Can You Shampoo Car Carpet? (6 Things You Should Keep in Mind!)

Have you wondered if you can give your carpet a thorough shampooing to remove all those nasty stains and strong odors but you don’t know how to go about it? After a few months of rough-use and having your kids and pets make the car’s carpets as dirty as it could get, it may be time to go deeper and treat each fibre of your carpet by giving it a deep shampooing.

Yes, you can shampoo your car’s carpet. But you have to do it right if you want your car to smell and look great afterwards! The best way to give your carpet a good cleansing is to make sure you do it on a hot summer day so that everything can dry out well by the time you use it again. Keep the next 6 tips in mind and follow these 2 simple steps!

Can You Shampoo Car Carpet

Can you shampoo car carpet, why should you?

As already stated, yes, you can shampoo your car’s carpet. Cars come with floor mats that are placed on top of the carpeting for each seat or set of seats. These mats are removable and easy to clean and dry compared to the carpeting beneath. However, after continuous and heavy usage, you also need to shampoo the layer under your floor mats. You can do that using the process we explain in detail below.

beige car interior

Things to keep in mind before shampooing car carpet

I have listed a few things you need to remember before you actually shampoo your car’s carpets. These tips will help you make sure that the cleaning is done in the most effective manner so that you can get back to using your car ASAP!

1. Materials required

Keep all necessary materials ready with you: 1. Carpet shampoo or carpet cleaner – laundry detergent will do if you don’t have either; 2. Hard-bristle brush; 3. Gloves for safety; 4. Spot cleaners for specific stains if needed; 5. All-purpose cleaner or carpet shampoo for floor mats; 6. Clean and dry terry cloth towels; 7. A bucket to store the dirty rags after cleaning; 8. Fabric protector – optional.



Keep an emergency spill-kit in your car to clean up messy spills immediately!

2. Start during the day to make sure it dries by night

It is very important to follow this tip! Your car’s interiors need enough time and sunlight to dry in time. Moisture can lead to the growth of mold and mildew that can cause a lot of unpleasant symptoms in sensitive individuals and can also create a musty smell. Start cleaning in the morning and leave your car’s windows and doors open to accelerate the drying process.

3. Summertime shampoo to prevent mold

As stated above, dampness can lead to mold growth which can cause a series of problems for you and your family. It is best to leave shampooing for warm weather when there is enough sun to dry everything out as soon as possible. It is not impossible to shampoo your car’s carpeting in the winter but drying will take more time, for which you will require more patience and effort.

beautiful car interior



Mold is challenging to deal with and can trigger severe signs in people including breathing difficulties, itchy eyes, nasal congestion and coughing.

4. Use an efficient, quick working carpet shampoo

Invest in a good quality car carpet cleaning shampoo to help retain the brand new look of your car’s interiors. There are various carpet shampoos available on the market for this purpose and you should buy one that suits your own needs. A spray-on carpet shampoo is best for cleaning your car’s carpets as it is convenient to apply in the limited area that you have. Follow the instructions on the label to a T and you will end up with good results!



If you have any known allergies, make sure to check the label before buying the cleaning solution. Wear gloves during the cleaning to protect yourself.

5. Advisable to use a fabric protector afterwards

A product that a lot of people don’t know about is fabric protector. Since most of our car’s carpets are fabric-made, it is important to maintain its brand new look by using an effective fabric protector. This product will also help eliminate future staining and some of them also come with an odor-block feature.

use a fabric protector afterwards

6. Set aside a couple of hours for the task

The process of shampooing car carpets starts with removing all junk from the car and goes on until you can soak up as much moisture as you can. It is a time-consuming job that will take up at least 2-4 hours of your morning. Start shampooing your carpets only when you know you have the time to complete it. Leaving your car mid-shampoo will result in moldy, unclean carpets and you do not want that!

How to shampoo car carpet

Now that you are prepared with everything that you need for shampooing your carpets, keep reading to find out where to start for a deep clean!

Step 1: Pre-shampoo clean

There are some tasks to be completed before you get the shampoo and the brushes out to start shampooing. Finish these first so that you can clean your carpets without any hindrances.


The first step consists of organising everything in the car. Put everything in its place, including loose objects that are on the floor or the seats. Use the car’s inbuilt organisation compartments for this: the slots on the door for small items, glove compartments for important papers, cup holders for keys and coins or the storage on the backside of the front seats of the car.

Clear out all junk

After putting everything in its place, take out the trash. It is important to do this as you don’t want any garbage on the carpet while shampooing it. Remove all wrappers and other noticeable pieces of clutter for an easy and efficient carpet cleaning experience.

Clear out all junk

Remove the floor mats

Take the floor mats out of the car and shake them well to remove all the mud and dirt embedded in them. Hang them on a clothesline or keep them somewhere until you can clean them properly.


After removing the floor mats and all the bigger pieces of trash, it is time to eliminate smaller particles of dust and dirt that are responsible for making your carpets smell unpleasant. Run the vacuum over the carpet slowly and thoroughly to pick up small particles of dirt accumulated over time. Make sure to get those tricky corners by using the smaller nozzles in your kit, if any.

Step 2: Shampoo

Here’s where you actually begin with the shampooing. Make sure you complete all the tasks mentioned above before you get to the shampoo work!

Pick out the required materials

Keep all the needed items for the cleaning with you so that you won’t have to look for them during the process. In addition to the material list given above, you can also have a few plastic/waste bags with you to dispose of the accumulated trash.

Prioritize and create an order for working

You can either start with the front of the car and work towards the back or go the other way around. Alternatively, you can start working in the area that requires the most effort, whether it is the backseat where your children have made a mess on multiple occasions or the front passenger seat where you keep your dog whenever you travel with him. Decide this before you start cleaning as you will save some time later on!

Prioritize and create an order for working

Pay special attention to tough stains and smells

Focus on problematic areas where you have really stubborn stains and smells first. This step is important as you’ll be giving these spots some more time to soak in the cleaning solution or the shampoo. This extra time will make a significant difference in the overall cleaning of your here Deodorize your carpet easily with these tips

You can use cleaners that specifically target your particular stain, and follow the instructions given on the label. Allow the surfactant to soak well before moving on, repeat the process if necessary. If you don’t have a store-bought solution for your stain, eliminate stubborn general carpet discolourations with a DIY mixture of hot water, dishwasher liquid and white vinegar! Work it in with a brush and let it sit for a half-hour before blotting it here Read this post to find out more on how to remove stains caused by different spills on carpet:



Plan the spot-treatment and shampooing in such a way that you can remove the residue product on time. Do not leave any of the product on for an alarmingly excessive amount of time.

Clean the floor mats

While letting the problematic areas on the carpet absorb the shampoo or solution well, use this waiting time to clean the floor mats you had already removed. Shake it well again and use a dry brush to remove any dried mud or dirt. Spray all-purpose cleaning solution on them and if the mats have fabric, you can use carpet shampoo. Scrub the product in thoroughly and rinse well. Let them air-dry throughout the day and check if they are dirt-free before placing them in the car.

Clean the floor mats



Remember to clean both sides, including the underside of the floor mat.

Spray carpet shampoo and work it in

The next step of carpet shampooing is to spray the shampoo onto the carpeting. Apply an even coat of shampoo throughout the surface of the car’s floor and work it in with your stiff-bristled brush. You can use extra product on tough spots but don’t over-apply the product to the point where your carpet is soaked as a lot of liquid is not advisable.



Use gentle but firm circular motions to set the product in completely. You can scrub a second or third time on areas with stubborn stains to ensure a deep clean.

Soak up all moisture

After letting the carpet shampoo sit on for the recommended time as mentioned on the labels, start scrubbing on the carpet to soak up any excess moisture and residue product. Use a clean and dry terry cloth towel for this, move in a single direction instead of scrubbing back and forth to make sure you cover the entire area. Keep doing this until most of the dampness is absorbed.

Allow everything to air-dry

Now that you have absorbed as much moisture as you can from the carpeting, let it all dry out so that there’s no dampness that can cause mold growth. Leave your car’s windows and doors open for the rest of the day to increase the circulation of air. Make sure you have parked the car in a safe place. You can also use an electric fan to accelerate the drying process.

How often do you need to shampoo your car’s carpet

The general consensus is to clean your car’s carpets deeply once a hereRead this post to know more about ways to keep your carpets clean.

However, shampooing your carpets once every six months is considered sufficient for most people. The frequency increases if your car is subjected to heavy-use and you have kids and/or pets. In that case, it’d require good shampooing once every 4 months!

When should you take your car to a professional

Good and regular upkeep of a car’s interiors ensures that it remains new and smells fresh for as long as possible. Taking your car for professional auto-detailing every once a year is recommended so as to keep it in spotless condition. Schedule an annual detailing service at your local professional cleaners who will treat your vehicle with the care and attention it needs.


With all this knowledge on how to shampoo your car’s carpets and keep it immaculate for future use, go ahead and decide on a suitable weekend morning to do it! Doing it yourself will save you some money that you can save up for the annual professional cleaning! I hope I have helped you understand the importance of half-yearly carpet shampooing and the ways to do it efficiently. Enjoy your spotless and fresh-smelling car!

premium car
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Nancy Adams

I am a fan of home decor, I devote all my free time to this activity. One of the most important components of home comfort is carpets & rugs and at the same time, it is one of the poorly covered topics on the Internet. Therefore, I decided to share my experience and knowledge in this niche.

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