Cleaning Your Car’s Interior

We aren’t car detailers around here but we do know the magic that Tide®, hot water, and a horsehair brush can do. Let me help you clean your car with the tools in your House Work tool kit. 

Tidy up.

Start by clearing out your car. Life on the go (and especially if you have kids) usually results in a cluttered car. Toss all the garbage and take things into the house that don’t belong like toys, books and papers. 

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Vacuum with Horse Hair Attachment.

As always, vacuum first (Canada) (USA) with your horse-hair brush (Canada) (USA). Work your way around your car from left to right, top to bottom. Be sure to get your seats, floors, cup holders, consoles, mats, dash and doors! Take out your car seats and vacuum out the 894755 cheerios, french fries and crumbs inside and under them. Vacuuming all of the dust/crumbs, and dirt will make the rest of the job much easier by avoiding making mud. Vacuum the dust out of your vents to prevent it from blowing around once your car is clean.

Pro tip: use a dry scrub brush or pumice stone to get dog hair and dirt out of the carpet if your vacuum isn’t catching all of it.

Water and Tide.

Safety pit stop: Read your labels! Make sure your car seats and seatbelts can be cleaned with water without removing the fire retardant.

Fill a bucket with 1 gallon of water and 1 teaspoon of powdered Tide®. Do not use bleach in your car to avoid wrecking interior fabric. Use a microfibre cloth to wipe down all hard surfaces and a scrub brush to work on anything that won’t come off with your cloth. Be sure to clean in and around your E-brake, seat belts and seatbelt clips.  If your seats aren’t fabric you can wipe them down as well. Look into the washing instructions for your car seats. The manual will be able to tell you if you can machine wash any fabric parts.

Again, use caution around wetting car seat belts, you do not want to remove any fire retardant.

Next, remove floor mats and any removable cup holder inserts. Use a scrub brush with hot water and Tide® to clean and rinse. If you’d like to clean your gas pedal, brake and clutch, hot water and Tide® with a scrub brush work there too.

Pro tip: Cars tend to have lots of little hard-to-clean crevasses. Use a q-tip or toothbrush to reach them. 

Kill the germs.

Now that everything is clean, it’s time to disinfect. Use Microban® disinfectant on a cloth to kill germs without the risk of discoloring your interior. Think high-touch areas such as your door handles, steering wheel, mirror, visor, buttons, etc. This step is crucial because of the spread of germs when you are on the go visiting busy stores, running errands, and pumping gas. 

Fabric and Carpet Floors.

A portable carpet & upholstery cleaner is your best friend for your vehicle’s carpet and fabric seats. We love the Bissell® Little Green Machine (Canada) (USA). Fill your machine with a manufacturer recommended cleaner, pull the trigger and get cleaning any stains, or muddy/salty areas. If your car is smelly from years of stains, it may be best to clean all of the fabric for best results. 

If you do not have a carpet cleaner, that’s okay! Use hot water, Tide® and a cloth to wipe salt and food stains. Since there isn’t anything to absorb the liquid, do this when you can give your seats time to dry! No one wants to get their pants wet on the way to work;)


Conditioning your leather seats and dashboards increase their lifetime by re-moisturizing and bringing back their original texture. This step is the cherry on top for making your car look brand new. I recommend ArmorAll® Leather Care Gel, this stuff is super easy to use. Wet your cloth with a generous amount of conditioner and apply evenly over all leather.


You may notice that display screens or plastic covers are streaky after cleaning with Tide. Use Windex® and a microfiber cloth to make them look good as new. For your windows, mirrors and windshield it is best to use Windex® and paper towel until the paper towel stays clean. Windows are typically coated in dirt and salt and cannot be properly polished while dirty. The carbon cloth from Ocean Sales (Canada) (USA) works great to create a flawless, streak free finish, and trust me you won’t regret it the next time you’re driving directly into the sun!


This is a great opportunity to spray any smelly food or pet stains with OdoBan® multi-purpose cleaner. Now that your car is sparkling it should also smell amazing, Try out a new air freshener!

Not only will you start your day with a clear mind getting in your clean car, but you are also retaining the value of your vehicle. You can absolutely make your car look good as new with the cleaning supplies that are already in your home without spending $$$ on detailing services or equipment.

For a list of our favorite products, click here.

 – Katie S @ GoCleanCo

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