Clean Car Upholstery

Apply the appropriate cleaner to the spot. (Your auto parts store clerk can help you select the best cleaner.)

Apply the appropriate cleaner to the spot. (Your auto parts store clerk can help you select the best cleaner.)

The Fix-It Club moves into your garage to help with common car repairs. This Fix-It Guide shows you how to clean car upholstery. What with shuttling around kids and pets and other treasures, your car’s upholstery will eventually become stained. It may be grape juice or crayon or special sauce or. . .uh, never mind. Here’s how to clean car upholstery:

  1. Identify the stain. Is it greasy, chemical, bio-matter, ink, or what?
  2. Identify the upholstery fabric. Is it vinyl, leather, cloth, plastic, or what? Note that some “leather interiors” are actually only leather on the seating surfaces and mock leather everywhere else.
  1. Use a brush or clean rag to remove as much of the stain as possible without making it worse.
  2. Visit your favorite auto parts store for recommendations and products to remove stain X from surface Y. There are numerous leather cleaners available, so look for one made specifically for leather upholstery and use a leather conditioner when you are finished cleaning. The same goes for fabric and vinyl.
  3. Wipe the cleaner away from the spot with soft, dry cloth. Repeat if necessary.

    Wipe the cleaner away from the spot with soft, dry cloth. Repeat if necessary.

    If the designated cleaner doesn’t work, carefully try one of your household cleaners. Tough stains may require one of the citrus-based cleaners as seen on TV. Test the cleaner on the least conspicuous location in case it discolors the fabric.

  4. Once you’ve identified a cleaner that works on your car’s interior, write the product information in your Car Journal. Next month or year you may need it again!

Search for REPLACEMENT PARTS: