“What’s that smell?” A question no one wants to utter or hear anytime they’re getting into their vehicle. For many of us, our cars are not only our main source of transportation but a catch-all for our gear, a mobile cafeteria, and much more. Spending so much time in your car inevitably means that it’s going to get dusty, muddy, salty, or smelly.

To combat the continued soiling of your car’s interior, there are a vast array of products designed to clean, shine, deodorize, and disinfect. And, if you’re like a lot of folks, it’s unrealistic to pay for a deep detailing every week. Or, maybe you just enjoy the satisfaction of cleaning your own car. Whatever your reasoning for needing to refresh the inside of your ride, be sure to check out our guide to keeping your car’s interior looking and smelling like the day you rolled off the lot. At eBay Motors, our list of must-have items will make it easy to do a quick once-over or a deep spring cleaning.

1. Vacuums

Interior Car Care Products

Shop for vacuums at eBay Motors

When vacuuming your car, start by removing your dirty floor mats and setting them outside the vehicle. While it’s perfectly acceptable to use a regular household vacuum or a shop-vac, using a proper car vacuum can really step up your cleaning game. Most car vacuums will come with special power cords that can plug into any 12-volt outlet inside your vehicle. Others might be cordless, or have the option of both. 12-volt car vacuums are convenient because you don’t need to worry about annoying extension cords and whether the vacuum will reach to all the places you need it to.

Another handy feature of a car-specific vacuum is that most of them come with accessories that are specifically designed to get at those awkward and hard-to-reach areas between and under seats, in trunks, center consoles, etc. Some even come with a cool vent cleaning tool.

2. Upholstery Cleaner

Interior Car Care Products

Shop for upholstery cleaner at eBay Motors

Next up on the list of interior car cleaning must-haves is a high-quality, heavy-duty upholstery cleaner. There are a plethora of options here. If you have mainly leather interior, you’re going to want to select a different upholstery cleaner than if you have cloth interior. Most automotive carpet cleaning products will come with a rugged scrub brush or tool that helps you to loosen up caked-on or deeply set dirt, debris, and mud.

Many upholstery cleaners come in an aerosol foam or a spray option, depending on your preference or the type of upholstery you’re cleaning. Upholstery cleaners often utilize a fresh scent so you can start to get that stale spilled coffee stink out of your car’s carpets. If you happen to be sensitive to perfumes, be sure to get one that’s scent-free.  

3. Glass Cleaner

Interior Car Care Products

Shop for glass cleaner at eBay Motors

Automotive glass can be a fickle beast to clean. Sure, you can use regular household glass cleaner, but using a reliable automotive glass cleaner will help ensure that you get a streak-free clean that is safe to use on tinted glass as well as regular clear glass. A good way to avoid streaky cleaner marks on your car’s windows is to be sure to wash your windows in the shade. Cleaning automotive glass in direct sunlight can cause the product to dry unevenly and leave behind annoying marks or streaks that tend to distract you in the face of oncoming headlights or sunlight.

Automotive glass cleaners come in sprays, aerosols, or disposable wipes. Sometimes you can also get glass cleaner and restorer in a paste that also creates a hydrophobic seal that prevents moisture and condensation from adhering to your car’s windows and windshield.

4. Dashboard Cleaner

Interior Car Care Products

Shop for dashboard cleaner at eBay Motors

The dashboard of your car collects a ton of dust and debris over time. It’s recommended to use a specific dashboard cleaner that’s safe to use on plastic or leather dashboards and won’t cause damage to your car’s dash or console components. Some dashboard cleaners will have additives that can help restore an older, faded, or weathered-looking dash to its original, like-new condition. Others have a chemical make up that leaves behind a matte finish that isn’t sticky or grimy and helps to prevent the attraction of new dust and dirt.

While most dashboard cleaners come in a typical spray bottle, some come as a putty or gel that is designed to fit around small, complicated areas, like vents, cup holders, ash trays and more to pull out debris, dust, and dirt from otherwise impossible to reach places.

5. Deodorizers and Air Fresheners

Interior Car Care Products

Shop for deodorizers and air fresheners at eBay Motors

Last on the list of key interior car cleaning elements is the ever popular automotive air freshener or car deodorizer. Depending on how offensive and stale smelling your car interior is, there’s almost certainly a product that can tackle even some of the toughest odors (assuming there are any odors left behind after the thorough cleaning efforts listed above). You can get everything from non-toxic, environmentally friendly essential oil air fresheners, to inconspicuous cans of gel air freshener that hide beneath your car seats, aerosol spray deodorizers, stick on vent air fresheners, and of course, the quintessential hanging tree or pendant that you display prominently on your rearview mirror.

With so many style and application options for car air fresheners, it’s also no surprise that you can get virtually any scent imaginable. Have a favorite tropical scent? No problem? Want to achieve that new car smell? There’s plenty of options. Heck, you want a car that smells like bacon? Yep, you can have that too. Go crazy!

Got a tip for us? Email: tips@motor1.com