Car Interior Detailing: How to Professionally Clean Carpets, Seats and Upholstery

Car Interior Detailing

A car’s interior generally takes the most abuse over time. Every time someone jumps in and out of the car dirt and grime is tracked in. On top of that crumbs, drink spills, hair, makeup and other junk all build up over time to create a nasty mess..

Interior Car Detailing is a must for dirty cars

Prepping the Car Interior Area

The first thing we suggest doing when cleaning the car interior is pulling out the floor mats and shaking them to remove any loose dirt.   Afterwards, a thorough vacuuming while moving the seats all the way forwards and backwards will save you time later on when you get down to the deep cleaning.

Tip: We suggest using plastic attachments on your vacuum versus metal ones because a metal piece in poor condition can possibly scratch or otherwise damage leather or vinyl upholstery.

For Fabric Upholstery

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The first step to a clean car interior detail and a happy client is deep cleaning the seats, upholstery, and trunk compartment with an extractor and properly diluted extraction fluid. To minimize soaking apply the cleaning solution on the first pass then vacuum the area twice without applying additional solution. Fabric is the most difficult upholstery to detail so we suggest isolating the heaviest stains and progressively moving through the interior rather than attacking an entire area at once. As an added bonus you can add an air freshener or counteractant to the extractor reservoir while extracting.

Interior Car Detailing -- Cleaning Fabric and carpet

For quick spot cleaning we strongly recommend using a ready-to-use car fabric cleaner to lift out dirt and stains to the surface where they can easily be removed. By using a fabric protectant you will also keep the fabric upholstery looking as if it just rolled off the factory line for many months to come, hopefully increasing your word of mouth referrals.

For Leather Upholstery

Leather should be cleaned one section at a time, generally areas between 2-3 square feet will provide the best results. Recommend to your customers with leather seats that they come back every 3-4 months as the leather is more vulnerable to oils in the skin and dirt than fabric interiors and by getting a frequent cleaning they will save their interior from having the dust, dirt, and oils worked deep into the leather.

Start by hand applying or spraying the leather cleaner on to the surface and gently agitate, we suggest using a soft terry cloth or a microfiber towel. Let the cleaner dwell for several minutes then wipe dry with a clean towel. Next hand apply or spray on leather conditioner, wipe into the surface and let it dry producing a nice glossy finish. Make sure you buff away any excess to prevent the seats from becoming slippery or a nasty film on the inside of the windows.

For Carpet Mats

Carpet mats can suffer the most in the car, from French fries and milkshakes to soil, sand and snow they take abuse from a wide variety of elements. On top of all the abuse the stains have probably had at least 3-4 weeks of time to set in before an owner brings their car into your detailing shop.

Remember to do the prep work of vacuuming the mats then dry brush the entire fabric panel in one direction with a stiff bristled upholstery brush. Next mist the heavily soiled areas and carpet panel with a powerful spot remover such as the aforementioned X3 Fabric Cleaner and allow to set in for 3-5 minutes making sure not to saturate the mat. For the most heavily saturated areas we recommend using a crosshatch pattern when agitating the product until foam appears with a brush wrapped in a microfiber towel. Once agitated wipe the fabric dry directionally with a clean microfiber towel, vacuum the area again, and if still not removed repeat the process.

Tips for your Customers

Your customers are going to be blown away when they see a clean interior after all the neglect to the inside of their car. An extremely happy customer is worth much more than the services rendered if they go on to spread the word about the great job you did on their car.

Car Detailing Service

Let your customers know some quick tips on keeping their car in tip top shape through their next professional detailing job with you.

Remind them that every couple weeks it might be a good idea to wipe down all the vinyl, leather or plastic surfaces with a damp cloth (or for best results a microfiber cloth). Tell them to pull out their floor mats to shake off loose dirt and make sure to pick up trash that might have migrated underneath the mats. Lastly a good vacuuming once a month of the interior carpet, seats, under the seats and a console will go a long way in extending their freshly reconditioned interior.

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