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Best Car Carpet Cleaners for 2022, Tested – Car and Driver

Why is it so hard to clean car mats?

Carpets in your vehicle are designed to handle a lot more abuse than your everyday home carpet. The fibers are tougher and much denser to handle endless pairs of dirty shoes. This allows them to cling to dirt, dust and other crumbs with annoying tenacity. Anytime you need to clean your vehicle’s carpet, be prepared to put in some work.

How often should I clean my car’s carpet?

We recommend vacuuming twice a month or so, depending on how often you use your car. When it comes to cleaning with a chemical, do a good deep clean every spring, and then spot clean when you spot a stain.

What do car detailers use to clean car carpets?

Auto detailers usually have professional steam cleaners and hot water extractors. The typical vehicle owner doesn’t need to own one of these big, expensive machines—that’s why they make sprays like this. Cheap and convenient!

Should you vacuum before using carpet cleaner?

Yes! This is very important. Vacuum up as many pieces as you can with a shop vacuum or a portable car vacuum—here are some of our recommendations—before hitting the sprayer. You don’t want to rub any bits of yuck deeper into your carpet while scrubbing, so get as much out as you can beforehand.

Why trust us?

Car and Driver and its sibling publications at Hearst Autos combine the strengths, talent and knowledge of three of the largest, most influential automotive publications in the world. With these amazing tools at our disposal, we don’t have to worry about gaming search engines to get traffic or promoting bad products just to make a sale. Rather, we are concerned with our legacy, our reputation and above all the trust you, our readers, have in us Car week, Car and Driverand Road & Lane. We know you trust us to give it to you straight, and we promise to deliver the truth every time.

To reflect our values, this test was conducted in an environment that provided equal testing procedures for each product: the Car and Driver garage. We tested each cleaner on both mud and wine stains, measuring how well each stain was cleaned. We’ve documented this, along with sprayer ergonomics, drying time, smell and anything else we thought was worth noting. After summing up our findings, we agreed that our test was fair, legitimate, and provided the best information to recommend our picks to you, the reader. In the end, that’s what matters most.

Read more about our product testing and evaluation process here.

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