How To Cheaply Clean Your Car Carpets To Almost New For Under $10!

One reason people seem to get ‘car fever’ is a simple one. The car they drive is dirty.

Fortunately, we can fix this rather easily; a great clean! It is amazing what a deep clean can do to make you feel good about your old car.

But fighting car fever isn’t the only reason to clean it up.

I recently purchased a new (to me) vehicle. A 2007 Honda Odyssey.

(This post contains affiliate links – they help me pay the bills around here.)

It was quite dirty, but I didn’t mind. It allowed me to negotiate a much lower price to purchase it. Their lack of interior cleanliness saved me hundreds of dollars!

Also, if you are planning to sell your car for top dollar it should be very clean. For the exact reason I just listed.

If your car carpet is stained or just plain dirty, here is how you can clean it up easily for under $10!

Here is what you need:

I had laundry spot stain remover as my wife bought a bunch a year ago or so on sale and with a coupon, making them cost around $1.50 or so. I figured it was about the same as carpet stain removal.

(These links are affiliate links, which means I receive a small reward if you purchase the items by clicking the links. This costs you nothing extra.)

$4 High traffic carpet cleaner
Some options (You can find cheaper prices at your local store):



$4 Spot stain remover



$1 Medium/Stiff bristle brush (I got one at the dollar store)

Bucket (of water)

(Recommended) Rubber Gloves

Wet/Dry Shop Vac


Here is a list of other items that could help you.

If you don’t have a shop vac, ask your neighbors or friends to borrow theirs. Purchase one from craigslist, or buy one (they are useful!).

I also think you can get away with not having a wet/dry vac but you would need towels you don’t care about or large sponges to suck up the carpet soap. You could wring them out and reuse them as much as necessary.

Clean the carpets in sections. You don’t want the cleaning agents to dry before you suction them up. I find that an individual seating area is a perfect size to clean at a time. So that means drivers seating area carpet, then driver’s side rear passenger, and so on.


You want to really suck up all the loose dirt before you start.


Use your spot stain remover to completely cover any stains in the area.


Follow the instructions on the can. Cover the section you are cleaning.


Scrub the whole section, spending more effort where the stains are. You want to scrub from all angles – scrub in circles, as well as in straight lines. If you think you need more spot spray, use it.


Using your bucket of water, dunk the scrub brush in and wet the carpet. Using your brush, brush/scrape the cleaning agent for vacuuming with the shop vac.


Using your wet/dry shop vac, suction up as much soap/suds as you can.

You will have to perform steps 5 and 6 at least three times, but possibly more. Change the water in your bucket if/when it becomes too soapy, as you don’t want to just keep bringing the soap back to the carpet. It is important to remove the soap as it will attract and hold dirt if it remains.

Allow it to dry overnight. If your vehicle is parked in a secure area, it is best to leave the windows rolled down while it dries.

That’s how you do it, now do it to the rest of the vehicle and enjoy your freshly cleaned carpets!

A little bit of money and a little bit of work will make your car look 10X better!

Read now: Road Trip Travel Hacking – How to Make Money on the Drive


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  1. Tony

    Great trick man. I have never seen this method before and it appears to work great. Im actually gonna try this on my car since I’ve got a few stains that could use my attention. What a great approach to saving a lot of money on a car purchase. Baking soda and vinegar also work great on all kinds of stains and odors in a pinch.
    Tony recently posted…The outrageous benefits of learning the skill of practicing contentment.My Profile

    1. MrDD

      I have heard about the baking soda/vinegar method but this carpet was really dirty so I decided to bring in the big guns on it. The carpets really turned out great doing this, so I had to share.

  2. Jennifer Connolly

    Thanks for this! The seats in our truck are filthy and as soon as spring comes I am going to give this a try.
    Jennifer Connolly recently posted…Our Goals for MarchMy Profile

    1. MrDD

      No problem, give it a whirl – it worked wonders for me.

  3. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    Very neat! I used to do something like this back when I cared about how my car looked–ha! 🙂 I need to be better about cleaning it regularly. Regular cleaning prevents the need for deep cleaning and keeps your car looking really nice–which is especially important if you plan to drive it ’til it snaps in half.
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…What’s the Weirdest Thing You’ve Done To Save Money?My Profile

    1. MrDD

      I plan on having this minivan for many years to come. Have you seen what these run new? Honda Odyssey’s and Toyota Sienna’s run from $34K to $43k. Yeah, I’ll take mine 10 years old and 1/10th that price, please. The reviews say they last well into 200K miles, well that is at least 7 years of driving left for my family to hit that in this vehicle.

  4. Mustard Seed Money

    It amazes me that people don’t try to clean up their cars before they sell them. It’s like they want to knock off $500 for being lazy. I guess if you’re a high priced attorney I get why it might not be worth your time. But for someone like me, a couple of hours of my time is definitely worth it to get a higher selling price. Great find and I hope you enjoy the new car 🙂
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…Where to Store Your Down Payment MoneyMy Profile

    1. MrDD

      Hey, we all know that most people in this world are doing stupid things that are making them poorer. The funny thing was is that this was just one reason I got it for cheaper, they also had a lien on it still! If I remember the VIN report and what they told me, they had it for about three years. Because of the lien, I had to go to their bank with them and have the bank officer transfer the title to me and make a special power of attorney for the vehicle so that I could sign for them a few days later at the DMV to transfer the title.

      Still, some cleaning and a little hassle on the transfer knocked $700 off and put it in the low end of the blue book value. This is on a car that normally sells, in this area, for $1500 or so above blue book.

  5. Alexis @FITnancials

    Wow! The after photo looks amazing! I need to do a major clean-up to the carpet in my car. I’ve been neglecting it for years.

    1. MrDD

      You should! A thorough cleanup will make it feel like you are driving a new car, seriously.

  6. Mike

    Nice article and thank for sharing, above tips are really useful, and it work

  7. carpet shampooer Dallas

    What’s a carpet fever? I never heard of that. Here in my place. almost all the people that I know who has a car has a dirty carpets on their car. Nobody got sick.
    carpet shampooer Dallas recently posted…Rug RepairMy Profile

  8. Krystal

    Nice tips. You just made my car carpet cleaning task much easier. It can be really tiresome and time-consuming but I guess with the right products, you can get the job done easily.
    Krystal recently posted…When Can I Put Furniture on Refinished Hardwood Floors?My Profile

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