By cleaning a used car interior, you will get rid of the dirt, grime and mess left behind by the previous owner, who may have concentrated on the exterior. Car interiors over time can build up a lot of interior mess as it isn’t cleaned up as often as the outside. Here is how we cleaned the inside of our 10-year-old Golf GTI to get it as close to new as possible.
Cleaning A Used Car Interior: Spend Lots of Time Vacuuming
Everywhere you look there will be crumbs, crisps, hair and dirt. I would recommend spending as much time as possible vacuuming the interior of the car. You might even find it helpful to use a paintbrush to get the dust out of the hard to reach places and then vacuum it up. Failing that, just use all the nozzles on your vacuum!
Strip And Wash Interior Inserts
If you look closely, you will see there are certain parts of the interior trim that are designed to be removed, which help when cleaning the car. A few examples of these are: the cup holder base, cigarette tray, card holder and sunglasses base.
You can remove these, put them in a sink with some warm soapy water and use an old toothbrush to remove the grime a lot more effectively than you could ever clean them in the car.
Make The Steering Wheel Look Like New!
Cleaning the steering wheel is essential in my opinion. With an old car, you will notice that the steering wheel becomes oily after a few years from contact with your hands. I found a tip for this that removes the dirt and oil from the wheel and brings back a matt finish.
You can use sponge erasers that are typically used for household cleaning. You can dip them in a small amount of water and rub them on the steering wheel.
I was shocked with the colour of the water after cleaning the steering wheel. All this dirt came off just the wheel alone. How is that possible?
This is how the steering wheel looks once cleaned. It has a nice matt finish and looks a lot newer than it did before using the eraser sponge. It is a very cheap way to refresh the interior of your car.
Cleaning The Pedals
I also used the eraser sponge on the metal pedals of the car. A bit more water was used on the sponge this time but the abrasiveness of the sponge works well on both the plastic and metal areas.
Removing Interior Odours
A second-hand car over time will pick up odours. These can be very difficult to remove. We tried Turtle Wax Power Out Odor-X Whole Car Blast.
The idea is that you spray the can in your car and then exit, leaving the heating on recirculate mode for 15 minutes. This means that the air is then circulated around the interior, touching most of the surfaces and removing odours.
It works well at removing odours, but you might find the smell a little overpowering for the first few weeks, but it starts to settle down after a while.
Cleaning Up The Golf Upholstery
The car’s upholstery can take a real bashing over time. Drinks can get spilt and food can get worked into the materials. It can be very difficult to clean up.
We used Turtle Wax Power Out Upholstery Cleaner. It is very easy to use. You just spray it on, work it in with the supplied brush and then leave it to dry. We removed a few marks from the interior of the Golf without much hassle.
The cleaner also helps to remove odours from the fabrics, which makes the car smell fresher for longer.
Cleaning A Used Car Interior: Dashboard Polish
For the bulk of the plastic, we used Poorboys natural look. You can use it on most surfaces inside the car and the results are great.
This polish leaves a nice matt look on all the surfaces, unlike some interior products that often leave an oily finish.
Cleaning A Used Car Interior – Verdict
By going through all the above steps, we have changed the interior of the car from feeling dirty and used, to looking and feeling new again. I wouldn’t change any of the products or process and I think the inside is now in great condition.