The Ultimate DIY Interior Car Cleaning Guide

From commuting to work five days a week, to leisurely Sunday drives and legendary cross-country road trips, chances are you spend a lot of time in your car. And with everyone eating, drinking, working, and playing games in the car, you can count on plenty of spills, stains, sticky residue, crumbs, shed pet hair from four-legged companions, and more. 

We’ve all seen “that” car driving around – you know the one – it has “wash me” written in the rear window grime and weeks (or months) worth of old takeout wrappers scattered on the inside. No matter if you’re naturally neat and tidy or wonderfully messy, no one wants to drive or ride around in that dirty car! Just like your home, it’s important to clean your car often to keep it looking and smelling its best. Get the inside of your vehicle looking like new with these simple auto detailing tips that you can do yourself.

WHY IS INTERIOR DETAILING SO IMPORTANT? 

Apart from the obvious fact that deep cleaning makes your car a nicer place to be, effective interior detailing about so much more. Take a moment to think about everything that gets into your car: The dirt on the bottom of your shoes, splatter from drinks, stray French fries, dog hair, sand, dust build-up, unwelcome insects, and more. And then there are the unseen contaminants – the bacteria, viruses, fungi spores, and other germs. Yikes! These tend to be particularly rife in areas that see a lot of human contact – the steering wheel, gear shifter, switches, and buttons, along with hard-to-reach places like inside your heater vents. Air conditioning systems in particular are notorious for build-up of the nasty stuff in the winter (when they’re rarely used) which is immediately blown around the cabin (and straight into your face) when you first switch on the A/C in the summer. Luckily, all of these things can be tackled with Vital Oxide

This effective product uses a unique cleaning technology that penetrates the surface to loosen and lift away all of the embedded dirt, oil, and grime so that it can be easily wiped away with a microfiber cloth. Vital Oxide can also be used to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, and to eradicate mold and mildew, stubborn stains, and foul odors. Unlike typical all-purpose cleaners that contain harsh chemical detergents and need to be rinsed off with water, Vital Oxide is an effective, no-rinse formula. 

MATERIALS NEEDED 

  • Vital Oxide 
  • 3-4 Microfiber cloths 
  • Vacuum with attachments 
  • Detailing brush 
  • Upholstery brush 
  • Leather conditioner 

DE-STINK THE INTERIOR 

To neutralize unpleasant odors from tobacco smoke, car sickness, pet accidents, mildew, wet dog smell and more, lightly spray Vital Oxide from a distance of 12 inches on the headliner, seats, door panels, and carpet. (Note: no matter which product you’re using, always check an inconspicuous spot for color fastness before applying) Next, turn the fan to high and switch the system to recirculate mode (or MAX A/C). Find the intake opening by holding a tissue near the blower motor. Then spray Vital Oxide into the opening to eradicate deep set odors in the air filtration system. It’s also a good idea to regularly change your car’s air filter, experts recommend changing it about once a year

START AT THE TOP 

After you’ve addressed the funky odors, it’s time to get to cleaning! You may be tempted to start by vacuuming the carpet, however, once you start cleaning the dashboard, seats, etc., you’ll just end up pushing dirt and dust back onto your freshly cleaned carpet. Instead, start at the top and work your way down to the carpet. Spray Vital Oxide directly, or onto a clean microfiber cloth and wipe the dashboard, steering wheel and column, door panels, and door jambs thoroughly. To clean crevices and hard-to-reach areas like the air vents, use a small detailing brush to gently scrub the area, then hold the vacuum wand near your brush to suck up all the crud as you work your way down to the floor. 

PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM & CENTER CONSOLE 

Your infotainment system (whether you have a touchscreen, buttons or both), and center console, and steering wheel are all complete dust and germ magnets. Spray Vital Oxide directly onto a microfiber cloth and gently wipe down each surface, then flip the cloth over and buff dry. Go over buttons and any other spots with crevices where dust can settle with your vacuum’s soft brush attachment. 

Unless you’ve recently cleaned them, it’s likely that the cup holders in your center console are pretty grimy. Saturate dirty cup holders with Vital Oxide and let sit for five minutes. Afterwards, soak up residue with paper towels and wipe down with a microfiber cloth.

ADDRESS SOILED SEATS & CARPET STAINS

If you have a vehicle, messes are inevitable! Unfortunately, automotive upholstery just doesn’t like to let go of dirt. If you just vacuum it, you’ll leave plenty behind. To remove more dirt, use a stiff brush to agitate and scrub the carpet/upholstery as you vacuum with an upholstery attachment. Heads up, it’ll be gross! You’ll see dirt particles, pet hair, crumbs, and grime bounce to the surface. 

After thoroughly vacuuming, address stubborn stains by spraying Vital Oxide directly onto the surface to be cleaned and then agitate with your brush. Use your microfiber cloth to wipe off dirt and grime until the surface is clean and dry. Vital Oxide has the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) seal of approval and is proven effective against tough stains and strong, deep set odors. Read more about using Vital Oxide on carpets here

HAVE LEATHER? FOLLOW UP WITH A LEATHER CONDITIONER 

If your car has a leather-finished interior, it’s important to apply a leather conditioner after cleaning to moisturize and maintain it. 

FINISH WITH THE WINDOWS & MIRRORS 

If you cleaned the inside of your windows before you cleaned the dusty dash and center console, you’ll just have to clean them again. That’s why professional detailers save glass cleaning until the very end. For sparkling clean windows and mirrors, spray Vital Oxide directly and then wipe clean with a microfiber cloth. 

Want more cleaning tips? Follow Vital Oxide on Instagram. If you have any questions, please Contact Us. We’re here to help!