Reviews

LAST UPDATED: December 19, 2019

Best Car Upholstery Cleaners: Keep Your Car Looking New

Keep your vehicle’s upholstery looking fresh with the right cleaner

Entering our 7th season of /DRIVE on NBC Sports, and with millions of YouTube and Facebook followers, The Drive is a leading authority of all things automotive.

The Drive on NBCThe Drive on YouTubeThe Drive on Facebook

The Review Team

  • Product Network

    20 Products

  • Clock

    12 Hours

  • Reviews

    17 Reviews

How We Decided

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.Read more.

PUBLISHED ON December 19, 2019

You try your hardest, but life happens, and your car’s upholstery gets dirty. Maybe you spilled a drink, your dog’s muddy paws ground in dirt, or your children dropped food on the seat. Whatever the reason, you need a cleaner that is tough on stains yet gentle on your upholstery. Check out these three upholstery cleaners that will keep your car looking like new.

  • Best Overall
    CarGuys Super Cleaner
    Summary
    Summary

    This multi-surface cleaner uses nanotechnology to clean your car on a molecular level. You can clean upholstery, vinyl, wood trim, metals, and rubber. It works to clean away tough stains such as grease, bird poop, and tree sap.

    Pros
    Pros

    This upholstery cleaner works on many surfaces, which makes cleaning your car easier. This cleaner won’t leave behind a sticky or slimy feeling residue. It also comes with a money-back guarantee if you’re not happy with how the cleaner performs. 

    Cons
    Cons

    Do not use this product to clean glass or sensitive electronics screens. It’s also only a cleaner, so you’ll need to follow it with a conditioner or UV protector. 

  • Best Overall
    CarGuys Super Cleaner
  • Best Value
    Spot Shot Professional Instant Carpet Stain Remover
    Summary
    Summary

    This professional-grade upholstery cleaner will provide powerful cleaning without requiring you to scrub. This cleaner will work on all kinds of stains, including motor oil, coffee, cola, mud, juice, wine, blood, markers, food, pet, and lipstick stains. 

    Pros
    Pros

    The formulation of this cleaner means there’s minimal scrubbing required. It also works well on the toughest stains, such as coffee, wine, and soda. It’s also effective on both water- and oil-based stains. You’ll appreciate its odor-neutralizing qualities.

    Cons
    Cons

    You may find the smell of this cleaner unpleasant. It’s also not non-toxic, so be aware of harmful chemicals. 

  • Best Value
    Spot Shot Professional Instant Carpet Stain Remover
  • Honorable Mention
    Meguiar’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner
    Summary
    Summary

    Meguiar’s has a professional-strength carpet and upholstery cleaner that deep cleans while removing odors. The formula acts fast to break down stains. Afterward, the cleaner is residue-free. You’ll also notice a new car scent. The scrub brush on top of the can makes it easier to scrub while dispensing the cleaner. 

    Pros
    Pros

    You can confidently clean your car with this product because it comes from one of the most well-known car care product companies. This cleaner is convenient with its attached scrubber. The pleasant new car smell will have your car smelling nice when you’re done.

    Cons
    Cons

    You may find it tough to spray the product evenly, as it comes out in a single powerful stream. The scrubber isn’t securely attached, and you may find it challenging to effectively scrub your upholstery. 

  • Honorable Mention
    Meguiar’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

    You try your hardest, but life happens, and your car’s upholstery gets dirty. Maybe you spilled a drink, your dog’s muddy paws ground in dirt, or your children dropped food on the seat. Whatever the reason, you need a cleaner that is tough on stains yet gentle on your upholstery. Check out these three upholstery cleaners that will keep your car looking like new.

    Why Trust Us


    All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

    Learn more

    Tips

    • Pay attention to the ingredients list for the cleaner you choose. Some cleaners contain ammonia, which can be harmful and drying to your car’s interior materials. Harmful chemicals are also unsafe for your health in the confined space of your vehicle. 
    • Think about how much time you want to spend detailing your car. The best method is to use a separate cleaner and conditioner, but it’s more time-consuming. If you don’t have the time for a two-step process, then find a cleaner that has both. 
    • Before you use your cleaner, vacuum your car. This will remove the loose dirt and debris from your seats and carpets. You can then see the condition of your vehicle upholstery and focus on the stubborn dirt. 

    FAQs

    Q: How do I use an upholstery cleaner?

    A: Always follow the directions that are on the container for the cleaner you purchase. As a general guideline, start by giving your cleaner a shake. Then always do a test patch in a hidden spot. If it doesn’t harm your upholstery, then you’re safe to use it on the rest of your car’s fabrics. 

    Q: Can I clean both new and old stains?

    A: Some cleaners work better on old stains, while others work better on newer ones. You need to evaluate the type of stains you want to clean before you shop for a cleaner. That way, you buy the right cleaner for the type of cleaning you need to do. 

    Q: Do you scrub or blot a stain?

    A: Always blot stains. Scrubbing grinds the stain further into the fabric. The best thing to do is to start by blotting a fresh stain with paper towels. Try to dilute the stain with warm water. Spot treat the remaining stain with your cleaner and let it get to work. Then clean the entire area.  

    Final Thoughts

    Trust the car enthusiasts by purchasing CarGuys Super Cleaner to clean the upholstery in your car. 

    If you’re looking for a more affordable cleaner, Spot Shot Professional Instant Carpet Stain Remover works well across several types of stains.