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Everything You Need to Know about Car Interior Detailing

  • Everything to Know about Car Interior Detailing
    July 13, 2020

    Car interior detailing is all about beauty on the inside. However, there is more to interior detailing than meets the eye. It is not enough to simply look good. The inside of a car should provide a hygienic environment with a clean, fresh smell to help create a positive driving experience. This involves deep-cleaning techniques that sanitize upholstery, carpets and surfaces for a germ-free finish. Interior detailing to a high standard requires preparation, hard work and a standardized process. If you want immaculate results, work through a series of steps to ensure that no corner of the car is overlooked.

    What Is Car Interior Detailing?

    There is a process to car interior detailing. It initially involves vacuuming to remove all the crumbs, dust and other debris from the carpets, floor mats, seats and trunk. Upholstery is shampooed or refreshed using specialized methods depending on the seat material. Child safety seats, if fitted, will need to be thoroughly cleaned, too. Windows, air vents, door handles, dashboard, steering wheel, gear stick and all other surfaces including dials and switches need to be wiped down and polished. Then you can add your specialized finishing techniques to leave a car looking as good as new. Read on to discover all you need to know about car interior detailing.

    5 Important Dos and Don’ts of Car Interior Detailing

    Professional car detailers tend to adhere to a methodical approach with great attention to detail. Follow their lead to ensure you get sparkling results. There are 5 important must-dos and don’ts for an interior car deep clean. Take a look at the following: 

    1. Do Your Prep Work First and Tidy Up

    There are no short cuts to good car interior detailing. One of the common mistakes people make is failing to prepare the car properly beforehand. It is impossible to do the best job possible without a general clean-up first. Remove personal items, wrappers, papers, bottles, takeaway coffee cups and any other items that are cluttering the car. Dispose of the stuff that isn’t needed and safely store anything that is of importance to you.

    2. Don’t Forget the Seat Belts

    Seat belts and buckles are frequently touched items in the car but are often overlooked in car interior detailing because the belts retract when not in use and then lie flush against the car seat. It is important to include them in car interior detailing because belts retain dirt and stains. The material can get grubby from food spills, coffee splashes, transfer from hand cream and so on. Handy car wash interior cleaning hacks for sprucing up seat belts include making a solution with vinegar and water to wipe down and sanitize them. Use three parts vinegar to one part water for a DIY all-purpose disinfectant.

    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 practice is to remove the safety seat completely to clean it and gain access to the upholstery underneath. The creases between the seats are another place people forget when detailing their car. Use the vacuum cleaner nozzle attachment for small spaces to get the best clean possible.

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

    AC vents need more than a quick wipe down. It is not enough to just clean the surface when you are car interior detailing. You need to get in between the slats too. Overlooking the AC vents could result in a musty smell over time, which is not pleasant. One of our favorite car interior cleaning tips is using a foam or sponge paintbrush to access the hard-to-reach places. You can buy them in art supplies store. The softness of the sponge also ensures you won’t scratch or damage the vents while you clean.

    5. Do Use the Right Cloths for Spotless Windows

    A glass cleaner will transform the inside of windows. Be sure to spray directly onto the cloth first otherwise you’ll end up with streaky windows. It is important to use the right kind of cloth to ensure a sparkling, streak-free finish. Paper towels can leave traces of lint and fuzz on the glass. Go for a microfiber cloth to buff the glass after cleaning. This type of cloth is great for other basic interior detailing procedures too, such as wiping down vinyl and cleaning door panels.

    5 Reasons to Use the Power of Steam for a Sanitized Clean

    How do you get a truly superior clean in car interiors? Soap and water cut through dirt and grease, as do antibacterial sprays and disinfectants but there may be a residue left behind. Furthermore, some chemical-heavy detergents can trigger allergic reactions and they are not great for the environment. Because of this, it is worth opting for steam cleaning methods for car interior detailing. These are also suitable for car exteriors. Here are the main reasons why steam is your best option:

    1. Steam Saves Water When Car Interior Detailing

    Steam cleaning a car interior uses a minimal amount of water. For example, DetailXPerts can clean 15 vehicles using just 2 gallons of water with our innovative steam cleaning methods. In comparison, in-bay automatic systems can use approximately 35 gallons per vehicle. High-pressure touchless methods can use up to 70 gallons per vehicle.

    2. 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, and so on. 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 with the risk of harm to plant life and animals.

    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 taps into customer demand for greater hygiene on frequently touched surfaces in their cars since COVID-19.

    4. Cleaning with Steam Saves Time

    Steam cleaning is the best solution for car interior because it makes short work of dirt in much less time. 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

    Mold, mildew, pet smells and other unpleasant odors will be swiftly eliminated with steam cleaning. Furthermore, steam cleaning is ideal for any type of 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 in a few simple steps, starting with the mats and finishing with the seats. Vacuuming before and after a steam clean will ensure you get an immaculate finish. If you are unsure about doing it yourself and want to know how to clean a car interior using steam, take a look at the video below. It features the professionals at DetailXPerts perform seat and upholstery steam cleaning.

    Leave Car Interiors Spotless with Specialty Services to Remove Stains

    Accidents happen. Spillages, broken pens, mold and food can cause stains on car interiors. Fortunately, there are specialty services to fix the problem when car interior detailing. If you are trying homemade remedies to remove stains from car seats and carpets, be sure to do a spot-test by applying solutions on an inconspicuous area first.

    Removing Blood Stains

    Cuts, grazed knees and nosebleeds happen to kids. It is part of childhood adventure. Grown-ups are not immune to accidents either. 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. Gentle 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? Ink splotches on your car’s upholstery or carpets are never a good look. If you want to remove ink stains from a car’s interior, homemade solutions include a vinegar solution. Mix 1 tablespoon of dish washing liquid soap with 2 teaspoons of vinegar. Work the solution into the stain and leave for 10 minutes. Wipe clean with a damp soft cloth and repeat the process until the stain is gone.

    Chocolate Stains

    Chocolate is a bit like glitter. Somehow it manages to get everywhere, especially when there are children involved. However, you can remove chocolate stains from car’s interior by using liquid soap to blot the stain. 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.

    Coffee Stains

    You have just been to the drive-thru coffee shop. You go to place your cappuccino in the cup holder but, oops, you miss. Suddenly, there is coffee everywhere. The seats and carpet are now a milky-coffee mess. You can try to 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 remove oil stains from car seats? If you have ever eaten a takeaway pizza or a burger in the car, then you will know how that no matter how careful you are, fingerprints of grease can appear on the 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 not only pollutes the interior but can also leave unattractive yellow nicotine smoke stains on the car ceiling and the 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, rain splashes, damp clothes and wet umbrellas are some of the usual suspects when you notice an unsightly watery mark and need to remove water stains from car upholstery. You can try using appropriate upholstery cleaners to suit the material on your seats, then use a hairdryer to accelerate the drying process.

    Melted Crayon

    The work of art that your child produced on that long car journey is beautiful. However, the melted crayon left behind doesn’t have the same aesthetic appeal. Forgotten wax crayons left behind in the car during the hot summer months can leave a colorful mess. If you need to remove melted crayon in the car or from a cup holder, you will need 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 otherwise it will result in a musty smell. Baking soda might work or you may need a specialized carpet shampoo to freshen up the affected areas.

    Some stains are stubborn and homemade remedies or car cleaning solutions might not be enough to tackle the problem in car interior detailing. 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.

    Specialty Car Interior Detailing Services 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. Therefore, it is important to keep your car smelling clean and fresh between steam cleaning details. These suggestions may help:

    Car AC Vents and Switches

    AC vents are often neglected because they are not the easiest places to clean. Dirty vents can lead to unpleasant, musty smells developing. You do need the right tools to do the job, such as a long-handled pliable brush to reach into crevices. Alternatively, clean your car AC vents and switches with a steam cleaner to tackle stronger odors that are hard to shift.


    Snowstorms or rain showers can cause problems when water is transferred 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 but you will probably 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 but too much can be overpowering. If you are looking for how to get smoke smell out of the car using home materials, try crunching up some newspapers and leaving them inside the car overnight. Paper helps to absorb the smell.


    If you are wondering how to remove gasoline smell in car from stains on floor carpets and mats, try a liquid dish washing detergent. Or try a mixture of white vinegar and hot water.


    There is no disguising the rotten-egg smell that is left behind when you run over a skunk. This unfortunate incident will leave you searching for solutions to remove skunk smell from car interiors. There is no short cut 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.


    A strong perfume has staying power, especially inside the 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. This is where we can help with our eco steam detailing specialties. Leave it to the experts to freshen up the interior of your car.

    Pricing of Car Interior Detailing

    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 difference 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 to go for a basic interior clean at a standard price. This will include vacuuming interiors and polishing surfaces. Or you can choose to pay more for premium packages that cover everything from sanitation to stain removal. Add-on services such as upholstery or dashboard repairs will result in a higher price.

    Time and Dedication

    Professional detailing is not a job to be rushed. 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 bring their expertise to the art of auto detailing. The cost to detail a car interior also depends on the size and type of vehicle. Specialized equipment, 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. If you only use your car occasionally, it will be in a better condition and require less detailing that someone who uses their car more often.

    Breakdown of Auto Detailing Costs

    When you compare the difference in car detailing rates of different providers, look closely at the breakdown in costs. Find out what you are actually 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 certain price.

    Where to Go for Car Interior Detailing

    You have options when it comes to choosing where to for interior car wash. If you have the time and the tools, you can clean the inside of your car at home. Light stains and slight odors can often be eliminated with homemade remedies. Another option for interior detailing at home is to call a mobile detailer. This handy service can be carried out on your driveway or place of work – wherever is most convenient for you. Or you may choose to visit a self-service car wash that also offers interior cleaning.

    Alternatively, you can visit a professional detailer like DetailXPerts for car interior detailing. Not only is your car guaranteed a specialized clean but this green business has eco-friendly methods using steam to produce exceptional results. Schedule an appointment to have your vehicle’s interior professionally detailed with our top-quality Interior Detailing and Upholstery Cleaning service.

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