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What’s the best way to clean your car’s interior?


  • A picture of the author, Joel Prior.

    Joel Prior
    Owner, Showcar Detailing Canada

    Joel Prior is a trained professional who has mastered the art of car detailing. Joel works closely with car collectors, dealerships, body shops and automotive companies across Canada and is the official detailer for Meguiar's Canada. Joel began working with Meguiar's® in 2007 and established his own car detailing business, Showcar Detailing, in 2008. Showcar Detailing is a mobile detailing business that specializes in professional detailing, from the reliable family vehicle to collectible and exotic cars, using only the finest Meguiar's® Brand Products.

    Joel Prior
    Owner, Showcar Detailing Canada

Winters, especially the kind we had this year, can take a toll on your car’s interiors. With all the snow, slush, and salt – the inside of your car has seen better days.

What’s the best way to clean your car’s interior?

With the interior of your car you are dealing with a lot of different surfaces – carpets, leather, vinyl, etc. – which can make cleaning your vehicle feel overwhelming. But, it doesn’t have to be.

Six tips for cleaning the interior of your car.

There are a lot of different crevasses and grooves inside your car, so it is important that you use the best interior car care products to help rid your ride of leftover winter grime. And then, there’s that smell – it’s musty and damp.

Your interior car cleaning checklist must tackle everything from dirt, salt, to smell.

Expert tip: Wondering where to start? When you wash your vehicle, you move from the top down, but with the interior of your car, you want to start from the bottom-up – where it’s the dirtiest.

Here are my six car cleaning tips to help restore the interior of your car – and to ensure the smell and grime doesn’t follow you into the warm summer months.


Owner of Showcar Detailing Canada, Joel Prior, sitting in the driver seat of a car and holding a bottle of Meguiar's® Natural Shine Protectant.

Learn more car care tips.

For more car cleaning tips, check out the Meguiar’s How To page.

1. How to clean your car’s interior carpet: While the vacuum cleaner is running, take a brush and loosen up the dirt. After you’ve vacuumed, you will likely notice some spot stains on your carpet – this is normal, especially after a long winter. I recommend using Meguiar’s® Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner to help pull up those stains – just spray, work it with a brush, blot with a microfibre towel and then let it air dry.

2. Cleaning the interior of your door panels: To help get rid of the dirt on the inside of your car door and doorsill, spray Meguiar’s® Quik Detailer™ Interior Cleaner thoroughly and let it sit for a bit before you wipe it down. After you’ve wiped the bottom of your door and doorsill, spray a clean microfibre cloth with Meguiar’s® Quik Detailer™ Interior Cleaner and wipe off the rest of the door. When you’re spraying Meguiar’s® Quik Detailer™ Interior Cleaner, make sure you don’t spray it into the speakers.

3. How to clean vinyl inside your car and your rubber mats: To help clean the dirt on your car surfaces it’s also good to have a multipurpose cleaner handy to act as a degreaser. I like to use Meguiar’s® Multi-Purpose Cleaner to help clean vinyl, trim, carpet, and rubber. It’s also an excellent degreaser for the inside of your car’s door jams.

4. How to restore your car’s dashboard and trim: To bring your vehicle’s interior back to life, I recommend using Meguiar’s® Natural Shine Protectant . This product is designed to restore natural colour and shine to rubber and plastic and works well on your dashboard and trim. It’s easy to apply and all you need to do is spray Meguiar’s® Natural Shine Protectant onto a microfibre towel and wipe clean. What I really like about this product is that it doesn’t leave a greasy feel and is dry to touch.

5. How to clean leather surfaces inside your car: The Meguiar’s® Gold Class™ Rich Leather Cleaner and Conditioner cleans and conditions the leather in one easy step. Spray the product onto a microfiber cloth to apply the product on the leather surface. Take your time and work one section at a time to spread the product evenly on the surface. Depending on the type of leather you have in your vehicle, it can be one quick wipe or several passes. Test a small area to see which application is suitable for your vehicle.

6. How to remove car odours: To help remove bad smells from the interior of your vehicle I recommend using Meguiar’s® Whole Car Air Re-fresher . It comes in two scents, New Car Scent and Sweet Summer Breeze. What I like about this product is that the technology is designed to penetrate the complete interior of your vehicle and work as an odour eliminator.

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