There are endless amounts of methods on the internet claiming to be the best way to clean car seats, a lot of which also involve buying 5 or 6 different products (not cheap ones either) to do the same job as one good product so long as it is the right one, so don’t let the industry make you believe you need to spend lots of money to detail your car because in reality you don’t!
Car seats and carpets are known to be the most difficult sections of your interior to clean and more importantly to keep clean. Everyday use obviously brings along dirt, they really are the front line when battling crumbs, stains, sand and any other conceivable dirt, this is why it is so important to maintain your upholstery by regularly cleaning it thoroughly and correctly which I will be explaining how to do in this article.
Things To Keep In Mind
Let me start by naming just a couple of things that you won’t be needing and your wallet will definitely thank you!
- Expensive hot water carpet extractor ❌
- High pressure water system ❌
- A million different specialized products ❌
You must always keep in mind that not all carpets and upholstery are the same, there is a wide variety of materials used in cars today, some of them are more difficult to clean than others, just remember, the tighter the weave, the more difficult it will be to clean.
Here’s some of the most common materials used in car upholstery today:
Nylon Upholstery is one of the two common types of fabric upholstery, it is a strong durable fabric but is also quite porous.
Polyester Upholstery is commonly used more in the form of micro suede which is a soft fabric that is similar in texture of suede leather, which makes it very comfortable indeed, but the texture does make it that bit more tricky to clean and maintain.
Vinyl Upholstery is a much easier upholstery material to clean, unlike fabric and leather, vinyl can be wiped clean with a damp cloth. You only need to use a specialized product for vinyl to remove stubborn residue or bad stains.
Leather Upholstery is known for being the most difficult and confusing to clean compared to the types of upholstery listed above. Leather must be taken good care of and cleaned with the correct products, be aware using any cheap cleaning agent that is not meant for use on leather could strip the natural oils that keep the leather nourished and cause it to dry up and crack. For those of you with leather seats I will make a separate article so that your specific leather needs can be addressed in full detail.
How To Clean Your Fabric Car Seats
What you will need:
- A firm sponge
- Bucket of clean water
- Absorbent cloth (chamois)
- Autoglym interior shampoo
So with all the above items you need prepared and ready for action let’s get started!
Step 1: Thoroughly vacuum your seats starting from the top (head rests) and work your way down from there, always making sure to vacuum in the cracks and folds of your seats.
Step 2: Now spray the interior shampoo lightly and evenly on to the seat, when cleaning any part of a car interior or exterior I find that it is a good practice to always work at one panel/section at a time and this goes for seats too, I’ve learnt the hard way after cleaning my seats and realizing that it had a blotchy finish because I did not work a section at a time.
Step 3: With your interior shampoo sprayed on the first section of the seat you are cleaning grab your damp sponge and begin scrubbing at the section you are working on, most car seats are quite sturdy and you can scrub firmly applying more shampoo and rinsing your sponge as you go.
Step 4: Now with most of the dirt gone your work isn’t done yet! Some dirt will still be there in the excess foam now on your seat, to wrap this up you need to wipe your absorbent cloth on the seat making sure you’re removing any excess left over, again, for me I soak up the excess section by section so that I cover the entire seat evenly removing absolutely all the dirt and excess foam. Make sure to rinse your absorbent cloth if it is too wet as the idea of this step is to also dry the seat.
Top Tips For This Method:
- Work your way from top to bottom
- Avoid making your seat too wet! Although if you do it isn’t the end of the world as you can buy a disposable plastic seat cover as you often see when getting your car back from professionals.
- Have fun! Car detailing is extremely satisfying when done correctly!
How To Clean Your Carpets
Carpets may take even more abuse than your seats! When jumping into your car in a rush or after a dirty walk up a mountain or on a sandy beach it is always your carpets that will feel it the most and this is why it is very important that we clean them correctly and keep them clean!
For This Method You Will Need:
- A firm cloth
- A bucket of clean water
- Clean absorbent cloth (chamois)
- Autoglym interior shampoo
With this handful of items prepared and ready let’s get stuck in!
Step 1: Thoroughly vacuum your carpets starting at one side and working your way across making sure you are getting all the dirt hiding on your carpets.
Step 2: Spray your interior shampoo evenly onto the carpet surface, I recommend working one section of the carpet at a time so that you are sure the whole carpet will be covered evenly.
Step 3: Using your damp sponge start scrubbing the area that you have sprayed shampoo on, you can scrub your carpets quite thoroughly with the sponge. Just remember to rinse your sponge in the bucket and spray more shampoo as you go!
Step 4: Now using your absorbent cloth thoroughly wipe the carpet, one section at a time, soaking up as much of the foam as possible as there is still dirt living in the excess foam! This step is hugely important you must make sure you have soaked up as much of the excess as possible because if your carpet is still too wet mould will develop underneath.
Step 5: Finally, let your car dry out, open all of your doors and let it sit out in the sun if possible (don’t worry if your like me and don’t get a lot of sunshine where you live somewhere leaving it somewhere dry will do the job!) You should allow a few hours for the carpets to dry correctly, just give your carpets a good feel with your hand and if they are still damp, give them another hour or so. Once you feel the carpet is dry, close your doors and sit back and enjoy the satisfaction, you’re all done!
What Product Works Best?
These are the products that I have tested (believe me I’ve tried a few) I find these to be the best quality in their price range and there a lot of higher priced products that don’t even do half the job. My goal here at CarCareCrazy is to give you products that achieve the professional results without the professional price.
Firstly, Autoglym Interior Car Shampoo is the shampoo that I used and it works wonders, you don’t need to use a lot of it either I try to use it quite sparingly. But the really good thing about this product is not just the great finish it leaves but because it is a multi-purpose cleaner you can use this stuff on damn near any surface of your car!
That Goes For:
- Rubber floor mats
- Fabric upholstery on doors and on other fabric interior trim
Want to know what the best thing is? The bottle won’t empty your pockets either a mere £7.47 will buy you a bottle that will last you a while!
To read my full review and purchase this item click the link below!
Secondly, this 2 Pack Large Synthetic Chamois is a great choice for cleaning both seats and carpets as it is very absorbent and is also £5 cheaper than any other good quality chamois I could find!
Of course if you prefer buying a brand for that reassurance of quality Autoglym’s High-Tec Aqua Dry is extremely absorbent but does come at a more hefty price of £10.70. I will leave the links for both of these products below and you can make the decision yourself, thank you very much for reading guys make sure to drop a comment and tell me about your results or if you have any experiences cleaning seats or carpets feel free to share them right here!