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How to Clean Salt from Car Carpet in 7 Easy Steps

DetailXPerts How to clean salt from car carpet

How to Clean Salt from Car Carpet in 7 Easy Steps

You can clean salt from car carpet in different ways. The method you choose depends on the household products and equipment you have at home. And how much time you can spare. Alternatively, we can help. Our eco auto wash benefits include stain and salt removal.

How to Clean Salt from Car Carpet

Salt stains on car carpets are a common problem in the winter months. Road salt is great for melting snow and ice. However, deicing roads to keep people safe while driving or walking has drawbacks. For example, your footwear can track these salt-based products in your car. That’s why knowing how to clean salt from car carpet can be super useful.

The EPA says road salting can also have corrosive effects on vehicles if left untreated. Again, this is where our green technology comes to the rescue! Our mobile cleaning services use steam to remove salt buildup on your car exterior. And we will clean salt from car carpets, leaving them like new. CLICK HERE to read our Eco Car Wash Benefit Guide.


7 Ways to Clean Salt from Car Carpet

Learning how to clean carpet stains will see you through to your next auto detailing appointment. However, when using a DIY cleaning product on your car interior, do a spot test first on a hidden area to ensure it is okay. Here are some tips and ways to effectively clean salt from car carpet.


  1. Start with a Nylon Brush and Car Vacuum

The correct tools get you off to a great start. This includes a car vacuum and a stiff nylon brush (an old nail brush will do) to clean carpets stained with road salt. Additionally, a wet-dry vacuum is a bonus when it is time to remove excess moisture from freshly washed carpets.

First, use your brush to agitate and loosen the dried salt. Then vacuum the salt and any other loose grit and dirt. This action alone might be enough to remove light salt stains. If not, it is still important to vacuum and prepare the area before you use a cleaning solution to clean salt from car carpet.


  1. Clean Salt from Car Carpet with Vinegar

Vinegar makes a good DIY carpet cleaner. You can clean salt from car carpet with a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar. You will need some household white vinegar, warm water, a spray bottle or bucket, a soft cloth and a towel or paper towels. Next, do the following:

  • Mix equal parts white vinegar and water
  • Spray or pour the vinegar-water solution into the salt-stained carpet
  • Let it soak for 2-3 minutes. This helps to break down the crystalized salt
  • Use a damp cloth to rub down the affected area
  • Blot with paper towels/dry towel. Or use your wet-dry vacuum
  • Leave to air dry

One drawback is vinegar has quite a strong smell when used to clean stains. Consequently, this odor can linger inside the car. So, always open all the doors and windows while you work to let the air circulate. Also, you can add a few drops of liquid soap to the vinegar solution if you want to take the sharp edge off the vinegar smell. Lastly, if you have a sensitive nose, a great alternative is steam cleaning. See below.


  1. Use Steam to Clean Salt from Car Carpet

For stubborn salt stains, we can clean your car carpets with steam. DetailXPerts uses vehicle steam cleaning methods to achieve the cleanest results. The high steam temperature dissolves the toughest stains, such as ingrained salt marks on your car carpet. Moreover, this is done without damaging the carpet fibers or leaving behind an odor.

Not only does our green steam tech remove carpet stains, but it also guarantees complete car sanitization. Steam gets rid of germs, bacteria, and mold. Additionally, regular steam cleaning is an excellent way to stop salt corrosion on your car exterior. Moreover, our mobile vehicle detailing for busy people is a great time saver. Our trained technicians come to you!


     4. Carpet Shampoo to Remove Salt Stains

You can clean salt from car carpet with a specially formulated shampoo solution that breaks down the salt. Equally important, look out for low-foam formulas that are easy to wipe away. First, mix a few drops of the car shampoo with warm water. Then rub it into your salt-stained carpet. Finally, leave for a few minutes before blotting dry. 

You might need to resort to a shop-bought car carpet stain remover for particularly stubborn salt marks. These products contain powerful cleaning agents that get deep into the carpet’s fibers. Shop around for biodegradable formulas that do not have harsh chemicals. For example, DetailXPerts use eco-certified products and techniques. We guarantee a greener clean on carpets. Check out our seat and upholstery steam cleaning video, too.

       5. Liquid Dish Soap and Water

For light staining, use liquid dish soap to remove any white chalky residue that salt leaves behind on car carpets. To achieve the best results, do the following:

  • Mix ½ teaspoon of soap into a cup of warm water. For larger areas, mix one-part liquid dish soap with four-parts warm water
  • Use a clean cloth to rub the soapy water into the stained carpet
  • Rinse the area well with clean water
  • Use a wet-dry vacuum to finish the job

Once you have successfully removed the salt stains, you may find the carpet starts to look a little faded from regular cleaning over time. If this is the case, car carpet recoloring can refresh the appearance of your carpet.


  1. Try Baking Soda on Salt Stains

Mix baking soda and water to use on carpet salt stains. Baking soda is also great for eliminating musty odors from damp carpets.

  • Mix one-part baking soda with three-parts water
  • Rub into the salt stain using an old toothbrush or a hard-bristle brush
  • Leave for a couple of hours
  • Use your wet-dry vacuum to remove all traces of baking soda and salt residue

You can also use baking soda for home remedies for oxidized paint. This simple household product acts as a mild abrasive that gently removes signs of light oxidation.


  1. Preventative Measures Make It Easier to Clean Salt from Car Carpet

Use rubber mats to protect your car carpet from salt stains. Mats won’t stop snow and road slush from being tracked into your car. However, they are easier to clean. First, remove the mats. Then scrub away salt stains. Finally, rinse with a high-pressure hose and leave to air dry.

Rubber is a durable material, so it will withstand vigorous scrubbing. However, be sure you know how to clean rubber mats with the correct cleaning or treatment products, otherwise mats can become slippery underfoot.



To sum up, there are various ways to clean salt from car carpet. You can use household products, such as vinegar or baking soda. Alternatively, buy strain removers or schedule a deeper clean with steam. Whichever method you choose, aim to treat stains as quickly as possible to prevent the salt from drying and hardening into the carpet fibers. Regular car interior cleaning will also keep your carpets in good condition and mold-free.

And if you need help with your car care, set up an appointment with us today. Our green mobile cleaning services include cleaning salt from car carpets. We can also use steam to safely remove salt build up on your car exterior. If you want to learn more about our greener cleaning services, CLICK HERE for our Eco Car Wash Benefit Guide.

How to Clean Salt from Car Carpet

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. So be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and check back for our next article. Happy driving!


This article was updated in February 2023 for comprehensiveness. 


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