Cleaning Car Upholstery

Category Auto
Car upholstery can get really dirty from daily use. This is a page about cleaning car upholstery.


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March 16, 2014

I have a yellow Labrador and she travels in the car when we go for walks, so the car is muddy and covered in yellow hairs. I tried to vacuum them up, but it won't work and the hair is everywhere! Also when I was clearing my garden I had to take the leaves to the tip which has left the car covered in tiny little grains of soil which I am also not able to get out. I have tried all different types of Hoovers, but none seem to work. The hair and leaves are on the carpet, the seats, and in all sorts of nooks and crannies. The car isn't leather and is cloth. Please any help is much appreciated!

By e.whalley23


December 8, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try a lint brush to get the dog hair up. The type you need is the lint brush that is sticky-has a tape around it and the hair will stick to it.

Brush dried mud off the seat, wash it off the hard parts of the car.

Take your car to a commercial car wash and use one of their vacuums as they are more powerful usually. You need to put an old blanket or something for the dog to ride on.


Just a fyi--back in the early 1980's I worked for an insurance company in the office. If you get into an accident, and your cars bluebook value is $6000 and your car is clean and appears to have been maintained and kept nice, you get the full $6000. But if it is dirty, smells of cats, dogs or body odor, the adjuster knocks that off the money they give you. Also remember that when you then ride in the car, that hair and mud transfers to your clothing.

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January 25, 2011

I have a 2007 Ridgeline and the seats look "nasty". This is mainly from when we went swimming. The kids were wet, which left stains. Then the grandbaby's bottle has also leaked. I have tried to wash it with just a damp cloth and also tried upholstery cleaner. Now they are even worse looking. I know they're clean, but just look bad. How can I get the stains out?


By Linda D Edwards from Harriman, TN


January 25, 20110 found this helpful

They need to be steam cleaned. A body shop can do it or you can do it with a hand steam cleaner.

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March 29, 20110 found this helpful

Back when I was in the US, I went on fishing trips with my kids often, the car used to stink bad when we came back. I used to take my car for professional detailing with used to love the fresh smell the car had after the detailing was done.

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March 10, 2019

I have got paint on my car upholstery. Any ideas what I use to cover it?

Thank you.


March 10, 20191 found this helpful

Why dont you try to remove it when an enzyme-based detergent ?

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January 24, 2016

Some interior valeting service sprayed silicone all over the car seats and boots. Could you advise how to remove silicone?


September 21, 20170 found this helpful

I would get an estimate from a car washing company and go back to the valet service and have them pay for it.

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November 24, 2014

I have water marks on my car seat material. I have tried various detergents, upholstery cleaners, etc. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

By kenkenhynes

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September 25, 2014

A leak in a old class CRV left marks on the fabric behind the driver seat up to the bed above. It looks similar to burlap and is beige in color. Help!


By Say

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May 2, 2014

How can I get nail varnish out of my car seat?

By Donna

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July 17, 2013

I have a car that was sitting outside a cabinet shop and the window was partly down. The car is filled with sawdust. How can I clean the sawdust out of carpet, seats, and vents?

By Debbie

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March 10, 2012

How do you get the spots out of your car's seat?

By amber ashely from Gay, GA

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

January 25, 2011

How can I remove stubborn stains on upholstery in my car?

By Jan from DeRidder, LA


Cleaning Dirty Car Upholstery

I once got mud all over the car seat and didn't know what to use. It then occurred to me to use Oxi Clean carpet cleaner (you know the kind you spray on carpet mud stains and such). The stain came out immediately!


It is worth a try and even if it does not work it will still work on carpet!
It depends on what kind of cloth you have so test first! Spray then blot out with white rag/towel to see if any is coming off (easier to see on white). The bonus: it is only 3-4 dollars for a big bottle. (11/30/2009)

By cara

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November 26, 2009

I have cloth seats in my Accord and they are very dirty. I have tried washing them with soap and water, but the stains keep coming back up. Can someone help?

Richard from Charlottesville, VA


Cleaning Dirty Car Upholstery

I would bite the bullet and get it professionally detailed, maybe check in your local area and offer a trade. Sometimes it is just worth it; mine came back looking brand new, and it was 5 years old and 120,000 miles.(05/09/2006)


By Kelly

Cleaning Dirty Car Upholstery

Rather than having my son's used car detailed professionally when he got it, I bought a small Bissell carpet cleaner from Actually it may be an upholstery cleaner, because I know it has a hand-held device that's easy to use inside the car on upholstery and carpet. For the same price, I can do this myself whenever I want and I have the machine to use inside the house if I want. (05/11/2006)

By Carol in PA

Cleaning Dirty Car Upholstery

I use to get cloth seating and upholstery in cab of my big truck really dirty with grease. To get it all out, I use one part water with two parts of ammonia and a sponge not a cloth. Put on by dabbing do not rub into upholstery. If you have done that already keep washing with dabs. It may take some time, but it will he be restored like new. It will come out. Ammonia is super great for removing residue. Keep the sponge damp and keep cleaning sponge while doing this.

Annie (06/04/2006)

By Annie

Cleaning Dirty Car Upholstery

I use my carpet steam cleaner with the hand attachment. After my two very active little boys have been in the car everyday I have just about everything left on the fabric seats. I clean the car twice a year in the spring and fall unless there has been a major mess. The steam cleaner has worked every time. (08/25/2006)

By Judy

Cleaning Dirty Car Upholstery

I would try to clean it yourself before having it professionally detailed. I just bought a used car and the person I bought it from paid $150 to have it detailed. The seats and headliner are still stained and the car smelled. I got rid of the smell easily using Febreze and plan on trying Folex for the carpet and headliner. Clearly it was $150 wasted. (09/17/2007)

By Karen

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