The 10 Best Car Upholstery Cleaners

The best car upholstery cleaner will help make your interior look and smell like new.

There is more to cleaning your car than washing its body and giving it a good wax. Keeping its interior nice and clean is just as important since it’s where you spend a lot of your quality time.

Fortunately, using a quality car upholstery cleaner as a part of a routine car detailing regimen is an effective way of removing the dirt, food crumbs and spills, odors, and other substances that accumulate in a car’s interior over time and make it less hygienic and habitable.

Need help finding the best auto upholstery cleaner for your ride? We have reviewed a collection of the best products currently available and wrote a thorough buying guide to make your search easier. Here’s a quick rundown of our top picks.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Best Car Upholstery Cleaner Reviews

It’s hard to go wrong with any of our top picks. The criteria we used to analyze, review, and rank them can be found in the buyer’s guide section of this article.

1. CarGuys Super Cleaner

CarGuys is a relative upstart in the car detailing world that has quickly garnered a reputation for delivering products with uncompromising quality. Our top pick, the CarGuys Super Cleaner, is one such product.

Described as one of the most effective and versatile multi-purpose car upholstery cleaners on the market, the Super Cleaner works well on many different interior materials, including fabric, vinyl, and leather upholsteries, as well as plastic, rubber, and canvas surfaces.

Its water-based formula is biodegradable, non-toxic, and eco-friendly, making it safe to use. Moreover, it doesn’t need to be rinsed and leaves behind a neutral smell that won’t upset your nose.

But as good as the CarGuys Super Cleaner is, it’s not perfect. Though a fairly affordable product, it’s one of the most expensive on our list.

Product Specs

  • Form type: Spray
  • Compatibility: Multi-purpose
  • Quantity: 18 oz. (532 ml)

Things We Like

  • Versatile, Works on nearly every surface
  • Water-based, biodegradable, and non-toxic
  • Doesn’t require rinsing
  • Good stain remover

What We Don’t Like

  • A bit pricey

Bottom Line

A strong, non-toxic formula that has a neutral smell, doesn’t need to be rinsed, and leaves no residue behind makes the CarGuys Super Cleaner a truly all-in-one car upholstery cleaner. CHECK LATEST PRICE

2. Chemical Guys Lightning Fast Carpet and Upholstery Stain Extractor

Chemical Guys has grown in recent years to become a powerhouse in the car detailing world, and the company’s Lightning Fast Carpet and Upholstery Stain Extractor is a good reason why.

This upholstery cleaner uses a water-based, hyper-concentrated formula with advanced cleaning agents to quickly remove dirt, grease, and light and heavy stains. Although tough on stains, it’s gentle on fabrics and dyes and won’t damage your upholstery.

The formula also has odor-eliminating properties that destroy bad smells at their source, and as a spray-based product, is easy to use. It’s so concentrated and highly dilutable that 1 gallon can result in up to 20 gallons of usable product.

Some cleaning jobs will require the solution to be diluted in distilled water, however. And while there is no need for hard scrubbing to remove dirt, grease, or stains, you may need to scrub vigorously to extract very tough stains.

Product Specs

  • Form type: Spray
  • Compatibility: Multi-purpose
  • Quantity: 16 oz. (473 ml)

Things We Like

  • Works on a variety of surfaces
  • Water-based, highly dilutable
  • Requires minimal effort
  • Solid odor elimination

What We Don’t Like

  • May need to dilute before use

Bottom Line

Chemical Guys’ best car upholstery cleaner is a versatile, easy-to-use stain remover that will leave your upholstery and carpet looking spotless. CHECK LATEST PRICE

3. Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

Mothers offers a comprehensive lineup of quality car detailing products, including an effective carpet and upholstery cleaner.

A gentle, pH-balanced formula makes the Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner environmentally safe and workable on fabric, vinyl, carpets, velour, and even sheepskin. It helps remove stains and prevent colors from running and doesn’t leave behind any residue.

For thorough cleaning, it’s best to use this product with a vacuum cleaner and a soft, natural bristle brush. A trigger-style spray bottle makes application easy.

Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner works very well for routine cleaning of your car’s interior and around the house; however, removing deeply-set stains can require quite a bit of effort. Some users also found its smell to be a bit too strong.

Product Specs

  • Form type: Spray
  • Compatibility: Multi-purpose
  • Quantity: 24 oz. (710 ml)

Things We Like

  • Works on different surfaces  pH-balanced, eco-friendly
  • Easy-to-use
  • Large, 24-ounce bottle

What We Don’t Like

  • Strong smell

Bottom Line

A solid car upholstery cleaner from a brand known worldwide for its premium-grade polishes, waxes, and cleaners. CHECK LATEST PRICE

4. Tuff Stuff Multipurpose Cleaner

How can a multi-purpose cleaner named “tuff stuff” not deliver quality results?

Indeed, the Tuff Stuff Multipurpose Liquid Cleaner is tough on dirt and stains, removing them without leaving anything behind. That’s because whereas many liquid cleaners soak into the material before sufficiently breaking down the dirt or stain, it foams upon contact to provide a quick, thorough cleaning.

Needless to say, Tuff Stuff works wonders on fabric and vinyl upholstery, as well as carpets and floor mats. It can even be used around the house, particularly on appliances, bathroom fixtures, porcelain, painted walls and wood, screens, window fans, metals, and more.

It’s very inexpensive and fairly easy to use, though you might need a vacuum to help with the drying.

Product Specs

  • Form type: Foam
  • Compatibility: Multi-purpose
  • Quantity: 22 oz. (650 ml)

Things We Like

  • Delivers quick, thorough cleaning
  • Extremely versatile
  • Effective stain remover
  • Very affordable

What We Don’t Like

  • Drying may require vacuuming

Bottom Line

Tuff Stuff’s Multi-Purpose Cleaner is truly tough on dirt and stains. It’s also very versatile and affordable. CHECK LATEST PRICE

5. Blue Coral DC22 Upholstery Cleaner

Blue Coral is not a big-name car detailing company like Turtle Wax, Meguiar’s, and Mothers, but its products stand toe-to-toe with the giants. 

As possibly the company’s best car upholstery cleaner, the DC22 is an easy-to-use cleaner that reliably removes everyday spills and stains and neutralizes bad odors to keep your interior looking and smelling like new. 

This product uses a water-based, eco-friendly formula that works on a variety of surfaces, though it’s most ideal for nylon, vinyl, and other synthetic surfaces. For added convenience, it features a nicely-integrated brush on the cap to make cleaning easier.

The Blue Coral DC22 is a great all-around upholstery cleaner for everyday use, though it may be less effective for removing tough, deeply set-in stains.

Product Specs

  • Form type: Foam
  • Compatibility: Multi-purpose
  • Quantity: 22.8 oz. (675 ml)

Things We Like

  • Great for everyday use
  • Solid odor-elimination
  • Integrated brush cap
  • Good value

What We Don’t Like

  • Less effective on tough or deep-set stains

Bottom Line

The Blue Coral DC22 Upholstery Cleaner provides great all-around performance at an affordable price. CHECK LATEST PRICE

6. Meguiar’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

AutoTribute has reviewed so many of Meguiar’s products that we’ve grown fond of their exceptional quality. We expected great things from this upholstery cleaner, and it didn’t disappoint.

Meguiar’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is a great option for general washing and spot-removal. Its fast-acting foam penetrates and dissolves stains from the bottom up for truly deep, residue-free cleaning, leaving behind a pleasant lemony scent.

The aerosol spray features an ergonomic, dual-purpose nozzle design that lets you apply a narrow stream for spot-cleaning or a wide mist for more general cleaning, while Meguiar’s ‘Re-Fresher’ odor-eliminating technology leaves behind a pleasant lemony scent.

Meguiar’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is more narrowly-focused than other cleaners and may not work well on materials such as vinyl or plastic. It’s also one of the more expensive products on our list.

Product Specs

  • Form type: Foam
  • Compatibility: Multi-purpose
  • Quantity: 19 oz (562 ml)

Things We Like

  • Professional-strength foam
  • Good stain removal
  • Dual-purpose spray nozzle design
  • Pleasant lemony scent

What We Don’t Like

  • Not a multi-purpose cleaner
  • Pricey

Bottom Line

An innovative spray nozzle design, powerful stain removal formula, and odor eliminating properties make the Meguiar’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner a compelling option. CHECK LATEST PRICE

7. 3D Upholstery & Carpet Shampoo

3D Car Care is a lesser-known player that has been developing high-quality car care products for over 25 years and fields one of the best car upholstery cleaners currently available.

The 3D Upholstery & Carpet Shampoo makes no compromise between quality and quantity, giving you both in one solid package. It’s tough on dirt, spots, and stains, using a high foaming, environmentally-friendly formula to deeply clean and deodorize upholstery, carpet, and other materials.

Optical brighteners in the formula also work to bring out the original look and feel of the surfaces being worked on.

The shampoo is dilutable, so you get a lot of usable product out of each bottle. Just make sure to dilute it before use.

Product Specs

  • Form type: Foam
  • Compatibility: Multi-purpose
  • Quantity: 16 oz. (473 ml)

Things We Like

  • Good cleaning action
  • Highly dilutable
  • Nice lemon smell
  • Good value

What We Don’t Like

  • Needs to be diluted

Bottom Line

3D Car Care delivers an upholstery and carpet shampoo that has little in the way of compromises. CHECK LATEST PRICE

8. Turtle Wax Multi-Purpose Cleaner and Stain Remover

Turtle Wax products are known for their affordability, and the Multi-Purpose Cleaner and Stain Remover is easily the cheapest upholstery cleaner on our list.

Low price aside, this product uses an advanced cleaning formula to deeply clean and deodorize interior upholstery fabrics, vinyl, plastics, and carpets. It is capable of removing stains and eliminating bad odors caused by smoke, food, pets, and other substances.

As a nice touch, the 18-ounce bottle incorporates a detachable micro-scrub brush that makes it easy to work the solution into target areas.

Unfortunately, Turtle Wax’s cleaner may leave behind a greasy layer on treated surfaces. Moreover, the brush attachment feels cheap, and using it too aggressively can cause abrasive damage.  

Product Specs

  • Form type: Foam
  • Compatibility: Multi-purpose
  • Quantity: 18 oz (532 ml)

Things We Like

  • Works on nearly every interior surface
  • Integrated micro-scrub brush
  • Eliminates bad odors
  • Very affordable

What We Don’t Like

  • May leave behind a greasy layer
  • Detachable brush feels cheap and can cause abrasive damage

Bottom Line

Turtle Wax delivers an easy-to-use, all-in-one solution for removing dirt, stains, and odors on every interior surface in your car, including upholstery fabrics, vinyl, plastic, and carpets. CHECK LATEST PRICE

9. Armor All Oxi Magic Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

Armor All’s Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner is developed primarily for use on fabric, vinyl, carpet, and non-clear plastics, using oxygen action to penetrate and dissolve most stubborn stains without leaving any residue.

Not only does it clean, but it also leaves your interior smelling clean. Your car’s upholstery and carpet will be brought back to life in more ways than one.

The Oxi Magic is a spray-based cleaner and, therefore, easy and straightforward to use. Simply spray the solution on the surface and wipe or scrub the dirt away.

A downside is that, despite being Armor All’s best car upholstery cleaner, it’s not particularly effective at removing very tough and stubborn stains, and some users found its scent to be overpowering, if not unpleasant.

Product Specs

  • Form type: Spray
  • Compatibility: Multi-purpose
  • Quantity: 22 oz. (650 ml)

Things We Like

  • Provides good dirt and stain removal
  • Long-lasting results
  • Easy to use spray bottle design

What We Don’t Like

  • Not for tough stains
  • Scent can be overpowering

Bottom Line

With the Armor All Oxi Magic Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner, dirt, grime, stains, and other nasty substances disappear like magic. CHECK LATEST PRICE

10. Black Diamond Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

Although marketed as a general household product, this cleaner from Black Diamond works great on car upholstery and carpets. 

Available as a 32-ounce spray bottle and a 1-gallon jug for those who like to buy in bulk, it is a professional-grade, eco-friendly formula that’s safe to use around people and animals and effectively removes spots, spills, and stains. It’s also made in the USA, should that matter to you.

Use it on nylon, cotton, wool, microfiber fabrics, carpets, and floor mats with confidence. And should you not be happy with the results, Black Diamond will return your money.

Removing tough stains can be a bit difficult, if not impossible, with Black Diamond’s cleaner, however, though your mileage may vary. There have also been a few user cases of the product staining light-colored fabrics.

Product Specs

  • Form type: Spray
  • Compatibility: Multi-purpose
  • Quantity: 32 oz. (946 ml)

Things We Like

  • General-purpose cleaner
  • Biodegradable, hypoallergenic
  • Great value

What We Don’t Like

  • May not work well for tough stains
  • May stain light fabrics

Bottom Line

An everyday household cleaner that doubles as an effective car upholstery and carpet cleaner. CHECK LATEST PRICE

Car Upholstery Cleaner Buying Guide 

Bottle of best car upholstery cleaner on car seats

There are so many car upholstery cleaners on the market that it’s easy for an uniformed shopper to feel overwhelmed. If that’s you, don’t worry.

In this section, we provide expert researched information and guidelines you can use to easily separate the wheat from the chaff and find the best car upholstery cleaner for your ride.

What Is A Car Upholstery Cleaner?

If you own a car, chances are it’s an integral part of your everyday life, your primary means of commuting to and from work, the grocery store, the gym, your kid’s PTA meetings, and what have you. You spend a good chunk of your time in it and, depending on your profession or lifestyle, may even live in it.

The problem is that, unlike at home, you’re always wearing your shoes whenever in the car, dragging in dirt, debris, mud, water, dead bugs, animal feces, and other unsavory substances. 

Factor in the crumbs and spills from the foods you occasionally consume when behind the wheel and the natural shedding of yours and your passengers’ hairs, and you got yourself a recipe for a dirty, grimy, and sometimes hazardous interior that needs a good cleaning.

That’s where car upholstery cleaners come in. Unlike dish soap, baking soda and water, or other homemade cleaning solutions, these products are specially designed to remove dirt, residues, stains, odors, and other substances that make their way into a car’s interior and accumulate.

Many car upholstery cleaners are multi-purpose products that can be used on a variety of surfaces in a vehicle, while others are specialized for certain materials. 

Professional car detailers usually have a collection of different cleaners that they use depending on the type of surface being worked on and the severity of the dirt, grime, or stains that need to be removed.

Quality car upholstery cleaners are effective, easy-to-use, and typically affordable. They can do wonders for the look, feel, and smell of your upholstery, carpets, and floor mats.

Benefits of Car Upholstery Cleaners

Routinely cleaning your interior with a quality car upholstery cleaner has several key benefits. Some are obvious, while others are not.

Preserve Your Interior

Dirt, food, spills, and the sun’s UV rays will rapidly deteriorate your car’s upholstery if left unattended, making it look older than it actually is. 

Cleaning your interior and using a quality cleaner diligently will slow down the rate of fading, discoloration, and cracking to keep all surfaces looking new longer and preserve the overall value of your vehicle. When it comes time to sell your car, you will be happy that you did.

Eliminate Bad Odor

Neglect your car’s interior long enough and it could end up smelling like a public washroom. Sure, you can install a car air freshener, but that will only be a temporary fix that masks the bad odors rather than eliminate them.

You need to address the root cause of the smell, which is often dirt, grime, and odor particles stuck in the interior upholstery. Good car upholstery cleaners extract these troublesome substances to eliminate unpleasant smells.

Prevent Health Issues

Having the doors shut and the windows raised turns your interior into an enclosed environment, meaning trapped dirt, dust, and other particles will circulate in the air and pose a health hazard.

If you or anyone you share your car with has allergies, respiratory problems, or other health issues associated with poor indoor air quality, investing in a good car interior cleaner and using it regularly is a must.

Types Of Car Upholstery Cleaners

With car upholstery cleaners, one size doesn’t fit all. That’s because not every product is suitable for every type of surface.

Fabric, leather, and vinyl all have different properties that necessitate different formulas. 

Nylon Upholstery

Nylon is a very common type of fabric used for car upholstery because it’s comfortable and very durable. Unfortunately, fabric upholsteries are also very porous, meaning they easily trap dirt and other small particles and absorb liquids.

For that reason, upholstery cleaners tend to be stronger and more abrasive than other types and the cleaning process requires more elbow grease.

Polyester Upholstery

Polyester is also commonly used for vehicle upholstery. It’s a soft fabric that’s designed to mimic the look and feel of suede leather, making it comfortable.

However, this positive quality can also make polyester difficult to clean. Not only is it porous, but the suede-like texture also makes it susceptible to staining and trapping dirt.

Cleaning a polyester upholstery is nevertheless a fairly straightforward process, though it’s recommended that a low-PH cleaner be used.

Vinyl Upholstery

Car manufacturers commonly use vinyl because it’s non-porous. That’s to say vinyl upholsteries don’t trap dirt, stain, or absorb water as easily as nylon and are much easier to clean (all it usually takes is a simple wipe-down). 

A downside is that they are more susceptible to sticky residues and grime.

Leather Upholstery

Natural leather is the most coveted material used in car interiors, an expensive one at that. The material has a distinctly premium look and comfortable feel that’s not easily replicated by other materials.

Even though it’s susceptible to sticky residues and grime like vinyl surfaces, leather is easier to clean than nylon. The problem is that it cracks, tears, and fades over time from regular use and exposure to the sun’s UV rays, especially when not properly maintained.

Leather upholsteries are more likely to have dedicated cleaners than other types of upholsteries. The cleaning process also requires them to be waxed and conditioned.

Top Car Upholstery Cleaner Brands

The top car upholstery cleaner brands are big names in the car detailing world, namely Chemical Guys, Turtle Wax, Car Guys, and Maeguir’s.

Chemical Guys

Chemical Guys grew from humble beginnings in 1968 to become a lifestyle brand with a strong worldwide following. The multinational company operates in more than 50 countries spanning multiple continents.

Not only is the Chemical Guys Lightning Fast Carpet and Upholstery Stain Extractor one of their best-sellers, but it’s also one of the best upholstery cleaners for car interiors, period.

Turtle Wax

Turtle Wax launched their first-ever bottled car wax in 1944, and the rest — as they say — is history. The brand is today the number one seller of spray wax, car wash soaps, carpet and fabric care products, and more. 

The Turtle Wax Multi-Purpose Cleaner and Stain Remover, in particular, is an effective car upholstery cleaner that will leave your interior looking and smelling fresh.

Car Guys

CarGuys is a relatively new company that has quickly garnered a reputation for making quality yet affordable car detailing products for professional and DIY detailers alike. Unlike other companies, all their products are non-toxic and biodegradable.

You can bet on the CarGuys Super Cleaner to provide the various surfaces of your car’s interior the cleaning they deserve.


Founded in 1901, Meguiar’s is the name most commonly associated with car detailing, at least in North America. The company provides top-notch, highly-specialized products for almost every conceivable type of surface.

Meguiar’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is a solid product with a strong following.

Features Of The Best Car Upholstery Cleaner

Now that you know what car upholstery cleaners are, the benefits of using one as part of a routine and comprehensive car detailing regimen, and the different types available, let’s look at the key criteria you should use to determine the best one for your needs.

Specialized or Multi-purpose

Not every surface in a car’s interior is made from the same material, so you need to consider whether you need a cleaner that’s formulated for a particular type of surface or one that can be used on multiple surfaces.

Multi-purpose cleaners are economical since they can be used on a variety of materials such as fabric, wood trim, vinyl, and sometimes even leather. However, being a jack of all trades and a master of none means they generally only provide moderately good results.

Specialized car upholstery cleaners, on the other hand, provide optimal results for the material they were designed for and, for that reason, tend to be more expensive than multi-purpose cleaners.

To save time and money, you ideally want a cleaner that works well on most, if not all, of the different surfaces of your car’s interior. However, cleaning some surfaces such as leather upholsteries often mandates a specialized product.

Ingredients, Toxicity

Some ingredients used in cleaners, especially multi-purpose products, can damage your car upholstery, so always check the ingredient list.

Ideally, your car upholstery cleaner should be water-based and non-toxic. Keep an eye out for alcohol, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as ammonia, and harsh solvents, all of which can discolor and weaken fabric.

Application Style

Car upholstery cleaners generally come in the form of either a foam or a spray. 

Foam-based formulas penetrate more deeply into the surface materials, making them more effective for removing stains. However, you may need to use a lot of the product to get the desired results.

Spray-bottle cleaners are easy to use and work very well for simple cleaning jobs. Cleaning stains with them requires a bit more effort and patience, however.

UV Protection

The sun is responsible for much of the deterioration experienced by car upholsteries. Its UV rays cause discoloration, fading, and in the case of leather, surface cracking.

UV protection is one feature you want when looking for a good car upholstery cleaner. Fortunately, many of the top-rated products have it among their other features.


Some people like their car interior to have a pleasant aroma, while others prefer something odorless. Regardless, a car upholstery cleaner’s scent is an important factor of consideration.

If you decide to go with something scented, make sure the aroma isn’t so overpowering that it makes spending time in the car a pain for you or your passengers.

Volume, Dilutablity 

The volume and dilution capabilities of an upholstery cleaner are important considerations when determining how much bang for the buck you’re getting. 

Many seemingly expensive products are dilutable and can be used in different concentrations, meaning you won’t need to use a lot of the product for cleaning. They may very well be worth their high price.

How To Clean Car Upholstery

Man Using Best Car Upholstery Cleaner

Cleaning your car upholstery takes more than simply applying a cleaning agent to the surface and then wiping away the dirt and grime. To use your time and resources efficiently, you need the right materials and a plan of action.

The following guide will show you how to effectively use car upholstery cleaner to clean your fabric and vinyl surfaces.

What You’ll Need

You will need the following materials:

  • A decent home or car vacuum, ideally one featuring a brush attachment
  • A water-filled bucket
  • a tough sponge or scrubbing brush
  • An absorbent microfiber cloth or towel
  • A quality car upholstery cleaner

Cleaning Fabric Upholstery

Fabric upholstery is typically more difficult to clean than leather or vinyl upholstery. 

Step 1. Attach the brush to your vacuum cleaner and use it to remove large loose debris such as pebbles, pieces of food, and pet hairs. Be thorough with the vacuuming. Your brush can be used to break up ingrained debris and particles that might be hard-to-remove.

Step 2. Apply your chosen upholstery cleaner by first trying it on an inconspicuous area of the upholstery. If satisfied with the results, apply the solution to the interior surfaces you want to clean, working on one panel at a time.

If it foams, use the brush or a hard sponge to work it into the fabric (pay particular attention to stained areas), and then lightly scrub the surface. Rinse the brush or sponge in the bucket of water if it gets too dirty.

Step 3. Dampen your absorbent cleaning cloth with water and pat it on the upholstery to remove any residual dirt or excess cleaning product. Next, wring out as much water as possible and repeat the process on the other parts of your interior.

Step 4. Inspect your work. If you are pleased with the results, let the upholstery naturally air dry. You’re done.

Cleaning Vinyl Upholstery

The cleaning process for vinyl upholstery is a little easier and faster. It involves less effort, and you shouldn’t need any water except perhaps for diluting the cleaning solution.

After vacuuming your car’s interior, spray the upholstery cleaner onto the brush or hard sponge (not directly onto the surface) and scrub gently. Repeat as needed.

Take your dry microfiber cloth or towel, fold it in four, and use one side to pat the cleaning product out of the upholstery. Once that initial side becomes too dirty, use the other side to pat.

You don’t have to rinse the cloth in water. Just switch between the clean dry sides to clean the upholstery. 

Tips For Cleaning Your Car Upholstery

Make the most of your car upholstery cleaner and the cleaning process by keeping the following tips in mind.

  • Always vacuum your car’s interior before applying any cleaning solution. Doing so will allow you to remove dirt and debris that have accumulated and make the cleaning process easier.
  • Before using your upholstery cleaner on a new surface or trying a new product, test it on an inconspicuous area of the upholstery to make sure it doesn’t cause discoloration or any other damage.
  • Not all upholstery cleaners are the same, so don’t begin using one until you read the directions and follow the techniques provided. This will help ensure you get the best results.
  • Breaking down your interior into smaller sections and grouping surfaces with similar properties will make cleaning it more manageable. In other words, divide and conquer.
  • Don’t ignore tough stains. Try blotting them out after applying the cleaner. If that doesn’t work, scrub with a brush or hard sponge to break up the substance and then wipe.
  • When removing a stubborn stain, don’t go overboard with the product. Applying too much can damage the upholstery.
  • Cleaning the entire interior of your car in a single go might not be possible, so have patience. Repeat the cleaning process as necessary.

Car Upholstery Cleaner FAQs

The answers to the following questions will provide you with more clarity on what car upholstery cleaners are, what they can and cannot do, and how to find a good one.

Should I Clean My Car Upholstery Myself Or Let A Professional Do It?

You shouldn’t need the help of a professional detailer to clean dirt, spills, light stains, and other substances that regularly accumulate in a car’s interior. As long as you have the right upholstery cleaner, tools, and instructions, the cleaning process should be straightforward.

The only time you might need professional cleaning is if your upholstery is severely soiled, stained, or damaged in any other way. Just bear in mind that such services can be quite expensive.

What Do I Need To Clean Car Upholstery?

Some car upholstery cleaners are easier to use than others, but generally speaking, the cleaning process will also require a vacuum cleaner, a bucket or two of clean water, a brush or hard sponge, and a clean microfiber cloth or towel.

For leather upholsteries, a quality leather conditioner is usually also necessary. 

What Are The Important Features Of A Good Car Upholstery Cleaner?

First, determine what kind of surface you will be cleaning (fabric, vinyl, leather, caret, etc). Even though a multi-purpose cleaner may deliver adequate to good results for different surfaces, some materials such as leather upholsteries usually require a specialized product.

Also look for an upholstery cleaner that has UV protection; doesn’t use toxic or harmful ingredients; has a pleasant, non-overpowering scent or is odorless; and gives you a good amount for the money. 

Can I Use A Car Upholstery Cleaner On My Carpet?

Yes. Many multi-purpose car upholstery cleaners, especially those formulated to clean fabric surfaces, can be used to clean your car’s carpets and floor mats.

However, if you have a specialized product that isn’t made for fabrics, then don’t risk using it. At best, you’ll just be wasting it; at worst, you might damage your carpet or mat.

Can I Use Baking Soda Or Dish Soap Instead Of A Car Upholstery Cleaner?

A mixture of water and baking soda or dish soap can be a great alternative for cleaning car upholstery and removing stubborn stains. However, quality car upholstery cleaners are usually easier to use and deliver better results since they are specially-formulated for cleaning.

In addition to cleaning, many of these cleaners also disinfect surfaces and leave behind a pleasant smell. They are so affordable that the amount of time and energy you will save will be worth their cost. 

Final Thoughts

Having a clean, pleasant-smelling interior is just as important as having a spotless exterior, if not more so. After all, it’s where you spend a lot of your quality time.

The best auto upholstery cleaners can make a world of a difference for the look, feel, and smell of your car seats and other interior surfaces, and we reviewed some of the top products on the market and provided a detailed buying guide to make finding one easy.

Of the many good and not-so-good cleaners currently available, the CarGuys Super Cleaner stood out as the best all-rounder in our analysis. It’s an affordable, non-toxic formula that cleans various surfaces, kills bad odors, and removes stains with relative ease.

The Tuff Stuff Multipurpose Cleaner is the best car upholstery cleaner for those on a very tight budget, providing good performance at a very low price.