Step 5: Interior


Cleaning the interior is pretty straightforward.

At the very least, wipe the dust and fingerprints from all the obvious surfaces. (Meguiar's makes a product called "Quick Interior Detailer" that is perfect for a quick clean.)

If you're not going to do much more than that, at least clean all interior glass and give it a good vacuum.

I usually give the interior a more thorough cleaning every second or third wash. This will include cleaning and treating the vinyl, plastic and leather surfaces as well as "dusting" in areas that are not easily seen (like the base of the seats, kick panels, etc.)

Cleaning the interior

If you’re going to “go all the way,” you need to spend more time inside. (Click the picture to the left for more photos and information.)

I start by using a vinyl cleaner on all the vinyl parts of the interior. This is not a “coating” type of product like Armor-All, but a real cleaner. The coating comes next.

After I’ve really cleaned the interior vinyl and plastic, I then apply a protectant. I use a product called “Natural Shine” by Meguiar’s. But because I don’t really want a high shine, I buff it a bit after it’s been applied.

My guess is that there are many places you normally don't clean because you don't really see. But a full detail of the interior will include making sure these areas are cleaned as well.

A note about leather

If you have a leather interior, it is important to use a leather cleaner/conditioner once in a while. But here’s a little warning…your entire seat is probably not made out of leather. If you notice in many brochures, when a leather interior is mentioned, you might see a statement that indicates that the vehicle has “leather seating surfaces.” What this means is that part of the seat is leather, and part is…something else. And some of that stuff (like Pleather) looks pretty close to leather.

So the lesson here is that you don’t want to use a vinyl cleaner on leather. My theory is that leather cleaner is safer for vinyl then vinyl cleaner is for leather. When in doubt, I used the leather cleaner.