How to Clean and Detail Your Car Like a Professional

Susan Fernandez November 11 2021

There is no doubt that professional car interior cleaning can be quite costly, but it can be surprisingly straightforward and inexpensive when you do it by yourself. There is also a chance that you may already have the majority of tools and materials needed for a professional car interior cleaning. When you keep your car just like new, it can increase the car's resale value by hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars. 

Tools and materials required to clean your car

It is worth noting that if you have an assortment of cleaning products and a decent vacuum cleaner, then you can be sure that you have the majority of the needed items for professional car interior cleaning. You must throw a good variety of brushes, towels, sponges, and rags for a professional car interior cleaning, and then you are ready to proceed.

When you are to use the cleaning products on your vehicle's interior, you need to be sure that all of these are meant for the surface of your car. If you have any doubts, then these can be tested on the inconspicuous area, and when you find any stain or blemish, it will be hidden from view.

Some of the most common and effective tools for car interior cleaning include a soft bristle floor brush, spray applicator, microfiber cloths, vacuum cleaner, car duster, and toothbrush.

Car Detailing Tools

Soft Bristle Car Interior Brush

The soft bristle floor brush is a must-have tool for any professional or home detailer. The bristles on the floor brush are very thin and short with rounded ends to glide across surfaces easily without leaving behind any scratches. This tool works well on fabric upholstery, carpeting, and mats because it helps release dirt particles as it deep cleans. You can use this tool as your main method of removing stains from your car interior by combining one part water with ten parts cleaner into the spray bottle to release the dirt particles that are stuck into your car surfaces.

Microfiber Cloths

One of the main materials needed for a professional car interior cleaning is microfiber cloths. This type of material can collect and trap dust, dirt, hair, and even oil without leaving any residue behind. To clean surfaces with this type of material, you will not need any cleaners or detergents at all. The best way to use these microfiber cloths is by using one side to pick up any loose debris on the surface while using the other to buff off waxes or polish that may be left behind by your regular car wash routine. Most people like this specific cloth because it leaves no streaks at all regardless of what kind of cloth you use.

Vacuum Cleaner

The last essential tool for a professional car interior cleaning is the vacuum cleaner. There are many different types of vacuum cleaners out there, but not all of them are efficient for this type of job. When looking to purchase one of these machines, make sure it is equipped with attachments that will help get dirt and debris from every nook and cranny in your car's upholstery or carpeting surfaces. A few attachments that work well on different parts of the vehicle include an air/carpet nozzle, crevice tool, dusting brush, and telescopic wand. Having the right attachment helps you get underneath seats, around cup holders, between consoles, and door pockets so you do not miss any dirt or debris.

Car Duster

To prevent dust and particles from getting stuck on your car's exterior, using a car duster is the best way to clean it. The main part of the duster is made up of soft cotton that can easily glide across any surface without scratching it at all. To use this tool, hold it upright and apply slight pressure as you swipe along with your car's windows, hood, and trunk lid. This will help remove any loose dust particles before they have a chance to settle into the paint job.

Car Detailing with Toothbrush

Use an old toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach areas around cup holders, between seats, under seat belts, or invents where hair or fur sticks out. Dip the bristles of the toothbrush into a glass of warm, soapy water and rinse off after use to keep it clean.

Car Detailing Materials

The most common materials needed for car interior cleaning are cleaners, detergents, and waxes. You can purchase these items separately or as part of a kit depending on what you need for your vehicle. When purchasing cleaners, always look for ones that do not leave streaks behind because they will ruin the beautiful finish on your paint job. A couple of professional-grade detailing products include Meguiar's Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo & Conditioner, Chemical Guys Fabric Guard Interior Protectant, and 303 High Tech Fabric Guard Interior Protectant & UV Protectant.

Once you have all of your materials ready, you are now prepared to clean your car's interior. Remember to wear gloves and safety glasses when using the tools mentioned earlier because they may scratch surfaces if used incorrectly. When detailing your car interior, always start by vacuuming out all of the loose dirt particles with the hose attachment before doing any cleaning. This will help prevent debris from getting stuck in your car's upholstery or carpeting, which could cause permanent damage over time if not cleaned properly.

Take Care of Leather

If you have leather seats in your vehicle, it is important that you take care of them regularly to keep them looking brand new for years to come. The best way to do this is by using a high-quality conditioner made specifically for leather. A few good brands to try include Leatherique Pristine Clean, Leather Werkz Ultra Condition, and Pinnacle leather balm.

To condition your car's seats, you need a fresh microfiber cloth specifically designed for cleaning surfaces that are prone to watermarks or streaks. The best way to apply the conditioner is by using small circular strokes until it absorbs into all of the cracks and crevices in the leather. Once this has been completed, allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes before buffing off any excess product with a clean dry cloth. This will help prevent soaking up too much of the conditioner leaving behind an uneven finish on your car's seats.

Professional car interior cleaning process

Floor mats and carpets

Floor mats and carpets can be an excellent place to start your professional car interior cleaning as these happen to be the dirtiest. Although it depends on how dirty the car interior is, you might want to clean the carpet in the end. If cleaning of seats and dash makes a mess, then there are chances that you may have to redo the carpet.


Mostly the three primary materials used for the car seats are leather, cloth upholstery, and vinyl, and each has different professional car interior cleaning methods. It is crucial that you give the seats and all the areas between and around them a thorough vacuuming. This way, you will be getting all the dirt off the seats before any cleaning compound is applied.

Car windows and mirrors

When you clean the glass surfaces, a glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth can do wonders for the car. You need to make sure that you clean the glass and not plastic, as the front console gauge covers are typically made from plastic. An all-purpose cleaner can be used for this, but if you have tinted windows, then you need to be even more cautious during your DIY professional car interior cleaning.

Front panel

The front panel of a vehicle is an area that people see most, and because of all the knobs, vents, switches, crannies, and dusty nooks, it may seem a little challenging to clean during your professional car interior cleaning. But if you have the right tools, then cleaning it is certainly not that difficult.

Door panel

The door panel in the majority of cars is made of a material that can be the same as the seats, upholstery, dashboards, and other interior parts. There are open compartments and cup holders with the majority of the door panels and can, therefore, be the dirtiest areas inside the car. Before a professional car interior cleaning, you need to remove everything that may be large enough.


It can be pretty challenging to remove the lingering orders, especially the ones caused by the pets and cigarette smoke. These days, you will be able to find some excellent odor removal products in the market, but before buying one, make sure that nothing causes the offensive smell to get stuck in a place that is hard to reach.

Bottom Line

Professional car interior cleaning of your car must be sufficient every six to eight months, but if you are driving a significant amount, it should be a little less time. You should expect to take a little longer when you detail your vehicle, especially if it has not been cleaned for a long time. 

However, if you do professional car interior cleaning at regular intervals, then it will maintain a new car look for a long time and will bring you extra dollars when selling or trading the vehicle.