How to Shampoo Car Carpet

How to Shampoo Car Carpet

Are you ashamed of driving your friends in your car? Does your car always smell weird? If so, you are in the right place. I will be going over how to shampoo car carpet. Cleaning your car’s carpets can vastly change how your car looks and smells. Just think about it. How many times a day do you dirty up your floors, whether it is by tracking in dirt, dropping crumbs, or spilling things?  

Preparing for the Cleaning

Car interior

To prepare for the cleaning process of your car’s carpets, you first need to do a few things. 

Pick Up Trash and Other Objects Off Floor

In order to even gain access to the carpet, you need to clear the car of trash or other objects on the ground. This might include food wrappers, food, paper, bags, books, clothes, etc. For smaller objects, such as keys or cups, you can put them in one of the many storage containers in the vehicle. These storage containers include: the glove compartment, the slots behind the seats, on the dashboard, or in the pockets located at the bottom of the doors. 

Take Out Floor Mats

Although floor mats do a pretty good job at catching the majority of the stains and messes, it is recommended to also clean the carpet beneath them as well. Because of this, you will want to take these out while you are cleaning. I will explain how to clean them independently later. 

Vacuum the Carpet

Vacuuming is recommended so that no small debris are in the way of your cleaning. Make sure to vacuum every little nook and cranny, especially around the seats and the pedals. You might be surprised with how dirty these areas really are. You can decide on what type of vacuum to use. If you are at your house, you might want to use a small hand-held vacuum. If you are at a carwash, you might want to use their higher power vacuums. 

Prepare the Required Tools

There are many different types of tools that can be used to assist you in this process. You can try different types of brushes and cleaners. The most important tools that you will need is at least one type of carpet cleaner, one brush, and at least one type of cloth. 

How to Shampoo Car Carpet

The cleaning process is pretty straightforward, but it takes a lot of time. Before you begin cleaning your car’s carpet, make sure that you have at least two to four hours to spare. If you start cleaning the carpet and then have to stop half-way through, the carpets may begin to mold. 

Find Stains and Spills

It is best to start with areas of stains because it gives it more time for the cleaner to soak in and break up the stain. It also helps you map which areas are most important and hardest to clean. 

Figure Out a System

You may think that this is self-explanatory, but it is very important in the cleaning process. You want to make sure that you get every inch of your car, especially if you are experiencing weird odors.

A common system to use is front to back or vice versa. This entails that you start from the front row of seats and then continue backwards from there.

You can also do the left-to-right method, which is cleaning your car starting from one side before going to the other.

Yet another method that you could use is to divide your car into zones. You would then clean the zones that are most important or dirtiest and continue from there. 

Evenly Apply Carpet Cleaner

As stated in the previous section, it is important to get every part of your car cleaned. It is also important that the cleaner is applied in even amounts throughout the car. If one spot has more cleaner than another, it won’t dry at the same rate. This will prolong the amount of time the car will take to completely dry. It is recommended that you spray or apply a light, even coat of cleaner to the carpet. 

Scrub in Carpet Cleaner

For deeper stains, it is important to scrub the area to ensure that it gets completely cleaned. You can do this with a brush or damp cloth. If you use a brush, I would recommend using a softer bristle brush. This prevents damage to the threads of the carpet. 

Let Cleaning Solution Soak In

Only leave the solution soaking for the time allotted on the cleaning solution. If you leave it on too long, it may cause carpet to mold. 

 Dry Carpet 

After the solution has soaked in, it is time to dry the carpet. To dry it, simply leave your car doors open for a few hours or overnight. Before doing this, make sure that your car is in a safe area.

It is also recommended to clean your carpets in the summer because it takes less time to dry. If you are having problems getting the carpets to dry or you want to lessen the drying time, you can use a dry cloth or towel to sop up excess moisture. 

Cleaning the Floor Mats

Close up of car floor mat

Cleaning your floor mats takes a lot less time than cleaning your car’s carpet. In fact, if you are in a hurry but want to make your car appear tidier, I would recommend just cleaning the floor mats. It is a very easy process. 

Vacuum or Brush Off Dust and Dirt

Just like for the carpets, you want to get off any extra debris on your floor mats. For thicker debris, such as mud, I would suggest going in with a brush first and then vacuuming. 

Apply Cleaner

Different materials of floor mats require different types of cleaners. If your floor mat is made up of fabric, I would use carpet cleaner. If your floor mat is made of rubber, I would recommend using an all-purpose cleaner. For floor mats with ridges, make sure to get into every nook. One again, you can either use a cloth or brush to apply the cleaner. Remember to clean both sides. 

Let Air Dry

After the cleaner has soaked in, hang up the floor mat on a clothesline, over a shower rod, or just set it on top of something. The only requirement is that every side of the mat is exposed to the air so that it can dry. If you set it on top of something, you may need to flip it once one side dries. 


Cleaning your carpets isn’t a hard job; it just takes some time. All you need is a few essential tools, and you can make your car look and smell brand new!

Written by Allison Knowles

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