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It’s no secret that cleaning and detailing your car is fundamental to enjoying it for many years to come. Cleaning allows you to keep an idea of the condition of your vehicle as you drive and enjoy it. When you properly clean and detail your car, you will be able to see the condition up close and get to know its intricacies. Detailing the interior is particularly important to providing you with a more relaxing ride.

While focusing on the exterior is certainly the more fun, and flashy aspect of automotive detailing, cleaning the interior should not be overlooked. Follow this guide to get your interior looking as good as the day it rolled off the dealership lot!

Necessary tools to clean your interior

When it is time to clean the interior of your sedan or coupe, you will want to make sure your kit has a few necessary tools and products. You don’t need to spend an excessive amount of money to get the job done successfully. Make sure you get tools and products such as:

  • Garbage bags
  • A vacuum with different crevice tools
  • Detailing brushes, both stiff and soft bristles
  • A few microfiber tools
  • Interior detailer or an all-purpose cleaner
  • Leather cleaner if necessary
  • Glass cleaner
  • Disposable gloves
  • Cotton swabs

With these essential tools, your interior will look great with just a little elbow grease.

What’s the process of detailing the interior?

Once you have your tool and products, it’s time to start cleaning. The first thing you will want to do is remove your rubber floor mats or carpeted floor mats, pick up any trash and large pieces of debris, and give your entire car a quick vacuum.

Next, you will want to grab one of your microfiber towels, fold it in half or into quarters, and spray your interior detailer onto the towel. Begin by cleaning the dashboard and reapply the cleaner to the towel as needed. Once your dashboard is clean, take another clean microfiber towel and proceed to buff off any residue. Next, you will want to repeat the same process on the center console and door panels. Your cupholders could be particularly gunked up and dirty. To get those clean, spray an all-purpose cleaner and let them soak while you wipe down the larger surfaces. Use a clean microfiber towel or even paper towels to get the gunk out. For the small crevices and tight spaces, use a soft-bristled brush that has had the product sprayed on it. 

After handling those areas, you will want to clean the seats. Start by vacuuming the seats more thoroughly, then once you are satisfied, grab your seat cleaner. If you have leather seating, use a specific leather cleaner. Start by spraying the cleaner directly onto one of your soft-bristled brushes and clean the seat by scrubbing away any grime. If you have cloth seating, you could use a stiffer bristle brush, but don’t put too much pressure cause that could cause tears. Finally, clean off the excess with another clean microfiber towel.

Now it’s time to clean the vents and other tight areas. Utilize one of those brushes and cotton swabs to do this. Spray the cleaner on the brush or swab, and clean as much of the loose dirt or grime as you can. Wipe away the excess product with a microfiber towel. If you have dirty vents, a bottle of canned air can work wonders, but you may want to blow those out before any of the other cleaning steps. 

With all of the surfaces cleaned up, it’s time to work on your carpets and floor mats. If you have a pet, consider getting a pet hair removal tool to get any of that hair out, but otherwise, thoroughly vacuum the interior carpet. Outside of the car, vacuum the floor mats, and if you have particularly dirty rubber mats, you can spay them down with your all-purpose cleaner. While on this step, you can clean the pedals with your interior detailer or all-purpose cleaner. But, be sure to get rid of any residue because slippery pedals can be a hazard while driving.

Next up, while cleaning the interior of your car, you will apply any protectants to the areas you cleaned. Do this by spaying the protectant on a microfiber towel, using it on the specified surfaces, and then wiping it away with another clean microfiber towel.

Now you will want to clean the door jambs and door sills with a quick detailing spray or your interior cleaner. Use a soft-bristled bruise to loosen any dirt and wipe away with a microfiber towel. 

Finally, it’s time to clean the inside of your glass. Take an automotive-specific glass cleaner, spray it on a clean microfiber towel, or if you are fancy, a glass-specific towel, and clean from left to right. Use a clean towel to buff away the residue for a streak-free clean. Be aware that using too much of that cleaner can cause your glass to streak! For the ultimate clean, clean the exterior of your windows to get the clearest view ahead. 

Any deeper cleaning tricks?

a man details his dashboard using a microfiber towel
A man wiping down his dashboard | Blocks Fletcher via Unsplash

Of course, if your car’s interior is particularly dirty, you will want to do a deeper clean. But, that requires more tools and knowledge to perform correctly. You can shampoo the carpets, floor mats, and seating if necessary, but to do this, you will need to extract the water, which can be challenging. Furthermore, you can deep clean the headliner and remove lingering odors using an ozone machine. 

It may be worth working with a professional for these deeper cleaning services if you do not have the experience, know-how, or confidence to do it yourself. 

You’ll love driving a freshly detailed car

With a freshly cleaned car, your driving experience can be a much more enjoyable time. The lack of trash, dirt, and grime can ensure you can relax on even the shortest of drives. If you’re looking to dig deeper into the world of automotive detailing, Ammo has put together some in-depth guides to make sure you can do the job like a pro!

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