The Car Carpet Cleaner Buying Guide

When it comes to cleaning and detailing your car, cleaning car carpet can be one of the trickiest jobs. The carpet in our car comes under quite a bit of stress and is prone to being dirtied more than the rest of the vehicle, so it’s an essential part of car maintenance.

As we come in and out of the car we bring with us mud, dirt, sticks, rubbish, and whatever else might have become stuck to our shoes, and with children especially there can be food crumbs and scraps all through the seats and on the floors. Regular cleaning of your car’s carpet requires a few different methods, particularly if you want to get it into professional shape.

There are three main areas to consider with car carpet cleaner products, and each has a specific purpose when detailing your car. These products each have their own set of features to consider to ensure you’re buying the best one for your vehicle.

  • Steam cleaner

A steam cleaner uses heated water in the device to and converts this liquid to steam with a  nozzle. When you use the best steam cleaner for carpet in your car you’re helping to loosen dirt and other stains without the need for too much hard work from the operator. They’re also ideal for car upholstery as there’s no need to use any harsh chemicals with them and solely operate on water.Carpet Steam Cleaning

  • Vacuum

The vacuum you use for your car is usually slightly different from a regular domestic one, as it needs to get into the small crevices with ease. These vacuums should also be able to reach further away as you might not have access to a power point close by, but need to have a strong enough suction to get all of the dirt trapped in the car.Carpet Vacuming in Car

  • Car wash cleaner

To get the tough stains and remove dirt from the carpets and seats, you need an all purpose cleaner than can tackle the harder jobs. These cleaners are usually in a spray bottle for convenience and can either be left to soak into the carpet or applied directly and then wiped away.Scurbing the carpet with cleaner

When you own each of these products you’ll know how to clean car carpet like a professional so that you don’t throw away hundreds of dollars each year on professional detailing. These items have been created to give you a quick and easy way to clean your car’s carpet so that you don’t spend hours cleaning just to get the expert finish.

Top Features Of Car Carpet Cleaners

When searching for car carpet cleaning items, there are some important features that each of them should have. Regardless of whether it’s an automotive steam cleaner, hand held vacuum, or car cleaning spray, there are some things you just can’t do without.

  • Affordability

If you’re trying to save money from using professional cleaners, you need something that’s reasonably priced. While you can purchase expert equipment there’s really no need to spend too much for a carpet cleaner you’ll use at home.

  • Ease of use

The last thing you want from a car carpet cleaner is to be scrubbing or putting in hard work for hours just to see results, so be sure to get something that requires minimal effort for maximum effect.

  • Portability

As many of us wash and clean our cars outside and away from a power source, you should ensure that a carpet cleaner can be operated at long distances. Whether it’s from a battery source or has an extra long power cord, the portability of your carpet cleaner is essential.Portabiltiy

The specifics of each of these carpet cleaners will depend on what the user is looking for in a product. However, for the absolute deepest and easiest clean of your carpets you should own at least one quality product in each of these categories. We’ve compiled some of the best on the market currently to help you decide which one is right for your car.

Best Steam Cleaner

The price range for steam cleaners can be quite varied, so it all depends on what you’re happy to spend. Steam cleaners are generally built quite sturdy and can be a somewhat bulky car carpet cleaner to own, however, they do a great job of cleaning and sanitizing without the use of harsh chemicals.

Best Steam Cleaner Under $200: McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe Canister Steam System

·         On-demand variable stream with 4 bar pressure;
·         64 oz. water tank which heats up in 12 minutes;
·         One fill provides 120 minutes of steam;
·         23 different accessories for your car and home use;
·         18-foot power cord and onboard storage for compact convenience;

McCulloch is no strangers to carpet cleaners, with a huge range of steam cleaning products intended for both car and home use. Their Deluxe Canister Steam System is a great option for anyone looking to detail their car like a professional.

The best thing about this product is the huge 64 oz. water tank which gives you two hours of steam use, which is more than enough time to get your car looking sparkling. Although you do have to wait around 12 minutes for it to heat up and it doesn’t offer a handheld carpet steamer, this gives you time to do the vacuuming or another part of the cleaning as you’re waiting.McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe Canister Steam System

One small design issue with the McCulloch Deluxe Canister Steam System is that the handle can warm up quite a bit after half an hour of us. If you’re planning on a big job or cleaning a few cars at a time, you might need to have a break in between to let it cool down, which can be a bit of a hindrance.

Because there are so many great attachments that come with this system, it’s ideal for cleaning your home too. If you’re looking for something that can provide a trouble free clean for your car with minimal effort, and provide some assistance in the home too, it has to be the McCulloch Deluxe Canister Steam System.

Best Steam Cleaner Over $200: Dupray Tosca Steam Cleaner

·         Commercial grade cleaner for professionals and domestic use;
·         Up to 90 minutes of cleaning time from each fill;
·         23 piece kit includes range of attachments;
·         Digital display shows temperature, pressure, and reminders for maintenance;
·         Three-year limited warranty;

If you’re happy to spend more on your steam cleaner, the Dupray Tosca Steam Cleaner is a top of the line system. This commercial grade system is ideal for professional cleaners, but there’s nothing stopping the home user from enjoying it too. The Dupray is quite large when compared to others, but you’re certainly paying for quality here with a three-year warranty included.

The Dupray Tosca Steam Cleaner gives you up to 90 minutes of cleaning time, which isn’t as much as some of the other cheaper options, but it provides a completely effective clean. This system has been designed with ease in mind and small additions such as the digital display make it an absolute dream to operate.

There are 23 pieces that come with this system so there are a nozzle and attachment for everything, making it particularly ideal for a handheld carpet steamer. You’ll easily reach into the small crevices of your car and because you’re not using any harmful chemicals it’s a far superior and safer clean.

The online reviews of the Dupray Tosca Steam Cleaner are certainly impressive, but many people stated that the pressure is roughly the same as the McCulloch but for a lot more cost. For this reason, some people might be hesitant to spend so much if they just plan on using it just for domestic use.

Best Vacuum Cleaner

When it comes to car vacuum cleaners, you really need something that’s easy to operate and maneuver around the car. These smaller style vacuums are generally far more affordable than the standard sized domestic type, so there’s no need to spend as much. It’s quite easy to find a quality car vacuum for under $100 that has all of the bells and whistles, and there are some great options available.

Best Vacuum Cleaner Under $75: Black and Decker PAV1200W Handheld Vacuum

·         12-volt handheld vacuum made specifically for car carpets;
·         16-foot power cord for extended reach;
·         Fingertip on/off control and one step emptying system
·         Accessories included are hose, upholstery brush, and crevice tool;
·         Two year limited warranty;

Black and Decker are one of the most trusted names in home appliances, so it’s no wonder that their PAV1200W Handheld Vacuum is a serious contender for car vacuum cleaners. This handy little device fits perfectly in your hand to give you a lightweight and effective clean of your car without the need for large and bulky machines.

The best design feature of the Black and Decker PAV1200W Handheld Vacuum would have to be its portability, with two options for power. The 16-foot power cord allows you to move around with free range, and if you want to take your vacuum along to the beach for an easy clean up when you get covered in sand, you can plug it into the cigarette lighter of your car for instant power.Black & Decker PAV1200W 12-Volt cyclonic-action automotive pivoting-nose handheld vacuum cleaner

The accessories designed for the PAV1200W are ideal for cleaning cars and can get into all of the small spaces you require. Just one simple use of this on your car and it will be ready for the next stage of upholstery and steam cleaning so you can achieve a truly professional detailing on your vehicle.

The one small issue with this and many other car handheld vacuum cleaners is that the power just isn’t as effective as a regular sized vacuum. However, this is the sacrifice you make for something small and convenient, so you need to weigh up which features are more important to you. The suction is still enough to clean your car, but if you’re after a deep clean you might look elsewhere.

Best Vacuum Cleaner Over $75: VacMaster Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner VBV1210

·         Accessories include extension wand, crevice tool, utility nozzle, and more;
·         Two years limited warranty;
·         Extra-large drain port;
·         Quick release detachable blower and 210MPH blowing speed;
·         12-foot power cord with cord wrap capability;

For a comprehensive clean from one device, you can’t go past the VacMaster Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner VBV1210. This vacuum provides both wet and dry cleaning and converts into a leaf blower so that you can get chores done around the home and garden when you’re not busy working on your car. This is one of the most lightweight vacuums around which makes it perfect for cleaning your car with minimal effort.

In terms of portability, this vacuum does fall a little short, with the cord only reaching 12 feet. While this might seem like a lot for a normal vacuum when operating it for your car you probably prefer something longer. You could use an extension cord, but it just creates a more tangled mess and could possibly hinder you further.

The construction itself is very sturdy on the VacMaster Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner VBV1210, and without taking anything away from its lightweight feel. For such an affordable price it’s great to know this is covered by a three-year warranty as well, which indicates further just how high the quality is.

Some reviews have stated that the blower isn’t as effective as they’d hoped for, but if you’re purchasing this just to clean your car’s carpet then it won’t be a bother. When you look at how well the vacuum provides suction and gets even the smallest particles up, this is definitely one of the most affordable and effective car vacuum cleaners available.

Best Carpet Wash Kit

When vacuums and steam cleaners aren’t enough to get your car sparkling, you need something to give the carpets a thorough clean. Thankfully, there are some great products available for washing carpets and removing stains which leave it looking professionally detailed and smelling better than ever. These two share the same cost and represent some of the most affordable and effective carpet wash kits on the market, each with something unique to offer.

Best Carpet Wash Kits Under $65

303 Products Multi Surface Cleaner Spray

·         Multi surface spray ideal for car’s carpets, leather, plastic, and more;
·         Solvent and dye free for a gentle clean;
·         Made in the USA;
·         Fragrance-free, water-based, and safe for all surfaces;
·         Can clean oil, grease, coffee, ink, liquid, and spills;


When it comes to washing your car’s carpets and removing stains, you need a tough cleaner that knows how to work with sensitive materials. This is why the 303 Products Multi Surface Cleaner Spray is the choice of so many professional and home users. This US-made spray is from one of the most trusted brands when it comes to tackling the different materials in your car.

The 303 Products Multi Surface Cleaner Spray is fragrance-free and water based so it can work on just about any surface in your car. Whether you’re looking to get spills and stains out of the carpet and also want to tackle the leather and plastic surfaces too, this is a one stop product that can do it all.303 Multi Surface Cleaner

Some reviews have stated they wanted a deeper clean on their carpets and this product didn’t achieve it, however when used for stains and spills then it’s really all you need. Especially if you’re using it in conjunction with a vacuum and steamer, there’s nothing it can’t tackle.

303 Products All Purpose Cleaning Kit

·         Includes three pack of 303 16×16 microfiber towels, UV protectant, multi-surface cleaner, and fabric guard;
·         Multi-surface cleaner ideal for all types of car surfaces;
·         UV protectant to help keep car safe from harmful rays;
·         Fabric guard for seats and carpet;

Another great product from the trusted 303 range is their All Purpose Cleaning Kit. This features the famous 303 Products Multi-Surface Cleaner, three microfiber wipes, and UV protectant, as well as fabric guard. This is a comprehensive kit intended to keep the interior of your car just as good as new.

Rather than going to the effort of auto carpet shampooing, these products can be applied to your car’s carpet and upholstery to remove stains and spills, and to get them looking, feeling, and smelling like new again. Because they come in one handy kit, there’s no need to purchase anything else in order to get your car’s interior sparkling.03 Products 16x16 Ultra Plush Microfiber Towel All Purpose Cleaning Kit

If you’re looking solely for a carpet cleaner, you might not be interested in the other products on offer and would prefer to spend less just for their all purposes cleaner, however, it’s extremely convenient to have this entire kit of quality products on hand should the need ever arise. Not only can this kit work for automotive detailing, but it’s useful indoors for your everyday cleaning too.

Final Verdict

With a range of products making it easier than ever to get a professional looking clean of your car with minimal fuss and affordability, the market for car carpet cleaner products is now bigger than ever. There are so many great options available to cover all types of car owners from the environmentally conscious to the time poor, so it’s all about picking the features that are best for you.

Considering that just one visit to professional car detailers can cost hundreds of dollars, all of these products can be purchased for well under that and they are designed to last you for many years. When you invest so much in the purchase of your car, it makes sense to spend a little more so that it can be truly cared for and hold its value for a lot longer.

For the best steam cleaner, the clear choice is the McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe Canister Steam System. This is easy to operate, cost efficient and can do an amazing deep clean without the need for any harsh chemicals. Although the Dupray Tosca Steam Cleaner was a close runner up, it’s simply not cost efficient for everyday domestic use and so the McCulloch’s is our first choice.McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe Canister Steam System

The best vacuum cleaner option by far has to be the Black and Decker Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, mainly due to the fact that it’s far more convenient to use than the VacMaster. The Black and Decker seems to have been designed specifically for use with a car, so although it doesn’t have intense suction, it’s more than enough to get your car professionally cleaned when used with the other products.

For the carpet wash kit, the best choice has to be the 303 Products Multi Surface Cleaner Spray. Although this is a pack of six, you can easily purchase just one small bottle for around $6 but it’s best to buy in bulk and have a backup. This cleaner is environmentally friendly and won’t do any damage to even the most sensitive materials in your car, so it’s an all-round winner.

If you take pride in your car and like to have it looking its best at all times, or just want something that takes the hard work out of cleaning the carpets, these products represent some of the best on the market. When we keep our cars clean we can enjoy the benefits in a number of ways, so it pays to invest a little in quality products that will last for many years.


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