How to Clean Inside Car Door Panel in a Few Easy Steps

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to clean inside car door panel

All sorts of contaminants, such as dust, dirt, and debris are accumulated on the car door panel. There could be body oils and skin products rubbed on the surface; accidental spills of food, beverages, and liquids; etc.

Therefore, the door panel can be susceptible to fading, discoloration, drying out, and cracking if they aren’t cleaned and protected.

So it’s important not to forget the door panels when you clean the inside of the car and give them the care they need.

So, how to clean inside car door panel effectively? It depends on the door panel material, which is demonstrated below.

Steps to Clean Inside Car Door Panel

What to prepare


  1. Vacuum cleaner and crevice tool vacuum attachment
  2. Compressed air
  3. Steam cleaner and Upholstery tool steam cleaner attachment
  4. Microfiber cloths
  5. Commercial cleaner – must be suitable for door panel material
  6. Or household items for making a homemade cleaner:
    • Spray bottle
    • For vinyl and plastic door panels – white vinegar, warm water, blue Dawn dish soap, and baby oil, mineral oil, or tea tree essential oil
    • For leather door panels – white vinegar, olive oil, and lemon essential oil (optional)
  7. Toothbrush/sponge
  8. Detailing brush
  9. Pressure washer, hose, or spray bottle
  10. Leather conditioner, vinyl dressing or plastic restorer and protectant
  11. Spray-on wax

Step 1: Vacuum clean the loose contaminants off the door panels


Clean off the loose dust, dirt, and debris on the door panels with a vacuum cleaner first to prepare the surface for cleaner application.

  • Glide the vacuum cleaner over the entire surface of each door panel to thoroughly suck out all the loose dust, dirt, and debris.
  • Use the crevice tool vacuum attachment for cleaning tight spaces, such as storage compartments, corners, and crevices.

Step 2: Use compressed air to blow out stubborn contaminants


A can of compressed air would come in handy for stuck-on contaminants.

  • Spray compressed air onto the stuck-on contaminants to loosen them off the surface.
  • Once they have been loosened, clean them off with the vacuum cleaner.

Step 3: Use a steam cleaner for stubborn stains


Stubborn stains on car interior car panels require the additional cleaning effort of using a steam cleaner.

  • Put a combination of cleaner and water into the steam cleaner’s reservoir. The cleaner has to be the appropriate product for the door panel material.
  • Then, attach the upholstery tool attachment to the steam cleaner and wrap a microfiber cloth over it.
  • You should dab the microfiber cloth on the stains to remove them.
  • Leather and fabric door panels must not be over-saturated, as excessive moisture can damage them. So try not to make them too moist.

Step 4: Use a cleaning solution for surface cleaning


For surface cleaning, it’s important to use the appropriate cleaner for the material of the door panels, whether they’re leather, vinyl, or plastic car door panels.

It’s advisable to use a commercial car interior cleaner specifically for the door panels’ material.

Or suppose you opt for a DIY cleaner that’s of little to no cost. In that case, you can use readily available household products or cheap items to create your door panel cleaner.

The instructions for the two cleaning solution options, along with some cleaning tips are provided below.

  • Homemade Cleaner For Vinyl and Plastic Door Panels

In a spray bottle, combine the ingredients following the given measurements:

    • White vinegar – 1 tablespoon
    • Warm water – 1 cup
    • Blue Dawn dish soap – 1 teaspoon
    • Baby oil – 2 teaspoons
    • Alternatives to baby oil – mineral oil (2 teaspoons) or tea tree essential oil (3 to 5 drops)

You can spray the homemade cleaner on a cloth and wipe the door panel using one direction.

This cleaning solution can also be used to clean the dashboard in the car, other non-leather surfaces, such as the steering wheel, hand brake, etc, and even the tires.

  • Homemade Cleaner For Leather Door Panels

In a spray bottle, combine the ingredients following the given measurements:

    • White vinegar – ¼ cup
    • Olive oil – ¼ cup
    • Lemon essential oil – 6 to 10 drops (optional)

Spray the homemade cleaner on a cloth and wipe the leather door panel. Then, wipe the surface dry with another cloth.

  • Commercial Cleaner

You can test your cleaner on an inconspicuous spot on a panel first to see if it’s safe for cleaning and doesn’t discolor the panel. If it does, then don’t apply it to the panels.

Use a toothbrush to scrub nooks and crannies, such as the door handles, window cranks, and pulls.

Step 5: Clean the car door jambs with an all-purpose cleaner and detailing brush


Contaminants can enter the cracks of car doors and accumulate in the door jambs, so it’s necessary to clean them.

You can spray the all-purpose cleaner on the door jamb.

If you want to use a homemade all-purpose cleaner, combine in a spray bottle:

  • White vinegar – 1 cup
  • Water – 3 cups
  • Baking soda – 2 tablespoons
  • Tea tree oil – 15-30 drops
  • Alternative to Tea tree oil – lemon (one-half)

Gently agitate the surface with the detailing brush to dislodge the contaminants.

Step 6: Rinse the door jambs


For rinsing door jambs, you can use a pressure washer or hose. Rinse the area carefully, keeping the water away from the car interior to avoid making it wet inside.

If you’re not confident in rinsing the door jambs with a pressure washer or hose, you can use a spray bottle filled with water instead.

Step 7: Dry the door jambs and panel


Wipe the door jamb dry with a microfiber cloth. Make sure to dry it thoroughly to prevent it from getting rust.

Step 8: Condition and protect the door panels


The door panels need some conditioning and protection too. Like in the cleaning process, what product to use to condition and protect them depends on what material they’re made of.

  • For leather door panels, use a leather conditioner.
  • For vinyl door panels, use a vinyl dressing.
  • For plastic door panels, use a plastic restorer and protectant.

But there are also some products that work for various surfaces, which you can buy if you want a multi-purpose product.

Step 9: Apply wax on the door jambs


You should also protect the door jambs by applying spray wax to them. Use a microfiber cloth to apply the spray-on wax to avoid overspray.

Read next: A Comprehensive Guide to Cleaning the Interior Plastic of Your Car.


How to clean inside car door panel is a must-do task that contributes to the overall cleanliness, good condition, and pleasant appearance of a car interior.

Remember to not only clean but also condition and protect the door panels and door jambs as well as to use the appropriate products to ensure effectiveness without causing harm on surfaces.

5/5 - (3 votes)



"As the content writer of Charmcitycirculator, I intend to bring just the best purchase options and straightforward answers to your problems. Other than what we put up on our website, we hope to hear more from you. "

– Bruce Sonnier