How To (Cars): Washing Your Car Part II (Interior)
Leather cleaner/conditioner (if your car has leather)
Meguiar's Quik Interior Detailer Wipes (or similar products)
1. First and foremost, take out EVERYTHING that is in your car (except for things in compartments). That means on the floor, seats, dash, behind and above your rear seats, etc.
2. Take out all your car mats (if you have them) and pound the outside to get rid of dirt, dust, twigs, etc. Set them on the side where they won't collect more dust or dirt.
3. Vacuum the interior starting with the seats. This way, you don't vacuum your floor first, which is probably more dirty, and then place the vacuum on your seats. Recline the front seats all the way back so you can get all the dirt and dust stuck between the cushions.
4. Next vacuum the floor. Make sure you vacuum up all the little rocks, pebbles, twigs, dirt, etc. If you can, try to vacuum under the front two seats.
5. If you have leather, read on. If not, skip to step 6. I normally use Meguiar's Gold Class Rich Leather Spray. The spray not only cleans your leather areas, but also conditions them to protect them against wear and tear, and from the harmful rays due to the sun. Some people don't like the Meguiar's spray because it leaves somewhat of an oily residue (which is what conditions your leather), and when it gets onto some plastics of your car, they look like oily spots. This is easily removable by taking a damp paper towel or microfiber cloth and wiping it away.
I like the Meguiar's spray because it is quick (it sprays a large surface area) and it has a nice aroma. Plus, Meguiar's products are normally great. You can also try the paste, but that usually takes more work since you have to work the paste into the leather. Do what you feel more comfortable doing.
For smaller areas such as leather wrapped steering wheels, shift knob, etc., spray onto your cloth and then apply the cloth onto the small area. This prevents overspray onto your plastics or other things not leather. Don't worry if you do spray on other things than leather...it won't hurt the part...it'll just make it oily. You can always wipe it off later with a damp cloth.
6. Next, use a slightly damp microfiber cloth to wipe the interior of your windows. Sounds foolish, but it really makes a difference in the clarity of your windows. Over time, your windows build up a haze which people usually never clean. You will notice the difference when you wipe it down. If you used a really damp cloth, just dry it off with a microfiber cloth. Be more easy on tinted windows, since it's possible to scuff or scratch your tint. DO NOT use any type of chemicals on the inside of your windows if you have tint. This will also destroy your tint.
7. Next, wipe down your dash, plastic moldings (side door panels, cup holder, etc), vinyls, etc. If you normally keep your car relatively clean, you can just use a damp microfiber cloth and wipe everything down. It is still good to use detailer wipes to keep the sun from doing damage to your dash. A good one to use is Meguiar's Quik Interior Detailer Wipes.
I like the Meguiar's wipes because they don't leave a really shiny residue on your dash and plastic panels. I think shiny residues not only look tacky, but when they become reflective during daytime driving, they can actually hinder your ability to drive. And like the leather spray, the wipes also have a nice aroma.
8. Vacuum the car mats you took out and place them back into your car. If you have mat protectants, use them (usually a thin piece of plastic with grips that cover the top of your car mats). You'd be surprised how much dirt gets on them. Also, they are easier to pull right out and clean rather than your car mat which is carpet. You can pick up the mat protectants at any Walmart, Costco, Target, etc.
9. Pop open your trunk and vacuum the interior. Make sure your spare tire is also properly inflated in case you get a flat.
There is a reason why I clean my interior in a particular order. By vacuuming first, you get rid of all the dust and dirt, but dust can still rise up onto your dash, the inside of your windows, and seats. This is why you wipe down the inside of your windows, your dash, and seats after. This way, you'll wipe away all the dust and dirt that may have floated onto other interior parts of your car.
A way to keep your interior clean is to keep it as empty as possible. I know most people like to live out of their car by putting clothes, shoes, boxes, etc. in the back seat and floor. The less clutter you have, the less dust will collect on your clutter, and ultimately, the cleaner your interior.