Top-notch carpet and upholstery cleaners to keep your car’s interior squeaky clean



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Pick up one of the top carpet and upholstery cleaners to remove dirt from your car’s interior and restore its plush, luxurious feel. If you’ve ever accidentally spilled something in your car, you know how bad it can be. Stains are tough to remove from upholstery, and many times they’re due to juice, coffee, paint, and more. You also tend to rub your shoes on the floor after getting inside your car, and this action can deposit mud and grime all over.

No matter how many times you beat your floor mats or wipe down your seats, getting rid of all filth and messy stains is no easy task. This is why you need a great carpet and upholstery cleaner that can consistently deliver outstanding performance and remove mud, grime, and any other messes in no time at all. Car cleaning solutions can work inside your vehicle, and with this in mind, we’ve put together a list and buying guide of the leading carpet and upholstery cleaners that can help keep your vehicle looking clean as a whistle.

Comparing our favorite carpet and upholstery cleaner for 2022

Chemical Guys Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner: Recommended

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This carpet and upholstery cleaner from Chemical Guys can quickly bring your stained, dull-looking car fabric surfaces back to life. You’ll find oxygen bubbles forming in the foam thanks to its high-sud foaming action, and this will help you scrub surfaces and easily lift all dust particles and grime. This carpet and upholstery cleaner is formulated to break down stubborn stain molecules and eliminate them from deep within fabric surfaces, leaving your car spotless, with no trace of unpleasant marks or thick layers of grime. Use this cleaner with a brush that has stiff bristles for outstanding results, regardless of what the upholstery or carpet you’re cleaning is made of. This cleaning solution is great at evaporating quickly, leaving behind a clean, dry fabric surface that you can be proud of.

Pros

  • Removes and prevents odors

  • Can be used with any fabric 

  • Safe for all colors

Cons

  • Needs to be diluted first

Armor All Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner: Another great option

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This wallet-friendly Armor All cleaning solution can restore the soft, luxurious texture of carpets and upholstery, regardless of their fabric. The cleaner’s oxygen action formula ensures that the cleansing ingredients reach deep inside the fabric and break down accumulated grime molecules easily, and it can also remove hard stain marks and eliminate grease from your car's interior. This carpet and upholstery cleaner’s formula contains rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide that can remove mildew from fabric surfaces without bleaching the material and destroying the color, and included with your purchase is a spray bottle, so you won't have to go through the hassle of diluting the cleaning solution or pouring it into another bottle.

Pros

  • Can be used with any fabric color

  • Dissolves hard stains 

  • Spray bottle included

Cons

  • Won’t remove odors

Car Guys Carpet and Upholstery Super Cleaner: High quality

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Here’s another cleaner from Car Guys, a multipurpose cleaning solution that can work wonders with carpets and upholstery and also let you clean leather and vinyl surfaces. Its scientifically researched formula features nanotechnology that can easily lift grime and dirt molecules from deep within surfaces, leaving them squeaky clean -- on the molecular level, bacteria and mildew won’t be able to thrive or destroy your carpets, and upholstery. This carpet and upholstery cleaner’s water-based formulation eliminates the need for additional rinsing, making it easy to use at any time. You can either apply the cleaner directly on your car’s fabric surfaces or spray it over the soft microfiber cloth included with your purchase. The cleaner’s updated bottle design has an ergonomic handle and angular spray nozzle, meaning you won't have to struggle simply to apply it.

Pros

  • Multipurpose water-based cleaning solution 

  • Nanotechnology formula offers increased efficiency

  • Microfiber cloth included

Cons

  • Can’t be used on glass surfaces

Relentless Drive Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner: Also consider

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This Relentless Drive carpet and upholstery cleaner come in a slender, black bottle with a large nozzle that lets you cover more surface area with a single spray. Its ergonomic design offers hassle-free application on all car surfaces, including your vehicle’s fabric folds and crevices. Featuring a low-moisture formula, this cleaning solution won't leave fabric wet after it’s applied, so you won't have to worry about degrading carpet and upholstery, mildew thriving, or any foul odor inside your car's interior. This carpet and upholstery cleaner’s non-toxic hypoallergenic formula can help fabric surfaces stay strong and healthy, and the solution can penetrate deep beneath the surface layer and break down stain marks and grime deposits both new and old. This cleaner also doesn’t contain synthetic fragrance, ensuring that no odor is left behind in your vehicle.

Pros

  • Additional scrubber brush included

  • Does not cause chemical degradation of fabrics

  • Non-toxic, hypoallergenic formula

Cons

  • Some had issues with the brush

Meguiar's Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner: Another option

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Meguiar’s carpet and upholstery cleaner feature fast-foaming action for deeper surface penetration and more efficient cleaning all around. It contains active surface agents and cleaning ingredients that can lift dust and grime in no time at all and transform even the dullest car interior into a plush, luxurious one. This carpet and upholstery cleaner can quickly remove even the toughest stain marks while also ensuring that your car’s entire interior looks spotless. It won't leave any residue that might degrade fabric quality and integrity, and its Re-Fresher technology permanently removes all odor sources and helps make the car's interior fresh and odorless. This cleaner comes with a carpet scrubber with hard bristles that can be attached to the bottle's top for a more straightforward, convenient application.

Pros

  • Penetrates fabric quickly for deep cleaning

  • Won’t leave any unpleasant smells

  • Scrubber brush included

Cons

  • Not suitable for suede or leather

Finding your next carpet and upholstery cleaner: A buyer’s guide

No matter how old your car is, you should always try to keep your vehicle’s carpets and upholstery as clean as possible. Since wipes and normal water can’t effectively remove all accumulated dirt and grime from surfaces, using a carpet and upholstery cleaner is a much better option -- they can be so efficient that you won't find a single spot left over after you’re finished cleaning the inside of your car. But with so many similar products available, choosing the ideal cleaner is not easy. You might even become overwhelmed, so to save you the stress we’ve put together a buying guide that explains some important things to consider when investing in a carpet and upholstery cleaner.

How are carpet and upholstery cleaners better than car interior wipes?

If you think that using car interior wipes will be enough to clean your vehicle’s fabric surfaces, you’ll likely be left sorely disappointed. These wipes are not as efficient as carpet and upholstery cleaners, so let’s discuss the differences between the two and what sets them apart.

  • Many carpet and upholstery cleaners utilize a decisive foam-based, oxygen bubble scrubbing action for efficient cleaning. Car interior wipes, on the other hand, don’t have conditioning or cleansing compounds that can offer decisive action

  • Carpet and upholstery cleaners can remove tough old stain marks, while wipes can only clean fresh stains

  • You can also use a carpet and upholstery cleaner to remove mud from floor mats, but trying the same thing with car interior wipes won't yield great results

Things to consider when choosing a carpet and upholstery cleaner

Cleaning technology

Many carpet and upholstery cleaners utilize the froth's oxygen bubbles to clean surfaces and remove dirt, grime, deposited dust, stain marks, and many more messes. Oxygen molecules are negatively charged particles that generate an electrostatic force of attraction when they come in contact with impurities’ positive ions, and this helps lift filth easily without harming fabric surfaces. Some other cleaners are based on nanotechnology, and with these, the cleaning agent molecules are so small that they can easily adhere to impurities and eliminate them from carpets and upholstery.

Deep penetration

Even though the vast majority of carpet and upholstery cleaners penetrate deep beneath fabric surfaces, their penetration capacity is not the same. Some cleaners can penetrate cotton upholstery surfaces, while others only show quality results when it comes to polyester or leather surfaces. Make sure that your chosen cleaner’s molecules can penetrate deep within the fabric pores of your car's carpet and upholstery.

Safety

Carpet and upholstery cleaners are chemical-based products, and this is why there’s a high chance that you may suffer from skin rashes, itchiness, redness, and more after using them. Before making your final decision, ensure that the cleaner is hypoallergenic and free from toxins, as such a formula will keep your skin safe and allow you to breathe clean air that won't cause any respiratory problems.

Residue-free

You’ll often find that after cleaning fabric surfaces, the residue is left behind which can cause marks to appear and even degrade the material’s integrity. You should go for a carpet and upholstery cleaner that has a residue-free formula so that it won’t leave any solid particle or stain marks on upholstery and carpets. The cleaner should deliver high-quality results no matter the fabric color, as cheap, low-quality cleaners can easily stain dark-colored surfaces.

Quick-drying ability

After using a cleaning solution, surfaces are often left damp. If moisture is trapped within fabric pores, it will degrade material fibers, allow mildew to grow and thrive, and can even start to give off foul odors. It’s a good idea to go for a quick-drying cleaner -- after every application, the cleaning solution will evaporate rather than be trapped beneath surfaces, meaning you won't have to worry too much about your car's health and safety -- or yours, for that matter.

Ease of application

If it’s difficult to use a carpet and upholstery cleaner, there’s no point in buying it no matter how good the results might be. You should be able to easily apply your chosen cleaning solution to fabric and clean the surfaces in no time at all. Go for a cleaner with a spray bottle that comes with a large nozzle, as this will let you apply the solution over a larger surface area. The solution must also lift grime and filth within seconds so that you won’t have to scrub a lot.

Surface compatibility

Many carpet and upholstery cleaners are meant to be used for a variety of surfaces, like leather covers, polyurethane upholstery, rubber mats, carpets, and more. Go for a cleaner compatible with the fabric surfaces your car has, and if it’s compatible with other surfaces too then that’s a nice bonus.

How to use carpet and upholstery cleaner

Using a carpet and upholstery cleaner might seem difficult, but in reality, it’s one of the simplest tasks out there. Follow these steps while cleaning to get excellent results:

  • Spray the cleaning solution over the upholstery or on a microfiber cloth

  • After this, rub the surface in a swirling motion to smear the solution

  • Once done, use a brush with stiff bristles or a towel to scrub the surface

  • After all the filth and stain marks are removed from the fabric surfaces, use a dry towel or cloth for buffing

  • Leave the cleaned surface to dry

How much do carpet and upholstery cleaners cost?

Based on several factors, carpet and upholstery cleaners usually cost between $10 and $20. If your chosen cleaning solution is based on oxygen-decisive scrubbing action its price will be higher, and all-around carpet and upholstery cleaners are costlier than water-based products.

Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner FAQs

Q: How often should I use carpet and upholstery cleaner?

The frequency with which you use a carpet and upholstery cleaner will depend on the type of mess created, its age, and the fabric type. If your carpet has an old stain, you may have to use the cleaner two to three times to remove all traces of the mark.

Q: Do I need to dilute carpet and upholstery cleaner?

If your chosen carpet and upholstery cleaner has a concentrated solution, you need to add water to it for dilution -- using a concentrated cleaner without diluting it is not safe for fabric surfaces.

Q: Can carpet and upholstery cleaners remove mud from surfaces?

Yes, a carpet and upholstery cleaner can remove mud, but it needs to be strong enough to break down particles and lift them from fabric surfaces. 

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