Dr. Bronner's

Green Cleaning Car Interiors

Green Cleaning Car Interiors

Why worry about green cleaning your car’s interior?

1. Inside your car is filthy.

2. The toxicity of cleaners poses a potentially greater danger in your car than in your house.

Think about it. We strap ourselves into our cars with no handwashing facilities after touching public railings, shopping cart handles, gas pumps, money, other people’s hands, our cell phones and countless other reservoirs of germs and dirt. Then we touch the door handle, the seatbelt, the key, the steering wheel, the radio, the gear shift, the arm rest – transferring all that whatever to every surface in our car.

Further, that grime on the inside of your windows? That’s from the outgassing of the materials in your car, combined with any pollutants in the air, all blended with what you might be breathing out yourself.

All that adds up to a daunting layer of dirt and dust and grime and gore.

And yet, we tend to wash the outside of our cars more than the insides. I guess there’s the triumph of vanity over hygiene.

The very thing that gets our cars’ interiors so dirty is also what makes it so essential to clean them with nontoxic, green cleaners. We touch so many surfaces in our cars. And we don’t just casually touch them. We grip the steering wheels and slide our hands over it. A lot. We are going to end up in contact with any residues from harmful cleaners.

We also keep our cars sealed up pretty tight – keeping the heat in or out depending on the time of year. This means that any fumes from cleaners are going to be kept in the car and we are going to breathe them in repeatedly.

Supplies mentioned in the video:

Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds All-Purpose Cleaner (1 Tbsp. [15 mL] Sal Suds in 1 qt. [1 L] water) in a spray bottle

Note: You can also use Dr. Bronner’s Castile All-Purpose Cleaner (1/4 c. [60 mL] in 1 qt. [1 L] water)

Club soda (or half vinegar/half water) in a spray bottle

Microfiber cloths

A vacuum

An upholstery cleaner (if needed)

Dr. Bronner’s Hand Sanitizer

See my post, Car Washing with Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds, for washing your car’s exterior.

Further reading

Sal Suds cleaner shows >60% biodegradation after 28 days per ISO 14593

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Karen Alexander says:

You hot me with micrifiber (aka plastic/polyester/petroleum based fabric. Just say no to this land fill fodder please! Cut tjose old tshirts to you chosen size, use old cotten shirts. Those old cotton diapers! “Microfiber is many things but It’s not degradeable and the microscopic fibers just add to the toxic atmosphere in the car! There are some great reads out there on the toxicity of modern textiles. Especially bad…what are you wearing in your body all day?! Talk about an eye opener! Love your stuff…keep going green…it is the right direction!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Karen- I’m so glad you’re staying abreast of the pros and cons of materials surrounding us. I have gone back and forth on the rag option – both have their pros and cons! Cotton is a water, chemical, and labor intensive crop. Microfiber is plastic, though hopefully PCR depending on the manufacturer. I think the best thing is to have something that is reusable so that we’re not consuming new resources and not contributing to waste. So many things to consider!

Josh says:

I tried the club soda in a spray bottle and the gas in the club soda makes club soda continuously spay from all the little openings in the spray nozzle. Am I doing something wrong ? Thanks

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Josh- Oh goodness! I’m sorry you had that reaction. Try filling the spray bottle only halfway, or perhaps even less. Take care also not to shake the bottle up too much during use – although I realize that may be easier said than done.

Josh says:

Would you recommend a drop of tea tree oil in the interior spray bottle ? Could add some extra anti bacteria and anti fungal ?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Josh- Yes, you can absolutely do that! I will occasionally add 1/4 tsp. (1.25 mL) to a 32 oz. (1 L) bottle of All-Purpose Spray.

Arnella says:

I’m visiting my mom and she does not have Sal suds but does have the peppermint castile soap. Can I use that in place of the sal suds to clean interior of the car (leather seats and dash board as seen in your video)?

Thanks for your guidance on this.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Arnella- Absolutely! Use the Castile All-Purpose Spray, which is 1/4 cup in a quart of water. Be sure to dry the leather seats thoroughly.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Armando- Depending on what you have on hand, either the Sal Suds All-Purpose Spray (1 Tbsp. in a quart of water) or the Castile All-Purpose Spray (1/4 cup in a quart of water) will do a quick clean. If the leather needs to be nourished, you may want to look into a leather polish made from 1/3 c. vinegar with 2/3 c. olive oil and 1/2 tsp. pure essential lemon oil. Shake this up and rub it on with a soft rag.

Addrena Canty says:

I have used Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap for years.
It is an investment worth the cost.
I never knew how much my children taken in what you do, until while visiting my newly married daughter’s home I saw a bottle of this family staple, right there in her kitchen!
She also surprised me with trial sizes of other Dr. Bronner soaps!
What a joy to see that your product remains in our household and theirs too! keep up the great work!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Addrena- That’s great! I like to hear of our soaps being passed down from one generation to the next.

Car Washing with Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds (Video) says:

[…] Ready to green clean your car’s interior? See my post, Green Cleaning Car Interiors with Dr. Bronner’s. […]

Araav says:

Hi Lisa,
I have been a regular reader of your blog. I love your writing. You are so simple & genuine and that’s what makes me connect with your writing. Thanks for sharing your video.

Lisa Bronner says:

Thank you for your kind words! I’m glad they have been of help to you.

Julia says:

Good points!! I know I tend to NOT clean inside of car because I can’t stand the commercial cleansers. Hadn’t thought about using Sal Suds. Came here to see if your site had a better deal on the lemon line shikakai soap in gallon refill (than the $39 on Amazon)… as I would rather refill the still functioning soap dispenser which my DS has not yet successfully wrecked yet… (?).

Ken Melcombe says:

Thank you! Great video. I’ve been using Sal Suds on the outside… and like many. Don’t clean the inside much. That changes now.

Lisa Bronner says:

Glad to hear it, Ken! This was convicting to me, as well!

About Lisa Bronner

My grandfather was Dr. Bronner, my family makes soap, and I share ways to use it plus tips on greener living.

Learn about my book, Soap & Soul!

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