How to Clean Cup Holders in a Car: A Step-by-Step Guide

Cup Holder Cleanup: Refresh Your Ride in Minutes!
How to clean car cup holders
Photo: Tesla

Cup holders in a car are often overlooked when it comes to cleaning. Nonetheless, cup holders can rapidly accumulate bacteria, dirt, and filth. In this article, we’ll simply teach you how to quickly clean your cup holders in a car, so you can keep your vehicle looking and smelling fresh all the time. Let’s dive in!

Video: Chemical Guys (YouTube)

Why Clean Cup Holders

Cleaning cup holders might not be the top priority when cleaning your vehicle, but maintaining their cleanliness is crucial for a few reasons:

  • Health and cleanliness: Unwashed cup holders can become a breeding ground for bacteria and germs, potentially contaminating your beverages or snacks.
  • Aesthetics: Clean cup holders contribute to a well-maintained and organized vehicle interior.
  • Preventing damage: Spilled drinks or food particles can cause damage or stains to the cup holders if not cleaned regularly.

Gathering Your Cleaning Supplies

Before you start cleaning your cup holders, gather the following supplies:

  1. Vacuum cleaner with a crevice attachment
  2. Soft cloth or microfiber towel
  3. Mild cleaning solution (e.g., warm soapy water, all-purpose cleaner, or DIY car seat cleaner)
  4. Cotton swabs or a small brush
  5. Cup holder liner or inserts (optional)

Step-by-Step Guide to Clean Cup Holders

Follow these simple steps to clean your cup holders:

  1. Remove loose debris: Start by removing any trash, coins, or other objects from the cup holders.
  2. Vacuum the cup holders: Use a vacuum cleaner with a crevice attachment to remove dirt, crumbs, and dust. Make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.
  3. Apply a gentle cleaning solution: Moisten a soft cloth or microfiber towel using a mild cleaning agent like warm, soapy water or a versatile cleaning product. Wipe the inside and outside of the cup holders thoroughly.
  4. Clean tight spaces: Use cotton swabs or a small brush to clean hard-to-reach areas within the cup holders. You can also use this method to clean around the edges and seams.
  5. Dry the cup holders: After cleaning, use a dry cloth or towel to remove any excess moisture from the cup holders. Allow them to air dry completely before using them again.
  6. Install cup holder liners (optional): To make future cleanups easier, consider using cup holder liners or inserts.

Maintaining Clean Cup Holders

For long-lasting cleanliness of your cup holders, adhere to these maintenance suggestions:

  • Act promptly on spills: In case a beverage spills in the cup holder, address the mess right away to avoid staining and potential harm.
  • Use cup holder liners: As mentioned earlier, using liners or inserts makes cleaning cup holders much easier. Simply remove, wash, and reinstall them as needed.
  • Establish a cleaning routine: Incorporate cup holder cleaning into your regular car cleaning routine. This will help prevent buildup and maintain a clean vehicle interior.
  • Avoid using abrasive cleaning tools: Stick to soft cloths, microfiber towels, and gentle cleaning solutions to avoid scratching or damaging the cup holder surfaces.
  • Store food and drinks properly: Use travel mugs with secure lids to minimize spills and avoid eating messy foods that can easily drop crumbs in the cup holders.


Keeping your car’s cup holders clean not only improves the appearance of your vehicle but also promotes a healthier environment inside. By adhering to our step-by-step instructions and establishing a consistent cleaning regimen, you can keep your cup holders consistently neat and tidy. Additionally, don’t forget to explore our other useful articles on vehicle upkeep, such as adjusting your side mirrors or how to reset the maintenance light on a Toyota Tacoma. Happy cleaning!

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