Interior Maintenance – Cleaning & Protection

As we receive a lot of questions on how to maintain and protect interiors we thought we could offer some advice on how to care for your interior.

These days most automotive interior surfaces are plastic or vinyl, while seating is typically leather, fake leather (PU Leather), cloth or Alcantara which is fake suede.

When cleaning your interior trim should be left as a matte finish, the same as it had when it left the factory. You should never see a professional detailer leave your car with a slick wet interior finish (if they do, you’re definitely at the wrong detailer!)

Before you start or read further a word of caution when working on interiors…..ALWAYS TEST ON A OUT OF THE WAY SPOT FIRST TO ENSURE COLOURFASTNESS. As interiors are made of so many variable types of material it is impossible to say exactly which products will always work all surfaces.

We will break this up to simplify as much as possible, but it’s long so best you grab a drink and some snacks. (Popcorn is good as it’s easy to vacuum up)


Where to start first is up to you, there is no right way or wrong way as long as it is done thoroughly, and carefully so you do not damage any of your interior or upholstery & seating.

Firstly, remove all your floor mats and give them a vigorous shake to loosen any dirt and debris. You can vacuum these now, or at just before they go back in – whichever you prefer. If you have sand or other hard dirt which is difficult to vacuum up, brushing the carpet while vacuuming will make your job a lot easier and give a cleaner result.

It is best to use a crevice tool with your vacuum to clean your car. This will allow more access into tighter areas between seats, around your console, under your seats, between the chairs, etc.

Give your seats a good vacuum using the crevice tool and ensure you vacuum through the cracks of the seats, between the bolsters and surrounds. If you have fabric seats we would recommend spread the trim apart gently to ensure that you remove any dirt lodged in the fabric. For leather upholstered seats we suggest using your hand as a safe guard so you do not damage your leather trim or combine with a soft brush.

Normally we suggest by moving your seats as far back or as far forward as possible and clean as thoroughly as you can underneath. *Be sure to check for any $$ and rubbish before you vacuum! If you’re lucky you may even find a note or two and hopefully no left over snacks.

Use a brush from your Mint Detailing Brush Kit for any air vents, ashtrays, gear lever surrounds etc to remove any dust that is not accessible for the vacuum or a cloth to remove.

For those who have pets, a rubber pet brush will remove excess hair from upholstery and carpet that you can follow with your vacuum and remove. It is recommended you use a Deodoriser such as ]Duragloss Absorb It or even 1Z Einszett Klima (Aircon) Cleaners to deodorise any scent that your pet(s) may have left. Please note, do not use an air freshener as you will mask the scent and cause a mixture of a nice scent, and not so nice into one…. not so pleasant scent!

Cleaning your Dash, Door Cards, Console & Other Trimming;

Please we cannot mention enough how important it is that you do not use any product that contains silicone or is petroleum based – certain ‘off the shelf well known brands’ are not recommended! These products will not only leave a greasy finish, attract large amount of dust but also leave an annoying glossy finish that will possibly even blind you on those hotter days!
And let’s not forget, that silicone will suck out all the life in your dash which for some vehicles can cause cracking and discolouration from short term or long term usage.

Using a thin Microfibre Cloth with something such as 1Z Einszett Cockpit Premium, wipe over the dash, door cards, console and other plastic/vinyl trim areas to remove any dust and dirt – flip your cloth over to the clean side, and again using Cockpit Premium simply wipe over to leave a protective film that will help stop dust being attracted and leaving you with that super-clean factory matte finish.

Whichever product you use, be sure that it is petroleum and silicone free and will leave a satin/matte factory like finish on your trim. Some like 1Z Einszett and 303 offer UV protection and anti-static properties to help dust from attracting onto the surface.

Don’t forget to give your steering wheel, indicator stalks and handbrake a good clean as well! They receive the most use and of course means will be the dirtiest!

Most interior designed products are safe to use on any plastic, rubber and vinyl interior trim on your vehicle such as Dash, Door Cards, Seat Surrounds, Console, Steering Wheel & Airbag etc. But it is always recommended to check the label and compatibility before use.

For door cards or trim that are exceptionally dirty or have scuff marks, 1Z Einszett Plastic Deep Cleaner with a soft horse hair or the soft Mint Leather Brush normally will remove these marks. If you are unable to remove them, they possibly may of damaged your trim permanently.

For Fabric Upholstery Seats;

Following from vacuuming, for any spot & stain removal you may have some luck in using a dedicated automotive fabric upholstery cleaner. Products such as 303 Fabric & Vinyl Cleaner, Duragloss Fabric Cleaner Spray, Autoglym Interior Shampoo are easy and suitable to use. We do not recommend using household cleaners as these contain bleaching agents and other strong chemicals which can discolouration and other damage to your fabrics.

Using a small amount of product, spray the affected area – use a soft upholstery brush such as the Vikan Brush agitate the surface lightly and use a microfibre cloth to absorb any dirt. Remember, a few light applications of cleaning are safer than one heavier cleaning application. This will avoid any chances of possible discolouring, damage to the fabric and of course leaving you with a wet bottom.

To Protection your Fabric/Upholstery (Carpets inclusive) Nanolex Leather & Textile Sealant or 303 Fabric Guard work very well to help stop dirt, transfer of dye, rain and other spills (coffee, drink etc) from absorbing in and staining & damaging your fabric. This is a simple application, simply spray your seats, and allow to dry – check application instructions on product always before usage.

For Leather & Alcantara Seats;

The current market of cars these days contain a range of synthetic, blended and genuine leathers. Note that prestige & European makes contain mostly Genuine Leather*.

Regardless of what leather you have it still does require some form of care. Before you attempt to do anything to your seats, gently clean them with your vacuum to remove any dirt & debris. Use your hand as a safeguard to avoid any damage to your leather trim.

Using a good leather Shampoo/Cleaner will help remove any contaminants and dirt on your leather.

Firstly, take your Leather Shampoo/Cleaner and spray directly onto the leather seat or area that you are cleaning. Use a soft Leather Brush to work the shampoo/cleaner into the leather to agitate any dirt and other contaminants (sunscreen for example). Ensure you cover all the leather trim such as side panels, rear of the seats, headrest etc. After completing use a soft Microfibre Cloth and wipe over all the leather to remove any product and dirt left - you will be surprised how much dirt is visible on the cloth!

After cleaning it is recommend to condition and protect your seats with products such as Duragloss Leather Conditioner or 1Z Einszett Leather Care. These will replace natural oils and moisture that is lost when using the car from daily elements such as sun, pollution and other usage conditions. And also maintain that natural leather scent we all relish.

To apply use a small foam applicator pad with the Leather Conditioner and gently massage into the leathers surface – don’t forget to do the side bolsters, headrest and rear of the seats. By doing so you will also help prevent premature aging and cracking of your leather trim. Allow up to 30m before applying any finishing protection (leather sealants).

We do have the Duragloss Leather Kit, Lexol Leather Kit and Dodo Juice Kits available here.

Lastly, protecting your leather is also important. Dodo Juice Supernatural Leather Sealant & Nanolex Leather & Textile Sealants provide true protection for your leather. Not only do these products stop spills and other contaminants staining your seats, protect against UV rays causing premature aging, they will also allow the leather to breathe

On Alcantara/Microsuede/Suede or mixed alcantara & leather seating. We would suggest something such as Autobrite Alcantara Cleaner or Swissvax Alcanta Cleaner with a Microfibre Cloth to clean and remove any dirt, staining or marks.

Using a few light applications to clean is recommended, as one hard application can cause unnecessary wear or discolouration to your alcantara. Remember is vital not rub this material, instead pat the surface to soak up any stains or cleaning products.

Once clean and dry, it is highly recommended to use protection - Nanolex Leather & Textile is safe for this type of material, however it is suggested to check compatibility of other products prior to use.

We hope we have covered the general basics, with more advanced interior maintenance and cleaning to soon follow