How to effectively clean your car’s interior

By Kijiji Autos
How to effectively clean your car’s interior Kijiji Autos

Whether you visit a car wash or do it yourself, cleaning the exterior of your vehicle isn't too difficult. Interiors, on the other hand, can be a little bit trickier to clean. From cleansing bad smells to getting a tough stain out of the upholstery, these simple steps will help keep your car's interior looking squeaky clean.

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The following article outlines best practices for cleaning your car. Kijiji Autos highly encourages all Canadians transacting to also visit Health Canada’s guidance for information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For a list of disinfectants that Health Canada recommends using against COVID-19, see here. Prior to use, ensure you check how each of these will react with your car’s interior.

Preliminary cleaning

Preliminary cleaningOne of the best tools for removing dirt and dust from your vehicle’s interior is the vacuum. We recommend a cordless hand vacuum rather than the large plug-in one you may use in your home. Use this to sweep all surfaces to suck up any dirt, stones, twigs, leaves and any other loose waste that might be present. You will be surprised by the amount of grime and dirt that gets tucked away into the nooks and crannies of your car’s interior over time.

Remove floor mats and push seats forward to maximize the areas that you can reach with your vacuum cleaner. Use a hard bristle brush to scrape dried dirt, and then vacuum it up.

Next up, wipe down any high-touch surfaces, like the steering wheel, dashboard, and entertainment console, using a disinfectant that is safe to use on your car’s interior. Use a clean rag or paper towel using circular motions.


It doesn’t matter if your seats are made out of leather or fabric upholstery—the cleaning process is relatively similar. Although there are recipes online for homemade cleaning solutions for leather seats, store-bought solutions are proven to get the job done without damaging the material. Follow the instructions to remove dirt and stains while replenishing the natural oils of the leather. Not only does this help your seats look new, but the conditioner also keeps the leather soft and supple to the touch.

Similar to the leather seats, follow the directions on your fabric cleaner to clean fabric upholstery. Feel free to use a bristle brush to scrub tough stains and wipe away excess solution using a towel. Repeat as necessary, but remember: certain stains won’t ever come out no matter how many times you scrub them.

Floor mats

Now that the floor mats have been removed from your vehicle, you can clean them. Depending on what material they’re made of, there are a few ways you could do this. For carpet-style floor mats, use a car carpet cleaning solution to effectively clean and disinfect your mats. You can also use a brush to scrub salt and stains that are particularly noticeable. Let your mats dry in the sun until they look good as new. Aside from taking them out, this is the same process used to clean the rest of your car’s carpeted floor.

Rubber and plastic floor mats are a little easier to clean than their carpeted counterparts. Use a high-powered hose to rinse off your mats, eliminating any obvious dirt and grime. Then with a mixture of soap and hot water, scrub your floor mats with a brush to clean tough stains. If you wish, you can also spray your mats with vinegar to cut through soap scum and grease, etc. Wipe with a towel and let them dry out in the sun. Make sure all mats and carpets dry completely to avoid mould formation.

Windshields and mirrors

Last but not least, we come to your car’s windshields, windows and mirrors. To reduce streaks and maximize vision, we recommend using an automotive-specific cleaning solution for these surfaces. Follow the instructions and use a soft microfiber towel to remove stains, streaks and debris. Buff in an even, circular motion to avoid leaving any residual streaks of your own. Spray cleaning solution directly onto the towel (and not directly on the windshields or mirrors) to ensure an even application throughout.

If the time has come to start shopping for a new vehicle, then browse Kijiji Autos to find lots of new and nearly new vehicles at a wide range of price points.

The health and safety of our community is always Kijiji Autos’ top priority. Health Canada is asking Canadians to avoid non-essential gatherings or contact with other people and practice physical distancing. As a result, we’re asking all users to seriously consider whether your transaction is necessary to your situation right now.

If a purchase is necessary, there are some measures we ask all users to take to keep yourselves and your community healthy. Visit our Help Desk for more information.

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