The 5 Most Disgusting Places in Your Car
Updated: Aug 4
Even seasoned professional automotive detailers have places in vehicle interiors that they dread cleaning. Often these spaces are overlooked when someone opts for an "express detail" at the local car wash. These types of “detailers” aim for quick, borderline acceptable results. After seeing some of the things we’ve seen in more than a decade of auto detailing, you won’t want anything to do with express detailers ever again.
These are the top 5 most disgusting areas inside your vehicle:
5. Foot Box, Pedals, and Assemblies
Pedal assemblies, especially those on European models with floor-mounted controls, face the most general dirt and grime. Kicked around on a daily basis, the grooves in the pedals meant to increase grip can harbor the nastiness you step on every day. What doesn’t manage to stick in the pedal grooves makes its way to the floor mat to be pulverized and ground in - day in and day out.
An express detail will likely get you a quick vacuum in the visible areas around the pedals, but rarely if ever will the clean the actual control assemblies. Dust and dirt that makes its way into these assemblies can affect sensitive switch gear and cause springs to fail prematurely. Proper cleaning using compressed air, solvent-based cleaners, and specialty cleaning tools is imperative to keeping your controls operating properly and for the life of the vehicle.
4. Seat Rails
When we mention this area to clients they often give us a confused look. “Who would care or even notice dirty seat rails?”
For many of us, our cars are a second home - we eat, smoke, apply makeup, and more inside. The food that misses our mouth, the soda that spills, the ashes that land on our lap, the lipstick that falls out of the holder - it makes its way down the side of the seat and past the seat rails. While most of this will end up on the carpet below the rails, some makes its way inside.
The factory that assembled your vehicle packed the rails with grease for ease of movement. Over years of daily use, the slurry of grease combined with old food, makeup, ash, hair, etc. can build up and impede seat movement. We take the time to clean these rails thoroughly and reapply grease to prevent failure and ensure that you have a quiet, freely moving seat.
3. Seat Crevices
While this one may seem obvious, you’d be amazed at how many vehicles we encounter that have been “recently detailed” but still have copious amounts of grime in the seat crevices.
As vehicle seats continue to get more comfortable, folds and sections have been added to allow for more support. While this is great for comfort, keeping them clean can be a challenge. We take the time to open each and every crevice in your seats and use a combination of brushes, compressed air to ensure that dirt, dust, and whatever else you dropped on your seat gets properly removed. Attention to detail like this is what separates the best from the rest.
2. Vehicle Controls
Yes, the part of your vehicle that you look at and touch the most is often far dirtier than you think. If your car hasn't been detailed recently, odds are your steering wheel, turn signal stalk, gear selector, door switches and center console buttons are GROSS.
Buildup of body oils, dead skin, hamburger grease from lunch, and whatever else is on your hands can easily go unnoticed. Black trim panels can begin to turn white or develop a greasy feel to them. Leather can begin to appear extremely shiny and or even darken with use. Knobs that look worn may actually have a layer of dead skin, oil, and dust caked into the pores of the plastic. While these areas may receive a wipe down during most details, if they are not cleaned properly with a dedicated cleaning product and attention, contamination will continue to build.
1. Under the Rear Seats
This is by far our least favorite place to clean during a full service interior detail. Dried up juice, pop, crumbs, mold, candy, hair, and a whole list of things you can’t begin to imagine makes its way under the seat. We often have clients come to us with smells they can't seem to eliminate no matter how much they vacuum their carpets. The first place we look is under the rear seats. Many times we’ll find that the source of the smell is mold, spoiled milk, rotting food, or worse.
These issues are typically relegated to family vehicles, since our kids tend to drop more snacks than they eat. Many detailers will avoid cleaning these areas to avoid liability in the case of seat failure. That’s not the case with us. With more than 16 years of automotive and diesel repair experience at ADS, there is no part of a vehicle we have not been trained to remove, replace, or repair. We go the extra mile to ensure a truly clean vehicle.
We understand that not everyone has the time, funds, or ability to drop their car off for a full service detail as often as they’d like. We’re passionate about auto detailing and most likely have an interior package that fits your needs. We have a mobile service that can come to you, if you’d prefer. Whatever it takes, make sure that you keep these 5 disgusting areas of your car’s interior clean.