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DetailXPerts is the world’s first eco-friendly steam car detailer franchise. Our unique patent-pending technology saves tons of water. Thousands of satisfied customers around the country and beyond its borders recognize its uniqueness, brilliant results and environmental friendliness.

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How to Steam Clean Car Interior

How to Steam Clean Car Interior

Once you know how to steam clean car interior, you’ll never want to return to your old detailing ways. Steam dissolves dirt on contact. Moreover, there is no need for harsh chemicals that may harm your health or car interior. Also, steam allows you to use water wisely – about 90% less than traditional car washing methods. So, this method is better for the environment, too.

Download our Eco Wash Benefit Guide to learn more about our green steam technology:

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Steam Clean Car Interior in 10 Steps

Firstly, watch our quick video as an introduction to how to steam clean car interior like the professionals.

This behind-the-scenes snapshot shows how our detailers use steam and organic cleaning materials to ensure the best way to detail car interior. Next, follow these steps.

1. Gather Your Tools and Cleaning Products

If you are into car interior detailing, you should already have a good selection of tools and products. This is what you need:

If you don’t have a steam cleaner in your car interior detailing kit, you may have the option to hire one locally. Research steam cleaner rentals near you.

Alternatively, contact a car interior detailing service specializing in steam cleaning. For example, our technicians offer premium upholstery cleaning using gentle steam methods that are tough on dirt and stains.

2. Prepare Your Car for Cleaning

Remove personal items, trash, and loose items from your car interior before you steam clean car interior. Seats, carpets, and upholstery should be clutter-free. Also, remove your car mats because you will steam clean them first.

3. Vacuum Car Interior and Car Mats

Use your car vacuum and the various attachments to thoroughly vacuum the car interior. Pay special attention to carpets, seats, crevices, and the places to clean the inside of your car that people often overlook.

Use a short-bristle brush on dirtier car mats if you need to dislodge ground-in dirt before vacuuming. And if you are considering investing in new car interior detailing tools, see our guide on choosing the best car vacuum.

4. Get Your Steam Cleaner Ready

Fill your steam cleaner with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You’ll also need your microfiber towel to wipe and dry after steam cleaning.

You can effectively steam clean car interior without additional car interior detailing products. Steam cleaning on its own can remove dirt, grime, and even some stains, thanks to the high temperature and pressure of the steam.

However, for tough set-in stains, especially on fabric or upholstery, or stubborn odors, using a suitable all-purpose cleaner or stain remover before steam cleaning may be more effective.

5. Steam Car Mats

Work on one mat at a time. Move the steam nozzle over the mat, allowing the steam to penetrate and loosen dirt. After steam cleaning, immediately wipe down the mats with your clean, dry microfiber cloth to remove the dirt.

Ensure the mats are thoroughly dry before returning them to your car. This helps prevent mold or mildew growth. See our tips on how to remove mold from car interior if you detect any signs of mold during your detailing session.

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6. Steam Clean Car Interior Fom the Top

Steam cleaning your car interior sanitizes surfaces to ensure a healthy and comfortable driving experience. Here are the next steps:

  • Start with one section at a time and work from top to bottom. I.e., start with the headliner and work down toward the seats and carpets (see below).
  • Keep the steam nozzle moving over the surfaces.
  • Follow immediately with a microfiber cloth to remove loosened dirt and excess moisture.

See our tips on how to disinfect car interior. For example, our technicians at DetailXPerts use EPA-certified disinfectants and steam to kill germs and bacteria commonly found on high touchpoints inside a vehicle.

7. Steam Clean Car Seats

Learning how to steam clean car seats is a series of straightforward steps. Like the rest of your car interior, keep the nozzle moving back and forth over the seats.

  • If your seats are very dirty, see how to remove stains from car seats before steam cleaning.
  • Again, work from top to bottom using your steam cleaner. Pay attention to headrests, crevices, and underneath the car seats.
  • Keep using your microfiber cloth to wipe down the seats while you clean with steam.
  • Brush the seats with a soft upholstery brush or vacuum once more for a good-as-new finish.
  • Leave to air dry unless you have a fan to speed up the drying process.

Remember not to oversaturate the surfaces when you steam clean car interior. Instead, use short bursts of steam to avoid excessive moisture.

8. Clean Dashboard and High Touch Points

Steam clean your dashboard, steering wheel,  AC vents and switches to get rid of airborne germs and bacteria that can affect your health and wellness.

9. Steam Clean Car Interior Carpets

While your car mats are drying, turn your attention to your carpets.

  • Work in small sections. Hold the steam cleaner nozzle close to the carpet’s surface but not touching it. Use a steady, back-and-forth motion to apply steam. Pay attention to high-traffic areas and stains.
  • The steam will loosen dirt and grime, making it easier to remove. If you like, use a separate soft-bristle brush to agitate the carpet fibers while applying steam.
  • Continue working in sections and overlapping slightly to ensure thorough cleaning.
  • Go over the carpets with steam again if you think they need it. If there are any remaining stains, use a car carpet stain remover and a scrub brush to target them.
  • Lastly, use clean, dry microfiber towels to blot and dry the area. Ensure the carpets are as dry as possible to prevent mold and mildew growth. Open the car doors or windows to help with the drying process.

At this point, your car should look and smell clean and fresh. However, if you detect an odor, inspect seats and carpets to identify the problem. Then follow our tips on how to get bad smell out of car.

10. Final Vacuum

Once the interior is dry, run the vacuum over the seats and carpet again to remove any trace of dirt dislodged during the steam cleaning process. And remember to put your clean car mats back in the car. Additionally, if you want to add shine to surfaces, use the best car interior cleaner for a showroom finish.

Finally, after using your steam cleaner, empty the tank of any water and dry the nozzle and attachments so it’s ready for next time.


Now you know how to steam clean car interior. Key points to remember are to make sure you keep moving the steam nozzle over surfaces to avoid over-saturating an area. Also, steam effectively loosens and lifts contaminants from surfaces, so it is important to follow up with your microfiber cloth as you work.

If you are pressed for time, we have trained technicians who use professional tools and equipment to sanitize your car interior using eco-friendly methods.

Download our Eco Wash Benefit Guide to find out more about our patent-pending steam cleaning system and our 100% satisfaction guarantee:

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