Car Vacuuming: How to Vacuum the Interior (Car Detailing)

car vacuuming
Time to give your entire car a thorough vacuum! ©

When you use your car every day, you will notice that dirt is quickly formed. And not just on the car mats: dust can also quickly accumulate on the dashboard. It is advisable to regularly vacuum your car to keep it a healthy environment.

It is smart to delve into a suitable vacuum cleaner for the car. Not every vacuum cleaner is suitable for vacuuming crevices and vulnerable surfaces. Do you want to vacuum your car well without scratching it? And do you want to be able to reach all the cracks to get your car completely clean again?

Then you've come to the right place! In this article I'll tell you everything you need to know about vacuuming a car and what you need to do it. Vacuum your car like a car detailer? Then read on quickly!

Why vacuuming a car can be tricky

Vacuuming a car is very different from vacuuming the house. First of all, there are many small surfaces and cracks in a car. Think, for example, between the car seats and the compartment under the dashboard. In addition, the interior of the car is often vulnerable. This way, the dashboard can quickly get scratched if you don't use a soft brush when vacuuming.

And, since hardly anyone takes off their shoes before getting in the car, the car mats are often extremely dirty. A vacuum cleaner with little suction power will not be able to cope with this.

Difficult locations to vacuum in your car

If you have ever dropped a coin in the car, you will have noticed that it is difficult to find. And if you see him lying between the chairs, it's almost an impossible mission to get him.

A number of these ‘hard to reach' places can be found in a car, which makes vacuuming a challenge. The following places are difficult to vacuum:

  • Between the car seats
  • Boxes in the car door
  • Behind the wheel
difficult to reach locations in car
There are many hard-to-reach locations in a car. ©

Vulnerable surfaces in the car

The interior of a car is usually made of plastic. Scratches and streaks can quickly form on this. To prevent damage, it is therefore smart to pay extra attention to the use of a soft dusting brush.

The following locations in the car are (in many cases) vulnerable and can be damaged quickly:

  • Dashboard
  • Handles
  • Fans
vulnarable objects in car
Plastic car parts can be quickly damaged during vacuuming. ©

These locations in the car are often extremely dirty

I mentioned it just now: hardly anyone takes off their shoes when they enter the car. And of course you come from outside when you get into your car. The floor of the car and fabric upholstery in particular can therefore quickly become full of sand and other dirt from outside. The following locations in the car are often extra dirty:

  • Car mats
  • Upholstery car seats
  • Trunk

Yes, also the trunk. In many cases we place something on the ground, so that we can open the trunk, after which we put it in the car. It is therefore often unavoidable that dirt from the ground is taken into the trunk of the car.

Textile parts are often dirty quickly and difficult to vacuum. ©

This dirt is difficult to remove from the car

Apart from the locations in the car itself, it is also often difficult to remove the type of dirt in a car. Do you ever take your dog in the car? Then it will undoubtedly be full of dog hair. But not only that: dust can also ‘stick' to the dashboard, because plastic attracts dust.

The following dirt is often difficult to remove in combination with car parts:

  • Pet hair/dog hair on the upholstery
  • Sand in the car mats
  • Dust on your dashboard

You need these vacuum cleaner attachments

Regardless of the type of vacuum cleaner you use, it is important to use the right attachments. Vacuum cleaner brands such as Dyson offer a huge number of parts. I previously published a complete guide to all Dyson parts.

Let's list which vacuum cleaner parts you need and why.

Crevice tool for between the car seats

The crevice tool is an indispensable attachment for vacuuming a car. As I just mentioned, there are many hard-to-reach places in a car. If you want to vacuum between the car seats – where a lot of dirt can often be found – then this attachment is a must-have.

Vacuuming a car with a crevice tool. ©

Dusting brush to prevent damage

To prevent scratches on the dashboard and other car parts made of plastic, it is recommended to use a dusting brush. This is often equipped with soft bristles, so that you can vacuum sensitive objects with confidence.

There are special attachments with an extendable dusting brush. This is great: here you can vacuum in hard-to-reach and vulnerable locations without scratching.

Prevent scratches on your dashboard with a soft dusting brush. ©

Extension for difficult places

When you get started vacuuming the car, you will find that you have to be a bit acrobatic to reach everything. To avoid having to hold your body in impossible positions, the use of an extension is recommended.

With an extension – often extendable – you can reach hard-to-reach places more easily and you don't have to use your body to reach something. This can also be very interesting if you use a somewhat larger vacuum cleaner and you cannot get to small spots with it.

With an extension you can vacuum anywhere. ©

Turbo brush for upholstery

Finally, the turbo brush is also a necessary tool when vacuuming a car. Preferably a motorized turbo brush, which, for example, makes removing animal hair a lot easier.

A turbo brush is equipped with a rotating roller brush, with which nested hairs in upholstery are easily pulled along. You will be shocked how much hair comes off the upholstery when you use this attachment. All the way to the headrests.

Use a turbo brush when vacuuming the car mats. ©

Why a special car detailing vacuum cleaner can be interesting

As I mentioned earlier in my article, not every vacuum cleaner is suitable for vacuuming your car. For example, not all vacuum cleaners are compact enough to be able to vacuum comfortably.

Fortunately, there are special car detailing vacuum cleaners that meet the following conditions:

  • The right attachments included
  • Often compact and light
  • And wireless or long cord

In addition, there are of course also vacuum cleaners that are sold with the right parts, so that you can also use it as a car vacuum cleaner. A good example is the Dyson V15 Absolute. This vacuum cleaner is wireless, has a long battery life, is not heavy and is equipped with the right attachments.

Dyson V15 Detect Absolute

Thanks to the included attachments, the Dyson V15 is a good car detailing vacuum cleaner.
🇺🇸 Available in the United States at Amazon and

Would you like to learn more about car vacuum cleaners? Take a look at my extensive research into the best car vacuum cleaner.

Tip: universal car detailing kit

If you already have a good vacuum cleaner, it can also be interesting to take a look at ‘car detailing kits‘. With such a package you get a set of interesting attachments that can be useful for vacuuming your car. Almost every vacuum cleaner brand has an extension set for the car. Discover the right car detailing kit in the overview below.

Vacuum cleaner brandCar detailing kit
DysonView Dyson car detailing kit
SharkView Shark car detailing kit
EurekaView Shark car detailing kit
KärcherView Kärcher car detailing kit
MieleView Miele car detailing kit
HooverView Hoover detailing kit
© Vacuumtester

Is the brand of your vacuum cleaner not listed or are you in doubt? Then there are also universal extension sets. Pay close attention to the tube diameter: check whether they are suitable for your vacuum cleaner.

Universal Car Detailing kits

Expand your vacuum cleaner with special attachments for vacuuming your car.
🇺🇸 Available in the United States at Amazon and Walmart

Step-by-step plan: vacuum your car like a car detailer

When you have a suitable vacuum cleaner with the right attachments at home, you don't have to go to a professional car detailer to get your car clean. I have made a complete and ultimate step-by-step plan to vacuum your car like a car detailer.

Vacuum your car like a professional car detailer? Follow the steps below!

  1. Open all the doors of the car

    Open all car doors so that the car can ventilate well while vacuuming.

  2. Take out all the car mats

    Remove all car mats from the vacuum cleaner and place them next to the car. That way they can't get mixed up.

  3. Vacuum the dashboard and interior parts

    Vacuum the dashboard with a soft dusting brush. Start at the top and work your way down. Also vacuum the interior parts. Think of the panels on the door and perhaps fans between the front seats.

  4. Vacuum the car seats and upholstery

    Vacuum the car seats. Here too, work from top to bottom: start with the headrests. Use a crevice tool to vacuum between the seat covers. Parts with leather? Then do not slide the crevice tool, but lift it up and down carefully to prevent damage.

  5. Vacuum the bottom of the car

    Vacuum the coarse dirt from the bottom of the car. Use a loose brush or paint brush to remove dirt from the edges. Then vacuum the bottom of the car again to remove the last dirt.

  6. Vacuum car trunk

    Empty the trunk of the car and vacuum the bottom. Work from back to front.

  7. Vacuuming car mats

    Carefully shake out the car mats. Do not knock them out against the wall as this may result in cracks. Then place the car mats on the floor and vacuum them with a turbo brush.

  8. Optional: use dashboard cleaner

    Done with vacuuming? Then you can optionally treat the dashboard with cockpit spray. Good cockpit spray contains antistatic agents to prevent dust build-up.

Watch all the steps in the video below!

More such handy vacuum cleaner tips and tricks? Subscribe to my YouTube channel for free!

Tips for vacuuming your car less often

As you can see, it takes quite some time and effort to thoroughly vacuum a car – like a professional car detailer. However, it is a lot less work if you keep your car a bit cleaner. This doesn't have to be a lot of effort. Check out a few tips below so that you don't have to vacuum your car as often:

  • Put rugs on the back seat and shake them out regularly
  • Do not eat or drink in the car
  • Preferably transport pets in a crate
  • Use cockpit spray, so that dust cannot adhere
  • Ventilate the car regularly

And if you are really careful with your car, it can be really smart to take off your shoes before getting in the car. Are you not waiting for this? In any case, knock off the shoes before you get in. There are also excellent cordless vacuums for cars that are also suitable for indoor use. With these models, you get a great vacuum cleaner for your home as well as for use in the car.

Robbert Tigchelaar
Robbert Tigchelaar

Robbert Tigchelaar has made testing vacuum cleaners his life's work. He has dedicated himself to conducting fully independent and valuable tests of vacuum cleaners to provide consumers with honest advice. His expertise in vacuum cleaners has been highlighted in The Washington Post and the Daily Express.


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