If you just bought a new-to-you car or haven’t cleaned the inside of your car for a while, then you’ll want to read through this extensive guide. I’m going to tell you everything you need to buy and the exact methods you’ll need to follow to throughly clean the interior of your car.
In this guide, I’m going to keep it as practical and realistic as possible. Which means I’m not going to list dozens of products and tools that you need to buy, nor will I you have to spend hundreds of dollars.
Tools and Supplies You’ll Need
The tools and supplies you’ll need will be highly dependent on your specific circumstance. Maybe you have three trucks in your drive way that need a good cleaning or perhaps you’re only going to clean your 2-door car.
So don’t take these recommendation as definitive answers, but more as a guideline to steer you in the right direction. Because trust me, it is super-duper easy to buy way more than you’ll need.
For reference, here are some online detailing stores that I know of/have used in the past. I’ll recommend most of the products, but if you’d like to look around some more, you can do so with these sites:
As a side note, try and order everything from one store so you can get a current promotion/discount.
You’ll need four main types of tools and supplies to complete any type of leather cleaning:
- Leather cleaner
- Leather conditioner (optional)
Pretty simple, ehh? Now let’s break each one down:
Towels: As you can imagine, your leather seats are probably dirty, which means your towels are going to get dirty too. So buying inexpensive towels is what you should aim to get. Cheap towels aren’t hard to come by, if you live in the US, you can shop at stores such as:
These stores will have have packets of towels that you can buy at a low price.
Leather Cleaner: If you’re going to be detailing multiple vehicles or the cars you are going to detail are big and dirty, then I’d recommend buying a gallon of un-concentrated all-purpose-cleaner. Un-concentrated all-purpose-cleaner means you can dilute the cleaner to different cleaning levels (depending how dirty it is).
So if your interior is really dirty, you can dilute it 4:1 for more of an aggressive cleaning. If your interior isn’t that dirty, you can dilute it 10:1 for a “mild” cleaning. If the interior is REALLLLYYYYYYY dirty, you can dilute the cleaner 1:1… And you can use this on almost everything; cloth seats, leather seats, headliner, steering wheel, dashboard, door panels, etc…
Now, if you’re only going to clean maybe one car and it’s small car that isn’t that dirty, you can simply buy a leather-ready cleaner at your local auto parts store.
Brush: For leather cleaning, you can do 90% of all the cleaning with one brush.
You want a brush that gives you a good grip and that it can cover a lot of surface area. As an example, you’ll be able to finish faster and still get great results if you use the big boars hair brush as compared to a toothbrush. Make sure you don’t get a brush with either too stiff of bristles as they can damage the leather, but you also don’t want a brush with to soft of bristles that the agitation will be ineffective. A balance between the two will do 🙂
Vacuum: I keep on saying this, but it’s all going to depend on your specific circumstance. But by all means, you do not need to speed a lot of money on a vacuum to do a great job. Heck, you can literally clean your leather seats without a vacuum (simply brush all the dirt and crud away with your dry brush- I do it all the time).
The vacuum that I use in my business and is the Metro Vac N Blow and it works great for MY specific needs. You may be completely different and it’d be the worse possible option for you. So take a little time and figure out what you need.
If you simply don’t want to buy a vacuum or you don’t have the space for one, you can simply drive to a near-by self-service car wash that has those pay-to-use vacuums (there’s always a way!).
Leather Conditioner (optional): This is a 100% completely optional choice for your interior cleaning. It adds a bit protection to your leather seats from the sun (prevents dryness) and it also adds more life to your seats (if your seats are a bit dull or colorless).