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The Single Best Way to Clean in Between Your Car’s Seats

Noticing a lot of junk in between your car’s seats? No matter how clean your car may look, it’s just hard to clean this area. And there’s really no sugarcoating it.

But if you’re ready to vacuum up all those fries, pennies, and straw wrappers—you’re in the right place.

Here’s how to clean in between your seats (the right way), AND how to prevent debris (or your phone) from ever slipping in between the cracks.

Remove your seats and grab your vacuum

The best way to clean debris from in between your seats is by removing your seats entirely from the vehicle. Most seats unbolt easily with a ratchet and/or breaker bar and the right size bit. Your owner’s manual should have this information (or just Google it).

With seats removed, you may want to deep clean everything!

Keep in mind, some seat brackets may require star-shaped Torx bits. Once you remove the seats and clean everything up, be sure you tighten them to spec on re-install. Usually, this equates to 25 to 50 foot-pounds of torque. It’s best practice to use something like Loctite thread locker before reinstallation.


I don’t advise removing the seats in a vehicle not your own for cleaning purposes. For detailers especially, you open up some legal liability should anything comes loose or if bolts aren’t tightened to torque spec. Only attempt seat removal on your own vehicle if you understand the details.

How to clean in between your seats without removing them

Even if you don’t feel like removing the’s what to do.

1. Slide the seat back as far as possible

Always slide the seats as far back as possible (to get the seatbelt out of the way). This makes it slightly easier to slide a crevice tool or your hand in between.

2. Loosen and remove debris

Using a microfiber towel, try to dislodge loose debris as best you can with a towel. Microfiber towels are great for this application because the pile is designed to grab loose debris like dust or grass.

Use compressed air if needed

Compressed air can also be helpful when detailing tight areas. For example, the Vortex is an air cleaning air gun that can blast away debris in between seats, door jambs, cupholders, and a bunch of other areas.

Quick Tip

You can also use compressed air in detailing to power what’s called a steam gun. A steam gun uses a compressor to shoot pressurized steam; this helps break down stuck-on substances and is a go-to device for cleaning areas like seat tracks.


Tornador Steam Gun for Auto Detailing

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Steam is a great option to clean areas towels and brushes simply can’t reach.

3. Vacuum up debris using a crevice tool attachment

Once you remove all large debris, attach the crevice tool to your shop vac and slide it between the seats. Always try to vacuum up loose debris before you proceed to steam or water; wet particles tend to stick to carpet.

How to prevent debris from falling in between your car’s seats

To avoid the seat gap problem altogether, I recommend a product called the Drop Stop (you may have seen on ABC’s Shark Tank).

Drop Stop Car Seat Gap Filler

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This device fits around any seat belt buckle; you can find similar devices in different colors to match your interior.

Time to clean your vehicle’s carpet?

Check out our post on how to clean car carpets for beginners once you clean in between the seats. All you need are a couple of basic products and a vacuum. Believe me, you’ll see and smell a huge difference :)

While it isn’t difficult, there are a few tricks of the trade to make carpet cleaning easier. Happy detailing!

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Baxter Overman is the founder of Carwash Country and has been been cleaning up dirty vehicles for nearly 20 years. Since 2017, he's helped thousands of beginners see better results by learning the fundamentals of washing and detailing. He's on a mission to make the car wash process more fun...and way easier.

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