How to steam clean a car carpet

Updated February 21, 2017

Steam cleaning a carpet is the best way to thoroughly rid it of dirt and stains. Cleaning a car’s carpets with a steam cleaner goes well beyond vacuuming. As it removes any foul odours lingering in the carpet, steam cleaning will make your car's carpets look almost new.

Remove the small carpets. Shake them to remove the worst of the dirt, rocks and larger items that might be on the top surface.

Vacuum all the car's carpeting, including the small foot rugs. Use an appropriate vacuum attachment to reach into the small spaces.

Add attachments to the steam cleaner to reach small spaces of the car. Activate the steam cleaner. According to directions, add cleaner to the steamer or apply it to the carpet.

Run the steam cleaner attachment over the carpets once it has steam. Clean the small rugs in the same manner depending on the steam cleaner.

Allow the car carpets to dry completely with the doors open. Replace the small rugs after the rugs and interior car carpets are dry.


Try to remove the small carpets without spilling too much on the rest of the interior carpet. Make sure the car carpet is well vacuumed; a steam cleaner cannot pick up large debris. Some steam cleaners require pressing a button to spray chemical and water before being used like a carpet cleaner to suck up the excess water and cleaner; others use the steam to push out the dirt beneath the carpet. For steam cleaners that push out the dirt, move the dirt from the far side toward the door of the car and push the dirt outside the car.


Read all the steam cleaner directions. Make sure the steam cleaner you use does not need chemicals added to the water. The ideal steam cleaner for a car should have attachments that can reach into small spaces. It should also be able to remove excess water and dirt like a carpet cleaner. Depending on the steam cleaner, cleaners might be added directly to the carpet or they might be added to the machine.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum
  • Steam cleaner
  • Water
  • Cleaning solution
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About the Author

Helen Jain has been writing online articles since December 2009 for various websites. She has studied English and psychology and hopes to get a Ph.D. in English in the future.