How to Clean Car Carpet

Learn how to clean car carpet and eliminate old stains and smells for good.

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Introduction

Even with car mats protecting the floor, the carpeting can still get its fair share of stains. Cleaning the carpet with your vacuum and some carpet cleaner will improve your interior's look and eliminate those annoying lingering odors.

Tools Required

  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Vacuum

Materials Required

  • Carpet cleaner
  • Paper towels

Project step-by-step (4)

Step 1

Vacuum the Carpet

  • Remove the floor mats and any trash or debris from the car floor.
  • Vacuum the carpet, pressing the vacuum firmly into the carpet.
    • Vacuum under the pedals and seats and all nooks and crannies.

Vacuum carpetVeronica Graham for Family Handman

Step 2

Treat the Stains

  • Apply the carpet cleaner to obvious stains. Let the carpet cleaner sit for a few minutes.
  • Scrub the stain with a soft bristle brush or cloth rag until the cleaner is rubbed away, scrubbing in circular motions.
  • Wipe the carpet with a damp cloth if the carpet cleaner instructions call for it.
  • Allow the carpet to dry. Blot the carpet with paper towels or cloth rags if it feels excessively damp.
    • Pro tip: For older, tougher stains, mix equal parts liquid dish soap, vinegar and club soda into a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the stain and let it sit for up to 10 minutes before scrubbing.

Treat stainsVeronica Graham for Family Handman

Step 3

Clean the Remaining Surface Areas

  • Apply the carpet cleaner to the rest of the carpet, making sure to coat evenly without over applying.
  • Scrub the carpet with a soft bristle brush or cloth rag until the cleaner is rubbed away.
  • Wipe the carpet with a damp cloth if the carpet cleaner instructions call for it.
  • Allow the carpet to dry. Blot the carpet with paper towels or cloth rags if it feels excessively damp.

Scrub carpet

Family Handyman
Step 4

Vacuum Again

  • Vacuum the carpet again to pick up any dirt the carpet cleaner may have worked up to the surface.
  • Reinstall the floor mats.