5 Best Interior Car Carpet Cleaners for Detailing Your Car (2021 Review)
One day you get inside your car ready to head to work, but the moment you sit down, you smell the funky odor you’ve been noticing for weeks now.
You’ve tried smelling the seats, looked over the wheels for dog poop you might have run over, and checking the air vents but you still can’t point your finger on where the stinky smell is coming from.
Until the eureka moment hits you. You realize you’ve neglected the car carpet enough for it to develop the funky smell that’s been annoying you for weeks.
It has now collected lots of dust, debris, coffee stains, and other liquid stains that have mixed making it smell as awful as it is now. You’ll never know what’s lurking within your carpet knowing you’ve overlooked it for too long.
If you feel like sneezing every time you get inside your car, this is probably one of the reasons why.
Now it’s time to get your car carpet thoroughly cleaned. But you ask yourself: what should I do to detail my car carpet? Or better yet, what do car detailers use to clean car carpets?
We’ll get those questions answered in this post together with a list of factors you can consider in choosing the best carpet cleaner for you.
By the time you finish reading, you’ll know of 5 car carpet cleaning solutions that professional detailers also use.
What the car carpet cleaning solutions are
The pros and cons of each
Their key features
We’ve narrowed the list down to 5 so it’ll be easier for you to decide while still giving you options on what will work best for you.
If you’re ready to know the 5 car carpet cleaning solutions to help your car smell fresh again, let’s get right to it.
What To Look For When Choosing The Best Car Carpet Cleaner
When deciding what carpet cleaner to use, here are a few pointers to keep in mind.
Once you get into the car care section of the hardware, you’ll realize you’ll get a shelf full of different kinds of carpet cleaners. There will be shampoos, aerosol sprays, and solutions that will work together with a device like a car cleaning gun.
Aerosol sprays are a quick way to remove stains when you’re on the road. It can be used for spot treatments or treatments of the entire carpet surface. However, for the latter, 1 bottle of cleaner will be finished off easily.
If you have to treat the whole carpet surface, shampoos and solutions are a good option because these mostly need to get diluted with water making you have a larger quantity to work with.
Most car carpet cleaners leave behind a fresh clean scent after detailing. They’re mostly floral or citrus. But these smells don’t work for everyone. Some people get a headache with certain smells. If this is the case, the new car smell leaves a subtle scent that might be suitable for those who have sensitive senses.
Most car carpet cleaners contain some or all of the ingredients listed below:
These chemicals are dangerous when inhaled. To be safe, clean your car with the carpet cleaner in a well-ventilated space while wearing a mask.
If you think the chemicals are too harsh for you, you can find carpet cleaners that have natural enzymes and surfactants as the main ingredients.
If you’re cleaning your car carpets for hygienic purposes, opt for those with antibacterial properties. Most carpet cleaners are effective in removing stains but not every cleaner has antibacterial features.
This is best if you have children riding the car all the time.
Stain And Odor Removal
Even with floor mats on, the heavy foot traffic your car floor gets still gets your carpets its share of contaminants that leave either an insightful stain or a pesky odor.
Always choose a car carpet cleaner that’s been proven to remove stains and odor efficiently. Some take faster than others to work. If you’re in a hurry, opt for those that work wonders in one go.
Carpet cleaners can take a few hours to dry thoroughly, especially if the surface has been treated for some minutes before the stain or dirt is agitated. If you’re in a hurry to finish, you can choose quick-drying formulas.
If you’re looking for something that’s a bang for your buck, a carpet cleaner that also works for other upholstery like seat belts, dashboard, and seats might be a good choice for you. But to be extra sure, even if the label says “all-purpose” or “multi-purpose”, always check the label for proper usage.
Tip: Before soaking the whole carpet with the cleaner, test it out first in an inconspicuous portion and observe for a few minutes. This will let you know how the fabric reacts to the cleaner if the color will stay the same or it’ll cause the carpet dye to run or bleed. You’d want to avoid these irreversible stains.
Now let’s move on to the best part, the 5 carpet cleaners you can choose from.
Car Guys Multi-Surface Cleaner
Car Guys’ multi-surface cleaner passes the versatility test. This cleaner has been proven by professionals to be effective in cleaning carpets, leather, other upholstery material, vinyl, plastic, and wood trim. Just avoid using it on glass.
Many users say it’s very effective in removing salt stains that are common in winter.
Another good thing about this cleaner is that it’s powerful but ammonia-free so it's environmentally friendly and isn't harsh on interior and exterior surfaces.
It comes in either an 18 or 128-ounce bottle with an ergonomic trigger and a professional-grade nozzle.
Water-based, no-rinse formula
Turtle Wax Power Out Carpet And Mats Cleaner
Turtle Wax’s carpet cleaner comes in an aerosol spray that dispenses stain-removing foam. The 18-ounce container comes with a micro scrub you can use to agitate the dust and scrub off stains.
This carpet cleaner is said to have oxy brighteners that give the carpet back its fresh and professional finish. It also has patented Odor-X ingredients that effectively remove the pesky odor caused by food, drinks, pets, smoke, and mildew.
Lastly, the formula includes a soil-repelling silicone to prevent future dirt from seeping into the fabric.
After applying the cleaner and agitating the dust off the carpet, you can blot off the excess product using a microfiber towel.
However, too much moisture left can cause molds and recurring odors. To prevent this from happening, use a car cleaning gun with water on the container to rinse out the product. After that turn the knob to the air-only function to use the strong airpower to blow off excess moisture, making it dry faster.
Detachable brush cap
Chemical Guys Carpet-Upholstery Shampoo
This carpet cleaner is ultra-powerful in removing stains because it’s hyper-concentrated. It’s made of low-moisture, professional-grade, high-sud formula infused with oxygen that lifts stubborn dirt, stain, and grime not just on the carpet, but also on mats and car seats.
Recommended Reading: 4 Practical Tips To Clean Floor Mats And Car Carpets
Chemical Guys’ patented enzyme is made effectively to target odor-causing microbes. The formula also contains a citrus scent for a pleasant smell after cleaning it.
Best of all, its deep-cleaning formula doesn’t contain bleach, solvents, damaging detergents, or ammonia, passing the environmentally friendly test.
To use this carpet cleaner, dilute it with water following the ratio provided in the bottle. Use a car cleaning gun to apply it on so it’s administered together with air power to agitate dust simultaneously.
Recommended Reading: What Is A Car Cleaning Gun?
Infused with oxygen to lift contaminants faster
Leaves a pleasant citrus smell after cleaning
Meguiar’s Carpet And Upholstery Cleaner
Meguiar’s carpet cleaner comes in a 19-ounce bottle. Its fast-acting foams break down stains and dirt quickly without leaving a sticky residue.
The new version also comes with a brush cap you can use to agitate dust and stains after a few minutes of treatment.
This carpet cleaner has a re-fresher technology that removes odors permanently by chemical bonding at a molecular level that also leaves the carpets smelling fresh after detailing.
Fast-acting without leaving a sticky residue
Mothers Carpet And Upholstery Cleaner
Mothers’ carpet cleaner comes in a 24-ounce bottle with a trigger spray. Like Car Guys’ it also passed the versatility test because it can be used for various kinds of fabrics like carpet, velour, and vinyl.
The pH-balanced formula is said to loosen soil attachment on the fabric and pull out stubborn stains.
After treating the carpet and agitating the dust off, you can blog off the excess using a microfiber towel, or said better, use a car cleaning gun to prevent mold-forming moisture.
There’s no one-size-fits-all in terms of a carpet cleaner. It always depends on your needs and preferences. You can either use a cleaner specifically made for carpets or a multi-purpose one you can also use for other interior parts of your car.
One thing’s for sure, whatever you pick among the 5 on the list, it’s been proven effective by professional detailers and by your average car owner as well.
Try any of the 5 out for yourself, and see how it works wonders in making your carpet look and smell fresh again.