Car carpets and interiors can take a serious beating over time. Dirt, grime and contaminants are often ground too far into the fibers of the carpet to be removed by vacuuming alone. With the right cleaning product, scrubbing car carpets clean is easy to do and a great way to inexpensively maintain your car’s interior. Here’s how to clean your car’s carpets at home:
I tackled interior carpet cleaning as a part of restoring our ineptechs Project Rodeo SUV. The interior of the Rodeo, especially the trunk, was stained with nearly 12 years worth of mud and dirt. And with no floor mats, the dirt was ground directly into the carpeted floor of the vehicle.
You can watch my full interior cleaning process, including the carpet cleaning, in the video embedded below:
ineptechs Video Tutorial: How to Clean Car Carpet at Home
What You’ll Need
- VacuumA shop vac or your home vacuum cleaner will work just fine, but I prefer to use the coin-operated car cleaning vacuums, often found at self-serve car washes, as they have more power to suck up difficult debris.
- Turtle Wax OXY Power Out Performance Plus Carpet CleanerFor this project I used a can of Turtle Wax branded carpet cleaner foam. I picked it up at my local auto parts store for around $7. One can was plenty to clean the entire interior of a mid-size SUV.I chose it purely for its convenience. The Turtle Wax carpet cleaner’s cap doubles as a carpet scrubbing brush for loosening up tough deposits.
Step 1: Remove Trash & Vacuum The Carpets Thoroughly
Before you start the carpet foam scrubbing process, it’s important to remove as much loose debris as possible. Start by removing any trash and large debris from the floor of the car.
Then, use a vacuum to suck up loose dirt and smaller debris from the carpet. Your home vacuum cleaner will work, but a more powerful shop vac or coin-operated car wash vacuum will get the job done faster and more effectively.
Step 2: Spray The Turtle Wax Carpet Cleaner On Tougher Spots First
To use the Turtle Wax OXY Power Out Carpet Cleaner, first shake the can well, then spray it directly on the carpet. Focus on smaller, tougher and deeper stains first. It’s easier to remove the most difficult spots by working only on those areas first.
Step 3: Scrub
Using the scrubbing brush cap on the Turtle Wax can, aggressively scrub the foam into the stains. Work the foam in vigorously to loosen up the debris that is stuck deep in the carpet fibers.
Step 4: Dab Up Remaining Foam
Use a clean cloth to dab up any leftover cleaning foam from the carpet. Don’t worry about getting every last drop. The foam will dissipate on its own after a few minutes.
After the foam has dissipated completely, check the progress on the spot removal. If the spot or stain is still visible, repeat steps two through four until the spot is gone.
Step 5: Spray The Carpet Cleaner On Larger Sections Of Carpet
Now that the deepest and toughest dirt spots have been removed, spray the foam across large sections of the carpet at a time.
Step 6: Scrub and Dab The Rest Of The Foam
Scrub the larger sections of foam into the carpet. Rather than focusing on aggressively scrubbing the foam deep into the carpet (like in Step 3), use moderate pressure to spread and rub the foam across the floor. Work until the entire carpet’s surface has been foamed and scrubbed.
Once the scrubbing and spreading is complete, use a clean cloth to wipe and dab up most of the remaining foam. The rest of the carpet cleaning foam will dissipate on its own after several minutes.
Step 7: Vacuum [Optional]
Turtle Wax recommends that you vacuum the carpet again after you’ve finished the carpet foaming and scrubbing. I found this step unnecessary. Dabbing and wiping it up with a cloth did the trick.
I was impressed with how well the Turtle Wax OXY Power Out Performance Plus Carpet Cleaner works. It was an effective all-in-one solution that removed all of the grime in the carpets of the Project Rodeo. For less than $10 I was able to restore the Rodeo’s carpet to like-new condition.