How to Shampoo or Steam Clean the Car Interior — Which is More Effective?

Maintaining the cleanliness of the car interior is as important as the cleanliness of the exterior. The main focus of most people is the exterior of the car. 

But we can’t bypass the stubborn stains and dirt on the car upholstery and the unpleasant smell. It is essential not only for the car interior to look good but also for your health and comfort. 

Here the question arises in your mind how to clean the car interior? Should you shampoo or steam clean the car interior? 

There is no need to worry about it; we will discuss it here in detail. 

Shampoo or Steam Clean the Car Interior: Which Is Better?

There are two effective ways to clean the car interior; one is shampooing, and the other is steam cleaning. 

Shampooing is a preferable solution when there is simply dust and minor stains. And steam cleaning is a better idea if the marks are significant and there is a nasty odor.

Shampooing a car’s interior is an effective way to preserve its cleanliness and visual appeal. This process requires specialized cleaning supplies to remove the dirt and grime from the interior’s upholstery and other surfaces. 

But remember that you shouldn’t shampoo the leather materials. And also, avoid washing glass windows because shampooing can make the glass look streaky.

Another efficient technique for cleaning a car’s interior is steam cleaning. It entails cleaning the car’s upholstery, carpets, and other interior surfaces with hot steam. 

It is an eco-friendly technique because it is non-chemical. It will also successfully eliminate allergens such as dust mites and pollen, creating a healthy atmosphere inside a car. 

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Both methods are effective, depending on the level of cleaning you want and the type of dirt you want to remove. 

How to Shampoo Car Interior (Detailed Guide)

shampoo or steam clean the car interior

Things You’ll Need

We know you must be excited to knock the dirt out of your car. However, having the right things affects your overall cleaning experience. So, make a checklist and gather the following essentials for shampooing your car interior.

  • Car Shampoo: Choose a special shampoo for cleaning the car interior. So this specific shampoo will not harm your upholstery. 
  • Vacuum Cleaner: Using a vacuum cleaner, you’ll first need to remove all the loose dirt and debris.
  • Sponge and a Microfibre Towel: You’ll need a sponge or a brush to apply the shampoo. After shampooing, you will require several microfiber towels to dry your car interior. 
  • Water: A pail is required to clean the sponge or brush while working. You may also need water spray bottles to dampen the upholstery. 

Steps for Shampooing Car Interior

Once you have the supplies ready, here are the steps you have to follow to shampoo your car interior.

  1. Firstly, vacuum your car’s interior to remove all dirt. To access small areas, use the crevice tool. 
  2. Wear gloves, as the shampoo can irritate your hands.
  3. Starting with a small section, apply the shampoo to the car’s upholstery and carpets with the help of a sponge or a brush. Working in a small area will ensure no stains or dirt is left.
  4. While shampooing, use a spray bottle filled with water to dampen the upholstery. It will help in the breakdown of grime and will make the process easy. 
  5. To incorporate the shampoo into the cloth, use a soft-bristle brush. Don’t be rough with it, as it can damage the fabric. 
  6. To remove excess shampoo or water, use a microfibre towel. Repeat this process until the area is entirely dried up. 
  7. After completing one section move to the other and repeat the same procedure.
  8. When you have done all the steps, leave your car’s door open and windows down; so the interior can completely air dry. 
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How to Steam Clean Car Interior (Detailed Guide)

shamoo or steam clean the car interior

Things You’ll Need

To deep clean a car interior, steam cleaning is an effective method. It will remove the dirt from narrow spaces. To ensure you do it the right way, the right tools are crucial. Therefore, to steam clean a car, here are the essentials you’ll need.

  • Steam Cleaner: You will require a high-quality steam cleaner with different attachments. The best steam cleaner for car seats has a triangle nob brush that will do deep cleaning under the fabric.
  • Microfiber Towels: After steaming, you will need 2 to 3 microfiber towels to dab off the surfaces.
  • Brushes:  Use brushes to get into hard-to-reach areas.

Steps to Steam Clean Car Interior

Once you have all the required supplies, these are the steps you have to follow:

  1. Firstly, remove all the carpets and seat covers. And remove all the trash to avoid any huddles.
  2. Then vacuum the interior of a car to clean all kinds of dirt, debris, and filth. Concentrate on areas like beneath the seats and near the pedals.
  3. Fill the car steam cleaner with water as mentioned by the manufacturers. Now turn on the machine and wait until you get the required temperature. 
  4. Start by steam cleaning the car seats. Always work from top to bottom and back-to-forth manner. Make sure you are covering all the areas. 
  5. Now, steam clean the carpets and mats. Go over multiple times the areas that have hard stains or are heavily soiled.
  6. Steam clean the hard surfaces like the dashboard and doors with smaller nozzle attachments to get into narrow corners.
  7. Remember to use special attachments for leather surfaces. Also, be careful with temperature, as too much steam can damage the leather.
  8. After steam cleaning, wipe down all surfaces with a microfibre cloth.
  9. Allow the car to air out for a few hours to allow any remaining moisture to evaporate. 
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In conclusion, choosing between shampooing and steam cleaning a car interior depends on personal preference and specific needs. Both methods are effective. 

Shampooing can be effective in cleaning tough stains and filth. But it requires more effort and takes longer to dry. 

In contrast, steam cleaning uses hot water to clean and sanitize surfaces. But this process requires a car steamer, which is very costly.

To make a choice, consider the mess you are dealing with and; the materials in your car. 

But regardless of the method chosen, regular cleaning of the car’s interior is essential for maintaining its value. And also for your comfort and enjoyable driving experience.

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