How best to restore a car's interior?

I just got a 1997 Cavalier coupe with a pretty dirty interior. It’s not horrendous, but still nowhere near as clean as I’d like it to be. I’d like to restore the interior(trunk included) to as close to new as possible while also keeping the cost below ~$100. I’ve totally emptied out the car and will be using a shopvac next chance I get to clean out most of the crumbs and other debris.

But I’m uncertain about how best to clean the carpeting, seats, plastic parts, and windows(I’m guessing Windex will work fine for the windows at least). Any tips/suggestions about methods and products for cleaning those areas would be great. Thanks!

After you have vacuumed and brushed the car thoroughly and gotten AlLL debris out, rent a power steam rug cleaner. We have had good success using them on the upholstery as well as the carpeting. Don’t be afraid to go over surfaces several times. It may be an all day afair (let sit between rinsing) but well worth it.

Be sure it has the necessary attachments with a long enough access hose to reach all the interior. Be sure and use it on the ceiling as well…anything fabric. Plastics can be Amoralled (sp)though there are many other products that do as well. How well it turns out depends entirely on the effort you put in and how meticulous you are.

Kill two birds with one stone and use the machine on carpets and furniture in the house that day as well to make it more financially worth the rental. It should be well under a $100.

You will need good dry warming weather as it may take a few days for appolstery to be dry enough to sit on with out plastic drop cloths.
Best of luck.

If possible, remove the front and rear seats and clean underneath them. A lot of smelly junk may have found its way under there in the past 12 years.

Make sure not to use any products with bleach. Ideally, use cleaners and products that are specially made for automobile interiors.

If you have cloth “glued” to the roof/doors be very careful how wet you get it. Do it as dryly as possible. Too much water will help the glue become unsticky. Yes, experience talking (it was done to me, I didn’t do it)…and you can’t really stick that stuff back down…well, not properly, anyway.

As mleich said, if you can remove the seats, you can clean them in the garage or front yard, and let them dry in the sun, too. Nice sunny day, windows and/or doors open. Turn off as many lights as you can to protect the battery, and leave it open as long as you can.

Best thing I ever discovered for cleaning the plastic surfaces was a non-oily (also non-drying) furniture cleaner. Even better- the store I got it from threw it in with a furniture purchase for free, complete with lifetime free refills. Worked like a charm…

Unfortunately, I’ve moved out of the area, so I can’t get my refills anymore. :frowning:

With the ‘steam’ cleaner (not really steam, but it works) use hot water with the appropriate amount of detergent. Once you’re done, go over it again, this time with only hot water. You want to leave behind as little soap as possible.

Whoops. Make that 14 years.