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Tackling Dust, Dirt, and Grime: The Best Interior Car Cleaning Products

What does the interior of your car look like? Car owners typically fall on two ends of the spectrum. Some make it a priority to keep the interior of their cars clean, regularly cleaning the cabin as part of their auto service routine. Others take a more laid-back approach, letting the accouterments of everyday life accumulate in the floorboards, cupholders, backseat, and cargo area.

Wherever you fall on the spectrum, cleaning the interior of your car should be part of your to-do list as a vehicle owner. Keeping the interior clean offers numerous benefits, and, more importantly, it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. The industry is inundated with effective products that make keeping your car’s interior clean easier and hassle-free.

Why It’s Important to Clean Your Car’s Interior

Think about the allure of a new car, from that new car smell to the excitement of getting behind the wheel for the first time and seeing that every inch of the vehicle is spotless and pristine. Smudged fingerprints don’t decorate the windows, and there isn’t sticky residue in the cupholders. Trash doesn’t litter the floor, and dust particles don’t cling to the dash.

The newness of a vehicle is fleeting because life happens. We make messes and accumulate a lot of stuff as we navigate the demands of the road and our busy lives. However, life doesn’t have to get in the way of a clean car. Instead, routinely cleaning the interior of your car guarantees many benefits and can positively impact your experience in the driver’s seat.

Cleaning the windows and windshield eliminates fingerprints and other smudges that can obscure your visibility. Likewise, tackling stains in the upholstery and cleaning the hard surfaces with a protectant can give the vehicle’s interior new life, protect it from harmful UV rays and accidental spills, and make it more appealing when you plan to sell or trade. Additionally, cleaning the interior significantly impacts your health by removing dirt and other debris, creating a clean slate, and improving the cabin’s air quality.

Our Top Picks: The 7 Best Interior Car Cleaning Products

One of the great things about cleaning your car’s interior is that you don’t need much to get started. For example, removing all the trash and clutter throughout the cabin is an excellent first step that doesn’t require anything other than a trash bag. From there, you can vacuum the floors and seats and use a simple window cleaner to keep the windows smudge-free.

Of course, if you’re doing a more comprehensive cleaning to restore your car’s interior to its like-new condition, you have plenty of options. There are hundreds of cleaning products designed for specific areas of your vehicle’s interior. For example, some products are solely for cleaning the windows for a streak-free shine, while others are meant to restore leather upholstery. How do you know what to look for and, more importantly, the best products to buy? We have you covered.

#1 – Best All-Purpose Cleaner: Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant

Chemical Guys knocks it out of the park with its Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant because this single product can do it all when it comes to keeping your car’s interior clean and protected. The product is affordable, averaging around $12 at local retailers, and can clean everything from the dashboard and windows to the digital displays, cupholders, and more. Its powerful formula tends to have a strong odor but wipes off for a residue-free finish, meaning your interior won’t look shiny or oily. More importantly, the solution is dual-purpose with a built-in UV protectant that can block harmful UV rays from damaging your interior.

A person is shown cleaning a seat in a vehicle.

#2 – Best High-Strength Cleaner: Carfidant Ultimate Cleaner

If you’re looking for a cleaner that works beyond your car’s interior, consider Carfidant’s Ultimate Cleaner. This high-strength cleaner is extremely versatile and an excellent investment because it can handle dirt, debris, and other grime on the interior and exterior of your vehicle. It can cut through dirt, grease, and grime in the cabin just as easily as it can degrease the engine and remove any pesky bugs on the windshield. The only downside to the product is that it smells like a high-strength cleaner and costs slightly more than most.

#3 – Best On-the-Go Cleaner: Armor All Car Cleaning Wipes

Armor All Car Cleaning Wipes are like the baby wipes of the car world. These cleaning wipes come in an easy-to-use tub with a pull-through dispenser, allowing you to pull out a wipe with one hand. The convenience is outstanding, making this product a must-have for minor spills and quick cleans. With that in mind, don’t expect the cleaning wipes to tackle the interior like other professional-grade products on our list since the product isn’t as strong and tends to leave a residue.

#4 – Best for a Glossy Finish: Meguiar’s Ultimate Interior Detailer

Meguiar’s is one of the top brands in car cleaning products, thanks to products like the Ultimate Interior Detailer. This product is designed as a follow-up to other cleaning products because it isn’t quite strong enough to tackle grime, grease, and other debris. Instead, it’s designed to put the finishing touch on your interior, leaving a glossy-like finish perfect for those looking for that show-car or like-new aesthetic.

#5 – Best for Leather: Furniture Clinic’s Leather Care Kit

If your vehicle has leather seats, you’ll want to invest in a high-quality leather care product like Furniture Clinic’s Leather Care Kit. A favorite across the industry, this product has everything you need for the two-step process, including a sponge and cloth. The kit’s penetrating leather cleaner deep cleans the seats, removing dirt and build-up in the crevices and stitching. The leather conditioner seals and nourishes the leather, protecting it from future spills and potential stains.

A person is shown holding a sponge and cleaner in a vehicle.

#6 – Best Vinyl Cleaner: Car Guys Super Cleaner

Car Guys promises its Super Cleaner is the “King of All Cleaners,” and we’d have to agree when tackling any vinyl or plastic components in your car’s cabin. The Super Cleaner is a multi-surface cleaner that effectively removes dirt and grime with one use and without leaving a cloudy or shiny residue. While it’s our top pick for cleaning vinyl, it’s versatile enough to use on plastic, rubber, wood, metal, upholstery, fabric, canvas, and other materials throughout your cabin. As always, we recommend testing a small, inconspicuous area before each use.

#7 – Best for Tiny Spaces: Ticarve Cleaning Gel

Our list wouldn’t be complete without a unique product like Ticarve’s Cleaning Gel. Unofficially known as “Car Slime,” the gel is perfect for those hard-to-reach places throughout your car’s interior. For example, you can use the gel to clean the air conditioner vents, along the stitching on the steering wheel, inside the storage bins, or along the dashboard. Once you’re finished cleaning, store the gel in its container until the next use.

What to Know Before You Buy

While these products are some of the best on the market, we encourage you to read the labels before purchasing any product. There are hundreds of products available, many from highly-revered brands like Armor All, Meguiar’s, and Chemical Guys. Reading the label guarantees you’re investing in the right product for your vehicle, whether looking at a leather cleaning kit, a window cleaner, or an all-in-one solution. Likewise, we recommend testing new products on a small spot in your vehicle before tackling the entire cabin to avoid any mishaps like stains.