Almost everyone who loves or cares for their car regularly gives it a nice wash. But are you giving attention to its interior? Every day, your seats, floor mats, and carpet are put through a lot of punishment. Detailing your interior can significantly improve the resale value of your car and help prevent dust, dirt, and grime from gathering.
Your car’s upholstery is bound to get dirty, whether it’s leather, vinyl, or fabric. No matter what we do, stains, spills, and grime will always occur. Sooner or later, you need to purchase a high-quality car upholstery cleaner unless you cover your car’s upholstery and carpet in plastic-like your grandparents did when they bought a new sofa.
The advantages of a good car upholstery cleaner
- Increases the resale value: A quality car upholstery cleaner will keep your vehicle’s resale value high. Dirt, dust, and soiled interiors make cars look old and unattractive. You should keep your car’s interior clean if you plan to resell it someday. The vehicle will retain its value and appeal to buyers more if it stays in prime condition.
- Ensures good health: If the air quality inside your car is poor, it may negatively impact your health. As time passes, upholstery accumulates dust, germs, grime, and other particles destroyed by upholstery cleaners. As a result, your car’s interior is healthy and allergy-free.
- Prevents upholstery damage: Without tinted windows, UV rays from the sun can damage upholstery fabrics. The spilled substance can also leave stubborn stains that damage the upholstery and look bad. Car upholstery cleaners remove stains, restore colors, and preserve your upholstery from UV rays.
Our Criteria for selecting the products for this guide
In order to assist you in cleaning your car interior, here is a guide to 8 of the best upholstery cleaners. The products we tested on stained upholstery show every car owner that it’s possible to clean their vehicle as fast and efficiently as a professional detail shop. Please note, the products listed here are intended to clean cloth and vinyl upholstery; some are also suitable for cleaning leather and other interior surfaces.
If you plan to use detailing products, you should adopt the following three best practices:
- Before using any product, always test it: Test a new product or a familiar product on a new surface to ensure it is stain-resistant. In order to avoid bleeding or stains, test the product in an inconspicuous area. Even though it’s stated in the guidelines, we will assume that you’ve ignored them in the past.
- Always read the instructions before using: Each cleaner is different, so you should read the instructions before starting. Be sure to follow the instructions and methods carefully.
- Use a detail brush: If applying the product and wiping it off doesn’t produce the desired results, purchase a detail brush. By agitating the cleaner, the detail brush creates lather and makes it easier to penetrate deep into the target area.
Car Upholstery Cleaners Types
Most upholstery cleaners for cars are sprays. Various surfaces in the interior of a car can be cleaned, saving you money and time. Sprays are often easy to use and, depending on their nozzle, can spray large areas and specific areas. The smell of some sprays makes your car smell fresh and pleasant. Others provide UV protection.
A cleansing gel is excellent for crevices in your car. With this product, you can clean handles, air vents, dashboards, and steering wheels. This product is easy to use, but you should use it on a water-resistant surface. Cleaning your car is as easy as applying the cleaning gel, pressing it two to three times, and lifting it off. No residue is left behind after cleaning.
A wax cleaner can take care of scratches, oxidation, and other minor imperfections. Many wax cleaners for cars are aimed at leather surfaces. Because of this, they are sometimes called leather cleaners or leather balms. In addition to rejuvenating your car’s leather, wax cleaners shield it from UV rays and give it a great look. You can also use wax cleaners to refresh dull paint.
8 best car upholstery cleaners you should check out
1. Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner
In the car care industry, mothers are among the most popular. There is an easy-to-use trigger spray bottle included with the carpet and upholstery cleaner that meets expectations. The solution works by releasing contaminants from carpets and interior fabrics, allowing them to be suspended for easier removal.
Mothers Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner feature a pH-balanced formula that greatly prevents color bleeding. When we tested this product, the finish looked as good as new, and there was no residue. You can also use this product around your home thanks to its large 24-ounce capacity.
- 1: A reputable car care brand, easily applied and suitable for multiple fabrics.
- 2: Spray and wipe to clean quickly
- 1: May not be as effective on deep stains
- 2: It has a very strong smell
2. CarGuys Super Cleaner
CarGuys is a newcomer to the auto detailing industry, but it has already made a name for itself. This company develops and blends its formulas in the U.S. All products it makes are non-toxic, biodegradable, and safe for the environment. It develops its products in cooperation with formulators.
The CarGuys Super Cleaner only cleans interior surfaces (not for glass, instrument panels, or touchscreens). However, it’s extremely powerful on upholstery, carpets, and carpeted floors.
- 1: Safe, non-toxic, multipurpose cleaner suitable for a variety of surfaces without rinsing
- 2: A wider base prevents accidental tripping when stepping on it
- 3: Contains a water-based formula for quick and easy cleaning
- 1: Not suitable for glass or instrument panels
- 2: Leaves a sticky residue
3. Stoner Car Care
Professional detailers have trusted Stoner Car Care for over 40 years. Stoner Car Care Xenit Citrus Cleaner and Remover offers you solutions that can save your time, improve your productivity, and enhance your work. In other words, it helps you work more efficiently.
Its powerful ingredients, such as citrus 66, don’t leave behind any residue and offer a pleasant orange scent. XENIT removes grease from clothing, gum from carpets, and lipstick from upholstery. It will remove adhesives, tar, and stickers from wood and metal.
Note: We recommend you to purchase its 120-Fluid Ounces 12-Pack. You can clean your car whenever you like with this one-time purchase. Additionally, you can get rid of stains or adhesives in your home with this single purchase.
- 1: This stuff is excellent for removing sticky residue and stickers from any surface.
- 2: It does not contain soap or water
- 3: You can use this product to remove stains from your clothes.
- 1: The smell of it is powerful; you need a mask
4. Aero Cosmetics
Using Aero cosmetics Interior Cleaner, Upholstery Cleaner, Carpet Cleaner, Fabric Cleaner, you can clean and remove beverage spills and stains from the interiors of cars, boats, airplanes, and RVs. It works best when used in combination with the Aero Scrubber.
It is safe for use in all interiors. Easily cleans carpets and upholstery. You won’t want to use automotive products again after using these aviation-grade products!
- 1: Suitable for all types of interiors.
- 2: Cleans all types of stains from beverage spills, bodily oils, lotions, and make-up.
- 1: It is a bit expensive
- 2: Unpleasant odor
5. Chemical Guys
The Chemical Guys have become one of the leading automotive detailing companies on the market in the last few years. In addition to being odorless, pH balanced, and safe on all surfaces (except screens and measuring instruments), Nonsense cleaner dries without leaving behind any residue. With its outstanding stain-lifting abilities, these characteristics make this the most versatile and arguably the best all-around product on our list.
INTENSE FOAMING CLEANING POWER – Lift and separate dirt particles and stains from deep within the fabric in carpets and upholstery for fast and thorough cleaning. The Carpet Brush Drill Attachment works hard, so you don’t have to!
- 1: Remove deep-set stains, dirt, and more
- 2: You do not need to spend hours scrubbing your carpet or upholstery since you can attach the brush to a drill for deep cleaning.
- 3: It smells good
- 1: Please be careful when using the brush, as I have personally experienced using the brush roughed up my seat.
6. Turtle Wax
It is no surprise that Power Out is the cheapest product on this list since Turtle Wax is known for its cost-effectiveness. It comes with an 18-ounce Power Out can with a plastic brush attachment, making it easy to apply the cleaner to target areas for better penetration and coverage.
Turtle wax comes with a micro-scrubbing brush to remove even the toughest stains from carpets, upholstery, and rubber mats. Additionally, for cleaning, the silicone shield also repels soil.
- 1: Effectively cleans deep-down stains, including coffee, drinks, grease, lipstick, food, oil, ink, mud, and dirt
- 2: It removes pet odors, smoke odors, food odors, and mildew smells
- 3: Safe on light and dark upholstered vehicles, trucks, houses, and boats
- 1: This cleaner was the only one that left a greasy coating on the treated surfaces during my testing.
- 2: The cheaply made brush attachment showed that if it was overly aggressive, it could cause abrasion.
Sonax Alcantara and upholstery cleaner are specifically designed for leather. What is Alcantara? Alcantara is a synthetic material used in many automotive interiors today, particularly high-end vehicles. As you get into Porsches and Corvettes, it will become more common to find Alcantara on steering wheels, shift knobs, center consoles of seats, and so forth and so on.
As well as removing stubborn stains from Alcantara surfaces that are difficult to clean, SONAX Upholstery & Alcantara Cleaner also works to eliminate odor-causing molecules. Sonax Upholstery & Alcantara Cleaner eliminates stubborn cigarette and animal odors, leaving behind a fresh scent.
- 1: Sonax Upholstery & Alcantara Cleaner effectively cleans and restores other surfaces made of Alcantara – such as Microsoft surfaces, steering wheels, Samsung and iPhone cases, and Alcantara keyboards and covers.
- 2: Fresh, clean odor
- 1: When I place foam directly on the seat from the pump, the foam leaves visible marks. I have to place it again. At that moment, I decided that it would be better to hire someone to detail my car rather than do it myself.
- 2: The results weren’t as good as I expected. I followed all the guidelines and applied the Sonax application sponge, but I did not notice it picked up any dirt or made the steering wheel feel cleaner.
8. Nano Tex-10
For those who care about the environment, eco-friendly options are a must-buy. Because it contains nanoparticles and is water-based, pet owners can use it safely.
This protective layer will prevent dirt and stains from being absorbed into your fabric and is easily removed with a paper towel. You can make furniture fabric, upholstery, and clothing stain-resistant easily and quickly with 7.5-30 square feet of coverage.
- 1: Gentle and eco-friendly formula
- 2: Animal-friendly
- 3: Covers an area of 7.5 to 30 square feet
- 4: Paper towels are helpful to remove dust
- 5: Protects against UV rays
- 1: Stinky smell
Pricing for car upholstery cleaners
- Less than $10: These are poor-quality car upholstery cleaners that can only clean one or two surfaces. Leather waxes are available here.
- Between $10 and $20: These are the most commonly used car cleaners. All-surface and multipurpose cleaners are available. Some of these products include sprays, gels, and foams. Despite their smaller size, they are more effective and durable. At this price point, you can find products by Armor All, Blue Coral, and Clorox.
- Over $20: Kits with more than one item and bigger cleaning containers typically cost more than $20. Those are the best choices if you frequently wash your car.
Factors to consider before purchasing upholstery cleaner
Health & Safety
Safe and non-toxic car upholstery cleaners are best. Toxic chemicals, such as those used to remove grease, grime, and stains, are a severe concern. After cleaning your car, you’ll still need to use it, so you should stay away from cleaners that contain toxic chemicals, which are potentially harmful to the environment as well as you. Water-based cleaners are best since they are not sticky. If they spill, they are easy to wipe off.
Avoid saving money when buying an upholstery cleaner. You might regret your decision to choose a cheap cleaner for your car. Additionally, avoid or use alcohol-based solvents cautiously. These can damage the upholstery of your car. To achieve the best results, choose a product that contains plant-based ingredients like vegetable glycerin. Ensure that the upholstery cleaner you use won’t leave any patches behind.
The best upholstery cleaner for cars is built with high-quality components that will last a very long time. Once you’re done using the cleaner, you can store it for future use since you’re unlikely to use the entire bottle at once.
Effective and user-friendly car upholstery cleaners are the best. They can remove various stains. The stubbornness of drink, food, and sweat stains can make them difficult to remove. An upholstery cleaner should not only remove dirt and stains but also resist dust. This will keep the interior of the car free of dust.
- Take a close look at the cleaning product’s ingredients list. Cleaning products can contain ammonia, which is harmful and can cause drying of your car’s interior. Your vehicle also contains harmful chemicals that are harmful to your health.
- Spend a considerable amount of time detailing your car. Separate cleaners and conditioners are best, but they are more time-consuming. You should find a cleaner who offers both if you don’t have the time for a two-step process.
- Vacuum your car before using your cleaner. This will keep your seats and carpets clean. You can then inspect your vehicle’s upholstery, and you can focus on the stubborn dirt.
If you’re looking for a great overall cleaner that can produce excellent results on a wide range of fabrics at once, Chemical Guys is a great choice.
Stoner Car Care is a reliable yet budget-friendly upholstery cleaner that won’t disappoint you. You might be surprised at its effectiveness on older stains.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What is the proper way to clean upholstery?
ANS: Each upholstery cleaner has a unique formula. You should vacuum your car thoroughly before applying an upholstery cleaner. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s directions on the bottle for the best results. In some cases, scrubbing is necessary, while in others, blotting is sufficient. Before cleaning your entire car, always perform a patch test in an inconspicuous area to ensure colorfastness.
Q: Can I clean both old and new stains?
ANS: It’s easier to clean newer stains, especially if the stain hasn’t fully set into the fabric. Some of our recommended cleaners are effective in removing some of the oldest and most stubborn stains. It can take several applications to eliminate the stain entirely, so don’t give up if it doesn’t come out completely on the first try.
Q: Is it better to scrub or remove a stain?
ANS: You need to choose the right cleaner for your needs. If the cleaner comes with a plastic brush, you’ll probably need to scrub it. If, however, your fabric is more sensitive and you don’t want to damage it, blotting is the best solution. When the stain is fresh, blotting should almost completely remove it. If stains are old and tough, they may require serious scrubbing to be removed from fabrics.