Determining what the best car interior cleaner is isn’t actually a black and white answer. Vehicles will come equipped with all sorts of different materials used in the interior.
Your dash panels, door panels, and small trim can contain plastic, vinyl, leather, and sometimes even metal. Understanding what kind of interior you have is the first step to getting those interiors nice and clean.
The best car interior cleaner isn’t specific. It’s actually your point of preference to determine which one works the best for you. The Non-Sense cleaner from Chemical Guy’s is a great choice for almost all surfaces.
The reason why we say there isn’t a “best” is because not everyone has the same style of taste. Some car interior cleaners leave a glossy finish and some leave a matte/dull finish.
Other cleaners kind of have a sweet spot right in the middle. This wont actually make your dash look wet/glossy, but it will make it look like new if you take your time!
Have no fear though! We will actually have 3 of the best interior cleaners we recommend for all surfaces and for all visual needs.
When we determined what was the best car interior cleaner, we took these 4 key factors into consideration:
Cost of the product.
Performance of the product.
Was the product easy to use?
How many applications were needed?
We asked ourselves these 4 questions as because we are DIY’ers, obviously we want the most cost effective option that gives the greatest results! Lets get started!
Best Car Interior Cleaner – Gloss!
As we stated above there a ton of a different cleaners available on the market. Some people like that wet and fresh clean look, where some just want a new look without any signs of anyone cleaning it.
This section is all dedicated to make your inside look glossy and wet!
Sorry to push you aside for once Chemical Guy’s but we think Meguires has you beat in the gloss game. Now while this technically isn’t a cleaner, it is a protection product instead, it can be used for car interior cleaning as well.
Meguire’s Supreme Shine Protectant does an excellent job at cleaning, protecting, and cleaning your dash all in one go. This cleaner didn’t have a terrible odor, got our dash panels clean, and the gloss effect it has is incredible!
While we normally are not the biggest fans of glossy interiors, this cleaner made it literally look like we put clear coat on our dash panel. The wetness and color restoration we got from this cleaner was a night and day difference.
What really got us is how simple the product was to use, it’s very straight forward.
You simply spray some product onto a microfiber towel/brush, scrub it into the surface you are working on, then buff of with a dry clean separate microfiber towel. We’ve used this stuff quite a few times on many different vehicles to see what would happen.
No matter what surface we applied this cleaner to, it did an excellent job cleaning it up.
The cost of this product for us was around $9 at the time and we picked it up from our local Advance Auto Parts.
If you are looking for a super simple and easy cleaner/protectant that applies some gloss, we promise, the Supreme Shine Protectant will not disappoint!
Best Car Interior Cleaner – Natural!
This is our personal favorite out of all the different styles of clean you can achieve. We personally noticed when using a gloss cleaner on the top of the dashboard it tends to reflect up onto the windshield.
Because of the way light “bounces” having a higher gloss shine will cause some spots to be more prone to lighting than others.
Going with a “Natural” look completely changes this.
The natural look doesn’t look wet or dull, it just looks like how it did new. We of course used our favorite, the Chemical Guy’s Non-Sense cleaner. It’s odorless leaves a like new finish and is super simple to utilize.
We picked this up once again from our local Advance Auto Parts, we bought online, picked up in store (they usually have a 20% off discount globally). The price on this cleaner was $11.99 before applying any promotional discounts.
This wasn’t a huge jump in price which was a major pro and it gives you the same size bottle roughly. Where this cleaner really stands out though is how much you are actually getting for the money.
This car interior cleaner specifically states on the instructions it works best when diluted. This means you want to mix some of the cleaner in with some clean water (drinking water works best) before use.
Just like you did before you are going to want to spray it onto your rag/towel first and then apply it by hand to the dash panel.
Spraying cleaner inside of your car can lead to over spray. Some cleaners don’t work on all surfaces so it’s best to apply it to the rag first to prevent over spray from happening.
Once you have applied your cleaner just like last time, remove it using another clean separate microfiber towel.
The end result should be a “like new” look. It wont be wet/glossy looking but it wont be completely dull/matte either. It’s our personal favorite!
Best Car Interior Cleaner – Matte!
If you’re looking for that dull/matte look, this entire section is dedicated to you! A common trend these days is the “matte black” look for your vehicle. Spraying a black color with no clear coat/gloss added is what achieves this effect.
Some people want to match their matte outside with a matte inside. You may even have a glossy exterior but don’t want any sunlight reflections in your interior. A matte finish will help with that.
Once again were going to recommend another Chemical Guy’s product. The Inner Clean Quick Detailer!
This works almost identical to the Non-sense cleaner and the Meguires gloss. Spray it on your towel and buff it in. Once you have the product successfully applied, go ahead and remove it with a separate clean microfiber towel.
Once you get the hang of things you can actually do all of these steps using only 1 microfiber towel. Use 1 side for your cleaner, and keep the other side dry/clean to use for the removal of your cleaning product.
This is such a versatile product and that’s why we love it. It doesn’t have a gloss effect to it, leaves your panels looking like new and the best part is, it can almost be used on everything.
This product will work on your dash, glass, fabrics, etc… you can use it virtually anywhere in your vehicle. As usual make sure you do a small test area first on each surface to make sure it will work great!
The end results is a matte finish that looks incredibly clean without any residue! Great product with great results!
Final Tips/Quality Of Life Changes!
Technically – There Is No “Best”
This couldn’t be 100% more accurate, technically speaking, there is no such thing as the “best car interior cleaner” there are however companies that spend extra time and money in research for this specific field.
Typically we like to stick with companies that only do “detailing” all their research, time, and money specifically goes into the development of detailing products. We want the best product for the best budget.
However the other thing you need to take into consideration is all the different finishes/styles of cleaner there are. Some people hate a glossy finish while others love them. This leaves those not liking glossy finishes to be left in the dark.
Our opinions of the best car interior cleaner are up above. We gave our feedback and opinions based on cost, ease of use, and how well it performed, that’s really all the data you can go by!
Every cleaner will work differently and have different results, that is why it is up to YOU to determine which one draws you the most. Do you want a glossy car with a cherry scented interior? Done! What about a matte finish with a strawberry sent? They got that too!
Long story short, experiment, find out works best for you and stick with it!
Remember – Attention To Detail.
You want to clean your car, not skim it. Get some detailing grade brushes so you don’t scratch the paint or damage your dash. Really spend the time to get in all the small cracks/crevices to get that “like new” feel.
When cleaning your interior don’t just wipe the product on and buff it off either. Take your time get it in the dash well and all over in the small hard to reach areas. Wipe it on, let it set for a few seconds (10-30 works best) and then remove the product/scrub it off.
Going above and beyond is what’s going to separate you from the rest when it comes to a super clean interior.
Use The Cleaners As Intended!
If it says not to use your cleaning product on rubber but it’s okay to use on plastic, be safe and follow those instructions carefully. Some cleaners can distort/melt plastic, dry out rubber, the list goes on and on.
A lot of negative things can happen from detailing, but it typically happens to those who do not follow the instructions that were given.
When you are shopping for your cleaning products in store, make sure you physically read the back label for the proper instructions.
A great example of this was when we were talking about the Non-sense cleaner, instructions state it works BEST diluted but isn’t mandatory. However since you want the best results, follow the instructions, mix it accordingly, and get it done right the first time!
Other than that, you have reached the end of our guide! Don’t forget to checkout our guide to cleaning your car carpet as well! You have a clean interior! Get them carpets clean as well!