Are there pen marks, taco sauce, vomit, oily fingerprints, or other stains all over the hard surfaces of your auto interior?

Items Required

First, soak a microfiber towel in your bucket or bowl of warm water. Leave the rest of your dry microfiber towels to the side but within reach.


Pre-treat one section of your interior surface with a few sprays of your interior surface cleaner product. For professional jobs and detailing my own car, I use a non-toxic, biodegradable, hypoallergenic, paraben and sulfate free, pre-treat product. If you want to avoid overspray, then you can spray a microfiber towel first, then wipe the section you want to pre-treat.

Let the product sit for 30 seconds. While the product sits, grab your soft-bristle brush (or alternatively an old makeup brush) to agitate flat surfaces and also to reach tough-to-reach crevices like your air vents. If the interior cleaning product dries across the surface before 30 seconds, then apply more cleaning product. Use a towel to catch any product that might run to other parts of the interior.

Wet wipedown

Next, grab the wet towel which had been soaked in warm water and wring it dry until it doesn’t drip water anymore. Wipe in straight lines across the section of your interior surface that has been pre-treated. Follow up with perpendicular wipes.

Buff dry with a dry microfiber towel.

Repeat if necessary for stubborn stains. Hot or warm water works better than cold water for tough stains.

Remove pen marks and stubborn stains

Next, we’ve got to tackle those stains that didn’t come out with the initial wipe downs.

First, grab your foam sponge scrubbing pad and soak it in water. Squeeze the pad until it no longer drips water. Next, working in a horizontal pattern, gently scrub at pen marks and other tough stains. Follow up with vertical wipes if the stain is not coming out.

USE CAUTION: Be sure not to scrub too excessively or else you’ll risk scrubbing away the finish of some interior pieces. Some stains are there for good if they’ve been baked in with heat for many years.


Repeat the same process across your entire interior. Professional cleaners across various industries recommend you work from top to bottom, left to right (or right to left). This grid-like approach guarantees even coverage so you don’t miss any spots or go over the same area twice. Also, breaking up a big daunting cleaning job into smaller bits can make it a little more manageable.

If you know anyone who could benefit from this advice, then please pay it forward by sharing a link to this page! Thanks, now get rid of those nasty stains on your center console!

I use this headlamp on professional interior jobs and for cleaning the interiors of my own cars.

Categories: Interior