What Are The Best Upholstery Brushes? – 2020 Edition
Is your car’s interior a mess? While cleaning your car’s exterior is relatively simple, cleaning the interior is often thought of as a complicated and time-consuming process. But keeping the interior upholstery and carpeting fresh and stain-free is easy with the right upholstery brush.
Although they’re simple in design, not all upholstery brushes are the same. We’ve gathered up the best upholstery brushes available in 2020. Plus, our complete guide explains everything you need to know about using the brush to keep your car clean:
Compare The Top 3 Best Upholstery Brush Brands
- Our #1 Pick – The Ultimate Carpet Brush from Relentless Drive
- Our #2 Pick – Mothers Carpet and Upholstery Brush
- Our #3 Pick – Carrand Grip Tech Tire Deluxe Upholstery and Tire Scrubber
- Our #4 Pick – Chemical Guys Carpet Brush with Drill Attachment
- Our #5 Pick – Non-Scratch Scrub Brush from So Clean So Fast
- Our #6 Pick – DrillBrush Car Clean Kit
- What Equipment Do I Need to Clean My Car?
- Vacuum Cleaner
- Cleaning Products
- Clean Cloths
- Upholstery Brush
- How Do I Use an Upholstery Brush?
- Using a Manual Brush
- Using a Drill Attachment
- What’s the Best Cleaning Order?
Our #1 Pick – The Ultimate Carpet Brush from Relentless Drive
A high-quality, ergonomic brush which is safe to use on seats, interior carpet, and other automotive upholstery.
- Stiff bristles tackle tough stains
- Safe for use on cloth, carpet and more
- Comfortable, non-slip handle
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
- Brush is large
Keep the inside of your car clean and spotless with this stiff-bristled brush from Relentless Drive. It’s versatile enough to handle every piece of upholstery, including cloth fabric, heavy carpets, seat covers, and more.
It has a comfortable, ergonomic handle which allows for precise maneuverability even in tight corners. The handle section has a comfortable rubber coating, which is easy to grip even if your hands are wet.
Try before you buy. Relentless Drive offers a no-questions-asked return policy. Overall, it’s a well-made, durable, and comfortable brush able to clean all the upholstery in just about any type of vehicle.
Our #2 Pick – Mothers Carpet and Upholstery Brush
With unique microfiber bristles and a non-slip grip, this is a high-quality brush from trusted car care experts.
- Strong, stiff bristles
- Reliable manufacturer
- Comfortable, ergonomic handle
- Bristles are too strong for couches and most furniture
Originally a California-based manufacturer of car polish, Mothers has grown into a car care empire. Although their carpet and upholstery brush isn’t packed with fancy features, it’s a dependable and easy-to-use choice for keeping your car’s interior clean.
The bristles are stiff enough to remove tough stains but still soft enough to avoid scratching more delicate material like the back of seats.
Additionally, the hourglass shape of the brush is easy and comfortable to hold, even at odd angles. A soft rubber covering protects hands and allows for a secure grip.
Our #3 Pick – Carrand Grip Tech Tire Deluxe Upholstery and Tire Scrubber
Professional quality with comfortable ergonomics and flared bristles for easy, versatile cleaning.
- Flared bristles reach into tiny areas
- Comfortable, ergonomic handle with rubber grip
- Short bristles allow for heavy-duty scrubbing
- Bristles can be too stiff for softer fabrics
- Doesn’t attach to a drill
Carrand’s upholstery brush is a great option if you’re looking for a handheld brush which can reach into small areas and around awkward shapes. The flared bristles spread into tiny spaces to remove grime and build-up.
The bristles are super-stiff without being overly long. Short bristles allow you to apply extra-pressure for removing stubborn stains. Plus, the unique Grip Tech handle designs is comfortable and ergonomic with rubber grips in the middle.
Our #4 Pick – Chemical Guys Carpet Brush with Drill Attachment
With a high-speed drill attachment and heavy-duty bristles, this brush from Chemical Guys is ideal for removing stubborn stains from durable upholstery.
- Durable brush made from 100% polypropylene
- Can be attached to drill for a high-speed operation
- Cleans carpet, tiles, grout and floor pads
- Too powerful for many lightweight fabrics
The Chemical Guys aren’t messing around with this upholstery brush. It has heavy-duty bristles made from 100% polypropylene, a durable material meant to withstand rigorous scrubbing. Aside from carpet and upholstery, the brush also cleans tiles, grout and floor pads.
You can also attach the brush directly to a drill for high-speed rotational cleaning. That’s the best way to clean tough fabrics and heavy-duty stains.
Our #5 Pick – Non-Scratch Scrub Brush from So Clean So Fast
Say goodbye to manual scrubbing with this scrub brush with a molded drill attachment.
- Scratch-free bristles
- Built-in drill attachment
- Safe for microfiber upholstery
- Can pull up upholstery
With an effective combination of both power and sensitivity, this brush has a steel section molded directly into the top for attaching a drill. You can turn your brush into a high-speed super scrubber. It’s recommended for use with a lightweight, cordless drill with a keyless chuck of at least one-quarter inch or longer.
The white bristle brush has a five-inch diameter, which is large enough for seats and trunks but still small enough to be easy to maneuver. It’s roughly the texture and stiffness of a toothbrush. Unlike many drill-powered brushes, this one is soft enough to use on microfiber upholstery, leather, fiberglass, tubs and more.
Our #6 Pick – DrillBrush Car Clean Kit
A four-piece brush kit which quickly and securely attaches to a drill for powerful rotary scrubbing action.
- Includes four brushes of different shapes and sizes
- Each brush has strong, scratch-free bristles
- All brushes quickly connect to a drill
- Detail brush is large for car cleaning
With four different brushes, this kit makes it easy to clean large sections, irregular areas, and tough stains. It includes a four-inch round brush, a five-inch round brush, a full brush, and a detail brush.
Each brush features durable, soft bristles which remove grime but won’t scratch thinner upholstery. Additionally, all brushes feature quarter-inch steel shafts for quick connection to any standard power drill.
This kit is a great choice if you want to clean large areas quickly. The five-inch round brush connected to a drill can quickly clean an entire backseat or carpeted trunk area.
What Equipment Do I Need to Clean My Car?
The right equipment is key to keeping your car clean. Fortunately, none of it is particularly complicated or expensive. Here’s what you need:
Most people use a Shop-Vac although a standard vacuum can work, too. The main features you need are a long extension hose and hand-held attachments. Obviously, you won’t be placing the actual vacuum inside the vehicle.
The hose should be long enough to reach into the middle of your vehicle. The attachments should be slim enough to reach into the vehicle’s various nooks and crannies such as under the seats and around the center console.
A variety of specialty products are available. For cleaning your carpets and seats, you’ll want upholstery cleaner. Note that upholstery cleaner shouldn’t be used to clean leather seats.
Before using any cleaner for the first time, test for stains by first spraying a small amount in an inconspicuous area. As long as you use products specifically made for car care, staining is usually not a major concern, but testing is still recommended just to be safe.
If you’re looking for a quick solution to treat a specific stain, mix equal parts vinegar and water. Lightly soak the stain then gently scrub it with an upholstery brush. Vinegar and water are usually fine to use on most types of fabric but test it in an inconspicuous location first.
You’ll want a few microfiber cloths. Microfiber is a synthetic fiber known for its durability and non-abrasive surface. You’ll want anywhere from four to eight medium-sized towels (we’ll explain why a bit later on). It’s important each cloth is clean. Run them through the washing machine before use.
Upholstery brushes have a Goldilocks quality. They need to be strong enough to remove tough stains, but they also need to be gentle enough not to tear the interior fabric.
Most brushes have bristles made from polypropylene, a type of plastic known for its toughness and durability. They’re stiff, plastic bristles similar in consistency to a toothbrush but larger.
The bristles are housed in a plastic block. The best brushes have an ergonomic design which is comfortable and secure to grip.
There are two types of upholstery brushes for your car:
- Handheld brushes powered by elbow grease
- Brushes which can be attached to a cordless drill
Handheld brushes are great for removing lighter, smaller stains. They’re easy and fast to use. But they don’t provide the power necessary for deep cleaning.
The best upholstery brushes will have a built-in drill attachment. You click the brush base into any standard cordless drill. Using the drill spins the brush.
If you’ve never done this before, it might seem like it’ll damage the fabric. But it’s actually a safe, effective way to remove stubborn stains. Plus, drill power allows you to clean large areas quickly.
How Do I Use an Upholstery Brush?
First, prepare the area by removing any trash. Fast food wrappers, pet fur, and other “car litter” can stink up your car. (Check out our Five Tips to Keep Your Ride Smelling Fresh and New for more.)
Next, remove your floor mats. In many cases, you can knock them together to shake free dirt and grime. Most floors mats can be sprayed clean with a garden hose.
Now you’re ready to vacuum. Be as thorough as possible. Small bits of food, dirt, etc. can potentially scratch the upholstery if pressed by a brush (especially when using a drill).
Once clean, spray the upholstery with your preferred cleaning spray. You can be fairly generous here. You might hear that too much spray can potentially soak through the upholstery and damage the foam underneath. While that’s technically true, it requires a pretty clear oversaturation of spray. You can safely apply enough spray to make the upholstery lightly wet to the touch.
Using a Manual Brush
Handheld brushes allow you a lot of control to gently massage away stains. First, brush in circles to loosen dirt. Then brush in horizontal or vertical lines. It varies by vehicle, but each car’s upholstery has a natural flow which looks best. Brush in circles to clean, then brush in straight lines for design.
Using a Drill Attachment
Here’s where the real fun begins. A drill attachment is the best way to remove the toughest, most stubborn stains.
Start with slower settings and work up as you feel more comfortable. Generally, more passes on slower settings will give you great results without risking damage.
Don’t be afraid to press the brush into the fabric. The bristles and the car’s upholstery are both pliable. Press the brush forward at a slight angle. Just be careful to avoid pressing the plastic handle into the upholstery (although doing so usually only has a minor risk of tearing).
After cleaning with a brush (drill-powered or hand-powered), you’re now ready to wipe away the excess soap. Use the microfiber towels.
Remember when we said you need a lot of towels? Here’s why. You want to use a clean section of the towel for every section of the upholstery. For example, you’ll use a clean side of the towel to wipe the seat, another clean side to wipe the back part and so on.
Your car should now be clean and fresh! If it’s your first-time cleaning with a drill attachment, be prepared to be amazed.
Once you’ve finished cleaning your car, don’t forget to take care of your brush. Wash it gently with dish soap and allow it to dry. Routine maintenance helps keep the bristles in great condition.
What’s the Best Cleaning Order?
Start at the top and work your way down. That allows grime and cleaner residue to flow down onto dirty surfaces instead of clean ones. Typically, the cleaning order should be:
- Upholstery in the rear window
- Upper part of back seats
- Upper part of front seats
- Lower part of back seats
- Lower part of front seats
- Back and front seat floors