Motor1 Reviews Team Take:

  • The best car interior cleaners on the market are from top brands including Chemical Guys, 303, Armor All, and Meguiar’s when it comes to application, scent, UV protection, and stain removal.
  • Depending on the type of product, costs may vary. But most of the products we recommend here are in the $10 to $30 range and should offer many cleans.
  • You’ll want to consider the surfaces that each car interior cleaner can be applied to so you can get the best product for both refreshing and maintaining your car’s upholstery.
Best Overall
Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner and Protectant

An interior cleaner suitable for all surfaces.

Best Value
303 Interior Cleaner

An interior cleaner that won’t break the bank.

Best Leather Cleaner
Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner Kit

A leather cleaner that shines over the rest.

Best Cleaning Wipes
Armor All Car Cleaning and Leather Wipes

Interior wipes that go above and beyond.

Best Shine
Meguiar’s Ultimate Protectant

An interior cleaner that leaves a noticeable shine.

Interior cleaning is an essential part of car care that can be easily overlooked. Great car interior cleaners not only keep the interior of your car presentable, they also improve its health and prevent further damage over time.

Keep in mind that not every soap is appropriate for interior detailing. We asked Rob Harper, Director of Product Development and Tech Support at Ziebart International, about the biggest changes he’s seen during his more than 20 years in the detailing industry. He said this about interior cleaners:

The level of electronics has changed a tremendous amount [and there are] things we have to be careful of. Certainly, we don’t want to get the vital electronics in the car wet. But also some chemicals adversely affect things like touch screens and other electronics in the car.”

Fortunately, there are several interior detailing products specifically designed for sensitive electronics and other common car surfaces. Our team of experts recommends some of our favorite options in this review.

 


 

Car Interior Cleaner Reviews

Five of the best interior car cleaners that were tested and reviewed by our auto team.

For this review, our team thoroughly tested and evaluated each car interior cleaner based on each item’s application, scent, ability to remove dust and stains, and UV protection. The scores in each category are compiled into a single overall rating that ranges from 1.0 to 5.0 stars.

What Is The Best Car Interior Cleaner?

We named the Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner And Protectant, 303 Interior Cleaner, Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner Kit, Armor All Car Cleaning And Leather Wipes, and Meguiar’s Ultimate Protectant as the best-rated car interior cleaners on the market in 2024.

Brand/ModelCostOverall RatingAward
Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner$12 to $554.9Best Overall
303 Interior Cleaner$104.9Best Value
Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner Kit$304.9Best Leather Cleaner
Armor All Car Cleaning Wipes$154.8Best Cleaning Wipes
Meguiar’s Ultimate$204.4Best Shine

*Because cost data fluctuates, the prices in the table above are approximate values that our team regularly updates.

Car Interior Cleaner Ratings: Our Testing Process

After looking at factors such as effectiveness, versatility, customer ratings, and prices, our product testing team ordered the car interior cleaners that best met these standards. A team member tested each product on a 2003 Ford Focus Zx3, taking note of how easily the car interior cleaner could be applied, what kind of scent it produced, how well it handled dust and stains, and its level of UV protection. Each car interior cleaner was given a rating out of 5.0 stars based on these criteria.

Learn more about how we tested car interior cleaners here.

1. Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner and Protectant: Best Overall

The Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner And Protectant being used to clean the interior of a vehicle.

  • Cost: $11.99 to 54.99
  • Amazon rating: 4.6 out of 5.0 (approx. 23,000 reviews)
  • Comes in a 16.0-oz spray bottle, 0.5-gallon, or 1.0-gallon jug
  • Can be bought as part of an interior cleaner kit
  • Gentle formula
  • UV protection
  • Safe for nearly all interior surfaces
  • Tropical smell

Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner and Protectant Review

We picked Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner and Protectant for our Best Overall pick because of its toughness on grime with an added layer of lasting protection. Its formula packs a punch against stubborn stains without damaging your car’s interior.

You can see how the Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner and Protectant performed in each of our testing categories below:

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Application4.5
Scent5.0
Dust and Stain Removal5.0
UV Protection5.0
Overall Rating4.9

In addition to its power, this cleaner leaves your car smelling fantastic. Our review team found this all-purpose cleaner to be highly effective on stains without damaging the interior of our test car, and it left a noticeable gleam with an inviting fruity aroma.

Below are the pros and cons of Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner and Protectant:

Pros Three different scent options Two different bottle-size options UV blockers
Cons Thinner formula

Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner and Protectant: Our Experience

We gave the Chemical Guys Total Cleaner and Protectant 4.9 out of 5.0 stars. We recommend the Total Cleaner for anyone who wants to give their car upholstery a spick-and-span clean.

Application: Chemical Guys isn’t kidding with the title “Total Cleaner.” We were able to spray this on nearly all interior surfaces without damaging them. The formula’s watery texture caused it to drip more than expected, so users should be wary of over-spraying.

Scent: We liked the Total Cleaner’s flowery aroma, which lingered long after we finished cleaning. It had no hint of any chemical smells.

Dust and Stain Removal: No remnants of dust remained after a once-over with the Total Cleaner and a microfiber towel. Stains took little effort to tackle, too.

UV Protection: The Total Cleaner’s streak-free finish left a nice UV protection layer over all cleaned sections of the car.

The Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner And Protectant being used to clean the interior of a car door.

Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner and Protectant Reviews: What Customers Are Saying

Customers praise the Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner and Protectant’s versatility and usefulness on hard stains and scratches. A whopping 78 percent of these reviews were 5.0 out of 5.0 stars. Of course there are some negative reviews as well. These reviews argue that the Total Cleaner is not suitable for all surface types as advertised.

2. 303 Interior Cleaner: Best Value

The 303 Interior Cleaner being used to clean the interior of a vehicle.

  • Cost: Around $10
  • Amazon rating: 4.6 out of 5.0 (approx. 9,000 reviews)
  • Comes in a 16.0-oz spray bottle
  • Safe on car electronics
  • Multi-surface
  • UV protection
  • Two-year shelf life

303 Interior Cleaner Review

Car interior cleaning doesn’t have to be expensive. While the 303 Interior Cleaner is tough on ground-in stains, it’s light on surfaces for a smooth finish.

You can see how 303 performed in each of our testing categories below: 

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Application5.0
Scent5.0
Dust and Stain Removal5.0
UV Protection4.5
Overall Rating4.9

For anyone who wants a solid interior clean on a budget, check out the 303 Total Interior Cleaner. It packs a bang for your buck that most competitors can’t match. Below are the pros and cons of 303:

Pros Safe on electronics Streak-free finish Dust-eliminating
Cons Weak UV barrier

303 Interior Cleaner: Our Experience

We gave the 303 Interior Cleaner 4.9 out of 5.0 stars. Its dust-eliminating capabilities and streak-free shine are great for the bargain price.

Application: We found 303’s spray to have a wide reach – only a few sprays were required to cover an entire door interior. It spread just as easily as expected due to its liquid texture.

Scent: While most interior cleaning products have some sort of smell, the 303 amazingly didn’t. We were unable to pick up a new scent after application.

Dust and Stain Removal: 303 was tough on stains and cut through grime without any trouble. It also left a gleaming shine as a protective dust barrier.

UV Protection: Although it’s great at eliminating dirt and grime, 303 does not offer a strong UV barrier.

303 Interior Cleaner: What Customers Are Saying

Around 78 percent of these customers give the 303 Interior Cleaner 5.0-star reviews, with positive comments praising how well the cleaner works on difficult upholstery stains. Some negative reviews center around residue that 303 left behind on their dashboards after cleaning.

3. Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner Kit: Best Leather Cleaner

The Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner Kit.

  • Cost: Around $30
  • Amazon rating: 4.6 out of 5.0 (approx. 29,000 reviews)
  • Includes a 16.0-oz spray bottle of leather cleaner and a 16.0-oz pour bottle of conditioner
    Odorless
  • pH balanced
  • UV protection
  • Can be used on any leather surface (shoes, chairs, etc.)

Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner Kit Review

This Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner Kit blew us away. With no smell nor streaks, it was very easy to apply and let dry. We highly recommend this kit for anyone who wants to go the extra mile to keep their leather seats looking new.

You can see how the Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner Kit performed in each of our testing categories below:

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Application5.0
Scent5.0
Dust and Stain Removal4.5
UV Protection5.0
Overall Rating4.9

We highly recommend the Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner and Leather Conditioner Kit for rookie and professional car detailers alike. Its only flaw is that it can’t be used all over your car. Below are the pros and cons of Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner Kit:

Pros pH balanced Scent-free Shiny finish
Cons Cannot be applied on all interior surfaces Difficult to remove deeper stains

Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner Kit: Our Experience

We had a good experience working with this Chemical Guys product, as we typically do with products from the recognizable brand. The leather conditioner gives a semi-wet look for a thorough finish.

Application: Instructions for use were very clear on both products. Each one rubbed smoothly into our leather seats without streaking or clotting. Both the cleaner and conditioner require a microfiber towel or applicator pad to rub into leather, which unfortunately must be bought separately.

Scent: Chemical Guys advertises these products as odorless for good reason. Neither the cleaner nor the conditioner left a scent.

Dust and Stain Removal: The cleaner was able to handle light stains but had a tough time with older ones, and dust was no problem.

UV Protection: Although the cleaner adds a layer of UV protection, we recommend using the conditioner on top of the cleaner for the best results. The conditioner gives a semi-wet look, too, that’s more aesthetically pleasing than the cleaner alone.

The Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner Kit Conditioner.

Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner Kit: What Customers Are Saying

Amazon customers far and wide praise this Chemical Guys Leather Kit. Many of the top reviews swear by its versatility for more than just cars. One customer even claimed to have used the kit on her leather sofa. The few negative reviews insist that the kit left their leather seats sticky and smelling awful.

4. Armor All Car Cleaning and Leather Wipes: Best Cleaning Wipes

The Armor All Car Cleaning And Leather Wipes being used to clean the dashboard of a vehicle.

  • Cost: Around $15
  • Amazon rating: 4.6 out of 5.0 (approx. 9,000 reviews)
  • Double pack of interior cleaning and leather cleaning wipes
  • Cleaning wipes safe on all surfaces
  • Leather wipes clean and protect leather
  • Lint-free

Armor All Review

If you don’t want the hassle of using a microfiber towel, cleaning wipes are your next best option. Armor All Car Cleaning and Leather Wipes are one of our favorite products from testing for their cleaning abilities with little extra work.

You can see how Armor All performed in each of our testing categories below:

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Application5.0
Scent4.5
Dust and Stain Removal5.0
UV Protection4.5
Overall Rating4.8

Armor All Car Cleaning wipes are a multi-purpose tool for anyone who needs a quick touch-up to their car’s interior. The leather wipes, on the other hand, are best suited for light use on leather surfaces. Below are the pros and cons of Armor All:

Pros Quick and easy to use Good for reaching smaller spaces
Cons Left some streaks behind after cleaning Residual bleach smell

Armor All: Our Experience

We gave the Armor All Interior Car Cleaning and Leather Wipes 4.8 out of 5.0 stars. Fun and easy to use, the cleaning wipes make interior detailing feel like less of a chore. The leather wipes did leave some very slight evidence of streaks in our test vehicle.

Application: Because the wipes are pre-soaked in a cleaning solution, the application is very simple. All we had to do was wipe and watch grime disappear. Also, the wipes’ thin texture made them perfect for reaching into tight crevices where microfiber cloths struggled. We especially liked these wipes for use on door panels and the dashboard.

Scent: Much like a Clorox® wipe, Armor All wipes have a bleach-heavy smell.

Dust and Stain Removal: The Armor All wipes were able to remove dirt and stains with no problem. We especially liked that we could see what was being picked up by the wipes as they soiled with use.

UV Protection: These wipes provide UV protection against cracking and fading, but the residual layer they left was barely noticeable.

A side view of backseats in a vehicle after using the Armor All Car Cleaning And Leather Wipes.

Armor All: What Customers Are Saying

A total of 74 percent of reviewers left a 5.0-star rating on these Armor All wipes. Positive reviews commend the wipes’ multi-surface power. However, some of the most-liked reviews are negative. Customers complain that the wipes left streaks on their interiors, especially the ones designed for leather. Other customers claim their seats were discolored after using Armor All wipes.

5. Meguiar's Ultimate Protectant: Best Shine

The Meguiar's Ultimate Protectant being used to clean the center console of a vehicle.

  • Cost: Around $20
  • Amazon rating: 4.6 out of 5.0 (approx. 9,800 reviews)
  • Comes in a 15.0-oz spray bottle
  • Safe on vinyl, rubber, and plastic
  • UV protection
  • Water-resistant

Meguiar’s Review

If you want a center console that practically glows, we recommend using Meguiar’s Ultimate Protectant for your next interior cleaning. It performs spectacularly well on hard surfaces and leaves a visible sheen so you know your car is protected.

You can see how Meguiar’s performed in each of our testing categories below:

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Application4.0
Scent4.0
Dust and Stain Removal4.5
UV Protection5.0
Overall Rating4.4

Meguiar’s Ultimate Protectant provides high-quality interior cleaning and UV protection that lasts well between washes. This spray-on is suited for those who want their dashboards to shine bright and stay protected. Below are the pros and cons of Meguiar’s:

Pros UV protection layer Glossy finish
Cons Cannot be applied to all interior surfaces Residual chemical smell Difficult to remove tough stains

Meguiar’s: Our Experience

We gave the Meguiar’s Ultimate Protectant spray 4.4 out of 5.0 stars. It has superb UV protection and a glossy finish that we love, yet it’s not suitable for all surfaces and can stain if not handled with care.

Application: Meguiar’s created no mess nor fuss during the application process. It has a thicker texture than the other spray-on formulas we tested, making it more difficult to spread. One thing we noticed was the residue it left, which clearly indicated where Meguiar’s had been applied and where it hadn’t.

Scent: Meguiar’s had a relatively light smell of chemical cleaners, but nothing too overpowering.

Dust and Stain Removal: Dust was no problem for Meguiar’s while ground-in stains took some extra effort to remove.

UV Protection: We found the Meguiar’s to have the best UV protection of the products we tested. The clear coat finish shows where extra protection is necessary, too.

Meguiar’s: What Customers Are Saying

Despite around 76 percent of its ratings being 5.0 stars, many of the top-liked reviews express disappointment with Meguiar’s. Top comments cite a greasy finish and wax-like touch.

Satisfied customers, meanwhile, applaud how well Meguiar’s works on rubber surfaces, particularly tires.

 


 

Car Interior Cleaners Buying Guide

We’ve interviewed several professional detailers to get an idea of the most useful products and techniques for at-home detailers. Interior cleaning is one of the easier and valuable detailing tasks anyone can perform on their own vehicle.

Footage of interior cleaners being used on a vehicle's dashboard.

Many gentle soaps should work well for interior detailing, but before making a purchase, consider the following factors:

Application

Car interior cleaners that work well should not leave blotches, stains, residues, or streaks after application. Many interior cleaners require a clean cloth for application, so having one on hand is very important.

It is also important to note that different cleaners may only work well for certain surfaces. A glass cleaner may be suitable for your seats, but an upholstery cleaner can just as easily leave streaks on your windows. Always check what surfaces an interior cleaner is designed for before purchasing.

Scent

Cleaners with an overpowering smell can lead to headaches, so always choose one with a scent you enjoy.

Dust And Stain Removal

Dry cloths alone merely spread dust rather than picking it up, and stains are visually unappealing. This is why a proper interior cleaner should be able to pick up dust while also being tough on stains. The right cleaner will also help prevent future dust and stain buildup.

UV Protection

Over time, UV rays can cause vinyl, leather, plastic, and rubber surfaces to crack and fade. This damage can be permanent if left untreated, so interior cleaners must supply UV protection to prevent it.

Compare Car Interior Cleaners

Brand/ModelSize(s)Surface(s)Scent(s)
Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner And Protectant16.0 fluid ounces, 0.5-gallon, or 1.0-gal.All interior surfacesBaby powder, black cherry, new car
303 Interior Cleaner16.0 fl. oz.Vinyl, plastic, leather, rubber, metal, gauge panels, dashboards, windows, and door panelsNone
Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner KitTwo 16.0 fl. oz. bottlesLeatherLeather
Armor All Car Cleaning And Leather Wipes30 WipesDashboards, vinyl, fabric, carpet, consoles, and leatherNone
Meguiar’s Ultimate Protectant15.2 fl. oz.Vinyl, rubber, and plasticClean

 


 

Best Car Interior Cleaners: Bottom Line

Cleaning a car’s interior is a multi-step, laborious process. It can also become expensive very quickly if you don’t have all the right tools and cleaning products. That’s why we’ve compiled all the best interior cleaning products we’ve reviewed and tested so you can be sure you’re not breaking the bank just to get that new car smell.

  1. Best Overall: Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner And Protectant
  2. Best Value: 303 Interior Cleaner
  3. Best Leather Cleaner: Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner Kit
  4. Best Cleaning Wipes: Armor All Car Cleaning And Leather Wipes
  5. Best Shine: Meguiar’s Ultimate Protectant

 


 

Car Interior Cleaners: FAQ

Below are some common frequently asked questions about car interior cleaners:

 


 

Full Car Interior Cleaners Testing Methodology

For this review, we used a nearly 20-year-old vehicle with years of interior wear to test each car interior cleaner. Each cleaner was used on various surfaces within the car with a microfiber towel, except for the Armor All wipes.

Application: When considering the application of a cleaner, you want a product that can be used safely on all parts of your car interior without damaging or wearing down the upholstery. The products in this review that were made specifically for more sensitive materials scored well in this category. Cleaners that could be used safely on multiple different surfaces scored highest in this category.

Scent: With any cleaner, there’s a risk of overpowering or offensive scent. After cleaning, we determined the scent that the cleaner left behind in our vehicle. Cleaners that had a strong chemical smell scored lower in this category. The interior cleaners that left a subtle, pleasant smell after cleaning scored the highest.

Dust and Stain Removal: The purpose of an interior cleaner is to remove dust, grime, and stains that build up over time and wear down your car’s upholstery. During our cleaning process of each product, we compared each cleaner to see how easy stains were to remove and how much, if any, residue or dust was left on surfaces after cleaning.

UV Protection: UV rays can damage your car’s upholstery over time, especially if you consistently park your vehicle outside. We looked at each product’s contents and description to determine the degree of UV protection each cleaner offered. We also took note of how visible the protective coat was after cleaning different surfaces. Interior cleaners supplied with some form of UV protection to prevent cracking and fading scored highest in this category.

How We Score Products

Star ratings help us to provide you with an honest evaluation of each product we test, helping us to compare the items against each other to narrow down our best overall pick. For the car interior cleaners in this review, we calculated an overall average rating of 4.8 out of 5.0 stars.

  • 5.0 Stars: A 5.0-star rating is a well above average rating. If the car interior cleaner exceeds our expectations in one or all testing criteria that we considered most important throughout our testing process.
  • 4.0 Stars: A 4.0-star rating is an above-average score. For example, if the car interior cleaner left a subtle UV protectant layer, but did not compare to the barriers left behind among other products, you’d see a 4.0-star rating for UV protection.
  • 3.0 Stars: A 3.0-star rating is an average rating for the car interior cleaners in this review. If the car interior cleaner removed stains but left intense streaking behind, especially when compared to other cleaners, you’ll see an average rating.
  • 2.0 Stars: A 2.0-star rating is a below-average rating. If a cleaner in this review takes a lot of effort to remove small stains, you’d see a below-average rating.
  • 1.0 Star: While rarely seen in our reviews of the best products, if a car interior cleaner is defective or cannot remove even the most surface-level stains from our vehicle, you’d see a well below-average 1.0-star rating.

Why Trust Motor1.com

Each year, we test over 350 auto products on vehicles and in our testing lab. Our team of product testers thoroughly researches top products, unboxes and puts our hands on each component, and tests the items on real vehicles before making recommendations to readers.

We publish hundreds of product and service reviews to bring car enthusiasts detailed guides on automotive tools, detailing kits, car seats, pet products, and much more. For more information on our testing methodology and how we evaluate every product, check out our methodology page here.

*Data accurate at time of publication. Products subject to availability.