Site icon SweepSouth

How to Clean and Disinfect Your Vehicle’s Interior – A Comprehensive Guide

Cleaning a car interior in the studio - wiping down the gear stick

The main purpose of a vehicle is to get you from point A to point B safely, but that doesn’t mean you need to endure discomfort while doing it. A dirty vehicle exterior is usually just an issue for those who need a quick reflection check before heading out on the road; however, maintaining a clean and germ-free vehicle interior is essential for both the comfort and health of its occupants. It’s a job that’s slightly more niche than a quick wash and go as it falls under the category of cleaning specific areas and items.

Regular cleaning and disinfection are not only needed to remove dirt and grime, but also to help eliminate harmful bacteria and viruses. In our comprehensive guide, we will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to clean and disinfect your vehicle’s interior extensively, ensuring you and your passengers always arrive at point B in comfort and style.

Gather the Necessary Supplies

Before you begin, gather the following cleaning supplies:

9 Steps to a Clean Car Interior

Step 1: Remove Trash and Debris

Start by removing any trash, wrappers, and loose items from your vehicle. Clear out the glove compartment, cup holders, and door pockets. Dispose of the trash properly and set aside any personal items that need to be organised later.

Step 2: Dust Vents and Controls

Use a small detailing brush/toothbrush and a small duster to clean the air vents and controls. Dust accumulates very easily in these areas, so pay close attention to them to ensure a thorough clean.

Step 3: Vacuum the Interior

Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to thoroughly vacuum the seats, carpets, floor mats, and any other fabric surfaces. Pay attention to crevices, seat seams, and hard-to-reach areas where dust and debris tend to accumulate. For stubborn dirt or pet hair, a soft-bristle brush can help loosen and lift the debris.

Step 4: Clean the Surfaces

Using an all-purpose cleaner or mild soap solution, dampen a microfiber cloth and wipe down all interior surfaces, including the dashboard, steering wheel, door panels, centre console, and any plastic or vinyl trim. 

NB: Avoid excessive moisture and ensure that the cloth is only slightly damp to prevent water damage to electronic components.

Step 5: Disinfect High-Touch Areas

To effectively disinfect high-touch areas, such as the steering wheel, gear shifter, door handles, and buttons, use a disinfectant spray or wipes specifically formulated for use on vehicle surfaces. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, ensuring that you cover all surfaces and allow sufficient contact time for the disinfectant to work effectively.

Step 6: Clean and Polish Windows

Spray a glass cleaner onto a microfiber cloth or directly onto the windows and wipe them clean. Pay attention to streaks to ensure a thorough cleaning. For stubborn grime or fingerprints, use cotton buds to reach tight corners and edges. Buff the windows with a dry microfiber cloth for a streak-free shine.

Step 7: Sanitise Fabric Surfaces

If your vehicle has fabric upholstery, it’s important to sanitise and deodorise them as well. Sprinkle baking soda liberally over the seats and carpets. Let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming it up. This step helps eliminate odours. For an extra layer of sanitisation, lightly mist fabric surfaces with a fabric-safe disinfectant spray.

Step 8: Condition Leather Elements

If your car has leather seats or surfaces, apply a leather conditioner to keep them soft and prevent cracking. Follow the product instructions and use a clean cloth to apply the conditioner evenly.

Step 9: Apply Vinyl or Plastic Protectant (Optional)

If you want to restore shine and protect plastic or vinyl surfaces from UV damage, apply a plastic or vinyl protectant. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, using a clean microfiber cloth to apply the protectant evenly. Wipe off any excess to prevent a greasy or slippery surface.


Maintaining a clean and disinfected vehicle interior is crucial for your well-being and the well-being of your passengers. By following this comprehensive guide, you can guarantee a comfortable and refreshed feeling every time you step into your car. 

If your schedule is so full that you don’t have the time to even wipe down your dashboard, a SweepSouth cleaning service is your solution. Our car cleaning service is done by professional, experienced SweepStars who ensure that every last button is spotless, giving you a safe and comfy drive every time. Give our home services a try, and find out why we’re SA’s most trusted name in the industry. 

Exit mobile version