How to clean your car? The dangers of poor car hygiene, dirty mats, upholstery and more.

How To Clean Your Car 30
Oct 18

We all love our cars. Most of the times, they are not just a vehicle for transportation. They become our homes. With them, we drive our kids to school and we go on vacations. We visit our friends. Inside we put pictures of our pets, family and places we love. And we want to keep enjoying our home on wheels for years to come.

That’s why we need to clean it properly. To know where dirt accumulates the most. So here are some basic but important tips about your car’s hygiene.

What are the dangers of a dirty car interior?

Most people only clean their car on the outside every couple of months. The majority of attention goes to the shine of the hood of the car or the doors. The inside is constantly forgotten and left aside.

This is not acceptable in terms of hygiene. All the areas like the steering wheel, the seatbelts and even the volume button are obvious routes for serious cross contaminations. The dirt accumulated there piles up constantly and creates the perfect environment for germs to spread.

Let’s take a look at those dangers:

  • Dust Mites – For people with allergies or asthma, dust mites can be extremely dangerous. Small and unseen, they cause lot’s of difficulties to the lungs. Very often, only the people with such problems actually take care of the hygiene in their cars. So you must vacuum the insides of your car at least once a week. This will leave it protected from possible dust mite invasion.
  • Germs – They are everywhere. Their numbers can reach up to hundreds of thousands.  All the inside surfaces need to be cleaned regularly and thoroughly. Always clean your hands and give a quick wipe to the steering wheel after a drive to prevent the germs from spreading.
  • Mould – Mould has a lot of features. It looks bad, unclean and leaves a persistent smell coming from the affected area. Most importantly, it spreads extremely easy. Uncleaned and unkept carpets, seat upholsteries and side areas of the car, combined with warm temperatures and moisture create the perfect growing conditions for mould. Most types are not as contagious or dangerous for people. Black mould, on the other hand, can easily cause a lot of health problems and allergies. Always be careful in your choice of a parking spot for your car. Don’t leave it stranded for a long time. Regular cleaning sessions again are a must in your weekly schedule.

Which parts of the car get dirty the most?

The dirtiest and hidden places in an old and neglected vehicle are those under the rear and front seats, below the dashboard, in the boot, in the glove compartment, and of course, between the driver’s and the passenger’s seats.

But where are the really dangerous, germ spreading surfaces in the car?

Floor Mats

Logically, the carpets in your car are one of the dirtiest places. They are constantly being stepped on by the driver and the passengers. Different packages and luggage are placed over them all the time. And unfortunately, they are often ignored during the cleaning sessions. This leads to colonies of germs and dust mites.


The upholstery often falls victim of random spills during a car ride. A spill needs to be taken care of immediately. Otherwise, germs and dust mites will find a home and a comfortable food source in it.


People touch the windows all the time with no realization of the action. Every contact leaves germs and bacteria on them.

Front Panel

The front panel consists of the dashboard, the console, the steering wheel and the air vents. A.k.a. the most used area in the entire car. The panel gets contaminated all the time by the things, brought by the driver from the outside. Filled with all kinds of buttons, gadgets, switches and nobs, it appears difficult to clean and maintain. Geared up with the right tools, anyone can disinfect this important surface.

Door Panels

Of course, anything that comes in contact with our hands is the victim of germ and bacteria spreading.

  • Different types of rubbish are stored in the compartments, often forgotten for weeks and even months.
  • The cup and the cup holder most likely have merged into one whole entity.
  • The panel is often made by all sorts of different materials with different cleaning requirements, making it tedious to clean and often ignored.

Cleaning hacks for your car interior

Knowing how to clean your car properly will help you stop those pesky germs and bacteria. So gear up right away. You will only need a few things.

  1. Vacuum cleaner – Possibly with an extension hose and hand-held attachments.
  2. Chemical cleaning products – You need to find different detergents for the different surfaces in your car. For example, if you have leather seats – use a product only for cleaning leather.
  3. Wiping and polishing materials – All sorts of rags, towels, wipes are needed here. From non-scratching and soft to a terry cloth towel for scrubbing away the stubborn areas.
  4. Brushes and applicators – They are required to the hard-to-reach places like air vents, or basically anything in the front panel and around it.

Now it’s cleaning time! Here’s what tips the upholstery and mat cleaning experts at had to share:

  • Don’t let junk in your car like food wrappers, coins, papers and other plastic, stay for too long and pile up.
  • Anything removable can be taken outside the car for an easier cleanup. This includes the floor mats, some carpets, the covers of the seats and so on. Every time you wash something like the carpet or a floor mat, you have to leave it to dry completely, before placing it back in the car.
  • Vacuum the dust from the dashboard before a clean. Most vacuums have special car accessories.
  • Use a paintbrush for the small, tricky, hidden places.
  • Always keep baby wipes in your car, preferably close to you, in case of a spill. Taken care of immediately it will not turn into a stain. Of course, a leather interior will require special wipes for leather surfaces.
  • Don’t use the same cloth when you start cleaning. Change it with every different area. Don’t just move the germs from one place to another.
  • Apply some sort of fabric protection detergent to your carpets and car upholstery. Each product lasts for a different period, so carefully read the label before using.  
  • Just go to an actual, professional car wash. They can take care of all the carpets, windows, panels and even the boot. You will reclaim your car nice, clean with a fresh smell and germ-free.
  • A thorough clean every six to eight months will keep your car looking new and your family healthy and happy.


A poorly maintenance car is not only an unpleasant sight but also poses risk to both your health and that of your passengers. That’s why conscientious upkeep is crucial for otherwise, you’ certainly end up with a vehicle you would rather leave to rot.