Best Car Interior & Upholstery Cleaners: Give Your Car That “Just Detailed” Look
Learn about the best car interior cleaners and how they keep the inside of your car fresh and new
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Just about every place you spend time needs constant cleaning: your home, your office, your car. While you go to great lengths to clean your home, your car may not get the same attention. An unclean car not only has an off-putting smell, but it also serves as a perfect place for germs to grow and breed. This is why picking the best car interior cleaner will save you time, keep you healthy, and protect your car’s interior at the same time. If you’re wondering what is the best car interior cleaner, this guide reviews the best car interior cleaning products on the market.
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Benefits of Car Interior Cleaner
- Less excessive wear and tear. Cleaning the interior of the car is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. Spilled substances and UV rays create cracks in the interior of the car. Without regular cleaning, a new car can look much older than its real age and mileage. Car interior cleaners keep upholstery, leather, and all other surfaces looking new and prevent discoloration and fading.
- Prevent health issues. When you shut the car door, the interior becomes a closed environment. This allows germs, dust, and other particles to circulate in the air, causing health issues and all sorts of allergies. A car interior cleaning spray prevents such health hazards and maintains the air quality inside the car.
- Better driving safety. A dirty windshield translates into poor visibility of your surroundings. The same goes for side and rear-view mirrors. Cleaning the interior as well as the exterior of your glass increases your ability to see what’s around you and minimizes road risks.
Types of Car Interior Cleaner
Car interior cleaning spray is quite popular and widely used. Sprays clean different surfaces inside the car, which saves you time and money. Some spray products protect against UV rays, which other detailing types don’t offer. Because they’re versatile, effective, and easy to use, many car owners prefer spray products over other car interior cleaner types.
Interior wipes help you reach all the nooks and crannies inside the car and give them a thorough cleaning. While the best car interior wipes can give you that “just detailed” appearance, they’re not that good against certain stains. Interior wipes also require more time and effort to clean the car than car interior sprays.
Car interior wax, sometimes called leather balm or leather cleaner, is specific for the leather surfaces inside your car. Despite this narrow scope, it does a good job cleaning, conditioning, and protecting the leather. The wax also protects against UV rays and gives the leather a rejuvenated look and supple feel.
Established in 1980, 303 Products has mainly focused on protecting surfaces from UV rays. It offers quick detailers, fabric guards, protectants, and cleaners for both indoor and outdoor living. It’s not just automotive; these products work well for boats and homes. Other products in this category include 303 Products Aerospace Protectant and 303 Aerospace Protectant Wipes.
Started as a small company operating in California in 1968, Chemical Guys aimed to make the right detailing products that all car enthusiasts would love. Over the years, that simple idea grew into a multinational company with presence in Europe and Asia. Their products now sell in more than 50 countries all over the world. Other top products include Complete Leather Care Kit and Chemical Guys MIC_506_12 Microfiber Towels.
When Frank Meguiar Jr. started this company from his own garage in California in 1901, he had no idea that one day it would grow this big. At the time, there were more carriages than cars, and Frank was making wax products. He soon turned his attention to cars and hasn’t looked back since. The company’s Ultimate Leather Balm is a top seller and so is it's Automotive Soft White Drill Brush.
Car Interior Cleaner Pricing
- Under $10: At this price range, you can get car interior detailers that work only on one or two surfaces. For example, wax products sell at this price range, but they only work on leather. You can also get car interior sprays for under $10, but the quality is not that great.
- $10-$20: The average car interior cleaner product sells within this price range. This includes high-quality sprays that sell in a single package.
- Over $20: Good-quality car vacuum cleaners and detailing kits usually sell at this price range. Large containers, ranging from 1 to 5 gallons, will sell at higher prices. Depending on how often you clean your car, you might opt for the gallon containers to save money in the long run.
One of the main features that you need to look for in a car interior cleaner is UV protection. UV rays are responsible for a lot of wear and tear in the car interior. They’re the reason the colors fade and the surfaces crack. The best car interior protectant is the one that has UV protection among other features. Most detailers that come in spray form have UV protection, unlike other types such as wipes and car vacuums.
Thanks to advances in technology, car detailing products not only clean stains and grime but also act as dust repellents. This means they’re still working on the surfaces of the car interior even after you’ve wiped them clean. Preventing dust from sticking to the dashboard and the seats is a key feature of the best car interior detailing products.
A product that only works on one or two surfaces is neither an economical option nor is it convenient. When you shop for the best car interior detailer, you’ll ideally want a product that works on most, if not all, of the different surfaces inside the car. That will save you time and money down the road.
The finish is one of the things, not all car interior detailers get right. Some products do manage to remove stains, only to leave a splotchy blob in its place. Having a matte finish is usually a must-have feature to check for in a car interior cleaner.
- Scent: Whether you like your car odorless or scented is up to you. Some people can’t enjoy a drive without having a pineapple or baby powder aroma wafting across their face. A car interior detailer’s scent is an important factor to consider when choosing your product. A pineapple scent might be nice, but when you spray it all over the inside of the car, it might get too fruity in there.
- Toxicity: A toxic car detailer is both a health and environmental hazard. Since you’re dealing with chemicals that remove grease, grime, and stains, the issue of toxicity needs to be taken into account. The ideal car interior detailer should be non-toxic and water-based so that it’s easy to clean off if you accidentally spill it inside the car.
Best Car Interior Cleaner Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Make sure to pre-vacuum the interior of the car before you use the liquid cleaner. This allows you to get rid of all debris and dry dirt in advance and makes the cleaning process less messy.
- The interior of the car can be overwhelming when you start cleaning. So, break it down into smaller areas to make it manageable. Also, consider grouping similar surfaces together.
- Use a scrub on a difficult stain after you have sprayed it to break up the dirt or grime. Then use a wipe to mop it up.
- When you have a tough stain, it’s better to use a spray lightly a few times. Don’t go for heavy application because that might ruin the surface.
- You might not be able to clean the interior of the car in one go, especially if you have a lot of dirt and grime. Patience always pays off.
Q: Should I use the product full strength or have it diluted?
A: Most of the time, you can use the spray as is unless you have sensitive interior surfaces like dashboard navigation screens or some expensive leather in the car. In that case, it’s better to dilute the detailer just to be on the safe side.
Q: Do car interior detailers work on scratch marks?
A: Not really. They’re not effective against scuffs and scratch marks. They only work on removing dirt and grime.
Q: Can I clean glass with car interior detailers?
A: No. Almost all car interior cleaners don’t work on glass. This includes the all-purpose multi-surface products. If you accidentally use it on glass and it leaves a smear, you can use a glass cleaner product with a wiper to get it off.
Q: How often should I use the cleaner on the interior of my car?
A: For a good car cleaning, you can use them as much as you like—unless the product itself is too strong, in which case you can dilute it and use it carefully around certain delicate surfaces or on light-colored interiors.
Out of the many products in the market, we picked 303 UV Protectant Spray as the top car interior detailer. It works on various surfaces, has a matte finish, protects against UV damage, and is quite affordable.
For a value buy, Chemical Guys’ SPI_663_16 InnerClean excels with its low price, UV protection, and dust repelling features. It’s quick to apply and easy to use as well. Since it comes with two scents, it saves you on buying a car air freshener.