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Steam Clean A Car Like A Pro: Interior And Exterior Detailing Made Easy!

steam clean car engine

One of the best uses of a steam cleaner is to carry out interior and exterior detailing on your vehicle. If you want to get a professional quality clean around your whole car, you can use your steam cleaner to get a clean and sanitized look.

If you are keen to use a steam cleaner to remove all of the grime inside and outside your car, you need to choose the right model to get the job done thoroughly and effectively. This guide will help you to find the right car steam cleaner to suit your needs so that you can enjoy a cleaner, professionally valeted vehicle. We will also walk you through all the steps that you need to take to steam clean car interior and exterior spaces so that you can be sure of getting the job done properly.

Which Parts Of A Car Can A Steam Cleaner Be Used On?

You can give your car a complete valet using your steam cleaner. Some of the areas you can clean include:


leather car seat

When a steam cleaner is used on your car’s seats, it rehydrates, conditions and restores leather, suede and other fabrics which are sensitive to water.


Using a steam cleaner to clean windows is a lot simpler than using any chemicals since it leaves no streaks and is non-hazardous to health.

Cup Holders

cup holders

Cup holders often become filthy with residue from beverages, however a steam cleaner is the ideal solution.

Door Trims & Jambs

Grease and dirt can be removed and the heat of the steam cleaner will also remove any stuck-on residues to restore the trim.

Dashboards & Consoles

Cleaning the steering wheel and dashboard with steam removes the dirt and dust effectively from switches, buttons, ventilation systems, knobs, radio and steering wheel controls.

Door Panels

Door panels can easily be cleaned of residue and dirt using a steam cleaner, and window switches, speaker grills and armrests can be cleaned of dirt, oil and stains.


car ventilation

Steam can clean dust mites and allergens from car ventilation systems for a healthier car environment.

Mats & Carpets

Mats and carpets can be cleaned and restored to their original quality using a steam cleaner. Odors, stains and dirt can be removed to rejuvenate their fibers.

Salt Stains

If your car has been driving on the winter roads, salt can be tracked into the car. Steam cleaners can remove these stains.


Even a car engine can be cleaned with a steam cleaner. As it becomes coated with grease, oil, carbon and dust, it often requires cleaning and a steam cleaner is a great way to do it.

Why Use Steam?

Steam is an ideal choice for cleaning your car for many reasons including:

  • It is chemical free
  • It can penetrate deeply into the upholstery and fabrics
  • It can be used in difficult to reach areas
  • It can be used on a variety of surface types
  • It lifts and softens dirt for quicker cleaning
  • It can be done in your own home to clean dirt quickly
  • It is cost effective

How To Clean Your Car With Steam

Cleaning your car using steam is a breeze. Here is  step by step guide to help you to get the job done efficiently.

  1. To clean your car’s carpets and upholstery, first vacuum them thoroughly to remove dust and dirt. Then use the bristled triangular brush on your steam cleaner to agitate the fibers. Rub the attachment’s bristles over the carpet, moving the tool across the floor slowly. Then move the tool over the fabric seats, making sure to brush them lightly to avoid pilling the fabric. Following the steam clean, vacuum once more to remove loosened dirt.
  2. Clean all vinyl, plastic and leather using a soft non-scratching attachment made from foam or cloth. Pass the cloth attachment over all of the vinyl and plastic areas of the interior including the radio display, gearshift area and dashboard.
  3. Clean the leather seats with a carpet attachment that has been wrapped in a microfiber cloth. Gently pass the cleaner over the leather in order to loosen the dirt.
  4. Clean any difficult top reach spots with a jet steam nozzle or crevice tool. Put the tip of the steam cleaner as close up to the area you are cleaning as you can. Use a microfiber clean cloth to wipe and dry the area you have cleaned and then vacuum using a crevice tool.
  5. Use the steam cleaner to clean the headliner by using a non-abrasive, flat tip which has been covered with a microfiber cloth. Pass the cleaner over the fabric of the headliner but avoid staying too long in a single spot.
  • Clean the windows to remove all bugs, tar and sap. Use a squeegee attachment on your cleaner, passing it over the window beginning at the top then working down in overlapping passes. Make sure to wipe the edge of the squeegee after every pass using a clean cloth to avoid putting dirt back onto the window.

Which Steam Cleaner Should You Buy?

If you are ready to choose a steam cleaner for your car, you will need to ensure you have chosen a powerful model which produces drier steam which is suitable for cleaning upholstery without getting it too wet.

Canister steam cleaners are the most versatile choice when it comes to car detailing, and you can find information about the best canister steam cleaners on the market as well as our in-depth reviews by clicking here!

One of the best steam cleaners for cleaning your car both inside and out is the McCullough 1275.

McCulloch MC1275

This heavy duty model is incredibly versatile, and with its 1500W of power, it allows the tank to heat to maximum temperature in just eight minutes, with sufficient capacity to last for 45 minutes of cleaning. The lock mechanism on the trigger ensures that you won’t need to hold your finger down onto the trigger for greater convenience, while the jet nozzle offers the best temperature and pressure to blast tough spots and sanitize all surfaces.

It has a number of attachments to allow for a great range of cleaning tasks as well as 2 extension wands for reaching tricky spots. It is an ideal choice for your vehicle and produces impressive results.