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How to Clean and Disinfect a Car Interior

Car interiors get dirty, especially in cars that drive kids around. With the right products, it’s easy to keep car seats sanitized and cup holders, dashboards, and door handles clean and disinfected.

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While we’ve all put some thought into disinfecting our homes and maintaining clean office spaces, it’s easy to forget that many of us spend a lot of time on the road, and our cars need attention, too.

With lots of opportunities to pick up germs while driving around, keeping hand sanitizer and facial tissues (and a bag for trash) on hand is a good start to create a fresher, healthier space for your daily commute. Regular cleaning is also important, and if you use the right products, you can sanitize soft surfaces and disinfect high-touch surfaces to help stop germs from spreading.

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What you need

Steps to clean, sanitize and disinfect a car interior

  1. 1

    Start with the dashboard

    Wipe down all hard, nonporous surfaces with Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes, including the glovebox, air vents, sound system controls and touch screen. Always follow car manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfecting of electronics.


    To disinfect hard, nonporous surfaces, use enough wipes to keep surfaces wet for 4 minutes before air drying.

  2. 2

    Wipe down the steering wheel and console

    Wipe all parts of the steering wheel including the turn indicator and gear shift, as well as the cup holders on the center console. This is especially important for a car that has multiple drivers.


    Use the small brush to scrub away gunky stains on hard surfaces.

  3. 3

    Wipe the interior of each door

    All hard surfaces on the door, including door handles, window controls, locks, and cup holders, should be wiped with a disinfecting wipe.  

  4. 4

    Clean the windows

    Use the glass cleaner and the microfiber cloth to clean all the windows. 


    Clean the windows when the car is parked in the shade.

  5. 5

    Vacuum soft surfaces

    Thoroughly vacuum all carpeting and upholstery, including any on the door panels. Collapse seats to better reach crevices and remove floor mats to vacuum under them. Leather upholstery may require pre-cleaning with a leather cleaning product; follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  


    For leather upholstery, use the brush attachment when vacuuming.

  6. 6

    Sanitize soft surfaces

    Hold Clorox® Disinfecting Mist 6–8 inches from surfaces and spray evenly until upholstery or carpet is wet; do not saturate. To sanitize, soft surfaces should remain visibly wet for 1 minute before air drying.  


    When spraying the mist, make sure the car interior is well-ventilated by having windows down or a door open. 

  7. 7

    Air dry

    Allow all treated surfaces to air dry completely before driving.

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Frequently asked questions

How do you clean urine from a car interior?

To clean urine stains from inside a car, use a product that breaks up the urine like Clorox® Urine Remover. Spray it onto stains, then blot with a an absorbant cloth dampened slightly with clean water.