Don't Forget Your Interior! Why You Should Clean the Inside of Your Car

We are often meticulous when it comes to the exterior of our vehicles. But what about the interior? Take a look around the interior of your car next time you hit the road. Do you see fingerprints and grease stains on the touchscreen and other interior bits? What about the cup holders that you use to hold all kinds of items when you don't have time to find proper storage for them? 32% of drivers say they only clean the inside of their cars once a year and another 12% says they have never cleaned the inside. It's time we give the interior some TLC too!

Common Areas Bacteria Exists

Acura Interior

You might be shocked to find that there are over 700 different strains of bacteria living inside your vehicle. Combine that with everything you lay your hands on, it's very easy to spread the germs around. It's no wonder that the steering wheel is dirtier than a public toilet seat and an elevator button. Other areas that are littered with germs? The cup holder, seat belt, inside door handle, gear shifter, and the audio volume knob.

Food is often the catalyst for a germ-infested car. We spend a lot of time in the car so we tend to be eating on the go. Remember that french fry your child dropped? That is a breeding ground for bacteria. When the weather is warm, they begin to multiply and spread. Most of us can't fathom eating off a toilet seat. But in reality, eating in the car is likely to make you sicker.

What Cleaning Products Should I Use?

Acura cleaning supplies

Cleaning the interior is vastly different than cleaning your home. The interior usually has various surfaces such as leather, plastic, chrome, cloth as well as components like the touchscreen. We have to be very cautious to make sure we don't induce any damage. For example, most leather is dyed and there is a chance that we could remove the dye if we clean too vigorously. We don't want to use products that contain bleach, ammonia, or hydrogen peroxide as these will ruin the surfaces of your car. Using ammonia cleaners on your touchscreen can remove and/or damage the anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings.

So make sure to check the ingredients before using it in your car. A good tip is to test on a less visible area first. If you are cleaning your steering wheel, try the cleaning product on the back of the steering wheel facing your dash first to make sure it is safe to use. If you don't see any discoloration or damage, then you're good to go!

Acura Car Care Products

At AutoNation Acura South Bay, we offer a variety of car cleaning supplies designed to work exclusively on interiors. If you're worried about harming your car's interior with harsh cleaning products, feel free to contact our Parts Department to purchase automotive-specific cleaning products.

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Can I Use Soap and Water to Clean My Interior?

Soap and water

It is possible to simply use soap and water to kill bacteria without damaging the sensitive surfaces of the interior. One thing to note is you do not want to create too many suds. If you use too much water, you run the risk of creating a musky smell or even mold growth within the car cushions. Instead, take a little bit of water and laundry detergent and brush the fabric gently.

Always make sure you have a microfiber cloth on hand to wipe and dry any excess liquids. Microfiber cloth is your best friend when it comes to cleaning. Unlike normal cloths, they are made of tiny little loops that do a very good job of catching and sweeping away dirt and dust particles without scratching the delicate and shiny surfaces. A wet-dry vacuum is also a good tool to have to make sure the fabric is clean and dry.

How to Disinfect Your Car's Interior at Home

Create a multi-surface safe cleaning solution that you can make at home. Here are the items you'll need:

  • 70% Isopropyl alcohol
  • Distilled water
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Spray bottle


  1. First, put the 70% Isopropyl alcohol and distilled water into the spray bottle.
  2. After all the liquids are in the bottle and the top is screwed on, shake the bottle so they are mixed together.
  3. Simply spray the solution within your car. Make sure to get areas that are extremely dirty — the steering wheel, inside door handle, and seat belt. Also don't forget to spray the cup holder, shifter, and volume knob, in addition to the seats.
  4. Gently use the microfiber cloth to dry up the excess solution and wipe the germs away.

Cleaning Your Car's Interior? It's Probably Time for Routine Service!

If you are planning on cleaning your cars interior, it's probably a good time to bring it in for routine maintenance as well. Servicing your vehicle on a regular basis will not only help it perform at its best, it will help prevent more severe problems unfolding down the road. Let us take care of your Acura today!

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