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How to Clean Cloth Interior of A Car

Cloth interiors can be some of the most daunting interiors to clean when it comes to the interior detailing of the car. When we discuss cloth interior cleaning with customers, we add the disclaimer that some stains(eg. Wine) and discoloration may be permanent. However, here are steps to clean and protect even some of the worst-looking interiors. 


  • Soft-bristled upholstery brush

  • Wet & dry extraction vacuum

  • 2-3 Microfiber towels

  • Steam cleaner (Optional)


  • Fabric Guard

  • Spray bottle with Alkaline all-purpose cleaner diluted for interior surfaces

  • Spray bottle with deionized water


  1. Dry vac and blow the seats so that all debris is removed from the seats

  2. Switch the vacuum to wet extraction. Normally this involves removing the filter from the vacuum if it has wet extraction capabilities

  3. Saturate the area with deionized water to dampen the surface

  4. Spray the all-purpose cleaner 

  5. Agitate with the upholstery brush

  6. Use the wet extraction vacuum to remove the water from the cloth fibers

  7. Repeat the process with more all-purpose cleaner spray and less water for tougher spots while repeating steps 3 to 6. Optionally, employ a steam cleaner with an upholstery cleaning attachment and a microfiber towel on top of the attachment to carefully clean the cloth surface. Ensure that the heat is low and won't damage the fibers. Test the spot in a small area first.

  8. Once the area looks clean, continue to use microfiber towels and wet extraction vac to remove as much water as possible. 

  9. Leave the vehicle with windows down parked in the sun or dry using a warm blower.

  10. Once dry, apply a fabric guard to protect the cloth seats against future spills and damage.

Pro Tips

  • When it comes to upholstery brushes, a horse hair or soft plastic brush can not only help clean the cloth seats but also other fabric surfaces such as carpets or fabric seats. 

  • Deionized water helps prevent mineral deposits on any surface. Having a deionizing system at home can be a pragmatic idea and is much more affordable than using distilled water.

  • It's always astute to dilute an all-purpose cleaner before using it on a surface. Slowly concentrating the cleaner and increasing its potency can not only be safer but also prevent any permanent discoloration that may be caused by concentrated cleaners.

  • Fabric Guards are products that can create a hydrophobic surface which causes liquids to simply bead off the surface while offering some resistance against discoloration and UV damage.

High-quality interior detailing can be daunting and wrong usage of chemicals and equipment can cause permanent harm to the vehicle. If you’re looking for a professional solution to all your interior detailing needs, book or call us at 707-681-5944 for a quote, consultation, or booking.

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