stains from car interiors without reaching for chemically-laden stain removal products.

Eco-friendly DIY solutions include mixing 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 2 tablespoons of water to form a paste. Gently rub into the stain. Leave for 30 minutes. Rinse well to finish.

Car Interior Detailing Tips for Ink Stains

Did someone forget to put the lid back on the pen? If you want to remove ink stains from a car’s interior, try a homemade solution using vinegar:

Mix 1 tablespoon of dish soap with 2 teaspoons of vinegar. Work the solution into the stain and leave for 10 minutes. Wipe clean with a soft damp cloth and repeat the process until the stain is gone.

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Chocolate Stains

Chocolate is a bit like glitter. It can get everywhere, especially when children are involved. However, you can remove chocolate stains from car’s interior. The trick is to freeze the chocolate stain first with ice. This hardens it, making it easier for you to scrape off the worst of the chocolate. Then use liquid soap on the stain. Finally, dip a fresh cloth in clear water and blot the area to remove soap residue for a stain-free finish.

Coffee Stains

You went to the drive-thru coffee shop and ended up spilling coffee over the car seat and carpets. When you get home, you can remove coffee stains from a car’s interior in several ways. For example, table salt works as a mild abrasive. Sprinkle over cloth upholstery and leave for a couple of minutes before gently rubbing with a cloth. Then rinse.

Car Interior Detailing to Remove Oil Stains

How do you get oil stains out of car seats? Try this car interior detailing tip: blot the stain first with a paper towel to remove the excess grease. Then sprinkle with baking soda and leave for about 15 minutes to let the granules soak up the grease. Finally, rinse the stain with hot water.

Smoke Stains

Smoking in the car can leave unattractive yellow nicotine smoke stains on the car ceiling and upholstery. It is a challenging task but you can attempt to remove smoke stains from a car interior by using a soft-bristled brush and soapy water to gently scrub at the stain. Then sponge the area to ensure a clean, uniform finish.

Water Stains

Leaking bottles and wet clothes are the usual suspects when you notice a watery mark and need to remove water stains from car upholstery. Instead of targeting the water stain, clean the entire seat with an appropriate cleaner. Alternatively, you can steam clean car seats to eliminate watermarks.

Melted Crayon

Forgotten wax crayons left behind in the car during the hot summer can create a colorful mess. If you need to remove melted crayon in the car, use a degreaser cleaning solution to tackle the wax. Better still, cleaning with steam will effectively remove crayon residue.


Water stains or moisture trapped in car upholstery and carpets can encourage mold growth over time. It is important to clean mold out of car carpets and seats straight away to prevent that musty smell. Baking soda might work, but you may need a specialized carpet shampoo to freshen up the affected areas.

Homemade remedies or car cleaning solutions might not be enough to tackle stubborn stains. If this is the case, you might need extra help. We can restore your car interior to pristine condition. Our eco steam detailing specialties are perfect for the customer who wants to have his or her car professionally assessed and detailed to get rid of stains.

Car Interior Detailing: How to Tackle Odors

Journeys are not pleasant if there is a bad smell inside the car. Children who suffer from motion sickness when traveling by car are also particularly sensitive to odors. So, it is important to keep your car smelling clean and fresh. As well as cleaning your AC vents, there are other areas and problems to tackle:


Snowstorms or rain showers can cause problems if you transfer water from coats onto car seats. If wet areas have not been dried quickly and thoroughly, you will probably need to find ways to remove mildew smell in car. Natural solutions such as baking soda can help to neutralize the odor. However, you may find that specialty professional detailing services are the only solution to the problem.


Cigarette smoke readily permeates carpets and upholstery, leaving behind a strong smell. A quick temporary fix is to use an air freshener, although too much can be overpowering. If you want to know how to get smoke smell out of the car using home materials, place some activated charcoal inside your car.

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If you are wondering how to remove gasoline smell in car, use a clean cloth or paper towels to soak up any traces of gasoline. Then sprinkle baking soda on the affected area and let it sit overnight. Then vacuum. And keep doors and windows open while you clean to let fresh air circulate through your car for a few hours.


There is no disguising the rotten-egg smell that is left behind when you collide with a skunk. This unfortunate incident will leave you searching for solutions to remove skunk smell from car interiors. There is no shortcut to this problem. You will need to use car shampoo on the interior and the exterior of the vehicle. You could also try leaving a bowl of activated charcoal in the car overnight to help neutralize the odor.


A strong perfume has staying power, especially inside a car. It can get into the upholstery and leave a lingering smell behind. Getting rid of the perfume smell in a car may require more than simply opening the doors and airing the vehicle. Shampooing the seats will work.

However, despite your best efforts and homemade remedies, you may find that persistent odors need professional attention. Again, this is where we can help with our eco steam detailing specialties. Leave it to our trained technicians to freshen up the interior of your car.

Car Interior Detailing Pricing

If you do decide to call in the auto detailing professionals and you are searching for the best deal, you may wonder why car detailing prices vary so much. The simple answer is that no two auto detail shops are the same. Location, size of detail shop, the different packages offered, and the time dedicated to some specialty services all contribute to the different car detailing rates per job.

The Difference Is in the Detail

Interior car detailing prices usually reflect the amount of time and effort that goes into the job. You can choose a basic interior clean at a standard price. This will include vacuuming interiors and polishing surfaces.

Or, you can pay more for premium packages that cover everything from sanitation to stain removal. Add-on services such as upholstery or dashboard repairs increase prices. It is worth doing a little research first. For example, check out the pros and cons of a local car wash versus an auto detailing franchise.

Time and Dedication

A lot of work goes into professional car interior detailing. It might take 2 hours or half a day and more to clean a car to the highest standards. You are paying for skilled professionals who specialize in the art of car care.

The cost to detail a car interior also depends on the size and type of vehicle.

The latest equipment and technology, high-quality auto detailing supplies, and expert techniques are all reflected in a higher price.

Don’t forget that the initial condition of your vehicle will also affect the final price of car interior detailing. For instance, if you only use your car occasionally, it will be in a better condition and require less detailing than someone who uses their car more often.

Breakdown of Car Interior Detailing Costs

When you compare car detailing rates, look closely at the breakdown in costs. Find out what you are paying for. Reputable and trusted detailers will be more than happy to provide the details of their different packages. This will help you determine the value that goes with a service for a specific price.

Where to Go for Car Interior Detailing

You have options when it comes to car interior detailing. If you have the time and the correct tools, you can clean your car at home. In addition to vacuuming and polishing, you can also tackle light stains and slight odors with DIY home remedies.

You can also choose where to go for interior car wash. For example, this could be a full-service car wash or an auto detailing shop. You may even prefer to visit a self-service car wash that offers interior cleaning on-site.

Alternatively, a mobile car detailing service is the go-to option for busy people. Professional detailers clean the inside of your car on your driveway or place of work – wherever is most convenient.


Car interior detailing can be a time-consuming and challenging task. DIY tips and home remedies are helpful for quick clean-ups. However, if your vehicle needs extra care and attention, it is often a job best left to the experts.

You can trust DetailXPerts to transform the inside of your car. Our detailers have access to the latest tools and technology. And they have the experience and knowledge to ensure your car is properly cleaned and protected. For your peace of mind, we prioritize the greenest clean. Download our Eco Car Wash Benefit Guide for more information.

Eco Auto Wash Guide

DetailXPerts is a nationwide mobile vehicle detailing and commercial cleaning company. We bring a greener clean. Our difference is industry-leading green technology. We use science-backed steam methods and biodegradable products to clean and sanitize on demand. And our mobile vehicle detailing service comes to you!

Get in touch if you want to set up an appointment or have questions about what or how we clean. Our team loves sharing car tips and how we achieve safe sanitization with our steam-sterilizing methods. We write about auto detailing, janitorial services, fleet cleaning, franchising, and more. Subscribe to our newsletter and check back for our next article. Happy driving!

This article was updated in March 2023 for comprehensiveness.


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