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best car upholstery cleaner

The Best Car Upholstery Cleaner 2020

The upholstery of your car can become dirty fairly quickly and will uses involves various different types of dirt. By using a dedicated car upholstery cleaner, you can rest assure that it’s safe to use on all surfaces and provide excellent cleaning power.

The best car upholstery cleaner is dependent upon the type of surface that you are cleaning. The Meguiar’s G7919 is the best at removing stubborn dirt within the carpet, headliner and cloth seats. For other auto upholster, the Adam’s Interior Detailer is the best option.

Car interior cleaners need to be able to clean, remove stains and odors whilst being safe to use inside of your vehicle. This is a tough job and we recommend that you stick to products from an automotive background that are designed for all automotive surfaces.

Car Interior Cleaner Comparison

Car Interior CleanerTypeSize(s)
Meguiar's G9719Fabrics19 oz
Adam's Interior DetailerLeather, Vinyl, Plastics16 - 640 oz
CarGuys Super CleanerAll Surfaces18 - 128 oz
Chemical Guys Lightning FastStain Remover16 - 128 oz
Chemical Guys Total InteriorLeather, Vinyl, Plastics16 - 128 oz
Turtle Wax T-246R1Fabrics18 oz
Mothers 05424Fabrics24 oz
Blue Coral DC22Fabrics22.8 oz
Armor All 7333Fabrics22 oz
Aero Cosmetics Interior CleanerFabrics16 oz

The interior of your car is where you spend your time driving but still people will avoid giving it a good clean. The exterior of the car will receive hundreds of dollars in detailing products each year, so why not spend the same inside the car?

Before using a car interior cleaner, you will want to ensure that the car has been vacuumed thoroughly beforehand. Spraying and working in a car upholstery cleaner can induce scratches and not be as effective. We highly recommend purchasing a vacuum for car detailing that comes with a range of attachments.

Below is a list of the best car upholstery cleaners that are simple to use and effectively remove dirt, stains and bad odors.

The Best Car Upholstery Cleaner

1. Meguiar’s G9719 Auto Upholstery Cleaner

Meguair’s are a reputable detailing brand and their carpet and car upholstery cleaner (G9719) is highly rated. It has a professional strength formula that provides a deep clean to easily remove stubborn stains and odors on various auto fabrics.

The brand doesn’t provide a brush with this cleaner, so we highly recommend that you purchase one to work the product into the upholstery. In terms of using this cleaner, you will want to spray it onto the work area, wait 10 minutes and then work it into the dirt.

Other features of the Meguiar’s G9719 include:

  • Dual purpose sprayer for general or spot cleaning
  • Dries quickly without any residue
  • Fast acting foam
  • Ideal for carpet, cloth seats, headliner and more
  • Penetrates and dissolves stains
  • Fresh scent

Although the Meguair’s G9719 is fairly expensive, it’s the best car upholstery cleaner to use for fabrics. This includes the headliner, carpet, seats and other automotive fabric inside of the car. It provides excellent deep cleaning that removes stains and odors with ease.

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2. Adam’s Car Interior Detailer

For those looking to clean vinyl, leather and plastics inside their car, the Adam’s Interior Detailer is the perfect option. It comes in several different sizes and different scents that include pumpkin spice, coffee and other interesting options.

Thanks to the leading automotive technology, this car interior cleaner is able to stay cleaner for longer periods of time. It’s has been developed using advanced polymers that are not greasy and prevent any dust build up and unwanted odors.

Other features of the Adam’s Interior Detailer include:

  • Eliminates dirt, dust and body oils
  • Anti static and dust resistant
  • Advanced UV protection
  • Dual purpose sprayer
  • Ideal for leather, plastic, vinyl, dash and more
  • Odor neutralizers kill unwanted smells
  • Choice of scents available

It’s the best car interior cleaner for leather, vinyl and plastics that lasts far longer than alternatives. When used alongside the Meguair’s interior car cleaner above, you are able to achieve a professional finish to your cars interior each and every time.

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3. CarGuys Super Cleaner For Car Upholstery

By far the most popular car upholstery cleaner on the market is the CarGuys Super Cleaner. It’s designed to be used on virtually any surface and has recently been improved by the brand with a new spray bottle, which is far easier to use.

It’s most effective when used upon anything made from plastic, rubber, vinyl, leather and other automotive fabrics. The brand state that it’s a multi-purpose cleaner and it can even be used as an engine degreaser.

Other features of the CarGuys Super Cleaner include:

  • Suitable for all auto upholstery
  • No harmful chemicals or glossing agents
  • Can be used for multiple applications
  • No residue left behind
  • Available as a 18 oz or 128 oz bottle
  • Made in the USA

The CarGuys Super Cleaner works on every surface and is strictly a cleaner with no harmful chemicals. This means that no residue is left behind when wiped clear, which provides far better results. It’s one of the best car upholstery cleaner products on the market that is versatile and won’t disappoint.

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4. Chemical Guys Car Stain Remover

The Chemical Guys Lightning Fast is a concentrated formula that is specifically designed for auto upholstery. The powerful formula can fight heavy stains with ease without damaging any coloring of the fabric upholstery, which is common with cheap products.

Due to the high concentration (20:1), you will want to dilute the liquid with distilled water . However, if the car stain is fairly tough and in large quantities, you may want to keep the formula strong, which makes it even more effective.

Other features of the Chemical Guys Lightning Fast include:

  • Dilutes with water at 20:1
  • Hyper-cleaning formula removes tough stains
  • Cleans and deodorizes
  • Can be bought in bulk for extra value
  • Versatile formula
  • Advanced cleaning agents
  • Ideal for all fabric auto upholstery

The Chemical Guys Lightning Fast formula is the best car stain remover that is safe to use and provide quick results. It’s a highly concentrated formula that you can dilute to best suit your requirements. After usage of this formula, it’s designed to help further staining, which is another great benefit of this product.

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5. Chemical Guys SPI22016 Total Interior Cleaner

Another popular car upholstery cleaner by the Chemical Guys brand is the Total Interior Cleaner. It’s designed to clean and protect most surfaces inside of your car with a formula that won’t spot, stain or etch sensitive materials.

A unique feature of this car upholstery cleaner is that it protects against fading and discoloration from harsh UV rays.

Other features of the Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner include:

  • Available as a 16 or 128 oz bottle
  • Safe for most automotive surfaces
  • Contains disinfecting properties
  • Leaves behind zero residue
  • Versatile and gentle formula
  • Shines and protects

The Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner is an excellent all-round product that is safe to use on all automotive surfaces. It’s a versatile formula that not only cleans but also protects the interior from future staining or fading from the UV rays.

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6. Turtle Wax T-236R1 Interior Car Cleaner

Turtle Wax are a huge detailing company that produce a range of affordable detailing products. This interior cleaner can be used on carpets, upholstery fabrics, plastic and vinyls with the aim at removing stains and odors with ease.

It has a detachable micro scrub brush that allows you to deep clean car upholstery fabric to remove even the toughest of stains or odors.

Features of the Turtle Wax Car Interior Cleaner include:

  • Triple action formula that cleans, deodorizes and protects
  • Infused with “Oxy” cleaners for professional results
  • Safe and effective on light or dark interiors
  • “Micro Scrub” brush on the bottle
  • Formulated with oxygenated cleaners
  • Encapsulates and removes odors
  • Produces a soil repelling silicone shield of protection

The Turtle Wax T-236 R1 Power Out formula is a high performing upholstery cleaner with an integrated brush on the bottle. It offers the best value for the money and is usable for both dark or light interiors.

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7. Mothers Carpet & Auto Upholstery Cleaner

The Mothers 05424 formula is another popular option that is designed to clean all fabric auto upholstery. It’s simply to apply using the trigger spray bottle and is effective when used on vinyl, velour, carpet and sheepskin upholstery.

For the best results, the brand state that you should spray the cleaner, brush it into the stain and then finish up with a vacuum.

Other features of the Mothers 05424 include:

  • pH balanced formula
  • All fabric cleaner auto and home use
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Pulls out stubborn car stains
  • 24 oz trigger spray bottle
  • Satisfaction guarantee

As it is a pH balanced formula it will not discolor the fabric you spray it on to, which is a common issue with other similarly priced cleaners.

Overall, it’s a cheap car upholstery cleaner that will work perfectly for tackling tough dirt and stains that have accumulated inside your car overtime.

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8. Blue Coral DC22 Auto Upholstery Cleaner

If you are looking for the cheapest car interior cleaner that will last multiple applications, the Blue Coral DC22 is the best option. It’s not a large brand in the automotive industry but this cleaner is one of the most popular within this article.

The brand state that it’s effective upon grease, tar, coffee, lipstick, ink and several other stains that can be found upon the upholstery.

Other features of the Blue Coral DC22 include:

  • Effective brush on bottle cap
  • Lifts tough stains with ease
  • Bulk options for extra value
  • Easy grip of the bottle
  • 22.8 oz of the formula
  • Effective car stain remover for tough stains

The Blue Coral DC22 is a highly effective car upholstery cleaner that won’t disappoint. Although it’s one of the cheapest, it can still outperform many of the premium options that are available. The addition of the brush, which was not found on it’s predecessor is a great inclusion by the brand that makes it more versatile.

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9. Armor All Oxi Magic Car Upholstery Cleaner

The Armor All Oxi Magic is an affordable interior cleaner that deep cleans with a powerful “Oxygen” action. The brand state that it will tackle the toughest of automotive stains, which includes mud, oil, grass and much more.

This car upholstery cleaner is best suited to fabrics that require cleaning and the Oxi Magic formula will dissolve dirt that it comes into contact with.

Other features of the Armor All Oxi Magic include:

  • Oxygen action that dissolves on contact
  • Tackle stubborn dirt and stains
  • Penetrates deep into the fabric fibers
  • Large 22 oz bottle that goes along way
  • Pleasant scent left behind after use

Overall, it’s a cheap car upholstery cleaner that provides great results on most automotive fabrics. Whether you have spilled coffee or have stubborn stains to tackle, the Oxi Magic formula will not disappoint.

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10. Aero Cosmetics Car Interior Cleaner

Another affordable option is by the Aero Cosmetics brand that are well-known for their waterless car wash. Their car upholstery cleaner is suitable for tackling dirt upon fabric, leather, trim panels and many other automotive surfaces.

As with many of the brands other detailing products, this upholstery cleaner meets Boeing Aircraft Interior Specification and Airbus AIMS standards.

Other features of the Aero Cosmetics Cleaner include:

  • Safe to use on all interior types
  • Aviation grade quality
  • Made in the USA
  • Available as a 16 or 32 oz bottle
  • Fast acting formula
  • Easy to use

The Aero Cosmetics car interior cleaner offers outstanding value for the money considering its high quality formula. There are not many other cleaning products like this cleaner which meets the high standards that are required in the aviation industry.

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Car Interior Cleaner Buying Guide

The interior of your car is where you will spend a lot of time. Therefore, it’s worthwhile keeping it clean and free of stains or bad odors. To do this, you will want to use a car upholstery cleaner that is safe to use inside of your car and avoid strong domestic alternatives. Many people can damage their upholstery by using something that would be better used within their home than on automotive surfaces.

When it comes to tough stains and odors within fabrics, you will need to purchase an additional brush to work in the product. If you are still unable to remove the dirt, we recommend that you purchase a steam cleaner for car use and a dedicated fabric cleaner.

To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding car upholstery cleaners.

Car Upholstery Cleaner

Types of Car Interior Cleaner Products

Car interiors use various includes multiple surfaces that include leather, vinyl, plastic, fabric, alcantara and much more. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to purchase multiple types of car interior cleaner products for the best results rather than an “all in one” cleaner.

For example, you may have the best car carpet cleaner on the market but it wouldn’t be useful for cleaning leather, vinyl or plastics.

There are many all-purpose products but we advise that you purchase cleaners that are dedicated to specific surfaces. This will ensure that you can achieve the best possible cleaning results from a single application.

How To Clean Auto Upholstery

When it comes to cleaning car upholstery such as the car seats, door cards, plastic panels and others, you may take a different approach.

When cleaning fabrics such as the car seats, you will want to use a fabric upholstery cleaner and a brush. The purpose of the brush is to agitate the dirt and help lift it away from the fabric. If you are cleaning leather, you can use a car leather cleaner or an auto upholstery cleaner. Once you have sprayed the cleaner, it can be wiped clear.

Before using any car upholstery cleaner, you will want to ensure that any large or loose dirt is cleaned with a sponge and water beforehand. Once dry, you can use the cleaner without the need of scrubbing it in.

The majority of cleaner will work by simply spraying it onto the upholstery, letting it soak into the dirt to lift the stain and then wiping away. It is that simple and below is the result of doing exactly that on a leather headrest that was fairly dirty.

Car Interior Cleaner

We used the Adam’s Polishes interior detailer for this piece of dirt on the leather and it works great on other leather, vinyl and plastic auto upholstery.

Some car interior cleaners may only be suited towards certain types of materials and you should always read the instructions of use beforehand. Unless you have something fairly special i.e. Alcantara, then most are safe to use on a range of materials.

After cleaning any leather upholstery, we highly recommend that you use the best leather conditioner for cars afterwards. This will ensure that the leather remains protected from the sun and other elements.

Pleasant Scent

Once you have successfully cleaned and remove any odors from your car upholstery, there will be a distinctive smell as a result. Many brands offer various smelling car interior cleaners and mixing things up is great fun. When testing out the Adam’s Polishes upholstery cleaners, we purchased some of there other cleaners as shown below.

We were surprised by how accurate the smell was and we highly recommend that you try them out for yourselves.

Upholstery Cleaner For Cars


When it comes to the interior of your car, you can spend hours cleaning and using a variety of products. Therefore, knowing the correct detailing products to use can help out massively and avoid any disappointing results.

Once you have finished the clean, we recommend treating yourself to a new car air freshener to maintain the pleasant smell.

The interior will always come dirty overtime but cleaning it on a regular basis with the best car upholstery cleaner you can buy will make it far less stressful.

We highly recommend that you combine interior cleaners for the best finish inside of your car. By this statement, we suggest that you choose a dedicated carpet cleaner such as the Meguiar’s and an auto upholstery cleaner such as the Adam’s Interior detailer for other upholstery such as leather, vinyl and plastics.

procarreviews author

Written By Dan

About the Author

Dan is an automotive journalist and owner of over 10 cars ranging from supercars, tuned cars, classics and your good old beater cars. He always like to get his hands dirty with nut and bolt restorations or detailing sessions using the best products on the market.

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