10 upholstery cleaners tested (2019)

Selected products in tabular overview

Upholstery cleaner in test A1

test winner

dr Wack A1 upholstery and Alcantara cleaner

12.99 EUR

highly recommended

Upholstery cleaner tested Sonax

Sonax Xtreme upholstery cleaner

11.19 euros



Value for money

Upholstery cleaner tested Vanish

Value for money

Vanish Gold Multi Textile

4.69 euros


Upholstery cleaner tested LIQUI MOLY

Liqui Moly upholstery foam cleaner

6.98 euros


Upholstery cleaner tested Armor All

Armor All Active Foam Cleaner

7.59 euros


Upholstery cleaner tested Nigrin

Nigrin active foam cleaner

5.49 euros

conditionally recommended

Upholstery cleaner tested Clean Extreme

Clean Extreme Car Interior Cleaner

EUR 17.75

conditionally recommended

Upholstery cleaner tested by Koch Chemie

Koch Chemie textile cleaner

EUR 16.90

conditionally recommended

Upholstery cleaner tested by Meguiar's

Meguiar’s Carpet Cleaner

10.99 EUR

conditionally recommended

Upholstery cleaner tested by Swissvax

Swissvax Fabric textile cleaner

EUR 39.00

conditionally recommended

Oh shock, a chocolate stain in the gray velor! No problem, there are upholstery cleaners. Spray on, wipe off and the stain is gone. For real? Do upholstery cleaners keep what their manufacturers promise on the label? AUTO BILD and the expert organization GTÜ have tested ten upholstery cleaners, nine of them specifically for cars and one household cleaner that is explicitly also suitable for cars.

Winner of the AUTO BILD upholstery cleaner test: Dr. Wack A1 Upholstery/Alcantara Cleaner Pro

dr Wack A1 Upholstery/Alcantara Cleaner Pro

A1 Upholstery/Alcantara Cleaner Pro

dr wack

A1 Upholstery/Alcantara Cleaner Pro

  • best cleaning performance
  • compact spray pattern

Price €12.99

The A1 cleaner comes in first: it is the best at removing four out of eight types of dirt, its spray pattern is also compact – very good for spot cleaning to remove stains. In the test, the A1 product achieved 179 out of 200 points and is therefore rated as “highly recommended”.

Price-performance winner: Vanish Gold Multi Textile

Vanish Gold Multi Textile

Gold multi textile
  • second best cleaning performance
  • cheap price

Price €4.69

The household cleaner from Vanish is the well-deserved price-performance winner: for 4.69 euros, it offers a solid cleaning result. In the test, the Vanish product achieved 158 out of 200 points and is therefore rated as “recommended”.

How AUTO BILD and GTÜ tested

The most important thing for a cleaner comparison: the test dirt! In order to create identical conditions for each product, we do not spill on the car seats ourselves, but order patch panels from the company CFT. CFT (Center for Test Materials) specializes in materials that can be used to determine cleaning performance. Eight pieces of fabric are sewn onto the panels. The textile pieces, measuring ten by ten centimetres, have been uniformly soiled by machine with various types of dirt: coffee, dressing, pigment/oil/milk, olive oil/soot, cocoa, porridge/chocolate and egg yolk/pigment.

Upholstery cleaner in check (2019): test – guide – information

Who is the best upholstery cleaner?

The stain panels come welded to our specialist laboratory, where we test together with the expert organization GTÜ. The two removed car seats are only used to test handling and to see if the cleaners leave stains. However, we determine the actual cleaning performance based on the panels. Before cleaning, we measure the degree of whiteness on the textile pieces with a special device. After cleaning, we measure the degree of whiteness on the textile items again – the difference value shows how strong the cleaning effect of each product is on the respective type of dirt.

The test results at a glance

And what are the big differences now? Short answer: especially when spraying. Of course there are also differences in the cleaning performance (results in the picture gallery). In order for the cleaner to be effective, it has to be out of its can or bottle. And here there are extremely big differences! The Swissvax spray bottle does not emit a jet or usable foam, just a ring-shaped, fine mist. That might be something for the disco, but not for upholstery cleaning. The bottle also has such an idiosyncratic shape that it drips onto your index finger when you spray it. There is no question of foam at the push of a button, there is no ready-to-use product in the bottle. For 39 euros you can buy a concentrate that has to be mixed with carbonated mineral water (!) in a ratio of 1:3. By then, at the latest, she’ll be foaming – not the joy, but the spray bottle. Which, by the way, costs twelve euros extra. Something else? Yes, Swissvax also only achieves 72 points in the cleaning section – fewer than all the others.

Upholstery cleaner tested

Just a ring-shaped mist: stains appear with the dripping bottle from Swissvax.

Koch Chemie shows what a spray bottle should look like, as the only one with an adjustable spray head and therefore perfectly adaptable. Like Swissvax, Koch Chemie can also be diluted with water (non-carbonated), but the result is at least six liters of cleaning liquid and therefore the cheapest price per liter (2.82 euros). Unfortunately with weaknesses in cleaning performance and only in eighth place. Both in the cleaning performance and in the application. Hot on the heels of the test winner from A1, but with compromises in cleaning performance, is the Sonax product in second place. Clean Extreme wastes potential: According to the manufacturer, the cleaner can be sprayed indirectly onto a cloth and therefore has no exposure time on the upholstery to loosen the dirt. So much foam about nothing? In this test, this was only the case for one product.

Conclusion on the upholstery cleaner test

The most expensive product is the worst, both in terms of cleaning performance and application: Swissvax is not worth the 39 euros. The clear winner is A1, which picks up four out of eight types of dirt best and can be processed best. The price-performance winner is Vanish: the household cleaner cleans thoroughly and is inexpensive.

picture gallery


Test results: upholstery cleaner for the car

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