Cleaning the carpet and upholstery in your car can bring your car back to what it felt like when it rolled off the factory assembly line and really isn’t that hard when you use the right products. Especially in the case of seats, you might struggle to envision how to properly clean your cloth seats and other interiors bits without it causing damage.

What you need to keep in mind is that you will be getting the seat wet with both small amounts of water and the cleaning solution, usually a foam. Unless you want a wet rear end, it would be best to allow for at least 6-8 hours of day-time drying to make sure your cloth items are as clean and dry as possible. If you can leave your windows down on a bright, sunny day it will help speed up the drying process a bit more and make sure your seats and cloth don’t get a musty smell to them.

These products we will be reviewing with you will work on any cloth application like seats, floor mats, interior carpets, etc.

Getting Started

The main difference between cleaning carpet in your car versus cleaning carpet in your home is just the tools you’ll use to get the job done like the cleaning solution, brush, steam vac, etc.

Tools that we love and highly recommend:

  • Brush that lets you get good elbow grease with a nice handle like this.
  • Steam vac or shop vac that is for wet/dry applications. We use this one for our car specifically because it’s affordable and does an awesome job.
  • The cleaning solution, which you can find below.

Although this product isn’t as foamy as the others, it’s hugely versatilty and extremely effective. The product is based on a water formula, which means that it is safe to be used on most all of your interior surfaces (except glass and instrument clusters, etc). This is probably one of the best car cleaning products we’ve touched in a long time.

We were told a story where someone got in an accident and their passenger was holding a slushy at the time of the accident that went everywhere in the backseat; the carpet, the headliner, the seats, all over the place. This one product was able to take care of all of it with a little elbow grease, a good brush, and some patience.

This is a professional grade product and you’ll notice in other reviews across the web that it more than likely has a near flawless review. Most of the bad reviews seem to come from those who did not take enough time to do the job properly.

We’ve had people tell us consistently that this product was one of the best they’ve ever used for a number of reasons like the affordable price and the fact that it consistently lifts and removes deep stains like colas and teas. This particular product also has some odor eliminating elements to it and if you happen to purchase an old car or for whatever reason have an odd smell in the car, there is a pretty good chance this will eliminate that. If it doesn’t, there is also an odor eliminator kit that will almost surely knock out any strange smells your vehicle might have.

One major concern might be discoloration from using a foaming carpet cleaner product like this, but we’re happy to report that have been no catastrophic issues reported from this product. As always, it’s a good idea to test the cleaner in a discrete area before going full steam ahead and using it all over the place inside your car.

Though this is one of the more expensive car carpet cleaners around, but it is dense and a little bit goes a long way in this case. It also has a fresh citrus smell that will help eliminate and hide any strange, lingering odors in your car. This product seems to be relatively new, but we’re happy with it’s performance.

Chemical Guys is a professional auto detailing supply company and so you can be sure their product is high quality because they’re marketing to serious car enthusiasts and professional detailers.

Last but certainly not least, we get to one of the most recognizable brands in the car care industry: Armor All. Their products are almost always a guarantee between price, quality, and ease of use and this carpet cleaner is no exception. We’ve used this for years and years in so many different cars we can’t even remember and have yet to be disappointed. The magic in the name definitely is representative of some of the magic it can perform.

This product definitely has a bit more of a standard cleaning smell, almost like something more industrial but it definitely isn’t overwhelming. We’ve had people tell us they didn’t like the smell all that much, but overall the product was really good so that didn’t sway their opinion.

Once you see what this cleaner will do, it becomes addictive to watch the transformation of dirty to clean and you’ll want to clean any surface you can find.

We have to give the win to CarGuys Super Cleaner. As we mentioned, it’s a water based product so it’s extremely safe and is unlikely to discolor or harm most interior surfaces. It’s balances affordability and effectiveness perfectly so you won’t have to feel like you need to be sparing with the product because it’s so expensive. Because of the water base, it doesn’t leave behind any slick and slimy films or layers of grease, so it not only cleans extremely well, but it also gets out of the way as soon as it’s done cleaning.

You can use this product on so many different surfaces that you’d never have dreamed of with other cleaners. Wood, vinyl, plastic, painted metals, carpet, upholstery, the list goes on and on. That is significant because you can eliminate probably half of the cleaners you currently use and replace them all with just this one product. 

Another big reason that this product takes the cake is because CarGuys offers a 100% money-back guarantee and we’ve heard from numerous people that they really don’t mess around. If you really are dissatisfied, you’ll get your money back. We highly doubt you would need to take advantage of this because the product is fantastic, but if you do that option is there.