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Interior Detailing and How to Protect It!

Most people spend large chunks of their time in their cars. Whether driving to work, running grocery errands, or dropping off and picking up kids from school, you spend more time than you think. Sometimes, you even eat inside your car. 

Based on this, you’d assume that such a space should be given some TLC occasionally. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In a survey involving at least 1,000 drivers, 32% admitted that they rarely clean their car’s interior, let alone detail it. 

However, you should prioritize interior detailing to keep this interior looking brand new. Interior detailing means deep cleaning the cabin while restoring any worn-out surfaces. This article provides a brief overview of car interior detailing and how to protect it. Read on to learn more:

What Is Interior Detailing?

Although the terms car cleaning and interior detailing are sometimes used interchangeably, there’s a massive difference between the two. 

Car cleaning is just that: wiping down and washing the interior surfaces with a basic car cleaner or shampoo. Interior detailing, however, is so much more than that. It involves cleaning every nook and cranny, like in between seats and vents, and restoring worn-out elements. 

Car interior detailing typically involves:

  • Steam cleaning the car carpet, upholstery and panels

  • Restoring leather surfaces

  • Cleaning glass-made sections from the inside, i.e., the windshield, windows, and more

  • Removing any bad odors

  • Applying a layer of wax to give different surfaces a polished look

  • Fixing any scratched interior panels

An ordinary car wash takes an hour at most. However, the kind of deep cleaning and polishing involved in interior detailing requires several hours. It also consists of using advanced equipment like an upholstery cleaner and polisher. 

With the variety of services involved, it is no wonder this service costs a pretty penny, with some charging up to $400. Considering the time and money involved in this affair, you’ll want to protect the interior to maintain the polished look after detailing. Here are a couple of tips to help you achieve this:

How to Protect Your Car’s Interior

If you’ve gone the extra mile of detailing your car’s interior, you’ll want to keep it looking pristine for as long as possible. Here are a couple of hacks to help you achieve this:

Cover Most of the Interior Surfaces

One way to protect your interior detailing investment is to cover as many surfaces as you can. I’d recommend starting with seat covers. These are great for preventing dirt, grime, and the occasional food or drink spillage. 

More importantly, they protect upholstery from sunlight exposure. Here’s the thing: the harsh UV rays from the sun are just as detrimental to car seats as they are to the car paint on the exterior. This is particularly concerning if you have leather seats. The excess heat can cause the natural oils in this fabric to dry out, causing stiffening and cracking. 

Besides seat covers, consider buying a dash cover and floor mats, too. A dash cover shields the dashboard from sun damage. That’s because prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause its fabric to fade or pale in color, causing it to lose its appeal. Similarly, floor mats add a layer of protection. They prevent spilled liquids and foods from seeping into your car’s carpet.

Vacuum Regularly

Another way to keep your car’s interior clean is to vacuum regularly. This is necessary to remove any dust and dirt that accumulates over time, especially the type that remains invisible to the naked eye. 

Besides, car vacuuming takes just a few minutes (much quicker than washing). And it involves using a portable vacuum cleaner, enabling you to keep the interior clean wherever you go. 

Block Sunlight

By now, you already know the damage the sun can cause to your car’s interior. And while covering interior surfaces is a great first step, sometimes it’s not enough to block the sun’s rays. 

In such cases, consider more permanent solutions like:

  •  Installing tinted windows - tinted car windows not only offer privacy. They also minimize the amount of heat and light entering the car. 

  • Parking in shaded areas - this will likely cost you more time. But it’s a small price to pay to keep your interior looking pristine!

  • Buying a car cover - car covers pull double duty, protecting both the interior and exterior of your vehicle. And the icing on the cake? They’re incredibly affordable, going for as little as $100.  

Set Precautionary Measures

You may have done everything possible to protect your car’s interior detailing job. 

But accidents do happen. When they do, it helps to have a well-stocked emergency kit to help with cleanup. A passenger might spill coffee after you apply emergency brakes. Or, your kids could spill snacks all over the car floor. 

Having a cleaning kit ready means you can immediately clean up the spill before it becomes a full-blown mess that warrants a carpet replacement. 

Leave the Windows Slightly Open on Hot Days

Do you constantly park your car in sunny spots? If you do, consider leaving the windows just a tiny bit open. 

Here’s the deal: the sun’s rays are shortwave lengths - a factor that enables them to penetrate through the glass windows and get absorbed by the interior surface: the dash, seats, and carpet. These surfaces gradually radiate back into the car. But since the heat energy is in longer wavelengths, it can’t escape as easily; hence, it remains trapped inside the cabin. 

The hot air dries out the interior surfaces, causing them to fade and deteriorate. Leaving the car windows open allows this hot air to escape, resulting in healthy air circulation in the interior. The best part is you don’t have to leave a large gap to encourage airflow. Just a tiny gap is enough to allow proper airflow. 


Interior detailing extends beyond a regular car wash. It involves deep cleaning the interior, including the hard-to-reach areas, and restoring worn-out surfaces. This leads to better comfort when you’re driving. It also protects delicate surfaces from the sun’s UV rays, hence boosting the car’s overall durability. 

But, to ensure you’re getting the most from this detailing investment, protect your car’s interior afterward. You can do this by vacuuming regularly, covering interior surfaces, and keeping an emergency cleaning kit handy. 

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