Car Interior Detailing

Sydney Specialists In Car Detailing Paint Correction And Paint Protection Services

Car Interior Detailing You Can Do Yourself


From coffee stains to soft drink stains and food stains, interior detailing is probably one of the most hardest forms of car detailing, all because of the different positions your body  is required to undertake in order to be able just to do the job. A car interior can take many years to fall apart, or it can take  just a couple.

If you opt to choose neither, then car interior detailing is an avenue you may just have to undertake every  few weeks to few months depending on your cleanliness. Before we go on and while you are reading this segment, you may want to check our our car detailing training, ceramic coating training and paint correction training if you truly desire to become a Pro

Car interior detailing can be hard work. What you need to know about interior detailing is, the longer it gets dirtier, the bigger the interior detailing job gets. However it can be an absolute  back breaker, especially if you really want to get nitty gritty and start pulling out interiors just to be thorough.

On this page, we are going to discuss a little on the subject of interior detailing, so be prepared to do some reading. By the time you are through here, we are hoping you will have a better understanding of how to carry out interior detailing  by yourself, and with minimal cost to your hip pocket.


Detailing a motor vehicle is very much labour intensive. The paint correction procedures alone that we carry out can  consume from a day and up to two days in total time, and that is just the paint. Interior detailing is added as an extra day  on its own. However, the general public don’t understand paint correction so general car detailing including car interior 
detailing is still labour intensive.

Some people use tooth brushes while washing their own cars with the exterior just to get that special clean look about the vehicle when completed. The same basic rules apply when carrying out car interior detailing. Putting out an almighty effort in the beginning, will only produce killer results at the end. This is how Dr Buff sees our services to begin with. Carrying out a  quality job on your vinyl, cloth interior, vinyl, and leather upholstery requires time and patience

Dismantling Your Interior

Car interiors only ever need dismantling if the vehicle has sat around for quite a lengthy period, especially in places like  body shops when the vehicle has seen much abuse from vehicle resprays and so forth. The other reason is, if the interior  has seen an incredible amount of abuse, and simple interior detailing will not be sufficient.

Basically this involves the actual removal of seats, knobs, panels, consoles and rubber pads on brake and clutch pedals. Believe it or not, this allows for easier cleaning as you now have more room to carry out your interior detailing.

This also gives access to detached parts for easier cleaning that you otherwise would not be able to  reach. If your car is old, and the car interior smells like mildew you may want to consider removing your carpet and pad hanging out in the sun and allowing it to dry.

If the carpet drys with no or little odour, consider yourself lucky. If it doesn’t, your next best bet is to carry out injection cleaning, and hopefully when the carpet has dried, the smell will have dissipated. Otherwise, if the odor is still there, consider changing the carpet altogether.

For interiors which are in better condition, your primary purpose with interior detailing will pretty much be just to remove dust and grime build up. While your seats, console and other components have been removed, you will be able to vacuum every square centimetre , reach all  the nooks and cranys and tight to get at spaces

Soak all your knobs in luke warm water with all purpose cleaner mixed as a solution. A good one is simple green which can be found at any Bunnings store. Also scrub down your seats entirely with a can of interior cleaner which can also be  purchased at any Auto outlet store. If you find that off the shelf products are not working, try simple green again on your  seats.

This stuff is incredibly powerful at removing grime. Do all this while everything is wide open. When all done, you will  fall off your feet as to how your interior and quality interior detailing comes out at the end.
A thought out plan of attack approach will always save time and produce the best possible results at the end of the job. As  anyone knows vacuuming will always be the first place to start. We always need to get rid of the bulk of rubbish on the  floor, and as the vehicle is cleaned this also promotes encouragement to continue.

A common tool for vacuuming is always a crevice tool as it gets into the tight spaces. Try and always use plastic crevice tools as they are less likely to damage or tear fabrics.
A crevice tool will reach into seams, tight paneling and under seats and around tight edges.

If you have sand or needle like fibres in your carpet, firm agitation using a brush should loosen up sand or anything stuck in your carpet, providing a thorough job. Always have a brush attachment for your vacuum as  this can also be used on your carpet and getting into air vents, and around window buttons and central locking switches.

Always remove your floor mats first and clean these outside your vehicle. I usually like to start vacuuming the rear seats  first. Move the front seats the furthest forward possible allowing maximum room for the rear. Vacuum between the cushion seat pleating. Using one  hand to spread these apart always helps in trapping a lot of dirt. Use the crevice tool around the
seating area and in tight to get at areas.

You should be able to accomplish the entire back seat from one end of the car. Next, tackle the carpet in that area. After you have vacuumed the rear seat and carpet, while the front seat is fully pushed forward, take advantage of vacuuming under the front seats. Also use the brush in this area as dust tends to build up quite a lot under 
the front seats.

What also helps is actually slapping the carpet with your bare hand. This actually assists in bringing dirt grains to the  surface. After the rear seating area has been removed, its time to tackle the front area. Use the very same thorough  approach that you used in the back.

If you have dark coloured carpet, be patient and continue vacuuming, and you will  achieve a good result. As for the dash, use the brush fitting to clean in your air vents, gauges, grooves and around your  console You will also find a soft brush, similar to a small paint brush can go a long way in getting into tight edges for removing dust where you otherwise would never remove.

Also another brush that comes in handy is your regular tooth brush. This will help in the very tight spaces like the grooves of   your steering wheel, brake pedals and around your dash area. As far as your pedals go, I generally find because these get very dirty, a little bit of luke warm soapy water goes a long way in cleaning these items quite nicely.

Cloth and Fabrics

If you have an interior that needs attention, and a bit more than just dusting, use a multi purpose multi cleaner or a cleaner specifically meant for your fabrics or cloths. Keep in mind that multi purpose cleaners usually require dilution to a ratio.  Always follow the instructions on the labels.

Next you will need a spray bottle. These are the easiest bottles you need for  your application. Obtain a clean towel. Fold the towel in fours, and dampen the towel with your multi purpose cleaner. Carefully do your roof lining with the damp side, and then complete with the dry side wiping off any residue. If you have a really dirty area, you may need to spray directly on the effected area to help break down the grime.

Once you have done this, it would be wise to grab your agitation brush and work thee effected area to help break down the grime. This is also one area that you would also use your tooth brush to clean areas that have seen coffee or drink spills in tight areas. Use your tooth brush and multi purpose cleaner for getting at these areas. Don’t spray indiscriminately.

This only gets over spray in unwanted areas and creates more unwanted work. Its always a good idea to place rags around the area your working to catch any run off as  well. Make sure you don’t forget to clean all ashtrays and cup holders. Ashtrays or cup holders that are heavily encrusted  will need to be removed and soaked in hot soapy water.

You will also have to pay particular attention to kick panels, as these are areas that are often scuffed from shoes and so  forth. Try using your multi purpose cleaner on these scuff marks. If they prove to be difficult, try scrubbing them down with  your scrubbing brush. If they still don’t come off you may have to resort to a stronger chemical like a spot remover.


Believe it or not, I find vinyl seats to be one of the hardest wearing materials, and also with less maintenance above leather  or fabric. Having said that though, you can not completely neglect it altogether. At least once a year, you should give your  vinyls a thorough cleaning and re-dressing.

The easiest way to clean vinyls is to thoroughly soak the vinyls in warm soapy water or cleaning solution such as your multi purpose cleaner. Let it sit for a while and then wipe off with a clean damp cloth ( preferably dipped in warm water and strain dried )

If your vinyls are dirty, try scrubbing them down with your brush. Don’t worry, you won’t hurt it. As far as vinyls go, you can even use some laundry powders for cleaning down vinyls. Just make sure its not too strong.  Again, use a brush. Once your vinyls are clean, you will need to allow ample time for your vinyls to dry.

You need to  remember that even your vinyls need to be re-dressed with new vinyl and leather protectant.

Meguiars and Autoglym produce quality products for protecting your vinyls and leathers. There are two ways you can apply these products, in order to achieve two different results. What I generally find is that you can have a matt or gloss finish depending on the method you use.

If you fancy a gloss finish, spray the dressing on your surfaces and allow to sit for a while. This allows the material to absorb the dressing into the pores which also thoroughly nourishes the vinyl. After a few minutes wipe off the residue and you should have a glossy look about your  vinyls.

If you prefer a matt finish, just spray on and wipe off immediately. Keep in mind though, that the glossy finish will  keep your vinyls nourished for far longer periods.

Dash Boards

This is one area that for most car owners can somewhat pose a problem when you need to clean it thoroughly. In most cases, all detailers do have  an air compressor. Tools such as this go a long way in helping clean hard to get at  areas. Anything a vacuum cleaners can’t suck out, you are going to need to blow out with compressed air.

This is where  compressor. In most cases most car owners do not usually own such tools. This is one of my greatest  weapons for blowing dust out of tight areas. If you don’t have one. don’t panic. Components such as stereo knobs can in  most cases be removed and cleaned seperately.

In the the tight grooves around stereos air vent knobs and slits, use your  brush to break loose dust and your vacuum to suck out the dust.

If you have stains from liquids, naturally this will not easily wipe off. In cases like this, what I generally find is a light spray over the dash with multi purpose cleaner and a light agitation with the brush goes a long way in removing stained dirt. Once you have broken off the dirt, use a warm damp cloth to  the surface.

After that, use a leather chamois for a final wipe down to a streak free finish. Remember, we said a light spray, just enough to soak the dirt. Do not drench stereo fascia’s or electrical components. This may cause damage to electrical components.  As far as air vents go, try lightly wetting and using cotton swabs to clean the vents.

The handle of a tooth brush wrapped  with a clean cloth can help dry the vents. If you have a compressor, just blow out your vents until dry. Use a paint brush or  vacuum brush for cleaning speakers and breaking loose all dust.

Steering wheels often get very dirty from grubby hands, and in many cases very sticky. One thing I can’t stand is a smelly  and sticky steering wheel. Warm water, plus your all purpose cleaner with a clean damp cloth and your tooth brush for  getting into your grooves should fix that problem.

Seat belts

Cleaning belts believe it or not folks is one of my most dreaded chores when it comes to interior detailing. It is however  awful to grab a seatbelt and find it sticks to your hands. It’s even more horrid when you are nicely dressed and about to  leave for that special get-together only to find your seatbelt has stained your clothing….YUUUUKKK !!! AAAAAAAHHHHHH  !!!

So how do you clean them ?? The best way to clean seat belts is with warm soapy water. Remember they key trick to  cleaning anything in your interior…..” WARM SOAPY WATER ” Why warm ? The majority of filth in an interior is mostly  caused by human oil from skin.

Your elbows on the armrests, on the console, on the stereo fascia, and steering wheel and control knobs, are just some of the areas associated with oil from skin. So what is the best thing to help break down oil ? ” warm soapy water “. Use warm soapy water to clean belts using a scrubbing brush.

Try and lay a towel or even plastic lino on your seat and use this to stretch your belt, and while on your seat, give it a good scrub down with your brush and solution. As far as solution goes, try using laundry powder with warm water. Anything that  is generally good for washing clothes, will usually work on your seatbelts.

Once clean, obtain a clean rag, drop in hot  water, strain, and use this to wipe clean your belts from excess soap and water. Don’t panic if your seatbelts look somewhat dull. It is only because they are wet. Once dried, they will brighten up dramatically.

While you are here, check out our ceramic coating Sydney applications. We also have carried out a review on Toughseal ceramic coatings. Any questions on ceramic oatings ? talk to the ceramic coating Campbelltown King

Door Jambs

Interior detailing folks also includes door jambs. It doesn’t look good after having carried out thorough interior detailing on  a car, to find that when you open your door to enter your car, you are met with dirty door jambs. In most scenarios, dirty 
door jambs usually consist of just dirt.

As far as cleaning your door jambs, obtain some simple green solution diluted of course and spray it into your door jambs. Leave soak for a few minutes. After a few minutes, grab a paint brush and give your door jambs a good scrub down. Once rinsed, you should find they have cleaned up just nicely. When fully completed grab
your leather chamois and fully wipe down all water.

Cleaning_door_jambs_1 Cleaning_door_jambs_2

Door Panels

Door panels are very much cleaned the same way as any other vinyl interior items. If dirty, don’t be afraid to scrub down  with a reasonably firm brush and solution. Use caution around imitation plastic chrome strips. Use your toothbrush to get into all the tight grooves of the door trim as well as your window cranks or winders..

The elbow rest always needs attention in interior detailing of door trims. Thoroughly wet this down with solution and scrub clean with your agitator brush. Remember to use warm water in your solution. Repeat the process to get rid of dirt,grime,scuff marks, and other marks.

If on the other hand you have cloth door trims, try using simple green or interior cleaner by spraying directly on the affected area. Scrub down again, then use a clean damp cloth to remove all residue from door trims.

If you still have soiled cloth trims, you may have to completely remove the door trim from the door itself and clean on the  ground using solution detergents or all purpose cleaners. After this you will need to hose down the door with soft running water and then utilise a wet dry vacuum to extract the water from the door panel.

When you have refitted the door trims, don’t expect to wind up your windows and expect the interior to dry. Open your  windows and allow your interior to dry. Trapped moisture can start mildew problems

Vinyl, Leather and Rubber Dressings

In todays market of auto care, there is a vast array of multipurpose dressings designed to protect the surfaces of interiors  in motor vehicles. Interior detailing just isn’t right if it doesn’t appear to be re-nourished. Nothing looks more bland than a dry looking interior, especially if it is aged.

All the more reason to always nourish your  interior to avoid premature cracking and drying of vinyls, leather, rubbers and plastics.The most common interior detailing and vinyl care products we use here at Dr Buff are Meguiars and Autoglym I have to say, I have always preferred a natural not too wet looking interior. It is everyone’s prefference how to individually  nourish their interiors, but at the end of the day, all that matters is that your interior does not appear to be starved of the  necessary oils that keeps it alive.

Remember not to apply huge amounts of interior protectants, especially ti vinyl interiors. Do not saturate vinyl or leathers  in conditioners. There is nothing worse than having to hang on to your steering wheel while going round corners your vinyls or leather are as slippery as ice.

This is also dangerous. An exception to this rule would more than  likely be interiors that have suffered long periods or years without any conditioning what so ever. For leather, what we use is Autoglym or Meguiars Leather conditioner. Make sure your leather is clean before application of any conditioners.  Simply use an applicator pad to apply the conditioner over your leather seats. Apply the conditioner covering all surfaces.

Once applied, allow to stand for a few minutes. Do not wipe off immediately as you will not give the leather enough time to  absorb the conditioner. After a few minutes, obtain a clean microfiber cloth and buff off all excess condition. This should  leave you  a freshly rejuvenated looking leather with a very supple looking and  appearance.

Shampooing Carpets

As far as shampooing carpets go, you actually have a few avenues that you can try to clean your carpets with. Carpets  are of course the other abused cloth in our vehicle with all sorts of stains seeing their way south. This is also an interior  product which takes some punishment, so don’t be afraid to give it a hard scrub.

A wet and dry vacuum would go a long way in helping clean your carpets. In fact, if you have one of these dandy devices,  you can also utilise it to clean any fabric interior your car may have, such as your seats. Believe me, once you have one, it is hard to do without one. Obviously the pros in this industry use proper injection machines, but these are tools which are generally out of reach for  most people as they usually cost in excess of a thousand dollars. Machines like this are not necessary for the every now  and then cleaning of your own car. A normal wet and dry vac should suffice.

Something with some suction  power and is easy to move around like the  one pictured here is all you need. Now, as far as  products are concerned, you have a choice of products which are also readily available from your local supermarket, auto  outlets, and variety stores. Many of these products are designed to be
worked into your carpets, or basically scrubbed vigorously with a coarse brush.

Many carpet cleaners for interior detailing which are purchased through auto outlets generally turn into  foam on contact.  Which ever chemical you use for cleaning your carpets, remember to give your carpets a thorough scrubbing. If you are  going to utilise carpet cleaning products purchased from supermarkets, You will need to realise some of these products  are not usually foaming products, but instead liquid chemical carpet cleaners. These are mostly low foaming products  designed to be used with extraction machines.

If you are going to use these products, basically you are going to saturate your carpets with water, and you must have a  wet and dry vacuum to extract all water. Do not leave your carpets wet. This will cause major issues with moulding and will inevitably destroy your carpets. Carpets must be left as dry as possible. Interior detailing items and even carpet cleaning  chemicals purchased from supermarkets usually do the job well enough.

The chemical listed next to the wet and dry vac in the image above will be far stronger than your usual carpet cleaner in a  can. Liquid extraction chemicals are what is mostly used by professionals when carrying out interior cleaning of all cloths,  fabrics, or carpets. Chemicals like this you need to understand also needs to be diluted. Always follow instructions on  labels.

Dry Type ( Cleaner in a Can )

Dry type carpet cleaners for interior detailing are generally available from auto outlets, to supermarkets and variety stores. They usually spray on wet, or like foam, and generally dry rather quickly. One of the key benefits of these products is they have a great reduction of wetness on carpets and dry rather quickly.

Most of the products come with a scrub cap. Use this  cap to scrub the carpet vigorously. When completed, use a clean towel to wipe up any residue or moisture.

Wet Type

Wet type cleaners for interior detailing are usually liquid chemicals as listed above. Use these chemicals following the  directions, as these chemicals usually require dilution. Mix your solution and pour into a pump pack spray bottle. Wet the  effected are of carpet with the bottle, and again scrub vigorously to remove stains.

When you are satisfied, grab your wet  and dry vac and extract all remaining solution from your carpets.

Using a wet shampoo also means that you will have added a lot of moisture into your interior compartment. Be sure to  leave windows open to allow air flow which will aid in the fastest possible drying. Although it would be uncomfortable,  carrying out thorough interior detailing and cleaning of all carpets and fabrics on a hot day would be best.

This will aid in  the fastest possible drying time and kill any chance of mildew build up.

Final Note !!

As a final note, always remember the result you get at the end of your interior detailing is as good as the effort you put in  at the beginning. Interior detailing does not have to be difficult. Always plan your detailing from the start of the process all 
the way to the end. Have the items you need ready to go. Don’t substitute items just because you don’t have what you  need. Always obtain the necessary tools you require to get the job done right the first time. Lets face it, no one enjoys  doing any job twice, no matter how hard or easy it may be.

Happy interior detailing. !!

Dr Buff

Common Interior Detailing Questions


How much is an interior detailer?

Interior detailing can cost from as low as 50 dollars to as high as over 500 dollars. Many interiors vary in dirt, stains and grime that need to be removed and some interiors consume far more time and labour to execute properly that results in a clean interior.


Does Interior Detailing Remove Stains?

Yes, in most cases interior detailing will remove stains. Although the purpose of interior detailing is to clean upholstery, most times stains will be removed with car detailing that involves steam cleaning on injection cleaning


Do Detailers Fix Interior Scratches?

No. Interior detailing is not meant for the purposes of fixing or repairing interior scratches, only cleaning. Scratch repair would only include interior trimmers.


What is the best cloth to clean a car interior?

You only really need two cloths for interior cleaning and will generally find they work well. Microfiber cloths and chamois are all that is required for cleaning car interiors

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