Table Of Contents_
Our top choice for the best car upholstery cleaner is the CarGuys Super Cleaner. This versatile car interior cleaner removes dirt and grime from leather, vinyl, soft-touch plastics and cloth upholstery, is water-based and will not leave behind any streaks or residue.
In order to help you pick the best car upholstery cleaner for your DIY car care and detailing needs, we’ve put the top performing cleaners to the test. We looked for stain removing power, ease of use and versatility, favoring upholstery cleaners that were effective at getting out tough food, beverage and pet stains from all kinds of car seating and interior surfaces. Read on to see more about the CarGuys Super Cleaner and other high-quality car upholstery cleaners available for purchase. Also, check out our review of some of the best car accessories on the market.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This versatile carpet and upholstery cleaner works wonders on vinyl, leather and soft touch plastics as well as carpets and cloth car seats, and it requires no rinsing or special prep, saving time when cleaning your car.
A highly versatile car upholstery cleaner, this Car Guys Super Cleaner is our pick for the best all purpose cleaner for car interior work. It provides for easy stain removal on vinyl, rubber and plastics and it works well for deep cleaning car seats and carpeted areas as well. An all-in-one car interior surface solution, it lets you perform a high quality DIY detail job in a surprisingly small amount of time.
Developed with the input of car detailing pros and experienced car upholstery cleaning services, this water-based polymer formula is safe for use on frequently touched surfaces like steering wheel covers and armrests. It’s also effective on hard plastic and metal, helping to dissolve sap, gunk and even bird feces. To keep your car smelling fresh too, check out our guide on the best natural air freshener. And, to keep your car safe from harsh weather conditions, check out our review of the best carport.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This DIY car interior cleaner kit comes with a handy scrubbing brush and a high quality sud like fabric cleaner, great for deep cleaning carpets, floor mats, seats, and headliner.
If you have a drill or rotary driver, this may be the most convenient kit on the market for car interior cleaning. Just fit the included scrubbing brush attachment to your drill and give it a few sprays with a sud like carpet cleaner formula, and it does much of the work of a car upholstery cleaner machine but at a fraction of the cost.
Related: Also check out our review of the best car tablet mount.
Using this power scrubbing brush also saves time and makes it easier to perform a DIY deep cleaning. The included stain remover formula is dilutable and an empty spray bottle is included with the kit, so you can choose the ratio of cleaning solution to water. Once you’ve cleaned the inside of your car, you might want to tackle the exterior with the best ceramic coating for cars.
Award: BEST FOR STAIN REMOVING
WHY WE LIKE IT: Commercial airplane grade stain remover in a convenient spray bottle form, this is the best carpet and upholstery cleaner we’ve seen for getting out beverage stains, lotion and sunscreen spills.
If you’re looking to remove stubborn soda or coffee stains from car seat upholstery, this airplane-grade upholstery stain remover may be the best interior cleaner for you. It soaks up virtually any kind of stain, including food and beverage stains as well as stains from makeup, lotion and sunscreen. No dilution or premixing is required, though for best results you’ll want to spray first and then follow up with a wet towel before blotting the area dry.
This upholstery and carpet cleaner is good for cleaning floor mats, center console armrests, cloth door upholstery, and various interior plastics and vinyl. It also works well on leather seats, but you’ll want to use a brush to achieve the best deep-clean results. To make your interior cleanup easier, you’ll also want the best car garbage can.
Award: BEST FOR RESTORING
WHY WE LIKE IT: Packaged in a convenient aerosol spray bottle form, this foaming car interior cleaner both gets rid of tough stains in car seats and carpets and helps condition car upholstery fabric and restore that new car look and feel.
This spray on car upholstery cleaner delivers foaming action that’s effective for deep cleaning fabric car seats, door panels and carpets. It performs well on a variety of different stains, doing a good job of getting out dirt, mud stains, coffee and soda spills, food and pet stains on most common types of cloth car upholstery.
It also acts as a fabric conditioner, helping to restore a “new car” look and feel to your car interior. Most recommend using a scrubbing brush or microfiber cloth, such as a clean shop rag. A small amount of water may be used to wipe up afterward. If you want to keep your seats crumb-free, you’ll also want the best car seat protector.
Award: BEST STAIN REMOVING VACUUM
WHY WE LIKE IT: This compact portable car upholstery cleaner machine uses a spot and stain formula and warm water plus directed suction for effective and time saving DIY car interior detailing.
This relatively inexpensive and very easy to use portable spot and stain remover is a great choice if you’re looking for the best car upholstery cleaner machine for DIY car interior cleaning. It helps get results approaching professional detail quality and is surprisingly convenient to use. Plus, it comes with a deep cleaning brush attachment that helps get tough dirt and pet hair out of car upholstery.
Some stains are especially stubborn and could take a long time to get rid of using just a wet rag and even the best car upholstery cleaner spray. But by pairing a vacuum function along with its warm water and spot cleaner formula, this car upholstery cleaner can save a great deal of time and effort and it delivers results comparable to those we’ve seen from car upholstery cleaning services. For another way to keep your car smelling fresh, try the best car diffuser.
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: This budget-friendly spray formula car upholstery cleaner and odor eliminator carry a built-in detachable mini scrub brush, so all you need is a rag and this can in order to deep clean and deodorize your car upholstery.
This car upholstery cleaner spray comes in a convenient bottle with a detachable scrubbing brush on the cap. Thanks to the narrow angle V-shape of this included brush, it does a great job at cleaning out stains from hard to reach areas of carpeting. The spray formula includes advanced odor neutralizing compounds and has shown effectiveness on some of the toughest lingering odors like those of smoke and mildew.
While it’s not an all-in-one car upholstery cleaner DIY product, per se, this bargain-priced car cleaning spray is a great value, especially if you’re also looking to spot clean carpeting. It works for other types of upholstery as well, but not quite as conveniently. For car seating surfaces, for example, it’s recommended that you use a microfiber cloth instead of the included scrubbing brush.
Award: MOST CONVENIENT
WHY WE LIKE IT: Available in a handy twin pack, this foaming car upholstery cleaner includes odor eliminator and a built-in scrubbing brush, making it a convenient all-in-one solution for getting stains out of carpets, floor mats and cloth car seat upholstery.
This easy to use DIY car upholstery cleaner and fabric stain remover comes in a two pack with a pair of 22.8-oz cans of foaming cleanser. Each can comes with a built-in removable scrubbing brush, and these brushes are easy to use and actually perform well at lifting stains and dirt from cloth car seats and armrests, carpeting and floor mats.
This spot cleaner also has an odor eliminator and while its scent isn’t particularly strong, it does a decent job at getting rid of odors from food and beverage stains as well as pet stains and musty odors from dampness. Overall, if you’re looking for a convenient way to do car upholstery DIY cleaning in a short amount of time, this product is definitely worth a look.
In order to highlight the best car upholstery cleaners you can buy, we checked to make sure all the products under consideration worked to remove stains from the most common sources of car upholstery mishaps: we made sure they were able to get rid of most food, beverage and pet stains. The ability to dissolve grease and remove tough stains from makeup, art supplies, and paint was considered a bonus.
We looked for passive odor elimination and car sanitizing ability, and while not required, a pleasant and mild scent was considered acceptable. However, we steered away from products that primarily masked odors with an overpowering fragrance.
For all-in-one car upholstery cleaners we looked for effectiveness on multiple surfaces. We insisted on the effectiveness with vinyl, soft-touch plastics like dashboards and instrument panels. We also made sure these cleaning solutions worked on leather and leather-like surfaces such as MB-Tex and Leatherette, as well as cloth and carpeting.
Along with the interior cleaning DIY products, we included a car upholstery cleaner machine that performed as well as some car upholstery steam cleaner models, while being much lighter and easier to maintain.
Depending on the upholstery type and the type of stain, some of the top performing car upholstery cleaner products are the Car Guys SuperCleaner, the Tuff Stuff multi-purpose cleaner, and the Meguiar’s upholstery cleaner. These dedicated products tend to be easier on upholstery and better remove stains than generic carpet cleaner from Walmart.
In general, the best way to clean cloth car seats is either using a steam cleaner, a combination warm-water cleaner and vacuum car upholstery cleaner machine or by using an upholstery cleaning product along with a damp microfiber towel.
If you’re not using a car upholstery cleaner machine or a steam cleaner, the best method for stain removal usually involves spraying a spot cleaner solution and scrubbing with a detail brush, then wiping with a damp cloth.
While carpet cleaner will usually give decent results on floor mats and car interior carpeting, it’s recommended that for car seats and fabric upholstery you only use a dedicated upholstery cleaner or a multipurpose carpet cleaner that also promises it’s safe for upholstery. Carpet cleaner isn’t usually the best choice for cleaning leather seats.