Top 5 Best Car Upholstery Cleaners (2020 Review)

Are you looking for an amazing car upholstery cleaner?

Great, you're in the right place!

In this guide, you'll learn:

  • What upholstery cleaner is
  • Different types of upholstery cleaners
  • What to look for in a good upholstery cleaner

And much more!

Car Upholstery Cleaner

When you have put hours worth of work into your vehicle’s exterior appearance, it makes little sense to not complete the job, by giving your car's interior its fair share of TLC.

In fact, a spotless interior often compliments a vehicle’s well cared for the exterior. Which is exactly why we created this guide to finding the ideal car upholstery cleaner for you!

Luckily, through our own search for interior detailing perfection, we have compiled the necessary information to assist you in making an informed buying decision.

Image Product


Chemical Guys Lightning Fast Carpet and Upholstery Stain Extractor
  • Hyper-Concentrated
  • Easy Application
  • Won’t fade color of surface
  • Hyper-Concentrated
  • Easy Application
  • Won’t fade color of surface
View on Amazon


Turtle Wax Power Out! Upholstery Cleaner Odor Eliminator
  • Comes in 6 pack
  • Eliminates odors
  • Safe on dark upholstery
  • Comes in 6 pack
  • Eliminates odors
  • Safe on dark upholstery
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CarGuys Super Cleaner
  • Best on leather/vinyl
  • Multi-surface cleaner
  • No-gloss finish
  • Best on leather/vinyl
  • Multi-surface cleaner
  • No-gloss finish
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MEGUIAR’S Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner
  • Fast-acting foam for a deep clean
  • Dries quickly
  • Works on carpet/non-leather upholstery
  • Fast-acting foam for a deep clean
  • Dries quickly
  • Works on carpet/non-leather upholstery
View on Amazon


Armor All Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner
  • Great at stain removal
  • Deep cleans with oxygen technology
  • Breaks up dirt
  • Great at stain removal
  • Deep cleans with oxygen technology
  • Breaks up dirt
View on Amazon

Overall #1 Rated Pick

Updated As of 5/11/2020

  • Hyper-concentrated
  • Easy application
  • Won't fade your upholstery's color

Our top choice for a car upholstery cleaner is this ChemicalGuys stain extractor. This stuff is amazing at offering a super-concentrated stain removal at hyper-speed.

Because this is a spray on, wipe off formula, it's ideal for doing quick touch-ups on your car's upholstery if you have kids or pets.

Not only is it super easy to apply, but it works on really tough stains. Yet it's gentle enough to not fade your car's upholstery. It's truly an all-around amazing cleaner for the money!

Top 5 Best Car Upholstery Cleaners

Check out our below list for a summary of our results. Keep on reading to learn more about your other options!

What Is Upholstery Cleaner?

No matter how hard we try to avoid it, the interior of virtually any vehicle that is driven regularly will become soiled.

From dirt and grime from our shoes, to dropped and spilled food and drinks, the interior of our vehicles lives a difficult life.

Though much of this debris can be removed with the use of a vacuum cleaner, what remains leads to negative, long-lasting consequences upon interior surfaces.  

With time, these contaminants leave our vehicle’s upholstery covered with a number of stains and discolorations.

These imperfections are often difficult to get rid of, and require a purpose-specific cleaning solution to remove. This is where the use of a quality upholstery cleaner comes into play. 

Specialty upholstery cleaners are made to soak deep into the surface of interior fabrics and coverings to clean cloth and leather upholstery, thereby eliminating stains that other products would miss.

These chemicals are also safe for a variety of interior surfaces. 

What Are The Different Types Of Upholstery Cleaners?

There are two main types of car upholstery cleaner on today’s market, foam, and non-foaming. Though both of these cleaners accomplish the same task in much the same way, they take a slightly different route to achieve noteworthy results and have their own distinct set of advantages.

Foam Cleaners

Foaming upholstery cleaners have become quite popular in recent years, and for good reason.

These interior cleaners can easily be sprayed as needed, vigorously scrubbed into place, and allowed to dry.

Many consumers have noted that foaming cleaners seem to achieve a more consistent clean across a sizable area, than that of non-foaming cleaners, although they are often less concentrated.

Non-Foaming Cleaners

Non-foaming upholstery cleaners are also regularly used by car enthusiasts. These solutions can be applied by spraying them in place as desired, and scrubbing until even coverage is achieved.

Several products of this kind come in a more concentrated form than their foaming counterparts and can be of great help when spot cleaning. 

How Does Upholstery Cleaner Work?

Upholstery cleaner works by attacking stains at their deepest level.

This begins by loosening the offending substance on the surface it is adhered to.

Nearly every upholstery cleaner on the market uses its own proprietary blend of detergents to accomplish this task, and some are naturally better suited to use on one particular material over another.

Leather and vinyl tend to be somewhat easier to clean than cloth seats. In order to remove foreign material from these materials, a dried on substance only needs to be moistened to loosen its bond from upholstery surfaces.

Once the substance in question begins to become pliable, it can be wiped or scrubbed away with an upholstery brush.

On the other hand, cloth seats can be quite stubborn at times to remove stains from.

The cloth becomes stained at a fiber by fiber level, therefore it must be cleaned similarly. When an upholstery cleaner is applied, each individual fiber is shampooed until all traces of a stain have been removed. 

Did you know: Upholstery was invented in teh 17th century.   It's main use was to help the wealthy add padding and comfort to their chairs and furniture.

When an upholstery cleaner is applied, the solution permeates the surface in which it is sprayed.

Once the solution soaks adequately into this material, a scrub brush is used to work this compound into the fibers of the car's upholstery.

This process ensures that the cleaning product is evenly distributed, and loosens any contaminants along the way. 

Once the upholstery cleaner has been thoroughly scrubbed into the material that is being treated, a micro-fiber towel can be used to wipe away any excess cleaner. In order to truly evaluate how well the upholstery has been cleaned, a period of time will be needed to allow the surface to dry.

Once this time has passed, the fabric’s status can be assessed. If any stains remain, a second treatment might be required. Check out this article for more on cleaning your upholstery.

What To Look For In An Upholstery Cleaner

When considering which upholstery cleaner is best suited to your needs, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration.

By carefully studying each one of these factors, you are better equipped to make a wise buying decision.

One such factor worthy of thought is how a particular cleaning solution will interact with the material in which you are attempting to treat. Not all upholstery cleaners are universal in their ability to safely treat all surfaces. 

This can quickly lead to problems in the event of overspray, or if a particular material is misidentified. 

For this reason, it is highly advised to seek only those car upholstery cleaning products that are safe and effective on all surfaces. 

It is also wise to spot test any product that is purchased in a location that is not easily visible.

In the event that a negative reaction is to take place, you will be spared the heartbreak of being forced to stare at an irreparably damaged seat or center console cover.

You should also consider the exact type of interior detailing that you intend to conduct. This can directly influence your choice in interior cleaner.

If your intentions are just to spot treat problem areas, a non-foaming upholstery cleaner is likely your best choice, due to its concentrated formula. 

Alternatively, if widespread detailing is to be done, an easy to apply foam upholstery cleaner is likely the better choice.

The third, and quite possibly most important, point to consider when choosing a quality upholstery cleaner is that of only choosing a product that is sold by a trustworthy manufacturer in the detailing industry. 

Your vehicle’s interior is nothing to gamble on, especially when only a few dollars often separates the cost between high-end products with a reputation for excellence, and second rate products that few have experience with.

A recurring theme within the automotive detailing industry is that four to five brands enjoy the bulk of the market share. 

This is not by coincidence. These brands have stood the test of time by offering nothing but the best products to consumers. 

Best Upholstery Cleaners Reviewed

When seeking to bring your vehicle’s interior up to snuff with the rest of your car’s highly detailed features, only the best upholstery cleaner will do.

Here are our top picks for the best upholstery cleaner to restore your car’s interior to like-new status.

Chemical Guys is a company that needs no introduction in the automotive detailing world.

Their top-notch detailing products are well renowned for their effectiveness in a wide range of situations and circumstances. 

The Lightning Fast Carpet and Upholstery Stain Extractor is a worthy fit in the company's prized line of detailing products, as it can be used on virtually any cloth car interior surface, and can be applied in a nearly endless number of ways. 

From coating and scrubbing, to spraying and vacuuming, the possibilities are endless with this product.

No stain is too big or set in for the Chemical Guys Stain Extractor to tackle, and this product is guaranteed against fading or dulling of surfaces.


  • Guaranteed against fading
  • Great on tough stains


  • Not suitable as a leather cleaner

If you are looking for an upholstery detailing product that accomplishes a whole host of noteworthy detailing tasks with a single application, look no further than Turtle Wax Power Out! Upholstery Cleaner Odor Eliminator. 

This multi-use cleaner removes even the deepest of stains, deodorizes your vehicle, and leaves behind an invisible layer of grime repelling silicone, all without the use of any secondary solutions. 

Even better is the fact that this process can be completed in only a matter of minutes, minimizing time spent, and getting you back on the road in short order.

Turtle Wax Power Out is also safe for use on a variety of surfaces and will not damage or discolor upholstery in any way.


  • Eliminates odors caused surface
  • Protects against new stains
  • Safe for cloth upholstery


  • Not recommended for use on leather

Are you tired of being forced to keep two different chemicals on hand when treatment of both leather and cloth upholstery is on the to-do list? 

If so, consolidate your detailing products by purchasing CarGuys Super Cleaner. This heavy-duty upholstery cleaner is safe for use on any surface. 

Simply apply it, scrub lightly, and wipe/vacuum away the remaining contents. No more second-guessing which chemical you are using, or questioning if you have the right product for the task at hand.

Best of all, the CarGuys Super Cleaner is a product that cleans anything you can throw its way. 

CarGuys is so confident that you will love this product that they have backed it with a 100% hassle-free, money-back guarantee.


  • Safe on all surfaces
  • Works as both a cloth based stain remover, and leather conditioner/ detailer
  • Backed by a 100% hassle-free, money-back guarantee


  • Some consumers report that the product occasionally leaves behind a white residue that must be wiped away

MEGUIAR’S is yet another name that needs no introduction in the automotive detailing world. 

The company has a long-standing reputation for turning out a wide range of quality car care products, and their Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is no exception.

This product is perfect for those that have become disenchanted with upholstery cleaners in the past, due to their habit of leaving residue behind in their wake. 

The MEGUIAR’S Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is touted for its residue-free finish and lightning-quick application times.

This product also uses permanent odor elimination technology, that will have your vehicle smelling its very best for a lengthy period to come.


  • Streak and residue-free finish
  • Fast action foam destroys stains in a matter of minutes
  • Odor elimination technology


  • Does not come with a brush as shown in picture

Armor All Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner is an excellent option for those that are looking for a great, all-around interior detailing solution.

This Multi-purpose cleaner uses a powerful oxygen-based compound to face even the worst stains head-on. 

This process ensures that each fiber, within the fabric structure of a treated area, is washed free of any and all contaminants, and is restored to like-new status.

Even the most difficult of stains, like that of mud, coffee, cola, ink, grass, and motor oil, are no match for Armor All Oxi-Magic. 

This product is also compatible with a number of surfaces, especially those of cloth construction.


  • Oxi-Magic formula takes out tough stains
  • Safe for use with all cloth surfaces
  • Can be used as a floor treatment too


  • Is not recommended for use on leather of any kind.         

The Chemical Guys Lightning Fast Carpet and Upholstery Stain Extractor is a revolutionary product for several reasons.

This upholstery cleaner is highly concentrated to tackle the toughest of stains, possess the ability to clean without discoloration, treats all material to reduce future stains, and deodorizes along the way. 

Combine this with the product’s ability to be easily applied, agitated, and wiped free, and you have an upholstery cleaner that looks to hold the top spot in the interior detailing market for a long time to come.

If I had to depend upon only one upholstery cleaner to provide my vehicle’s interior with a show quality look, it would be Chemical Guys Lightning Fast Carpet and Upholstery Stain Extractor.

About Your Mechanic

About Josh Boyd

I’ve been an ASE Certified automotive/heavy equipment technician since 2010. I began my career performing basic automotive maintenance at a service center before working as a Toyota technician at my local dealership.

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