How to Remove Stains From Car Fabric

Written by arthur barnhouse
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How to Remove Stains From Car Fabric
Stains can ruin the look of your car's interior. (stain - splat image by from

The exterior of your car or truck can look perfectly spotless, as if it were just driven off the lot for the very first time. However, you cannot be truly proud of your vehicle if the interior is stained. To have the entire package, you need to know how to properly clean the upholstery and carpet. With a little elbow grease and a few common household products, you can have your car's fabric looking as good as new.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • 1-gallon bucket
  • Hot water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • Dish detergent
  • Scrub brush
  • Absorbent towels

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  1. 1

    Go over the upholstery fabric and carpet with a vacuum cleaner. While this won't remove any set-in stains, it will make your job much easier by picking up loose dirt, dust and any other debris that have accumulated.

  2. 2

    Fill your 1-gallon bucket with hot water and add 1 cup of white vinegar and enough dish detergent to make the water soapy. This will be your stain remover. If you wish, you can replace this mixture by purchasing a can of spray-on carpet cleaner. You can also mix non-bleaching washing powder into the hot water rather than vinegar and dish detergent. All are equally capable of removing stains from your car's fabric.

  3. 3

    Dip your scrub brush into the cleaning solution and begin brushing the stains on your car's carpet or upholstery. Thoroughly and vigorously brush the fabric, making sure the cleaning solution gets deep into the fibres.

  4. 4

    Allow the cleaning solution to soak in the fabric or carpet for approximately 30 minutes. After 30 minutes have passed, place absorbent towels on the fabric to soak up the moisture. Gently dab or blot with the towels; do not rub. If you have a wet-dry vac, you can use it to pick up any excess moisture. Repeat as necessary to remove deep-set stains.

Tips and warnings

  • If you own a vehicle that has a leather or vinyl interior, go to your local auto supply store and purchase a bottle of cleaning product specifically designed for leather and vinyl. Follow the directions on the bottle for the best results. Do not use oil-based products on vinyl, as it can cause the vinyl to harden.
  • Consider renting a carpet cleaning machine or steam cleaner to remove severe stains from your car's fabric. The smaller machines, which are best for working in the cramped confines of a car or truck, can often be rented for £19 or less.

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