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How to clean the car interior

Just like with home interiors, knowing how to clean inside of your car is important for a number of reasons. Alongside living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens, car interiors can harbour grime, dust mites, pet hair and microbiomes.

24 January 2023
Man cleaning car

To ensure you capture these particles, Dyson's stick vacuums can convert to a car vacuum cleaner. Combining pioneering technology with powerful filtration and motorisation, our handheld attachments become the perfect cordless car vacuum for controlled and precise cleans.

Cars present unique obstacles when it comes to capturing dust and fine particles. The upholstery, crevices and narrow spaces require optimised accessories for proper cleans. To achieve this, see how to clean your car interior using Dyson’s technology.

Why using a car vacuum cleaner is so important

The angular design of a car interior makes it easy for dust, pet hair and debris to accumulate. Over time, this can lead to dust mite, pollen and bacteria build-ups, making cars home to allergen-inducing particles.

To improve air quality and remove particles which are microscopic in size, Dyson’s vacuums utilise advanced and industry-leading filtration technology. Dyson Gen5detect, the latest in Dyson’s cordless vacuums with whole machine HEPA filtration, can trap 99.99% of particles down to 0.1 microns1.

Tips on how to clean your car interior

Just like with homes, the best cleaning process with a car is to tackle each area separately. From how to clean car seats to removing ground-in dirt from footwells, see how to clean inside of cars effectively with Dyson’s attachments below.

  • 1. Tools and accessories for your car vacuum cleaner

    Before beginning your clean, gather all the materials and accessories you’ll need:

    1. Dyson’s cordless vacuums transform into handheld devices. Your car vacuum cleaner can be used alongside vacuum attachments like the scratch-free dusting brush, Light pipe crevice tool and Stubborn dirt brush.
    2. Rubbish and recycling bags.
    3. Containers to hold car possessions like manuals and sunglasses while you clean.
    4. A damp cloth.

    2. Clearing interior space

    Before using your cordless car vacuum, start by clearing away any loose items and possessions. Check under seats, in side pockets and cup holders, using containers to place possessions to the side. Leave all car doors open for ventilation during the clean. Finally, take out the floor mats from the footwells. These can be cleaned with the Stubborn dirt brush away from the car. The car should be completely emptied before vacuuming, to reveal any dirt, pet hair and debris in the upholstery and side interiors.

  • 3. How to clean car seats

    Car seats feature soft upholstery, which require special tools to ensure the materials don’t get damaged while cleaning. Use the Hair screw tool on your handheld car vacuum cleaner to tackle this area. Just like with home cleans, start from top to bottom. This ensures any dust that becomes dislodged and falls is captured in the final sweep. Start at the front of the car with both seats moved as far back as possible.

    For how to clean car seats, start with the Light pipe crevice tool to vacuum along the seams. Next, the Hair screw tool is used to vacuum seat upholstery. For extra power on seats which have accumulated dust, use ‘boost mode’ on your handheld vacuum.

  • 4. Vacuum interior sides

    Flat surfaces like the dashboard can be addressed next. Because of the materials in place, it’s important to clean using only tools that have soft bristles. Opt for the Scratch-free dusting brush and Quick release combination tool to clear dust from these delicate surfaces. After vacuuming, go over these areas with a damp cloth to remove and marks or stains. For side pockets, slim tools like Awkward gap tool and Light pipe crevice tool illuminate and reach deep down. For particularly ground-in dirt, a damp cloth can be used after vacuuming.

  • 5. Tackling the car floor

    The last area to use your cordless car vacuum on is the floor. Begin by addressing dried debris like dirt and food. The stiff nylon bristles in the Stubborn dirt brush are designed to lift dried-in debris from high-traffic areas. Once tough dirt has been cleared, you can vacuum over flooring. Use the Mini-motorised tool to go over the general area. For pet owners, the Hair screw tool can be utilised here to pick up hair and pet dander from the boot, floor wells and other soft surfaces.

  • 6. How to deep clean your car

    Sometimes, cars call for heavy-duty cleans. If you don’t have a Stubborn dirt brush, the Quick release combination tool can be used on your cordless car vacuum for mud and ground in dirt. Pulling the soft nylon bristles back, go over floor areas. The Quick release combination tool is designed with a wide nozzle to help cover more surface and includes a nylon lint picker to lift tricky debris.

Keep reading to see how to clean hard floors effectively.

[1] Filtration tested against ASTM F3150, tested in Boost mode by independent third-party, SGS-IBR Laboratories US in 2022. Filtration efficiency is calculated by comparing the number of standardised dust particles entering the vacuum cleaner against those released. The capture rate may differ depending on actual environment and the mode.

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