2007 Toyota Highlander - Owned by slobs



If I had that problem I’d make up a bucket of a weak mixture of ammonia and warm water, and see what results I could get w/just a sponge. Follow up with some plain water, then w/a wet/dry shop vac (in wet mode) to extract as much liquid as possible from the fabric. There’s a gadget you can buy (or at least used to could buy) that turns ammonia-water solution into a foam too, which can be very effective on fabric without getting it too wet in the process.


And another terrible idea from George . There are so many cleaning solutions that don’t make a gas that I hope the OP ignores this.


OP might try a few of the ideas posted above and report back which worked best. Then we’d have some actual data to go by rather than idle speculation. If the ammonia idea works well, but creates too strong of odor, that’s what fans are for. Boost the air flow through the area. In general I usually get best results using ammonia to clean badly soiled fabrics.


If you use something wet to clean the carpets or seats, make sure you use some sort of shop vacuum afterwards to suck the liquid out of the materials. Things like soaps and other solvents release the crud from the materials, but if you don’t suck it out it just dries right there and you haven’t removed it.

Carpet floor mats that can be removed can be washed with cleaner and scrubbed with a broom, then hang them up and rinse them with a pressure washer or take them to a self serve car wash that has clips on a wall to do it.

Wiping with old towels and spray solution like Purple Power works pretty well on any hard surface. You can pick crud from cracks and grooves with a wood toothpick.


Go to the Dallas Paint Correction youtube channel for lots of ideas for cleaning filthy cars. My friend had the contract froma very large Ford dealershio to detail the used conversion vans. Those could be super nasty


My big concern would be that if the previous owners of this car were such slobs then I have to wonder about how well it’s been taken care of (if at all…) under the hood.


Sorry folks but I’m just not going to read all of the replies. Yeah, roll your sleeves up. Take the seats out but be careful if it has side air bags. Its a lot easier to work on the seats and carpet out of the car. I actually use carpet steam cleaner solution like what you would use in a carpet cleaner. Scrub the carpet with it and use a wet vac. Any commercial car product for the seats. I saw a youtube on a detailer using a bbq grill pad on the headliner. Haven’t tried that but headliners are the worst. You’ll spend a day or more on your knees.


That’s absurd. How are you driving that you need brakes so often? I just replaced the brakes on my 14 Highlander for the first time at 85k miles. Unless you ride the brakes or do a lot of extreme jack-rabbit starts and stops brakes on this vehicle should easily last 60k miles.

As for cleaning the interior. For the price of a professional cleaning - get a steam-cleaner. Go to Youtube.com and look up videos on best way to use it. The results are amazing. I like to keep our vehicles clean, but winter does a number on the interior. Road salt on carpet that’s brought in is very difficult. It’s very difficult to keep up those 5+ winter months. So every spring I steam clean the interiors. They look like new when done.


Once I’m happy with the steam cleaner results I go over it one more time with just hot water to get all the soap out.


You might try these folks:


I don’t necessarily agree with that thought . . .

I know plenty of people who eat in their cars, yet do an excellent job maintaining them . . . or have somebody else do an excellent job maintaining them

Case in point being my brother and our fleet’s vehicles

My brother and his wife are probably the biggest slobs you’ll find anywhere . . . but there vehicles are excellently maintained by me

Same thing with our fleet’s vehicles. Many guys eat in their vehicles, because they’re out in the field all day and may not even have time . . . or an opportunity . . . to sit down for a proper meal. But I’m the one maintaining them, as per the severe service schedule. If such a vehicle were to show up for sale on the open market, a prospective buyer might think the vehicle is a dud, due to the dirty interior. But they’d be mistaken.


I totally agree. Thanks for your input!


Yeah I see your point. When I’d spend 4-8 hours a day or more in my car and carried all the stuff I might need, the car tended to be a bit of a mess. I always maintained it very well though. It was just my work car.


I’m not saying that all slovenly cars are mechanical crap. Only that it makes me wonder.

A doctor here bought a new SAAB and by the 20k miles mark the smell would gag anyone who walked near it while the windows were down. It was bad enough that I would refuse to drive it into the shop and would round up guys to help me push it in. It got all of its services though. Other mechanics would ask me when they walked up to it; “Who the hxxx died in there”…

He had 2 Russian Wolfhounds he ferried around all the time and the car was caked with dog hair, dog urine, and dog excrement.
The appalling part of it was that this guy was a physician at the OK City Childrens Hospital. I can only imagine the germs, smell, and dog leavings he tracked in every day.

Even the service writer would not hang around the car more than a minute. He would jot down the VIN and excuse himself quickly.


Heh heh. In high school my friend’s dad owned the Ford/Merc/lincoln dealership and my friend would have to work after school cleaning up the new and just traded in cars. A local doctor had traded his in and my friend was beside himself after cleaning that one up. He smoked a pipe and usually the windows were rolled up. If I remember right the good news was that it was a Comet so not as big as it could have been.


As much as previous owners were slob/rug rats you actually purchased it.

A deep rug cleaner mixed with water and using a shop vac to cleanup excess. Run AC on MAX with window slightly cracked after to dry the interior.

Not like you are going to make it worst it sounds.