How to Shampoo Car Upholstery

by Brenda Priddy
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Shampooing the upholstery in the car is a simple process that almost anyone can do. Rather than taking your car to be detailed, which can be expensive, you can clean your car upholstery on your own if you have your own carpet shampooer. Just make sure to work on a warm, sunny day to prevent mold and mildew from developing on the car seats and carpet.

Step 1

Vacuum the car thoroughly and pretreat any stains in the car by spraying with stain remover. Allow the stain remover to sit for about five minutes. Rub the stained area vigorously with an old cloth to lift the stain.

Step 2

Decide if you want to wet clean the car, dry clean the car or perform a mixture of both. The danger of using wet cleaning is that the water may penetrate the seats and floor too deeply to dry before mold sets in. However, if you wet clean the car upholstery during a dry period when the sun is bright and warm, then you should not have to worry about mold or mildew.

Step 3

Spray some carpet cleaning foam over the upholstery and carpet inside your car. Allow the foam to sit for five to ten minutes.

Step 4

Rub a plastic brush over the foamed areas vigorously to work the foam into the carpet and upholstery. The foam will attract the dirt particles and lift them out of the upholstery.

Step 5

Wait until the foam is completely dry. The package directions will tell you how long to wait; the time varies by brand of cleaner. Vacuum up the dirt and foam. Inspect the car to see if the dry cleaning produced the desired results. In most cases dry cleaning does not clean as well as wet cleaning.

Step 6

Fill the carpet shampooer with hot water and a cleaning solution. Work during the early morning so the car has enough time to dry before nightfall. Use the upholstery brush to soak the cleaning solution into the car upholstery, then remove with the extraction wand. This will produce a deeper clean because it will extract dirt that the dry cleaning shampoo could not. Repeat this process until the water runs clear.

Step 7

Place the car in a sunny spot and open all the windows. Allow the car to sit in the sun until the seats and carpet are completely dry.

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