How to Clean Vinyl Car Interior

You might never recapture that new car smell, but you can replicate a new car shine.


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Forget the car wash! Do your own car detailing using the car cleaning secrets in this Howcast video series.

You Will Need

  • Two clean sponges
  • A bottle of vinyl cleaner
  • A bottle of vinyl protectant
  • A cotton cloth
  • A vacuum


  1. Step 1

    Dust off vinyl areas

    With a damp sponge, dust off all of the vinyl areas in your car, typically the dashboard, glove compartment and sides of the doors, and, if you have an old car, possibly the seats.

  2. If your vacuum has a brush attachment, use it for a thorough dry dusting.

  3. Step 2

    Spray cleaner on spots

    Remove any stains or spots by spraying a vinyl cleaner on the dirty areas.

  4. Step 3

    Wipe away with sponge

    Wipe away the sprayed spots with a sponge.

  5. Step 4

    Pour vinyl protectant on cloth

    Pour a small amount of vinyl protectant onto a clean cotton cloth. Do not apply the vinyl protectant directly on the surface since this could lead to an uneven or blotchy finish.

  6. There are two types of vinyl protectants: shiny and matte. Test yours in a hidden area, like under the dashboard, to decide which look you prefer.

  7. Step 5

    Allow protectant to sit

    Allow the protectant to sit on the vinyl sections for at least 10 minutes.

  8. Don't apply vinyl protectant to the steering wheel or the pedals -- you don't want either of those parts to be slippery!

  9. Step 6

    Wipe away excess residue

    Wipe away the excess residue using another clean cotton cloth.

  10. Step 7

    Continue apply protectant

    Continue applying coats of protectant until you reach shine capacity. Then bask in the glow!

  11. In Starsky & Hutch, the detectives' Ford Torino featured cloth seats in the first season -- the next year they were vinyl.