Interior Auto Detailing

Buyer's Guide


auto detailing

Two types of cleaning systems are often used for cleaning vehicle interiors: upholstery carpet cleaners for cloth and rugs, and steam cleaners for hard surfaces, dashboards, leather and vents. Your first purchase, should be the carpet cleaner. Also, beware of companies that only steam cleaners and tell you that these machines can handle rugs, upholstery or even vehicle exteriors -- not true.

Click on the links below for quick access to the sections of this buyer's guide.

Machines that Clean Upholstery and Carpeting - Click Here
Machines that Clean Hard Interior Surfaces - Click Here

Machines that Clean Upholstery and Carpeting

carpet cleaners, upholstery cleaners

Specially configured upholstery carpet cleaners offer car detailing professionals an ideal option for cleaning the majority of a vehicle’s interior. These carpet shampooers inject, and then, extract customized cleaning solutions. Advanced machines can leave cleaned surfaces dry in an hour.

Upholstery carpet cleaners for vehicles use compact 4-inch wands custom-designed for tight spaces under seats around seats and on vehicle floors.

Key Features


A mobile, maneuverable system housed on wheels can save aggravation in busy care detailing operations.

Cleaning Power:

Pressure levels of 120 psi or greater will allow you handle even the toughest cleaning jobs. For vacuum suction, look for equipment with two stage motors, air flows of 100 - 200 cfm and column water lifts of 100 - 150 inches.

Heated machines improve cleaning efficiency. If you need an unheated machine -- either to save money or for delicate fibers, consider models, like Daimer®’s XTreme Power® XPC-5700U or 9200U that also will accept heat tap water as hot as 140ºF.

Heated systems that produce steam offer added cleaning power. Daimer® offers a variety of models, including the XTreme Power® models XPH-5800TU, XPH-5900IU and XPH 9300U, which generate steam heated as high as 210ºF.

Low-Flow Design:

This engineering technology decreases water waste, reduced chances of mold and mildew, and speeds up drying times, which is a major consideration for care detailing professionals.

Machines that Clean Hard Interior Surfaces

steam cleaner, steam cleaners

After purchasing an upholstery carpet cleaner, consider buying a steam cleaner for cleaning leather, vinyl, door jambs and other interior hard surfaces. These machines can eliminate allergens, mold, and are ideal for sanitizing applications. Steam cleaners are also useful for spot-cleaning tough stains on carpet and upholstery.

Note: Before buying a steam cleaner for auto detailing, read "Auto Detailing and Steam Cleaners: The Major Myths" below.

Key Features


Steam cleaners used for automotive applications come in a variety of sizes, ranging from square foot cubes to systems almost twice as big. Smaller units weigh around 20 pounds. Larger machines can weigh about 80 pounds. For maximum ease of use, chose machines mounted on industrial wheels.


Steam cleaning machines dry superheated vapor steam. Machines for car detailing typically offer pressure levels in the 75 psi - 125 psi range and steam temperatures around 369ºF.

Continual Operation:

Auto detailing professionals need to consider systems with the following features: large boilers with lifetime warranties and units with continuously refilling tanks, which boost productivity by requiring fewer water refills.

Wet/Dry Vacuum Systems:

Vacuums empty waste and water automatically into integrated extraction tanks. Wet vacuum capabilities increase efficiency because users can work without having to towel dry as much. Steam cleaners without vacuums require towel drying to wipe water residue.