Best Car Seat and Interior Cleaners of 2024
These products are the best car seat cleaners to help keep your upholstery smelling fresh and looking good.
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What to Consider When Buying a Car Upholstery Cleaner
A lot of life happens in your car, so having a reliable car upholstery cleaner on hand is essential. “Keeping your car’s inside clean makes it look nicer and can help things last longer too,” says Todd Bialaszewski, certified master mechanic and founder of Junk Car Medics. He recommends breaking out your upholstery cleaner every few months to ensure your car’s interior is well-kept. “Quick cleanups like vacuuming the floor mats should happen more regularly.”
Before deciding on a cleaner to buy, you should narrow down your options based on the material of your car’s seats. For cloth seats with light stains, you can first try a mild soap mixed with water. If the stains aren’t coming out or are dark to begin with, try one of the upholstery cleaners that we recommend. For leather seats, you’ll always want to use a cleaner and conditioner made specifically for leather. Bialaszewski says to avoid harsh chemicals on both cloth and leather seats.
Once you’ve narrowed down the cleaner you’re going to use, make sure to follow these steps and tips when removing stains and cleaning your car.
- Vacuum up crumbs and dirt from your seats, floors and doors first.
- Spray the cleaner in an inconspicuous spot and let it sit for a while to make sure it won’t further discolor or ruin your interior fabric.
- Read the instructions on your cleaner before using it. Typically, you’ll spray the problem areas and let the cleaner sit on the fabric for a little while.
- Bialaszewski says to make sure that you don’t use too much liquid on leather (this could ruin it), and use a soft cloth and don’t rub too hard on any fabric.
- If the stain isn’t coming off easily, try using a detail brush to help work the liquid cleaner into the stain.
The Best Car Upholstery Cleaners
- Best Overall Car Upholstery Cleaner: Chemical Guys Nonsense Invisible Super Cleaner
- Best Overall, Runner-Up Car Upholstery Cleaner: CarGuys Super Cleaner
- Best Foam Car Upholstery Cleaner for Cloth: Meguiar’s Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner
- Best Leather Car Upholstery Cleaner: TriNova Leather Cleaner
- Best Steam Car Upholstery Cleaner: Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner
- Best Shampoo Car Upholstery Cleaner: Chemical Guys Foaming Cleaner
- Best Car Upholstery Cleaner for Pet and Kid Messes: Rocco and Roxie Professional-Strength Stain and Odor Eliminator
- Best Value Car Upholstery Cleaner: Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner
Best Car Seat Cleaner Overall
Chemical Guys Nonsense Invisible Super Cleaner
Chemical Guys Nonsense Invisible Super Cleaner cleans every car surface possible — interior and exterior — and cleans them exceptionally well. For upholstery (leather and cloth) and carpets, it removes old, dry stains and gives all the seats and floor mats an effective refresh.
Nonsense Cleaner is dye-free and scent-free, plus it’s pH-balanced, which prevents it from distorting the seat color. It’s considered a low-foam formula that won’t expand too much after dispensing, which helps avoid oversaturation. Nonsense Cleaner is a concentrate. You can dilute it to a 20:1 ratio for regular cleaning, or 10:1 or even 8:1 for tough stains and deeper cleans.
Best Overall, Runner-Up
CarGuys Super Cleaner
Another all-in-one wonder product is CarGuys Super Cleaner. Unlike Nonsense Cleaner, CarGuys Super Cleaner works on interior surfaces only (except for glass, instrument panels and touch screens). But it’s powerful on cloth and leather upholstery, and carpeted floors/floor mats.
For regular cleaning, spritz the liquid onto a microfiber cloth and apply to the seats and floors. Spray it directly onto a tough or old stain — no dilution necessary.
Best Car Seat Cleaner Foam
Meguiar’s Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner
Meguiar’s Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner lives up to Meguiar’s longstanding reputation. The can comes with a detachable brush for agitating the foam into the cloth, and it features two spray settings — one concentrated, the other wider. It leaves behind a new car scent that earns top marks from Amazon reviewers for subtlety.
Reviewers also offer this tip: The can is highly pressurized, so a little spray goes a long way.
Best Leather Car Seat Cleaner
TriNova Leather Cleaner
Spray the cleaner onto a microfiber cloth, not directly on the seats. This leather cleaner works well, but keep in mind it’s not a conditioner. While a conditioner isn’t necessary, some reviewers found conditioning to be a worthwhile extra step.
Best Steam Cleaner
Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner
Looking for a chemical-free way to clean your car seats? Give Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner a spin for sanitizing as well as cleaning. Steam cleaning is also particularly effective against organic matter like pet urine and vomit, as well as dried mud and winter road salt caked into carpeting/floor mats.
The Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner heats water to 275 F and runs for up to 50 minutes with a full tank. It only weighs nine pounds so it’s easy to haul out to the car. The six-foot steam hose comes with several attachments that should reach every corner of your car.
Best Car Seat Cleaner Shampoo
Chemical Guys Foaming Cleaner
Chemical Guys Foaming Citrus Fabric Clean Carpet and Upholstery Shampoo could also be categorized as best smelling — several Amazon reviewers describe the citrus scent as “fresh lemons.”
This shampoo produces a lot of suds, but it can take a little elbow grease to work up a lather. A stiff brush or drill brush attachment can help. But don’t let that deter you. Amazon reviewers frequently post before and after pictures of used car seats restored to near new condition, making it worth the effort.
Best Car Seat Cleaner for Pet and Kid Messes
Rocco and Roxie Professional-Strength Stain and Odor Eliminator
The bio-enzymes in Rocco and Roxie Professional-Strength Stain and Odor Eliminator feed on the ammonia in pet urine and also completely erase all hint of vomit, blood and other organic substances. Gross but good to know.
Spray this cleaner directly onto the upholstery and carpet and give it an hour or two to work, according to Amazon reviewers. As always, test for colorfastness in an inconspicuous spot before use.
Best Car Seat Cleaner Bargain
Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner
As its name implies, it’s really tough on stains and deep-down dirt. One possible downside: Some Amazon reviewers report sensitivity to the fumes during use. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions on the can. Wearing eye protection and a face mask make sense as a precaution.