Having an SUV is like having an additional room in your home, but it’s on wheels. If you use it for your morning commute and taking kids wherever they need to go, it can get messy pretty fast. As a matter of fact, it’s interesting just how quickly this happens. Dirt, stains, and mystery gunk are a part of life that you can’t escape.

But, it’s a good thing that your car is for sure smaller than your house, so it’s a lot easier to clean. And to help you through it, we prepared 7 SUV interior cleaning tips to walk you through every stage.

1. General Tips

Before we dive into all the details, let’s take a look at some general things that you can do every day. No matter what type of SUV you have, these will keep it clean and in good nick for longer. On top of that, you won’t have to do all the boring and detailed cleaning so often, and that’s a great thing.

  • Throw away the garbage every time you leave the car. It will keep all the mystery odors, spills, crumbs, and stains away. It’s a good idea to take your gym equipment and papers out of the car regularly, as well.
  • If you have young kids, your cup holders are a mess. All parents deal with this, and that’s how things are. However, putting silicone cupcake liners inside them will make them very easy to clean.
  • Keep a microfiber cloth in your glove box at all times, and when you have time, use it. If you’re stuck in the traffic or waiting for the kids at soccer practice, this is a great way to make the time go by faster.
A man cleaning his dashboard with a microfiber cloth.

One of the best SUV interior cleaning tips is to keep a microfiber cloth in your glove box and use it whenever you have time.


2. Cleaning the Dashboard

When the time finally comes for the big clean, you’ll have fewer things to do if you follow all the general tips. However, there’s still a lot you need to deal with, and cleaning your dashboard and steering wheel is one of those things.

Use a dry toothbrush or canned air to remove the dirt and debris from small crevices and seams. They both work great as long as you keep the vacuum nearby. After them, it’s time for a damp microfiber cloth. You don’t want to use too many cleaning products in your car, so damp it in water mixed with a few drops of dish soap. If the solution foams up, you have too much soap in it.

When everything is clean, treat it to prevent cracks and wear. You can buy wipes for both leather and plastic, and these work great.

3. The Center Console

For your center console, repeat the process of cleaning your dashboard and steering wheel, but spend a little more time vacuuming it. If you have the attachments, use them as much as possible. You want to get into all the small crevices and cup holders, which can be tricky with a giant vacuum hose.

Sometimes, you can remove parts of your center console to wash them separately. And if this is possible in your SUV, be sure to do it, especially if you’re planning to take a long trip or ship your car. That is one of the steps to make when you prepare it for a long transfer, and you shouldn’t skip any steps along the way.

A center console of a car.

The center console has a lot of cracks and crevices, so it’s hard to keep clean.


4. Taking Care of the Seats

Seats are a big part of your car’s interior, and if you are lucky, you won’t have any dirt to deal with while cleaning them. Of course, the methods of cleaning cloth and leather seats aren’t the same, and we’ll talk about both of them in our SUV interior cleaning tips.

Cloth Seats

If you don’t want to use any strong solutions, you can make your own in an all-natural way. Mix one cup of water, a half cup of vinegar, and a half tablespoon of dish soap. Spray the solution on the stains and rub them with a wet microfiber cloth until they go away. Even if you use your SUV as an Uber and your seats are all stains, you’ll keep it clean this way.

Leather Seats

After you vacuum it, the leather is easy to take care of. Mix one cup of water and three drops of dish soap, and spray the seats with the solution. Wipe them with a cloth until they’re dry, and that is it. Of course, you can use leather wipes to condition the seats afterward.

5. Cleaning the Windows

Car windows can be a pain to clean for a couple of reasons. First, you need to clean them twice, once from the outside and the second time from the inside. And another thing is that they have a great surface area, especially on an SUV. So, you’ll have your hands full, but you can do it.

You can buy alcohol-based window cleaner and wash them with it, or you can make your own. Believe it or not, half vinegar half water in a spray bottle will do even a better job than many store-bought solutions, so be sure to try it out.

A man thinking about SUV interior cleaning tips.

Don’t worry; cleaning your windows with vinegar and water won’t leave the smell.


6. Carpets

You and anyone else you drive in your car will keep their feet on the carpet, so this is probably the dirtiest part of it. To start, remove and shake out the floor mats. Spray them and the carpet with a thin layer of baking soda, and let it sit for an hour or so. When you start vacuuming it, the dirt and grime will follow.

Now, you can pay attention to any stains that are left behind. If you used your SUV to tow a caravan and went on a camping trip recently, you’ll probably have a lot of ground-in dirt on the floor. And for those, you want to buy a heavy-duty solution and use it according to directions from the package.

7. Make Your Car Smell Nice

If you leave a lot of trash and dirt in your car, it will bring an odor that won’t be pleasant. So, if you want it to smell nice at all times, clean it regularly. But to battle already existing smells, here’s what you need to do.

Sprinkle the baking soda on the floors and seats and leave it for some time. If that doesn’t help you, mix baking soda with a few drops of your favorite essential oil, and leave it in your car overnight.

This is one of the SUV interior cleaning tips that will work better than any artificial fragrance. It will pick up all of the odors you want to get rid of, and you’ll be left with a pleasant aroma in your cabin.


About the Author

Larry Cruise


I know a lot about cars, man. I can look at any car's headlights and tell you exactly which way it's coming.

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