How to Clean Car Carpets: Some Easy Tips

A comfortable and good-smelling car interior is what everyone desires. Knowing how to clean car carpets is essential in keeping your car lovely and comfortable for you and other people who’ll use the vehicle.

Car carpets usually have floor mats that keep them from receiving so much dirt and particles. Yet, it still receives its share of those soda spills, debris, food particles, mud, and other things that cause stains, making it necessary to wash them from time to time.

How to Clean Car Carpet Step by Step

It is best to clean your car carpets often to ensure your car always smells good because the organic matter the car has collected begins to rot, molds growth due to moisture, and makes the car smell with time.

Maintaining a clean car interior by cleaning the car carpet will make your car remain valuable and gives it a better resell value. We have listed simple steps to cleaning your car carpets and have them smelling fresh and comfortable.

How to Clean Car Carpets

The materials and equipment you need include:

  • Carper cleaner
  • Scrub brush with soft bristles
  • Stain remover
  • Microfiber towel
  • Car Vacuum

Pre-clean the car carpet: begin by removing all the debris, trash, and other particles that the carpet has collected over time. Also, ensure to tidy up your car and safely remove items vital to you and keep them safe.

Bring out the car floor mats: bring out the floor mats and shake them outside to get rid of excess dust and other loose bits. You may also wash them before returning them to their positions in the car.

Vacuum the car: next step is to vacuum the vehicle to remove all dirt hidden in every nook and crannies of the car carpet. You should also vacuum the seats and the entire car to pull up all loose particles.

Use the carpet cleaner: spray a carpet cleaner on the carpet’s surface and leave it for some minutes according to the direction that came with the cleaner so that the carpet can absorb it.

Scrub the carpet: when you’ve allowed the cleaner to stay for the required number of minutes, grab the brush and begin to scrub out the stains. Ensure to scrub slowly while moving in a circular motion, as that helps to remove dust and dirt from your car carpet.

You can repeat this process, spraying the cleaner and scrubbing with a brush until you’ve cleaned off tough stains. Otherwise, you can also use a car steam cleaner or a portable carpet washing machine such as the Bissell little green 1400m to clean the car carpet thoroughly.

Rinse the clean carpet: the next step after scrubbing off the stains is to dab the carpet using a wet and clean microfiber towel to remove the soap. You may have to use about 2 or 3 towels to remove as much soap as possible and remember not to make the carpet too wet to avoid mold.

Allow the car to dry out: this last step is necessary because if the vehicle doesn’t dry well, it’ll attract mildew. Therefore, open all your car doors and let the carpet air dry. You may also park your car in a sunny place to hasten this process.

It may take up to 2 hours or more for the car to dry correctly, and once the carpet has dried, you can return the floor mats to their positions in the vehicle, and your vehicle is set for a new ride.

How to Clean Car Carpet Mats

Car carpets can get dirty as they are positioned to protect the car carpet from spills and dirt. Removing them from the car and dusting them is one of the steps involved in cleaning car carpets.

But, aside from just dusting them, you can go ahead and clean them thoroughly as you have cleaned the car carpet itself to ensure you have an entirely clean car interior that smells fresh. Here are easy steps to wash your car carpet mats.

Take out the car mats: take the mats out of your vehicle and remove dirt by shaking them vigorously. You may slap them on a solid surface to achieve a better result or use a vacuum to pull up loose dirt.

Apply cleaner: place the mats on concrete and spray a fabric cleaner on them if they are fabric but use dish soap for plastic mats. Spray some water on the mats using a water hose to help further remove caked dirt.

Scrub the mats: scrub the mats with the help of a stiff-bristled brush while circularly moving your hands. Ensure to scrub until the stains have gone off.

Rinse the mats: after a thorough scrubbing, rinse the mats with sufficient water until you rinse off all the soap bubbles.

Allow to dry: you can use a vacuum to dry off excess water from the mats and also use a clean microfiber towel to apply pressure to remove extra water. Then, air dries the mats.

best way to clean car carpet and seats

How to Clean Car Carpets Without a Machine

So, now you know how to give your car carpet a thorough cleaning to remove all the dirt but what if you don’t have access to car carpet cleaning machines? Well, we’ll be showing you how to clean car carpets without a machine as there are other ways out.

You can use many homemade cleaners made with household products to clean your car carpets and make them look as good as new ones. You may also use a good scrubbing brush in place of drill brush attachments to remove tough stains from your car carpets.

So, here are steps on how to clean car carpets without extractors or other machines used for cleaning car carpets.

Remove the floor mats: the first step is to remove the floor mats from the car and wash them properly. You’ll begin by shaking them out or hitting them on a solid surface to remove dust and dirt particles.

After shaking them off, lay the mats on a solid surface such as a concrete block or a work table and wash them with soap and water. You may scrub with a sponge to ensure you clean them properly. Then, rinse and hang them to dry correctly.

Remove loose dirt from the car: the next thing is to get straight to remove all the dust and loose dirt from the floor of your vehicle. You can use a vacuum cleaner if you have one, but if not, you can do a thorough sweeping and ensure the debris is gone.

Use homemade cleaners: it is best to prepare the cleaners in a spray bottle to help you control the quantity you apply to the carpet. Although, a regular bottle with some pokes on the cap can suffice in the absence of a spray bottle. Some of the cleaners you can prepare and use at home include:

Baking Soda: you can clean the car carpet with baking soda added to warm water, and you’ll have the stains out in a few minutes. You’ll have to pour 1/4 cup of the baking soda powder into 1 cup of warm water to have a thin fizzy paste.

Next, apply the mixture to the most visible stains on your car carpet and scrub well using a nylon brush. Leave the mixture for about half an hour after scrubbing before using a clean cloth to wipe it off. Spread to air dry.

Borax, Soap, and any Essential oil: if your concern is on how to clean heavily soiled car carpet, then you may want to try this homemade mixture. Add two tablespoons of borax, three tablespoons of soap, and few drops of any essential oil into 2 cups of boiling water.

Apply the mixture to the car carpet and scrub in circles using a nylon brush. Scrub till you notice the stains are gone or have faded to a large extent, then wipe with a clean cloth and allow it to dry.

The borax and soap will get the stains out, while the essential oil helps condition the car carpet and makes the entire car interior smell good.

Hydrogen Peroxide: there are many effective car carpet cleaning hacks, and using hydrogen peroxide with foaming toothpaste is one of them. Just combine 3% hydrogen with toothpaste and make a paste.

Apply the mixture on stained parts of the car carpet and leave it for about 5 minutes. Then, use a brush or sponge to scrub off the stains and dry the extra foam with a clean microfiber towel. Spread the carpet to air-dry.

Some other homemade car carpet cleaners you can use are rubbing alcohol and oxi clean, dish soap and white vinegar, paint thinner with starch, and glass cleaner. They are all excellent for cleaning car carpets without a machine.

How To Clean Your Car’s Carpets at Home YouTube Video

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you clean dirty car carpets?

You can clean a dirty car carpet by taking out the floor mats and cleaning them. Then, use a vacuum to suck up loose dirt from the carpet, edges, and underneath the seats.

After vacuuming, apply a good car carpet cleaner or shampoo to the carpet and leave it for some minutes. Then, brush off the stains.

You may use a carpet cleaning machine like rug doctor pro deep carpet cleaner or a steam cleaner if your car carpet is very dirty as they’ll make water and shampoo to get to every fiber of the carpet, remove extra water through suction, and give a nearly dried carpet.

But if you don’t have any of these machines, use a wet towel to dab out the soap as much as possible after scrubbing the carpet. Then, spread out the carpet to air dry.

What household product can I use to clean my car carpet?

One of the household products you can use for cleaning car carpets is white vinegar and water solution. Combine an equal amount of each of them plus few tablespoons of dish soap in a spray bottle. Spray small quantities on the carpet per time and brush.

You can also mix baking soda and water, especially warm water, and pour them into a spray bottle for easy use. You’ll need to mix 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of water to make a watery paste. Spray the solution on the car carpet and scrub off stains with a brush.

How do I shampoo my car carpet?

To shampoo a car carpet, you’ll need a brush with stiff bristles and a standard carpet shampoo in a spray bottle. When you have them, clean the floor mats. Treat heavy stains such as oil before shampooing as they may not go with just shampooing.

You can do this pretreatment using a cleaner that is specially made to treat such heavy stains. Rub it on the stain and wash it after some time. Then, spray the shampoo on the carpet and work it in with a brush.

It is essential not to apply the shampoo in excess as too much application can cause the car carpet to have molds easily. Remember to press a clean towel on the carpet to remove excess water until the carpet becomes less damp.

Open your car doors and windows to let the carpet air dry. You may also face an electric fan in your vehicle to help the carpet to dry faster. You can also check out my previous write-up on can I use shampoo to wash my car?

How do you get old stains out of car carpets?

You can use vinegar and baking soda. Apply baking soda powder on the stain, then get a spray bottle, combine white vinegar, 1 cup of water, and some drops of dish soap. Spray the baking soda powder mixture and leave it for some hours before you scrub with a brush.

How can I make my car carpet look new?

You can make your car carpet look new by cleaning it often because car carpets receive a lot of abuse daily through spills from drinks, dust, food bits, hairs, grease, and lots more.

All these can make the car carpet look dull and old after some time without cleaning, but frequent cleaning will help restore your car carpet and make it look new.

Can I use dish soap on the car carpet?

You can use dish soap on car carpet only if you add it to a mixture such as water and white vinegar. But it is not good to use only dish soap for car carpets because you may not be able to rinse out all the soap residue from the carpet, and the residue will attract the worst stains to the carpet.

Does baking soda clean the car carpet?

Yes, baking soda is great for cleaning car carpets as it helps to remove stains and foul odor. To clean the car carpet with baking soda, sprinkle the powder on the stained area and allow it to stay for some minutes before vacuuming.

You can also combine baking soda and water to get a watery paste. Put this paste on the stains on the car carpet and let it stay there for some time. Then, use a hard-bristled brush to brush off the stains.

Final Words

If your car carpet is clean, your car will smell fresh, and you’ll enjoy your driving time. That’s why we’ve listed these easy steps on how to clean car carpets to help you keep your car carpet looking clean, new, and healthy.

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Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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