The Best Cleaner for Car Interior

The condition of your car’s interior can either make or break its resale value. Left alone, it will get dirty and begin to show its age over time. Using the best cleaner for car interior on a regular basis is one of the few defenses that exists against value-sapping damage to your vehicle’s interior.

Best Cleaner for Car Interior – Reviews

The following products represent the best car detailing products available today. They’ll all do the job, but some are more complete than others. 

Preview
Top Pick
303 Interior Cleaner - All Surface - Safely Cleans Any Surface, Residue Free - Safe for Use on Touchless Touch Screens, Including LCD - Fresh Scent - Cleans Glass Streak Free, 16 fl. oz. (30588CSR)
CarGuys Super Cleaner - Effective All Purpose Cleaner - Best for Leather Vinyl Carpet Upholstery Plastic Rubber and Much More! - 18 oz Kit
Best All-in-One
Meguiar's G16216 Ultimate Interior Detailer, 15.2 oz
P&S Detailing Products Xpress Interior Cleaner 1pt
Chemical Guys SPI22016 Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant, 16. Fluid Ounces
SHINE ARMOR Car Interior Cleaner for Vehicle Detailing & Restoration - All Purpose Solvent & Car Dashboard Cleaner, Seats, Upholstery, Leather Shine, Plastic, Vinyl and More
Title
303 Interior Cleaner - All Surface - Safely Cleans Any Surface, Residue Free - Safe for Use on Touchless Touch Screens, Including LCD - Fresh Scent - Cleans Glass Streak Free, 16 fl. oz. (30588CSR)
CarGuys Super Cleaner - Effective All Purpose Cleaner - Best for Leather Vinyl Carpet Upholstery Plastic Rubber and Much More! - 18 oz Kit
Meguiar's G16216 Ultimate Interior Detailer, 15.2 oz
P&S Detailing Products Xpress Interior Cleaner 1pt
Chemical Guys SPI22016 Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant, 16. Fluid Ounces
SHINE ARMOR Car Interior Cleaner for Vehicle Detailing & Restoration - All Purpose Solvent & Car Dashboard Cleaner, Seats, Upholstery, Leather Shine, Plastic, Vinyl and More
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Customer Rating
Price
$10.99
$16.99
$15.41
$13.99
$9.97
$16.94
Top Pick
Preview
303 Interior Cleaner - All Surface - Safely Cleans Any Surface, Residue Free - Safe for Use on Touchless Touch Screens, Including LCD - Fresh Scent - Cleans Glass Streak Free, 16 fl. oz. (30588CSR)
Title
303 Interior Cleaner - All Surface - Safely Cleans Any Surface, Residue Free - Safe for Use on Touchless Touch Screens, Including LCD - Fresh Scent - Cleans Glass Streak Free, 16 fl. oz. (30588CSR)
Prime
Customer Rating
Price
$10.99
Details
Preview
CarGuys Super Cleaner - Effective All Purpose Cleaner - Best for Leather Vinyl Carpet Upholstery Plastic Rubber and Much More! - 18 oz Kit
Title
CarGuys Super Cleaner - Effective All Purpose Cleaner - Best for Leather Vinyl Carpet Upholstery Plastic Rubber and Much More! - 18 oz Kit
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Customer Rating
Price
$16.99
Details
Best All-in-One
Preview
Meguiar's G16216 Ultimate Interior Detailer, 15.2 oz
Title
Meguiar's G16216 Ultimate Interior Detailer, 15.2 oz
Prime
Customer Rating
Price
$15.41
Details
Preview
P&S Detailing Products Xpress Interior Cleaner 1pt
Title
P&S Detailing Products Xpress Interior Cleaner 1pt
Prime
Customer Rating
Price
$13.99
Details
Preview
Chemical Guys SPI22016 Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant, 16. Fluid Ounces
Title
Chemical Guys SPI22016 Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant, 16. Fluid Ounces
Prime
Customer Rating
Price
$9.97
Details
Preview
SHINE ARMOR Car Interior Cleaner for Vehicle Detailing & Restoration - All Purpose Solvent & Car Dashboard Cleaner, Seats, Upholstery, Leather Shine, Plastic, Vinyl and More
Title
SHINE ARMOR Car Interior Cleaner for Vehicle Detailing & Restoration - All Purpose Solvent & Car Dashboard Cleaner, Seats, Upholstery, Leather Shine, Plastic, Vinyl and More
Prime
Customer Rating
Price
$16.94
Details

Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Top Pick – 303 – Interior Cleaner

Buying and storing multiple automotive chemicals is costly in terms of cash and space. Finding multiple uses for one product is the solution, but only if that product does the job. Well, this 303 product is probably the best all-purpose cleaner for car interior parts. 

As a leather cleaner, it rivals most cleaner-and-conditioners. Its mild surfactants don’t stain, but are still effective at softening and loosening dirt and stains on plastics and vinyl. Sprayed onto carpet and left to sit momentarily, 303 Interior Cleaner will outperform many carpet cleaners.

303’s Interior Cleaner also cleans glass without leaving streaks and without harming tinting. In fact, it is safe enough to use on LCD touchscreens in modern car interiors. About the only thing it won’t do is clean your exterior windshield while you drive… but there’s windshield washer fluid for that. 

Benefits:

  • ïEliminates the need for any other interior cleaning product
  • ïCleans glass better than many glass cleaners do
  • ïDries to a matte finish
  • ïNo greasy film
  • ïDissolves stains and dried liquids with ease

Issues:

  • ïFast drying property forces users to work in small areas
  • ïDoes not provide UV protection

303 Interior Cleaner - All Surface - Safely Cleans Any Surface, Residue Free - Safe for Use on Touchless Touch Screens, Including LCD - Fresh Scent - Cleans Glass Streak Free, 16 fl. oz. (30588CSR)
  • Safe for use on a variety of surfaces – including automotive touchless touch screens!
  • Safely cleans any surface, residue free - including LCD screens
  • Cleans tough stains
  • Repels dirt & dust
  • Made in the U. S. A.

Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Car Guys – Super Cleaner

Super Cleaner is Car Guys’ answer to the mess in your garage. It is intended as a cleaner for nearly every surface in a vehicle, including exterior trim work. This mild cleanser dissolves and lifts dirt, dust and dried spills, making them easy to wipe away.

However, the dream of an all-in-one car cleaner remains elusive. Although Super Cleaner has a well-earned reputation for cleaning car surfaces safely, including metal surfaces, it does not do windows. It also is not intended for glass, instrument clusters or navigation screens.

Finally, Super Cleaner provides no UV protection. After cleaning, users will still need to apply a protectant with UV blocking properties. Others claim to do it all and do more, yet none clean the surfaces Super Cleaner does work on any better.

Benefits:

  • ïCleans most hard surfaces in and on a vehicle
  • ïUses nanotechnology for molecule-level cleaning
  • ïWater-based, bio-degradable formula is mild, yet still effective
  • ïLeaves no residue or slick film
  • ïWorks as a stain remover on fabric, with patience and agitation

Issues:

  • ïDoes not provide UV protection
  • ïNot for use on glass or any clear plastics

CarGuys Super Cleaner - Effective All Purpose Cleaner - Best for Leather Vinyl Carpet Upholstery Plastic Rubber and Much More! - 18 oz Kit
  • ✅ The Hype is Real! – Are you tired of using cleaners that work, but not as good as you expected?! You won’t experience that here! Our newly formulated multisurface cleaner is made with the newest advancements in nano-technology to effectively lift away dirt and grime at the molecular level. No more wasting time and energy with nonsense products made with old science and technology!
  • ✅ Replace your Cabinet of Chemicals! – Do you get confused by all the different types of cleaning supplies that are available? It gets frustrating fast! Just cleaning your vehicle requires some special deep stain remover, a chemical solvent to get rid of bug and tar, a separate floor mat and inner dash cleaner.. and the list goes on and on! Keep it simple with one multipurpose product, CarGuys Super Cleaner... the KING OF ALL CLEANERS !
  • ✅ Super Clean any Surface! – This multi surface product works on absolutely every interior or exterior surface except glass and delicate instrument panel screens! That means this ONE PRODUCT will clean upholstery , fabric , canvas , leather , vinyl , plastic , rubber , bird poop , grease , tree sap , metals , wood trim and so much more! This is the most versatile multi-purpose cleaner on the market!
  • ✅ Why choose CAR GUYS? – We Care About Quality! Our products are made with the latest advancements in science, using the best equipment available. This helps us make consistently high quality products that always work great! Every formula we make is mixed and bottled, in the USA, by hard working Americans!
  • ✅ We Care About Customer Satisfaction! – We're Not Happy, If You're Not Happy! If you're not happy with our product, for ANY REASON at all, get in contact with CAR GUYS anytime after your purchase, and we’ll be happy to provide a full refund. So what are you waiting for?! -- Click 'Add to Cart' Now!

Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Meguiar’s Ultimate Interior Detailer

Meguiar’s Ultimate Interior Detailer is really two products in one. As an interior cleaner, it works on most surfaces: vinyl, plastic or leather. It won’t clean glass, but it will remove smudges and fingerprints from touchscreens. 

This product leaves surfaces with a satin sheen, glossy without being greasy. This film provides UV protection and can rejuvenate faded plastic and rubber. It can feel slick to the touch, but it works great sun-beaten areas, and it is our choice for best car dashboard cleaner.

While this Meguiar’s product can seem pricey compared to others on this list, it should be noted that it is really two products in one. Those looking for that classic protectant shine will need to purchase a second product if they choose some of the other cleaners on this list.

Benefits:

  • ïEliminates the need to use a separate protectant or dressing
  • ïProvides UV protection
  • ïDoubles somewhat as a plastic restorer
  • ïLeaves a muted, but attractive, satin finish
  • ïProtection and shine are long-lasting, as long as surface isn’t touched

Issues:

  • ïChemical odor is a bit strong, but dissipates quickly
  • ïLeaves surfaces a bit slick, not useful for steering wheels, knobs or handles

Meguiar's G16216 Ultimate Interior Detailer, 15.2 oz
  • INTERIOR CLEANER: Cleans and protects all interior surfaces in one easy step
  • SAFE ON SURFACES: Safe on all interior surfaces including steering wheels, stereos, nav screens, dashboards, door panels, center consoles and more
  • NON-GREASY FINISH: Dries fast to a non-greasy durable satin finish that lasts for weeks
  • UV PROTECTION: Contains superior UV protection that keeps the interior looking better, longer
  • CONVENIENTLY CLEAN AND PROTECT: Deep cleaning ability and protection that's safe and effective on all interior surfaces

Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

P&S – Xpress Interior Cleaner

Some detailing companies promise everything, but deliver very little on those promises. P&S takes a different tack with its Xpress Interior Cleaner. 

As a mild, yet effective, cleaner for plastic, leather and especially vinyl, it is hard to beat this product. It does require a bit of elbow grease to lather up before wiping off with a dampened (with water) rag. It can also be diluted at a 1:1 ratio with water.

Unlike some of its competitors, it does not provide UV protection. It also will not leave a film or residue behind, and it has a pleasant scent. Yes, it necessitates the use of a protectant for follow-up care, but it cleans as well as anything available.

Benefits:

  • ïSafe and effective cleaning of vinyl, leather and plastic
  • ïCan be diluted at a 1:1 ratio, making for an economical purchase
  • ïLight, pleasant, non-offensive odor
  • ïLeaves no residue 
  • ïMatte finish looks clean without a shine

Issues:

  • ïProvides no UV protection
  • ïMore of a chore than its competitors
  • ïUsefulness limited compared to some competitors

P&S Detailing Products Xpress Interior Cleaner 1pt
  • ☑️ EXCELLENT QUALITY, RESIDUE FREE Interior Cleaner
  • ☑️ ABSOLUTELY SAFE On All Leather, Vinyl, and Plastics
  • ☑️ QUICKLY CLEANS Dirt, Grease, Oil and Interior Traffic Marks
  • ☑️ FRESH SCENT
  • ☑️ RENNY DOYLE DOUBLE BLACK COLLECTION: Master Level Professional Detailing Products From P&S - Family Owned & Operated For Over 50 Years!

Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Chemical Guys – Car Interior Cleaner & Protectant

Designed to serve as a one-for-all universal interior cleaner, Chemical Guys Car Interior Cleaner & Protectant misses the mark a bit. That’s understandable, though. It is a tough ask for one product to do so many things and do them all well.

What it does do well is clean and protect vinyl upholstery and plastic. The mild formulation does not streak or discolor these materials, even if left on for some time without wiping. It also leaves behind a matte finish with no noticeable film, yet provides several weeks of UV protection, making it the best cleaner for car interior plastics.  

The problem comes from its lack of reliable performance as a glass cleaner. This would not be an issue were it not a claim, but the manufacturer specifies glass cleaning as a use. It is more of an upholstery cleaner and protectant, and at that, it competes well with every product on this list.

Benefits:

  • ïMild ingredients won’t stain vinyl and plastic
  • ïProvides considerable UV protection
  • ïCleans and protects leather seats without making them slick
  • ïScent is mild and pleasant, like “new car smell”
  • ïRejuvenates faded plastics, at least temporarily

Issues:

  • ïCan leave a cloudy haze on glass
  • ïInterior likely won’t need cleaning yet when UV protection fades

Sale
Chemical Guys SPI22016 Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant, 16. Fluid Ounces
  • Cleans and protects virtually all car interior surfaces
  • Gentle formula won't spot, stain, or etch sensitive materials
  • Protects against fading and discoloration from harsh UV solar rays
  • Safe for dashboards, windshields, nav screens, leather, vinyl, cloth, carpet, plastic, wood dashboard trim, chrome, rubber, and much more

Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Shine Armor – All Purpose Interior Cleaner

Shine Armor’s All Purpose Interior Cleaner utilizes a mild solvent to dissolve dirt and dust, enabling the user to wipe the dirt away. It is simple to use and effective.

Unlike some others, this product does not leave behind any greasy or shiny film. The results appear clean but not wet. After treatment, Shine Armor continues to protect against UV light, making it possibly the best car dashboard cleaner available.  

Shine Armor also incorporates nanotechnology for anti-static properties. What this means technically is a bit fuzzy. But in practice it means that surfaces treated with Shine Armor will discourage dust from settling on them as easily as they might otherwise. 

Benefits:

  • ïCleans and protects all common interior materials
  • ïAnti-static properties prevent future dust buildup
  • ïLeaves a matte, dry, non-greasy finish
  • ïProvides UV protection
  • ïCan be used in a pinch as a carpet cleaner

Issues:

  • ïNot useful on glass, leaves hazy streaks that can be difficult to remove
  • ïWill not rejuvenate faded vinyl or plastic

SHINE ARMOR Car Interior Cleaner for Vehicle Detailing & Restoration - All Purpose Solvent & Car Dashboard Cleaner, Seats, Upholstery, Leather Shine, Plastic, Vinyl and More
  • Latest Nanotechnology - Formulated using the latest nanotechnology, our All Purpose Interior Cleaner Solvent effectively cleans and washes away dirt, grime, and dust off all interior car surfaces, including leatherent, trim, pleather, rug, headliner, rubber, carpet, vinyl, flooring, canvas, cloth, plastic, upholstery, fabric seats and stains super fast and better than a mat carpet shampoo! Works great on your boat too!
  • Quick & Easy - Our interior multi surface vehicle cleaning supplies and accessories are simple to use, just spray cleaner onto a microfiber cloth and gently wipe the surface, then wipe residue away with a second clean microfiber cloth. Repeat every 4-6 weeks to keep your interior looking brand new!
  • Advanced UV Protection - UV rays can damage your dashboard, door panels, and seats, and speed up the aging process of your interior. Keep that new car smell, and your factory finish looking fresh with our multipurpose Interior Car Cleaner protectant & solvent.
  • Dust Resistant - Our new advanced formula, all purpose auto interior cleaner kit has anti-static properties that prevents dust from settling and sticking to your interior! Get rid of the dust on your dash, navigation screen and more, in just 3 easy steps! Works as well as a deep stain remover.

Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What to look for in best clearers for car interior
Car Interior

Best Car Interior Cleaner – What to Look For

Just because a product says it will clean your interior, that does not mean it will do it especially well. A wet rag and some hard work will clean a spilled soda, after all. Most high quality interior cleaners have some or all of the following properties.

Material Safety

Not every car interior cleaner is safe for every possible material. Car seats may be covered with cloth, vinyl or leather. Dashboard trim work may be plastic or metal. Be certain of the materials in your car’s interior, and use only those products that specifically mention that material on their labels.

Residue-Free

Some car interior cleaners leave behind slippery, greasy residues. These films can rub off on skin and clothes, travel to nearby glass and remain slick for weeks or even months to come. The best interior car cleaner products will not leave behind such residues. 

Residue from Chemical

Non-Offensive Fragrance

This issue might not be on top of everyone’s list of things to consider, but for others it can be a deal breaker. The smell of your interior cleaner will likely linger for some days to weeks after use. If the smell bothers you a bit at first, it may become unbearable on a long commute. 

UV protection

Dirt and debris can be unsightly, but they will not normally adversely affect the value of your vehicle. On the other hand, upholstery and trim work that is faded and cracked will.

The cause of this type of damage is almost always the ultraviolet radiation (UV) in sunlight. Through complex chemical processes, this type of radiation can break the chemical bonds in plastics (or cause unintended ones to form), a process called photodegradation

The best car interior cleaners either provide UV protection or allow for a follow-up product that does. If a product leaves behind a residue that does not provide UV protection, it can cause more problems than it solves.

Best Way to Clean Car Interior

It is not that hard to figure out how to wipe something clean. But we’ve learned a few things through trial and error. Here are our best tips for cleaning car interiors. 

How to clean car interior

Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions

This might seem obvious, but the manufacturer will know best how to use its product. Following the instructions on the bottle is never a bad place to start. Don’t assume that a new product will work like the one you used to use. 

Pre-Cleaning 

Before setting out to clean the entire vehicle interior, give it a good once over first. Vacuum the carpet and the recesses in the dashboard and trim work. Pre-clean any spills and areas of collected dirt or dust with a rag dampened with water. You will save money on cleaning products and be finished in less time.  

Use Two Rags

A typical car interior has a lot of surface area to clean and protect. To save time and money, use the 2-rag method for cleaning your car’s surfaces.

Rather than spraying your cleaning product directly onto your car’s surfaces, spray it on a clean, dry rag. Doing so will prevent overspray and reduce puddling that can be messy and double your cleaning time. 

Rags for cleaning car interior

Use this wet rag to wipe down your surfaces, then follow up with a separate dry rag to smooth out any pooling that occurs. This pooling is the source of the streaking users sometimes experience.

Use a Light-Colored Cloth

We often make use of old T-shirts for vehicle cleaning and maintenance, as this type of cloth normally won’t leave behind loose fibers. Save the black T-shirts for other uses though. Dark cloth is not ideal for cleaning car interior.

A dark colored cloth may not show the areas where it has been soiled. When these areas of the rag absorb dirt and grime, it can then be spread around to other objects. If you can see the dirt on the cloth, it is easier to avoid spreading it around to other parts of the vehicle. 

Regular Cleaning

The best thing anyone can do for their car is to clean it often. If harsh chemicals are required to do the job, you waited too long. Some chemicals can cause as much damage to plastic and vinyl as UV light can. That’s why it is best to stick to the products that intended to do the job.

How To Extreme Interior Clean! - Chemical Guys

The Best Car Interior Cleaner Brands

303

It may not quite be a household name, but 303 Interior Cleaner has developed quite a cult following among home mechanics and detailers. Part of the Gold Eagle umbrella of companies (along with STA-BIL and HEET brands), 303 got its start in 1980 making aircraft protectants. 

P&S Detail Products

With five decades in business, P&S has earned its reputation for quality. The company not only makes detailing products, but it also trains professionals in the dark art of detailing. It is a mainstay in professional garages.

Meguiar’s

The Meguiar’s brand began in 1901, making home furniture polish. By the 1960s, Meguiar’s was popular in the car show circuit for its Mirror Glaze car wax. Since then, it has become an industry standard, available in most automotive parts stores.

Car Guys

The youngest brand on our list, Car Guys is based (and its products made) in the USA. All of its products are biodegradable and non-toxic. The company utilizes extensive testing, priding itself on the safety and effectiveness of each of its products.

Shine Armor

Based in Florida, the Shine Armor brand is owned and operated by a group of self-proclaimed automotive enthusiasts. Its target market is that same type of car geek. Those are lofty standards, but the popularity of the brand shows the success of its effort.

Chemical Guys

The crew at Chemical Guys has amassed a devoted following, thanks in part to its series of videos on YouTube. What began as a small, niche brand has grown into a worldwide name, making detailing chemicals and tools for every job.

FAQ

Can I use car interior cleaner on glass?

Sometimes, yes. Usually, no. These cleaners are intended specifically for cleaning upholstery, dashboards, trim, etc. Glass cleaners dry fast and leave no streaks. If you aren’t sure, try the product in an area of glass you don’t look through. Read our best tips for car window cleaning here.

Can I use car interior cleaner on my carpet and cloth upholstery?

Some car interior cleaners indeed will do an excellent job cleaning cloth and carpet. Others will make little difference. When in doubt, use a car carpet cleaner intended for the job.

Is this product safe for leather?

Car interior cleaners are not usually the best car interior leather cleaners. While safe for that use, the most effective products for leather upholstery are those that are intended for that purpose.  

Can I use car interior cleaner on exterior surfaces?

If it is trim work, probably so. Plastic is plastic, after all. On the other hand, some surface cleaners can damage car paint. It’s best to wash painted surface with a mild detergent, followed by a quality car wax

In Conclusion

While every product on this list is effective and will work for a variety of situations, our top pick is 303 Interior Cleaner. No, it does not have UV protection properties, but that is what protectants are for. Its mild, easy-to-use formulation cleans the entirety of a vehicle’s interior, including glass, without leaving any residue or film behind. 

If you insist on an all-in-one product, then we suggest Meguiar’s Ultimate Interior Detailer. You will still need a glass cleaner for the windows, but your ride will have UV protection and shiny surfaces in the fewest steps.

A clean car is its own reward, but the real benefits come when it is time to trade it in or sell it. A spotless, new-looking interior is an indicator of owner care. Clean cars normally have clean engines, inside and out. So, whichever cleaning product you choose, remember to use it often.

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