How to Clean Car Cup Holders? The Detailed Guide for Every Step

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to clean car cup holders

Since cup holders are often used for containing drinks and other things, they are prone to getting spills, stains, and dirt. This is why you have to pay special attention to them.

In this article, we’ll delve into how to clean car cup holders, which can be done in two methods, either with a tumbler and an old fuzzy sock or with mild soap and a warm water solution or a vinegar and water solution. But before cleaning, there are preparatory steps you have to do first. Read further to be guided.

Preparatory Steps Before Cleaning With a Solution


1. Car Interior Cleaner, Multi-Purpose Cleaner, or Dishwashing Liquid

One of the preparatory steps before you clean with a solution is to clean the rubber inserts if you use them in your cup holders. They can be cleaned either with a car interior cleaner, multi-purpose cleaner, or dishwashing liquid.

2. Microfiber Towel

A microfiber towel would also be needed for wiping clean the rubber inserts.

Step 1: Remove the Garbage and Rubber Inserts in the Cup Holders

The first step when cleaning cup holders in car is to remove the pieces of garbage from the cup holders as well as the rubber inserts if you have them in your cup holders. Through this, you’ll be able to easily and more thoroughly clean the cup holders.

Step 2: Clean the Rubber Inserts Separately

You can spray on the inserts a commercial interior cleaner or multipurpose cleaner, which you would leave to sit for three to five minutes. Then, wipe it away along with the dirt and grime using a microfiber towel. You may repeat the cleaning as needed.

Or you could just clean them with dishwashing liquid. You can even just have them washed in the top rack of the dishwasher.

Steps to Clean Cup Holders


For Cleaning With a Tumbler and a Fuzzy Sock

What You Need

  • Old Fuzzy Sock: Using an old fuzzy sock when you clean out cup holders in car would make the task easier. Its texture will allow you to easily pick up dirt and grime from the cup holders.
  • Tumbler or Cup: A tumbler or cup would also help make the cleaning easier. Make sure that it would fit in the cup holders.
  • Glass Cleaner or All-Purpose Cleaner: For the cleaning solution, you can use either a glass cleaner or an all-purpose cleaner.
  • Vacuum Cleaner: For totally clean cup holders, use a vacuum cleaner for sucking out the dirt from the cup holders for the finishing step.

Step 1: Wipe the Cup Holders Using a Tumbler Covered With a Fuzzy Sock

The best way to clean car cup holders is by using a tumbler with a fuzzy sock. Insert the tumbler in the fuzzy sock. Then spray a glass cleaner or all-purpose cleaner on the sock.

But if the cup holders are very grimy, it would be better to spray the cleaner directly on them and leave the cleaner to sit for around one to two minutes. Next, insert the sock-covered cup in the cup holder. Then, with added pressure, keep twisting the tumbler in the cup holders to scrub out all the dirt, grime, and stains.

If there are dirt, grime, and stains leftover in the corners that the sock-covered tumbler can’t reach, you can clean out car cup holders with your hand instead. Wear the sock on your hand and wipe the remaining dirt and grime.

Step 2: Finish With a Vacuum Cleaner

If some of the dirt seems impossible to remove even with a sock in your hand, you can finish the job with a vacuum cleaner.

For Cleaning With Mild Soap or Vinegar

What You Need:

  • Mild Soap and Warm Water: A mixture of mild soap and warm water can be used as the cleaning solution for when you clean cup holders in car.
  • Vinegar and Water: Another option for a cleaning solution is a mixture of vinegar and water.
  • Sponge or Cloth: Either a sponge or cloth can be used for wiping the cup holders clean.
  • Cup: Depending on how gunky the cup holders are, you might need to soak them with the solution. So you might also need a cup to remove the solution as well. Or you may just absorb the solution with a sponge or cloth.
  • Small Detailing Brush: A small detailing brush can be used for cleaning hard stains. It is also perfect for cleaning the corners and grooves of the cup holders. If you don’t have a detailing brush, you can also use a toothbrush, q-tip, or a small dry rag instead.
  • Terry Cloth: Use a terry cloth for wiping the cup holders dry.
  • Blow Dryer: You can use a blow dryer on the cup holders to make them dry faster if you wish.

Step 1: Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

You can mix some mild soap with warm water to create your cleaning solution. Or you can also mix equal parts of vinegar and water for your cleaning solution.

Step 2: Wipe the Cup Holders Using a Sponge With the Solution

Dampen the sponge or cloth with the solution. Then wipe it around the cup holders to remove the dirt and gunk from the surface.

Step 3: For Very Gunky Cup Holders, Soak Them With the Solution

If you’re working on very gunky or sticky cup holders, you can soak them with the solution. Pour the solution halfway full into the cup holders and let it sit for about a minute or two. Once you’re done soaking the cup holders, you can remove the solution from them by either absorbing the liquid with the sponge or cloth or scooping it out with a cup.

Step 4: For Stubborn Stains, Scrub With a Small Detailing Brush

If there are hard stains or residue on the cup holders, you can clean them using a detailing brush along with your solution. For cleaning really stubborn stains, it’s best to use the vinegar and water solution. When scrubbing off the stains and residue, do it lightly to avoid damaging the cup holders’ surface.

Step 5: Wipe the Cup Holders Dry With a Terry Cloth

Finally, wipe the cup holders dry with a terry cloth. You should also let them air dry overnight before using them again, as using damp cup holders can cause the build-up of germs. Or if you need them immediately, you can blow dry them.


You wouldn’t want dirt and gunk to build up and smells to be lingering on your car’s cup holders. To prevent that from happening, remember to do the steps on how to clean car cup holders mentioned above when needed.

Also, kindly help us save other car owners from sticky situations in their cup holders by sharing this article. If you have any thoughts, feel free to leave a comment.

Additionally, To learn more other articles about cleaning interior car topic, click one if you are interested in:

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