How To Clean Car Upholstery (Including Recommended Products)

Cleaning car upholstery might seem like a challenge. But it doesn’t have to be. In this brief guide, we’ll show you how to easily get it done without having to struggle for hours.

Whether you’re dealing with a nasty stain or a spill, it’s easy to clean upholstery so it doesn’t get damaged. But be careful, there are some types of upholstery that have to be cleaned a certain way. But nevertheless, cleaning it with a solution and some cloths will get the job done most of the time.

If you have no clue how to clean car upholstery, you are not alone. After reading this guide, you’ll be able to get the job done with ease. Now, let’s talk about what you need and how to tackle specific stains and messes:

What You Need:

Black & Decker PD1200 AV Flexi Auto Dustbuster

Best Vacuum Cleaner (Click here for the dustbuster review)

Overall Rating: 5/5

Shine Armor

Spray Bottle with Mixed Solution

Overall Rating: 5/5

Microfiber cloth

Microfiber cloth 

(Click here for the Cloth review)

Overall Rating: 5/5

BISSELL SpotClean Pro

Steam cleaner 

Overall Rating: 5/5

Bristled brush

Bristled brush

Overall Rating: 5/5

Know Your Upholstery

Knowing the type of upholstery will determine which tools you need to use for cleaning it. Let’s take a look at how to clean some of the different types of upholsteries:

  • Leather: Get a leather cleaner kit first and foremost. Before cleaning the leather upholstery, turn on the heater (unless you live in a warm area). Pre-treat the leather with leather conditioner and let it sit for 30 seconds before wiping it off. Using a soft cloth, apply the leather cleaner and scrub the upholstery thoroughly. Then let it dry for a while.
  • Fabric: Mix one part water and one part liquid dishwasher. Put the solution inside a spray bottle and mix thoroughly. Once mixed, spray the solution 6 to 8 inches from the stain and scrub with a soft-bristled brush. Using a microfiber cloth, blot dry the area where the stain was.
  • Vinyl: Use a glass cleaner and scrub with a soft cloth. Vinyl is by far one of the easiest upholsteries to clean, so using this method will just about clean out every possible stain. Also, you can clean the nook and crannies using a toothbrush.

Vacuum the interior thoroughly

Before cleaning the upholstery, you’ll want to vacuum the interior in its entirety. This includes the carpets, the seats, everything. You don’t want any crumbs, dirt, or the like to interfere with you getting rid of those stubborn stains.

  • Wipe off any grime or surface debris
  • Using a cloth, gently wipe off any surface debris or grime from your upholstery.

Types of stains (and how to clean them):

  • Blood: If there are bloodstains on the upholstery, do not use soap and warm water. Use cold water and blot it on the stain. Repeat the process until the stain lifts.
  • Vomit: Vomit can settle into upholstery fairly quickly. The moment someone gets sick and vomits in your vehicle, you’ll want to clean it ASAP. Wash the area with mild soap and warm water. Alternatively, you can mix baking soda and water to create a solution that can eliminate the vomit smell quickly.
  • Coffee: With coffee stains, you should never scrub the stain off unless it’s a real pain. You’ll need to blot it. Using a cloth and cold water, blot the stain until it lifts. If the coffee still is visible, you can scrub with a cloth and solution that is mixed with dishwasher soap and warm water. Alternate between scrubbing and blotting. 

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