10 Best Cleaners for Auto Upholstery of 2022

Almost everyone has been there at some point. One minute your commute is going smoothly, but then some yahoo cuts you off. You react quickly, saving yourself and the car, but your coffee suffers. As you swerve to avoid the ne’er-do-well, the cup flies from your hand, causing it to careen into your dashboard, spill its contents, and coat your interior with the latest shade of pumpkin spice.

How We Chose the Upholstery Cleaners in This Guide

In order to help you with interior decontamination, we have compiled a list of 10 of the best upholstery cleaners. Each product tested on stained upholstery and was found to clean with the same speed and efficiency as a professional detail shop. To be clear, these products are intended to clean cloth and vinyl upholstery; some will also clean leather.

Upholstery Cleaning Tips & Tricks:

  • Using a dry soft brush before vacuuming will help loosen ground-in and stuck-on debris from your car’s interior. You will want to start with a good vacuuming. To get deep into the creases and crevices of your car seats, use the attachments that came with your vacuum cleaner.
  • Make sure you expose as much of your seats as possible by folding them forward, laying them all the way back, and sliding them back and forward as far as they will go. Front and back.
  • Test any cleaner for colorfastness in an inconspicuous spot before using it on your upholstery, treating stains with a special cleaner.
  • Liquids should be used sparingly when cleaning cloth seats. You don’t want to soak the foam padding underneath, which could lead to mold growth.
  • Although some of the products on this list claim to clean leather, fabric, and vinyl, we recommend using a specialized leather cleaner and conditioner.

Other Considerations:

Check for colorfastness before using a new cleaning product, or using a familiar one on a new surface. This involves testing the product in an inconspicuous area to ensure it will not bleed or run dyes in the fabric. According to the directions, this is said, but we’re going to assume you tend to ignore them, so we’re gonna say:

In order to guarantee optimal results, read the directions before you start. Pay close attention to specific techniques and methods.

Consider purchasing a detail brush if simply applying the product and wiping it away isn’t working. It agitates the cleaner, creating a lather and deepening the penetration.

The Best Cleaner for Auto Upholstery

1. Chemical Guys Nonsense Invinsible Super Cleaner

Chemical Guys Nonsense Invinsible Super Cleaner

Chemical Guys has been on the market for automotive detailing for several years. The Nonsense cleaner is odorless, pH balanced, safe on all surfaces (minus infotainment and gauge clusters), and dries without leaving any residue. As a result of these features, along with its high stain lifting power, this is arguably the best all-around cleaner.

Pros:

  • Safe for most surfaces
  • Excellent stain-lifting properties

Cons:

  • Not for use on screens or gauges

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2. Meguiar’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

Meguiar's Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

Meguiar’s products have been a staple of Car and Driver for years, and this carpet and upholstery cleaner maintains that reputation. Aside from its ergonomic spray nozzle design, pleasant citrus scent, and dual-action trigger (that provides a wide-angle spray for large areas, or a precise spray for spot cleaning), it also has a pleasant citrus scent.

Pros:

  • Proven brand
  • Pleasant scent

Cons:

  • On the pricey side

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3. CarGuys Premium Super Cleaner

CarGuys Premium Super Cleaner

CarGuys is a relatively new brand in the world of automotive detailing, offering uncompromising quality. Although it claims to be more affordable than competitors, the Super Cleaner checks in at one of the most expensive on this list. However, this premium is not random. Super Cleaner is both biodegradable and eco-friendly and is safe for cleaning leather as well. Super Cleaner is a true all-in-one product with no need for rinsing or vacuuming, no residue left behind, and a neutral odor.

Pros:

  • Biodegradable and eco-friendly
  • Safe for leather

Cons:

  • Not great results on glass

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4. Mothers Carpet & Upholstery All Fabric Cleaner

With humble beginnings as only aluminum wheel polish, Mothers has grown into a comprehensive line of detailing products for cars. The gentle, pH-balanced formula of Mothers Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner greatly aids in preventing colors from running. In our testing of this product, there was no residue left behind and a like-new finish. The 24-ounce capacity of this product makes it great for use around the house as well.

Pros:

  • Trusted brand
  • Very little residue

Cons:

  • Sprayer mechanism described as “wonky”

5. Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner

Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner

With “tuff” in its name, we had high expectations for this multipurpose cleaner, and it didn’t disappoint. The product is more utilitarian than the others in this roundup, so we tested it on a chair in a staffer’s cubicle that had a 10 year old coffee stain.

The stain was gone after scrubbing with Tuff Stuff, but we had to vacuum the area to dry it out. As well as cleaning car upholstery and furniture, Tuff Stuff can also be used to clean carpets, appliances, and bathrooms.

Pros:

  • Fantastic stain-lifting
  • Fine for multiple surfaces all over the house

Cons:

  • Price can vary greatly between retailers—shop wisely

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6. Armor All Oxi Magic Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

Armor All Oxi Magic Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

It specializes in fabric, vinyl, carpet, and non-clear plastics with Oxi Magic, which makes Armor All’s Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner a cleaner that is more narrowly focused. It leaves behind a bright clean-linen scent and leaves no residue. It’s easy to use, too. Spray it on, let it sit, and wipe it dry.

Pros:

  • Fresh, clean scent
  • No scrubbing required

Cons:

  • Only for certain surfaces

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7. 3D Upholstery & Carpet Shampoo

3D Upholstery & Carpet Shampoo

The 3D carpet and upholstery cleaner offers a mix of value and quantity, so you won’t have to compromise between quality and value. This shampoo comes in a 16-ounce bottle and needs to be diluted with 16 ounces of water. Additionally, you’re not purchasing the water that is normally mixed with cleaning sprays, just the shampoo.

Pros:

  • Great for long-term use
  • Good for stain fighting

Cons:

  • May require a stronger mix for tough stains

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8. Chemical Guys Foaming Citrus Fabric Clean

Chemical Guys Foaming Citrus Fabric Clean

From the Chemical Guys line, a concentrated shampoo. With its eco-friendly biodegradable formula, Fabric Clean removes stains and odors on a microscopic level without using harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia. The scent of freshly squeezed lemon lingered after use, with no residue or stains left behind.

Pros:

  • No bleach, ammonia, or harsh chemicals
  • Fresh lemon scent

Cons:

  • May not lift tough stains

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9. Ultima Interior Shampoo Gel

Ultima Interior Shampoo Gel

Among its peers on this list, Ultima’s gel stands out as one of the best comprehensive detailing products. In contrast to liquids or foams, Ultima uses a gel-like liquid imbued with a solution to coat treated areas with an antibacterial shield, Active Defense. Moreover, Ultima works well on almost any surface, including leather. The formula easily dissolves stains without requiring rinsing or vacuuming.

Pros:

  • Antibacterial formula
  • Good for leather

Cons:

  • Rather pricey

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10. Turtle Wax Power Out Upholstery Cleaner & Protector

Turtle Wax Power Out Upholstery Cleaner & Protector

The 18-ounce Power Out can is fitted with a removable plastic brush attachment, so it is easy to get the cleaner into target areas for better penetration and coverage. Turtle Wax is known for the affordability of its products, and Power Out is no exception. The cheap-feeling brush attachment showed that it could cause abrasion damage if used too aggressively, which offsets its low cost.

Pros:

  • Scrub brush included
  • Also protects carpet

Cons:

  • Residue feels slightly greasy

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