What is a Car Seat Upholstery Cleaner?

This is a product that’s used to recondition car seats and some other interior surfaces and protect them from moisture, dirt, and dust. Since car seats are produced from special fabric or leather, usual all-purpose cleaners aren’t always suitable for them. The best car upholstery cleaner allows removing blemishes and stains without damaging the surface of seats. Such products can be manufactured in the form of a spray, liquid, foam, etc.

Where Is It Used?

In fact, although most products are designed for leather and fabric seats only, there are car carpet and upholstery cleaners present, as well. Therefore, they can be used to clean the entire salon of the car, including panels and seat covers.

Compare The Best Solutions For Car Upholstery Cleaning

What is the best car upholstery cleaner for your car? Compare the products in this table to find the most optimal solution.

Item/Characteristics

 

 

Volume

Surfaces

Materials

Type of cleaner

What comes in the kit?

Base

Scent

Black Diamond Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

BUY NOW AMAZON 32 fl.oz. Fabric upholstery, car covers Cotton, wool, microfiber, and nylon Spray Spray only Water Light scent

CarGuys Super Cleaner

BUY NOW AMAZON 18 oz. Almost all: car seats, panels, tires (except glass)

All except glass and sensitive plastic panels

Spray Spray + Towel

Water

Light scent

Chemical Guys SPI_191_16 Lightning Fast Carpet and Upholstery Stain Extractor

BUY NOW AMAZON 16 oz. Fabric upholstery, metal wheels, and door panels, plastic or vinyl panels Fabric, metal, plastic (not recommended for leather) Dilatable spray Spray only Water + chemicals Light scent

Blue Coral DC22 Upholstery Cleaner Dri-Clean Plus with Odor Eliminator

BUY NOW AMAZON 22.8 oz

Upholstery, carpets

Cotton, microfiber, and other fabrics

Aerosol

Aerosol + brush cap Chemical Odorless

Meguiar’s G9719 Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

BUY NOW AMAZON 19 oz. Upholstery, carpets Synthetic and natural fabric, rubber, and other soft tissues Foam Foam only Water + chemicals Strong chemical odor

Mothers 05424 Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

BUY NOW AMAZON 24 oz. Fabric upholstery, car covers, carpets Fabric (cotton, velour, vinyl, etc.).

Spray

Cleaner only Water Light scent

Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner

   BUY NOW AMAZON 22 oz. Car seats, panels, mats, wheels All (fabric, leather, vinyl, painted)

Foam

Foam only Water Light scent

Adam’s Interior Detailer 16oz

  BUY NOW AMAZON  16 oz. Car seats, control panel, wheel All including leather, but doesn’t work on porous surfaces Spray Spray only Water Eucalyptus + mint

3D Upholstery & Carpet Shampoo

  BUY NOW AMAZON  16 oz. Upholstery, carpets Car fabric, rubber Dilatable shampoo Shampoo only Chemical Lemon

Griot’s Garage 10956 Interior Cleaner

  BUY NOW AMAZON  22 oz. Car seats, control panels, doors, windows, carpets All types of fabric, plastic, glass and many other materials Spray Spray only Water Odorless

How to Select a Suitable Car Upholstery Cleaner?

What is the best car upholstery cleaner for your car? There are three basic requirements for smart choice.

Your Needs

First and foremost, the choice of upholstery cleaner depends on the state of user’s car: some products are suitable for removing dust and minor stains, while others remove heavy stains, grease, and other imperfections from upholstery.

The Type of Surface

Want one-fits-all solution? A traditional spray will remove dust and dirt from all surfaces, including fabric, leather, plastic, and glass. On the opposite, heavily stained upholstery should be cleaned with special solutions: foam or shampoo

Eco-friendly or Not?

Some products are labeled as ‘hypoallergic’, which means they don’t cause skin irritation and other reactions even in people with high sensitivity to chemicals and artificial odors. Such cleaner should be used in cars where children, pets and allergic people are transported.
If you want to go green, choose cleaners marked as ‘biodegradable’. That means that the solution evaporates without leaving dangerous chemicals in the air, and the bottle doesn’t harm the environment after you get disposed of it.

How We Chose and Tested Car Upholstery Cleaners

In order to find the best upholstery cleaner for car seats, we visited online stores to figure out the most top-rated products and read numerous car upholstery cleaner reviews. After selecting seven worthy products, we tested them on fabric and leather car seats and evaluated the final results, as well as the entire process of cleaning.

Top-10 Car Upholstery Cleaners

In this list, you can find the best upholstery cleaner for car of your model, and get some pieces of advice concerning their use.

Black Diamond carpet stop remover.

Black Diamond Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

No matter what kind of fabric covers your seats, this interior car upholstery cleaner will be equally suitable for any car model. The solution from Black Diamond was designed to clean carpets, furniture, and fabric car seats and remove spots, spills and stains. It allows getting rid of traces of dirt, dust, grease, and even coffee and wine regardless of how old the spots are. Black Diamond’s professional car upholstery cleaner can be used even with children and pets around and doesn’t leave soapy spots. Your family definitely needs this one-in-all solution.

PROS

  • suitable for many materials (nylon, wool, microfiber, cotton);
  • cheap;
  • versatile;
  • environmentally safe.

CONS

  • can discolor the surface of the fabric.
Car Guys’ all-purpose car cleaner for different surfaces.

CarGuys Super Cleaner

CarGuys’ top-rated car upholstery cleaner is perfect for removing the most stubborn stains. The proprietary formula is based on the latest achievements of nano-technology to get rid of dirt, bird poop, tree sap, metal particles and grease efficiently, no matter what surface is being cleaned – car seats, carpets, door panels, etc. That’s the best car upholstery cleaner for fabric, upholstery, leather, plastic, rubber, and vinyl (it works for everything except glass). Besides, it’s environmentally friendly and comes with a convenient microfiber cloth.

PROS

  • versatile (can be used almost with any material);
  • there’s no need to rinse it off;
  • it can replace up to 80% of all cleaners at your home.

CONS

  • it isn’t suitable for glass.
Chemical Guys - a spray for removing stubborn stains.

Chemical Guys SPI_191_16 Lightning Fast Carpet and Upholstery Stain Extractor

Review:

What is a good car upholstery cleaner for removing stains? Of course, the solution from. Chemical Guys. It has a very concentrated formula (should be diluted in water in 20:1 ratio) that allows cleaning car upholstery, wheels, panels, furniture, sofas, and so on. It contains strong agents that separate dirt particles from the surface and remove even stubborn stains, yet it’s gentle on fabric and upholstery.  I Note that the product doesn’t discolor surfaces, even old ones, and protects the surface from stains.

Our opinion:

The product can be used either as a standalone solution or with a carpet extractor – it’s cheap and efficient.

PROS

  • it’s the top car upholstery cleaner for removing stains;
  • lasts for a long time;
  • versatile;
  • cheap.

CONS

  • should not be used on leather;
  • it has to be diluted with water, e.g. it’s not a ready-to-use solution.
Blue Coral aerosol with a brush pad.

Blue Coral DC22 Upholstery Cleaner Dri-Clean Plus with Odor Eliminator

Review:

Blue Coral offers a relatively cheap car upholstery cleaner that’s useful for removing all kinds of stains: coffee, grease, pet’s urine, tar, ink, lipstick or blood. It’s suitable for upholstery, carpets, floor mats – literally, everything in your car’s interior. The aerosol features a brush cap for easy use: simply spray it on the marks and stains, leave for a few minutes and remove using the brush cap.

Our opinion:

This option can be recommended for new cars: it removes fresh stains and dust, and there’s a brush included.

PROS

  • very easy to use;
  • works on different surfaces;
  • eliminates bad smell;
  • cheap.

CONS

  • according to car upholstery cleaner reviews, this product isn’t very efficient against old spots.
Meguiar’s versatile upholstery car cleaner.

Meguiar’s G9719 Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

Review:

Meguiar’s best-rated car upholstery cleaner is an all-purpose solution for keeping upholstery clean and tidy. Its formula is ideal for removing stains and protecting car seats: the foam efficiently breaks down dirt particles and eliminates all unpleasant smells. It doesn’t leave sticky traces, and you don’t need to wash it away with water. As the result, your car seats look like new ones just in a few minutes.

Our opinion:

The product has a nice price\quality ratio, but isn’t recommended for people with allergy – it leaves a strong chemical scent.

PROS

  • removes both stains and unpleasant smells;
  • easy to use;
  • non-expensive.

CONS

  • some users say it’s too over-scented.
Mother’s car cleaner for fabric upholstery.

Mothers 05424 Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

Review:

This is a good car upholstery cleaner for all kinds of fabric, including cotton, vinyl, velour, sheepskin, and so on. This product acts gently and doesn’t discolor surfaces: being safe for the environment and pH-balanced, it removes even the most stubborn stains and can be used both in your car and at home. It’s suitable for car seats and carpets of all colors.

Our opinion:

A nice option for a fast clean-up, but better results can be reached with a vacuum cleaner.

PROS

  • an all-purpose cleaner that removed different kinds of stains;
  • simple in use;
  • environmentally safe;
  • cheap.

CONS

  • a brush, a vacuum cleaner, and a towel are required;
TuffStuff cleaner for all types of upholstery.

Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner

Review:

Users in search of the best leather car upholstery cleaner should opt for the product from TuffStuff. This is an all-purpose cleaner that can be used literally on everything: vinyl, leather, and fabric car seats, carpets, chrome, plastic panels, floor mats, as well as home appliances (bathroom fixtures, screens, porcelain and painted items). The foam with the residues of dirt is easily removed with a paper towel: there’s no need to wash the surface with water or wipe it with a wet cloth afterward. The efficient proprietary formula separates dust and dirt from the surface and helps to restore the original color.

Our opinion:

It’s a top-rated car upholstery cleaner that will be useful for your car, home or boat.

PROS

  • works on both fabric and leather upholstery;
  • has a light pleasant odor;
  • all-in-one cleaner for car and home.

CONS

  • should be applied several times to remove old stains.
Adam's Interior Detailer

Adam’s Interior Detailer

Review:

Adam’s is a versatile car salon cleaner that can be used on any surface, including upholstery, control panel, doors, etc. Its special formula contains cleaning particles that eliminate dust, dirt and stains efficiently. It also has UV protection, which means the car salon and upholstery will last 10 years longer. Anti-static components keep dust at bay, so you don’t have to clean the salon too often. It goes without mentioning the fact that Adam’s solution neutralizes smells and has a refreshing eucalyptus odor. It’s the best upholstery cleaner for car seats that can be recommended to any car owner who needs one-fits-all solution for car salon care.

Our opinion:

This is a non-expensive, efficient product for a quick fix. Additional protection features make it a highly recommended option for any car owner.

PROS

  • versatile – can be used for almost any surface in a car salon;
  • easy in use.

CONS

  • cannot replace a leather conditioner;
  • relatively expensive.
3D Upholstery & Carpet Shampoo

3D Upholstery & Carpet Shampoo

Review:

Users in need of professional solutions should opt for the solution from 3D detailing: this is a car upholstery and carpet shampoo that penetrates deep into the structure of textile to remove dirt, soil, stains and smells. The shampoo has lemon odor, which can be irritating for some users, but the car salon is refreshed greatly due to that. The solution is hypo allergic, and doesn’t irritate skin upon contact. Low-foam formula doesn’t leave stains and eliminates smell efficiently. The solution is diluted in water – a water vacuum cleaner is required to use it. This product provides great results, but the process of using is pain in the neck. Alternatively, you can use a brush or a dual polisher to clean the surface – manual cleaning will take more time. 

Our opinion:

3D Upholstery & Carpet Shampoo is a professional car upholstery cleaner for the entire car salon – it provides excellent results. However, preparing the mixture and using a vacuum cleaner for it is both time-consuming and complicated. It cannot be used on a constant basis. 

PROS

  • allows eliminating tough stains and dust that penetrated fabric deeply;
  • one bottle is enough for 6-10 cleanings;

CONS

  • not convenient in use – should be diluted in water, and a vacuum cleaner is required to reach better results.
Griot's Garage 10956 Interior Cleaner

Griot’s Garage 10956 Interior Cleaner

Review:

This is a crystal-clear solution for removing dust, dirt, and even heavy stains. It does not contain fragrances or dyers and doesn’t leave residues. The solution can also be used for cleaning non-fabric surfaces – the control panel, doors, and so on. Griot’s Garage leaves satin film that protects car salon against dust. Its special formula contains UV agents that prevent deterioration caused by direct sunlight. According to the manufacturer, Griot’s Garage spray can be used to clean anything: car seats, panels, doors, floor mats, bags, and so on.

Our opinion:

This is the best car upholstery cleaner for minor finishing rather than substantial cleaning – it helps to remove dust and adds shine, but won’t remove grease and stains. It also doesn’t have any smell, which is an advantage for allergic people, and a drawback for those who need total refreshing of car salon.

PROS

  • can be used for any surface in a car salon;
  • doesn’t have odor.

CONS

  • doesn’t remove heavy stains and old dirt;
  • relatively expensive.

5 Interesting Facts

This is what clean car seats should be like

  1. Although modern cars feature seats with a thin vinyl coating that protects leather, they still require maintenance: without regular cleaning, upholstery will wear off quicker.
  2. In a few years, a lovely natural leather scent fades away, but it can be restored by hydrating the leather. Some manufacturers offer leather scent car fresheners for that.
  3. Pure water isn’t harmful to leather seat, but the stuff in it is. When cleaning car seats with soapy water, make sure you remove the residues properly.
  4. Tightly weaved fabrics are harder to clean, that’s why they should be treated more often.
  5. Cream-based conditioners for car seats aren’t suitable for modern cars because they can’t get into the perforation of the vinyl coating.

How to Clean Car Salon?

In order to keep the salon clean and tidy, regular maintenance is required: specialists recommend organizing a car wash with upholstery cleaner every 30,000 miles, even if the interior looks neat and there are no spots. Here are some valuable pro tips for successful cleaning.

Test the Cleaner Before Use

Many drivers make one and the same mistake: they start applying the cleaner on spots right away without reading instructions and testing it. As the result, stains become even worse, or the upholstery surface gets discolored. To avoid such complications, test the cleaner: select a discreet spot on the car upholstery and apply the cleaner. Examine this place a few minutes later to make sure that the cleaner doesn’t leave water stains and doesn’t damage the surface. To double-check the product, you can apply it several times in a row (some cleaners discolor surfaces after a few uses only).

Prepare All Necessary Tools

The vast majority of cleaners come without brushes and cloths – you’re responsible for preparing all instruments beforehand. If you haven’t got a special pad (like the ones of Mother’s and CarGuys brands), use an old toothbrush. Also, don’t forget to take paper towels and a bucket of water.

Fabric vs Leather Upholstery: Should the Approach Differ?

The leather is more susceptible to the chemicals applied and brushes used. Products for fabric upholstery may be totally useless, or even damaging to leather car seats. Buy cleaners designed specifically for leather surfaces (conditioners). When rubbing the leather upholstery, use a microfiber cloth – a rough brush can completely destroy the leather surface and its protective layer.

How to Clean Floor Mats?

Before applying the car upholstery cleaner, make sure to remove dirt and dust by simply washing them in water (use the garden hose). To reach better results, you can mix your car upholstery cleaner and a dishwashing liquid (1:1 ratio) in water. Spray the mixture on the mats and use a brush to remove dirt and stains. Owners of vinyl and rubber mats can also use a liquid wax shoe polish.

Attention to Details

Some car upholstery cleaners are suitable for removing stains from car interior panels, door panels, and so on. If the product you’ve bought isn’t designed for plastic or wood, try the simplest method: mix baking soda in water, apply it on the stains and rub with a brush. It will safely remove dirt and stains without leaving a strong smell. Otherwise, find a product that can be applied on other surfaces of your car’s interior.

Final Steps

Make sure you’ve totally removed the residues of the upholstery cleaner. After cleaning, you can use a car deodorant to remove the smell of the cleaner. Additionally, you can purchase a protective spray for car upholstery: it’ll keep dust, dirt and moisture at the bay.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why Should I Use A Car Upholstery Cleaner?

A: Car carpet and upholstery cleaners are made of special fabric that should be cleaned with chemical agents to remove stains and dirt. Using a wet cloth won’t help you to eliminate dirt and restore initial fabric color.

Q: What Type of Car Interior Fabric is the Easiest to Remove Stains From?

A: Typically, artificial fabric (with nylon, polyvinyl, etc) is easier to clean than cotton and suede fabric. Leather requires special treatment, too. However, the quality of cleaning also depends on the origin of stains and products used.

Q: Can I Use A Car Upholstery Cleaner on My Tires?

A: If a car cleaner can be used for rubber floor mats, a user might apply it on tires. However, it doesn’t guarantee efficient elimination of stains – it’s better to perform traditional car cleaning.

Q: Can I Use Car A Upholstery Cleaner On My Car’s Carpets Too?

A: As a rule, upholstery cleaners work well on carpets, too. But since they are more stained and have more dirt, it’s highly recommended to add vacuum cleaning and special shampoos that penetrate deep into the fabric.

Q: What If The Stains Don’t Come Out?

A: Try a do it yourself car upholstery cleaner: mix vinegar in water in equal parts. Spray the mixture on stains and leave for an hour. Then rub the spots with a damp cloth to remove vinegar. Alternatively, you can try removing stains with club soda – it will eliminate the residues of vomit and foods.
If neither works, drive to the nearest professional car cleaning station. Most likely, the assistants will use special products to remove dirt and stains from car seats.

Our Recommendations

When selecting the best car carpet and upholstery cleaner, we analyzed efficiency of the seven above-mentioned products, their price and versatility. Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner and CarGuys’ Cleaner can be called ultimate leaders, because they can be used to clean the entire interior of your car. Besides, they are environmentally safe and easy in use. Other products are also great, but they are designed for specific surfaces (for fabric car upholstery mostly).

From the price standpoint, Mothers 05424 Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner and Griot’s Garage 10956 Interior Cleaner are the most cost-efficient solutions: having the price tag under $10, those large bottles are enough to clean the car salon during 1-2 years. However, the vast majority of versatile cleaners cost $15-20, and can be applied to many other surfaces.

Before using any of the cleaners, there’s one thing a user should consider – additional tools. A brush, paper towels and water should be ready before you start cleaning. Since they’re usually sold separately, add some $10 to the planned expenses.

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