If you often deal with spilled drink stains or have a crumb graveyard on your car carpets, you’ll need something more potent than your regular cleaning products. You’ll want to get the best carpet cleaner for vehicles.
The best ones can go deep into your vehicle’s carpeted floors, getting into each fiber. And as it lifts each microscopic stain, your carpets get a chance for a second life!
I’ve tested over 20+ carpet cleaners for vehicles to pinpoint the four best to consider. See which product guarantees a spotless ride!
What’s the Best Carpet Cleaner for Vehicles?
OUR #1 CHOICE
OUR TOP PICK: Chemical Guys Fabric Clean (Foaming Citrus) Carpet Cleaner for Vehicles
My pick for the best carpet cleaner for vehicles is Chemical Guys’ Fabric Clean. This cleaner uses a potent yet natural formula, dissolving dirt, stain, and odors from vehicle carpets. Aside from that, it can also dissolve those complex particles from your car’s fabrics and upholstery.
Its hyper-concentrated formula can deal even with the toughest of grimes with ease. And its high-sudsing action removes embedded particles stuck deep within the fabric. As it floats them to the top, you should be able to scrub stains and grime off with ease.
And cleaning carpets have never been this easy thanks to its sprayer bottle design! All you need to do is mist a light coat over the problem spots.
But the best part is that you don’t need to worry about toxic chemicals as this cleaner uses natural enzymes. Hence, you get a safe formula for your vehicle carpets, your health, and the environment.
Whether you’re dealing with dirt, spilled drinks, or pet hair, Chemical Guys has you covered!
The only downside to this vehicle carpet cleaner is its potent and overwhelming scent. And as refreshing as the citrus fragrance is, many find it overpowering. You can deal with this issue by simply diluting the formula with water. From here, you should be able to clean your vehicle carpets like a pro in no time.
When strength meets refreshing scent, you get Chemical Guys; Fabric Clean Carpet Cleaner. With this, you can keep your vehicle carpets spotless, ensuring a more refreshing ride. You don’t need to worry about chemicals as this carpet cleaner uses natural enzymes. It’s free from toxic chemicals like ammonia and bleach.
And despite coming in a small bottle, one of these can last for a while. But the downside is the carpet cleaner’s potent scent, which many find overpowering. Anyway, all you need to do is dilute it with water, and it should be ready to go!
|It uses natural enzymes, emitting no toxicity.
|This carpet cleaner’s scent might be too overpowering for many users.
|Made in the USA.
|It needs dilution before use.
|This carpet cleaner’s spout design makes it easier to apply.
|It can break down severe stain build-ups.
CAR GUYS Super Interior Cleaner for Vehicles
Another great carpet cleaner that’s efficient and easy on the pockets is from CAR GUYS. The brand’s Super Interior Cleaner can clean carpets, upholstery, rubber, leather, and plastic. And it does all these without using toxic ingredients such as ammonia!
This carpet cleaner uses a water-based and no-rinse formula, drying independently in a few hours.
Although this carpet cleaner uses natural ingredients, it works well on several surfaces. Aside from carpets, you can also use them on your upholstery and rubber, leather, or plastic parts. Moreover, this carpet cleaner can also help dust surfaces, keeping them spotless!
Dust and debris removal aside, this carpet cleaner also works wonders on stains! It can remove tough stains on your vehicle’s carpets, fabrics, and seats. But as flexible as this carpet cleaner is, it doesn’t work well on glass and can damage the surface. So, avoid using this carpet cleaner as much as possible.
Also, cleaning carpets has never been this convenient, thanks to the bottle’s nozzle.
But this stands out from other carpet cleaner sprays because it has an ergonomic trigger. It guarantees comfort and helps prevent spills if ever the bottle tips over. So, aside from making carpet cleaning easy, it also stops accidents beforehand!
|Flexible and can work on carpets, upholstery, plastic, rubber, and leather.
|Since it uses a natural formula, you may need to reapply this carpet cleaner several times.
|This carpet uses a water-based and no-rinse formula for convenient use.
|Some users complained about the scent not lasting as long as other carpet cleaners.
|Quick drying time.
|It features a spray nozzle for more accurate usage.
|It works well for spot cleaning stains.
Bissell Woolite Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner for Vehicles
Bissell is a famous brand in the industry thanks to its top-quality carpet cleaners. And one of its most popular vehicle carpet cleaners is its Woolite formula.
Unlike other carpet cleaners, this one comes with a soft-bristled, fabric-safe brush. And it’s attached to the bottle’s lid for easy use. But as convenient as the design is, many find it challenging to use. It can take some time to master using this carpet cleaner.
The brush lets you apply the carpet cleaning solution via foam. With this, you can cover vast spaces, targeting stains without oversaturating the surface. So, aside from easy coverage, your carpets should dry fast! It’s easy to see why this carpet cleaner has become a favorite among those always on the go.
Moreover, its foam can deep clean your vehicle carpets and other things. And these include your car seats and upholstery. Each glob lifts tough stains and removes the foul odors, leaving a fresh fragrance behind.
The Woolite formula uses non-toxic ingredients to handle strong stains or odors like pet urine.
Another downside, however, about this carpet cleaner is that you need to scrub hard for it to work. And many users aren’t too fond of its overwhelming scent.
|Each bottle provides ample quantity.
|Some users have complained about the carpet cleaner’s complicated bottle design.
|This carpet cleaner comes with a soft-bristled fabric-safe brush.
|You must scrub hard using this formula as it isn’t as powerful as other carpet cleaners.
|Many aren’t too fond of this carpet cleaner’s scent.
|It can handle pet messes and fresh stains well.
Turtle Wax Power Out! Vehicle Cleaner for Carpet and Mats
My last pick for the best carpet cleaner for vehicles is Turtle Wax’s Power Out! This vehicle carpet cleaner works well for carpets and mats.
Although it comes in a small spray can, this carpet cleaner packs a punch! Even a tiny dollop from its formula can help remove the toughest stains and odors. And its small design does come with perks as it makes storage more convenient. With this, you can store the carpet cleaner in your glove compartment.
Moreover, unlike other carpet cleaners that use traditional nozzles, this one doesn’t! Turtle Wax added a convenient scrub brush on top of its carpet cleaner, making it more convenient. You can use the product for regular touch-ups and stain treatment.
Diving into the carpet cleaner’s ingredients, you’ll see cleaning agents in most household carpet cleaners. But what makes this vehicle carpet cleaner unique is its use of Turtle Wax’s unique Odor-X deodorizing formula. This addition makes the solution more powerful, removing all nasty stenches in your vehicle.
Surprisingly, however, this carpet cleaner is 100% unscented. It can remove odors as well as its scented counterparts without destroying your nose!
Finally, the carpet cleaner leaves a thin silicone coating behind, which bonds to the carpet fibers, preventing dirt and debris build-up in the future.
The only issue with this carpet cleaner is that its built-in brush is quite flimsy. And with improper use, it can easily fall off the can. So, use it with caution.
|It comes with a built-in brush.
|The carpet cleaner doesn’t come in larger bottle sizes.
|Many have complained about its bottle being too fragile.
|This carpet cleaner is dirt and dust repellent.
|Its built-in brush is flimsy and can fall off with improper use.
|Its formula uses an Odor-X odor eliminator, removing pungent stenches ASAP.
|The brush is removable for convenient application and cleaning.
What to Look for When Buying the Best Carpet Cleaner for Vehicles?
You must consider a few things when searching for the best carpet cleaner for vehicles, such as:
? Type of Vehicle Carpet Cleaner
From sprays to steam cleaners, there are many kinds of carpet cleaners to consider. And here are among the most popular ones:
- Carpet shampoos. These have concentrated cleaning formulas you must mix with water to dilute. If not, the shampoo can damage your vehicle carpet fibers, destroying them over time.
- Spray carpet cleaners for vehicles. These come packaged in bottles with a spritz or aerosol nozzle. They make for convenient storage and use. And with this, you’ll be able to efficiently target hard-to-reach spots on your carpets.
- Deodorizing carpet cleaners. As their name suggests, they can eliminate nasty odors over time. Aside from that, they can also remove dirt and debris.
- Steam cleaners. Using the power of heat and water, they’re best for dealing with sticky particles. They can easily remove tough stains like mud or gum, providing a deep clean while sanitizing.
? Application Process
Most carpet cleaners for vehicles come in two application processes. And these include aerosol canisters or spray bottles:
- Aerosol canisters. They provide the most foaming action and are best for larger vehicles. After all, the foam can spread throughout extensive carpets better, deep cleaning them.
- Spray bottles. Although they don’t have the foaming capabilities of aerosol canisters, they’re more accurate.
Vehicle carpet cleaners have toxic chemical ingredients like ammonia or acid. Aside from damaging your carpeted car floors, they can also harm YOU! So, cleaning your vehicle carpets within a well-ventilated area or wearing a mask is best.
But you can avoid these by choosing carpet cleaners with less toxic ingredients. The safer formulas have a water base alongside less-harsh chemicals like natural enzymes.
The best vehicle carpet cleaners clean your carpets and leave a fresh scent! And that should linger for at least a few hours after application. Each carpet cleaner is different and what you get depends on your preference. Generally, you can get these solutions in citrus or floral scents.
But if you don’t like any scent, some formulas are 100% fragrance-free.
? Stain and Odor Removal Properties
Vehicle carpets often undertake heavy foot traffic and are prone to becoming dirty. And whether stains from muddy shoes, spilled drinks, pet dander, or dried food, it can be a pain! Luckily, most vehicle carpet cleaners can remove stains and their odors well.
Severe stains may need you to reapply your preferred carpet cleaner several times. Or you may need to let the solution stay on your carpets for a bit longer before scrubbing them. Either way, see how well can the carpet cleaners handle stains and odor, and decide from there!
? Antibacterial Properties
As efficient as carpet cleaners are, not all can kill bacteria. But those that remove foul smells also work in killing odor-causing microbes.
Generally, steam cleaners can get rid of most bacteria thanks to their high temperatures. They can quickly remove pesky germs, leaving a clean and bacteria-free surface.
? Drying Time
The faster your carpet cleaners can dry your vehicle floors, the better. Still, the drying time depends on the solution and how deeply it saturates the carpets. Generally, vehicle mats soaked with cleaners can take a couple of hours to dry. But some have quick-drying formulas that hasten the process.
But the drying time isn’t as essential if you’re not in a rush and don’t mind waiting for the cleaner to dry.
Finally, the best vehicle carpet cleaner should work on surfaces other than car carpeting. They should also work on your vehicle’s upholstery of fabric surfaces like car seats and seat belts.
Either way, the more versatile the carpet cleaner is, the better value for your money!
How to Keep Your Vehicle Carpets Clean?
✔️ Tidy Up Clutter
Dirt and debris don’t only come from your shoe’s soles, but they can also come from other things. And as soon as you set these things down your carpet, they’ll catch all the dirt and debris clinging to them.
Placing your items on the vehicle floor will make it more challenging to keep your carpets clean. So, always tidy up clutter to avoid building up too much dust and debris on your car.
✔️ Always Vacuum Your Vehicle Carpets First
A foolproof way to clean your vehicle carpets is by vacuuming them first. Doing this ensures your car floors are free from dust or debris build-up. Hence, you’ll be able to apply the carpet cleaner without issues. If not, you’ll likely end up with a hard-to-clean mess!
I recommend removing your car carpets for a more thorough cleaning. Use a dry and stiff-bristled brush to loosen up stuck dirt, dust, and debris from the tiny fabrics. And once you’ve scrubbed them off, vacuum again to remove any remaining particles. Only then should you apply the vehicle carpet cleaner!
✔️ Shake Off Your Carpets
You can always shake off your vehicle carpets if you don’t have a vacuum cleaner. Doing this can remove a day’s worth of dirt and debris build-up! And for a more thorough removal, you can try hanging your carpets from a clothesline and patting them.
✔️ Stain Treatment
You can use homemade cleaning solutions for most carpet stains on your vehicles. The most efficient formula contains white vinegar, dish detergent, and hot water.
And you can use this for your vehicle carpets and upholstery. But remember to be gentle when doing so, as it can fray or tear the fibers!
Meanwhile, use a baking soda solution for more severe stains like grease, pet accidents, or dried food. This treatment contains laundry starch, paint thinner, baking soda, and water.
✔️ Apply Your Preferred Carpet Cleaner
Use your preferred carpet cleaner to remove the remaining stains and debris build-up. Regardless of the solution you pick, it would help if you let it sit on your carpets for at least 10 to 15 minutes for the best results.
✔️ Rinse and Dry
Once the carpet cleaner dries up, don’t forget to rinse your vehicle carpets and let them dry. If not, you’re risking your mats getting moldy and smelling bad. So, open your vehicle doors and windows and let the carpets dry.
✔️ Steam Clean
As efficient as stain treatment and regular upkeep is in keeping your vehicle carpets clean, sometimes, they aren’t enough to remove stains and their odors for good. So, if you’ve tried cleaning your carpets and nothing’s working, opt for a professional steam cleaning service!
✔️ When All Hope’s Lost, Bring Your Carpet to the Pros
When steam cleaning your vehicle carpets is still insufficient, please bring them to a laundry service. Since most don’t use chemicals, you can be confident that nothing will happen to your carpets. And what you can expect is utmost care, removing all stains and debris build-up.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is using a carpet shampooer or cleaner on vehicle carpets safe?
A: Carpet cleaners or shampooers remove stains and leave your vehicle smelling fresh. And all you need to do is spray the solution on the trouble areas and scrub it down with a brush. I recommend applying more force to severe stains on your vehicle carpets.
Q: What’s the best home remedy for cleaning carpets in vehicles?
A: Cleaning carpets is possible without a cleaner — and the best alternative remedy is rubbing alcohol. It’s the best household cleaner for any car interior, including carpeted floors! After all, it’s a versatile item that can clean different areas aside from your vehicle floors. And these include hard surfaces such as leather and vinyl seats.
Q: How much will it cost to have my vehicle’s carpeted floors shampooed and cleaned?
A: Having your car carpets shampooed or steamed clean can cost up to $75 or more, regardless of the material. It’s better to invest in a quality carpet cleaner to do it yourself! Not only does this saves you money, but it also guarantees your vehicle carpets stay clean and fresh.
Q: Is using carpet cleaner better than shampoo for vehicles?
A: As refreshing as car shampoos can be for vehicle carpets, it doesn’t remove stains as well. They can’t deep clean the fabric surface, leaving dust and debris behind. So, it’s better to use carpet cleaners for your vehicles to keep the floor fresh and clean.
Q: What’s better for vehicle carpets, wet or dry carpet cleaning?
A: Wet carpet cleaning is the best choice as it keeps your car’s floors pristine. They can deep clean the fabric, leaving no stain or debris behind. But if time’s of the essence, opt for dry cleaning instead.
Usually overlooked, your vehicle’s carpets can accumulate tons of dirt, stains, and debris. And as convenient as vacuuming your carpets can be, it’s not enough. I recommend using the best carpet cleaner for vehicles to ensure your mats last as long as your ride! And any of the listed cleaners guarantee cleaner and fresher carpets for a spotless drive.