The best upholstery cleaner

The best upholstery cleaner
9 May, 2012 7:00am

How effective were our 15 products at shifting stubborn food and ink stains? We pick the top three for your car

Children, food and wet and muddy clothes all take their toll on your car’s upholstery. Simply driving builds up grime; you often don’t know it’s there until it’s removed.

Our cleaners not only had to tackle specific marks like ink, margarine and chocolate from a seat, but also shift grime that builds up over time. We used limited wiping and rated progress once the seat had dried. Price was our final factor.

Winner: Comma Interior Cleaner

Price: £4.29
Size: 750ml
Contact: 01474 564311,

Big 750ml trigger pack and keen price give frequent winner Comma an advantage over its rivals in this test, but it’s not our winner on price alone. It also has serious cleaning power, particularly when shifting the kind of ingrained dirt that comes with prolonged use. It removed all traces of our chocolate, and while the ink proved a tougher nut to crack, it still made progress – and this was enough to secure another win for the long-running Interior Cleaner.


Armor All Carpet & Seat Foaming Cleaner

Price: £4.99
Size: 500ml
Contact: 0845 602 1995,

Unlike our champion, the Armor All cleaner relies on a dense foam to sink in and remove marks. Once the foam – with its pleasant citrus smell – has soaked, simply wipe with a damp cloth. We could see progress on the cloth, although it was just behind Comma on general grime. Fared better on the tough ink stain, where it was the best on test, and cleared the chocolate and most of the margarine. The one to go for if you prefer a foam cleaner.

Halfords Upholstery Cleaner

Price: £3.99
Size: 500ml
Contact: 0845 762 6625,

Our second commendation falls somewhere between the Comma and the Armor All as the Halfords trigger delivers a foamy spray. It needs to be left 30 seconds or so before you wipe with a damp cloth. Keenly priced pack claims a deep cleaning action, and we saw that – it was a top performer on the long-term grime covering our scrapyard seat. Like the Comma, it found the ink hard going, but the chocolate and margarine were almost all removed.

Upholstery cleaner Q and A

The carpet floor mats in my cabin have become matted and dull. What can I do to fix this?
Our winners here will deal with light soiling. If the mats still need reviving, try soap and water with careful use of a hose. This should restore the colour, but if the pile is damaged, the only solution is replacement. The choice is original equipment – likely to be the most expensive option – fitted or universal aftermarket designs.

What should I use to clean hard-to-reach places inside my car?
Professional valeters have a host of tricks which require no special equipment. Use a wooden kitchen spatula wrapped in a microfibre cloth, sprayed with one of our winners here, to get between the dash and the base of the screen and between the console and seats. Plus, when vacuuming the dash, use a paintbrush and hoover close together to loosen dust and remove it.