Cleaning the car is one of those weekend jobs that we all have to do – unless you take the car to a detailer or car wash. Here are some of the best car interior cleaning products we have found, and of course, with a focus on sustainable, eco-friendly products.
Table of Contents
- Best car interior cleaning products
- Best alternative to microfiber cloth
- Eco friendly brushes
- Car interior cleaning products
- Best car mat cleaner
- Car seat cleaners
- Windscreen cleaner
- Cleaning your car interior
Best car interior cleaning products
These are the best car interior cleaning products for the five main areas that need to be cleaned; windscreen & windows, dashboard & door seals, car seats & upholstery, floor mats & carpets, vents and odors. The products you’ll need to clean your car interior include degreasers, polishes, and detergents as well as a couple of tools like brushes.
Here’s what our top detailers told us you need for the job:
- A variety of brushes including a toothbrush, standard paint brush, carpet brush and leather brush (optional)
- A general cleaner for carpets and dash and a leather specialist cleaner (optional)
- Cloths (not microfibre) and towels
- Gloves (optional, use these if you want to avoid contact with cleaning fluids)
- Air compressor (optional)
- Vacuum cleaner
Best alternative to microfiber cloth
A basic car interior cleaning product is microfiber cloths. We are not going to recommend microfiber cloths as these are made of polyester. They can cause pollution in waterways, as the microfibers, like microplastics, are not caught in water filters. These microfibers end up polluting our oceans and are found in the stomachs of crustaceans, fish and larger marine mammals like seals.
Alternatives are chamois, available from Amazon US & UK from River Lake in New Zealand. Chamois is animal derived, of course, but natural chamois can be sustainably produced and it is biodegradable (Natural Chamois).
An alternative is bamboo and one of our favorite ideas is to use bamboo nappy boosters instead of microfiber cloths. These pads are natural, produced from sustainable bamboo and are super absorbent. You can buy them from Little Lamb on Ebay.
Eco friendly brushes
A good brush is essential for car interior cleaning. Use a one inch paint brush to clean cup holders and air vents on the dash. Bamboo paint brushes can be bought from Coat Paints in the UK and sustainable wood brushes from Pioneer Brush Store in the US.
Use an eco toothbrush to get into the small gaps and seams in your car seat upholstery. Eco toothbrushes can be bought from Preserve Recycled (made in the USA) or Active Wow, Eco Panda or Gondola. All on Amazon. There are lots of brands to choose from.
Use a scrubbing brush from La Marquise or Agile Home & Garden, Panda Tools or Vove with wooden handles and sisal or coconut bristles. Sisal is a great soft bristle that won’t affect upholstery, provided it is used to lightly scrub with an effective cleaning fluid.
Car interior cleaning products
General cleaning products that can be used for all hard surfaces, allowing you to get on with the job. Use them in cup holders with your brush, around the gear stick, on consoles and panels on your dash (avoiding electricals and navigation panels), on your door panels and all the way up to your visors.
Always work in a clear lit area but not in direct sunlight as some products react with direct sunlight. Make sure that you follow the instructions on the product for best results.
Vermont Soap’s green car is a non-toxic and VOC free cleaner made from organic oils, essential oils and aloe vera. The scents of cedarwood, lemongrass, rosemary and lavender will give you that freshly detailed feeling.
Best car mat cleaner
Vermont Soap’s liquid sunshine is a non-toxic cleaner that is full of organic saponified oils that will leave your car mats clean and fresh. It can be used on carpets and hard surfaces, like the dashboard. Dilute as instructed.
Delphis Eco make a series of detergents that are useful around the home including their multi purpose cleaner which can be used on carpets or upholstery. It is vegan, plant based, pet safe, and VOC free. Spray on and wipe off.
Our detailers recommend that you don’t wet carpets in the car too much or they will take too long to dry and you might end up with a mold problem. No one wants that.
Car seat cleaners
If you have stains, our top tip from Chicago Auto Pros is to identify what type it is. Stains are either tannin based (cola, soda, tea, coffee) or protein based (milk, food, vomit, bodily fluids). Always use cleaning products safely and according to the instructions.
A good general interior cleaner like Autoglym Interior Shampoo can be used on car seats and hard surfaces like the dashboard, door panels and visors. This general cleaner has low toxicity and is not expected to be hazardous to the environment. The company allows no animal testing. Spray, agitate with a brush, wipe off with a cloth.
Masterson Wax makes a super cleaner all purpose formula that works great on tannin stains. Use the super cleaner with a soft bristle brush at 20:1 dilution first and work it into the seat. Wipe off afterwards with your cloth. If it doesn’t work without applying a lot of pressure, increase the ratio. It’s biodegradable, non toxic and sulfate free.
For leather car seats, Dr. Beasley’s fine leather cleanser followed up by the leather cream is ideal. Dr. Beasley products are formulated so they do not harm the car, the detailer or the environment and they aim to be biodegradable and VOC free.
The old housewife trick of vinegar and newspaper does a fine job of windscreen cleaning. Use white vinegar and spray on, then wipe off with bunched up newspaper.
If you want to take it to the next level, use Dr. Beasley glass IQ to clean and then protect with a hydrophobic barrier against smudges and fingerprints. Always useful when you have young children in the car.
Delphis Eco makes a glass, window & stainless steel cleaner as part of their range of eco-friendly plant based cleaning products that are packaged in 100% recycled plastic bottles.
Cleaning your car interior
That’s all the best car interior cleaning products we have for you today. We’ve covered the best general cleaners, car mat cleaners, fabric and leather car seat cleaners, windscreen cleaners and eco-friendly cloths and brushes to get the job done.
Remember to always go over the car interior with a dry cloth after you are done to remove any excess product. Always wait until the mats and carpet are dry before putting the mats back in place.
Do you have a favorite car interior cleaning product to add to our list?