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Review: The Many Uses for Meguiar’s D101 APC (All Purpose Cleaner)


If you are in the market for a good all-around interior cleaner, look no further than Meguiar’s D101 All Purpose Cleaner. This very versatile cleaner uses a foaming action to lift away dirt, making it great for cleaning just about everything from carpets, cloth seats, vinyl, and leather to headliners and even door jambs. On top of being a great all-around cleaner, it’s also very cost effective as it comes in a concentrate form, allowing you to mix it with water to meet your cleaning needs.

Here are just a few examples of how I use Meguiar’s D101 APC when cleaning interiors.

The photos below are a great example of very dirty vinyl door panel. Since the vinyl of the door panel has a grooved texture molded into it, you need a method that will allow you to get all the dirt and grime out of those tiny groves. What I have found to work best for cases like this is to spray the panel with some APC mixed at a 10:1 ratio, then gently agitate the area with a medium stiffness upholstery brush, being sure to work the brush in several different directions. Then you will simply wipe the area dry using a clean soft micro fiber towel and repeat if needed.

Dirty vinyl door panel

Dirty vinyl door panel after Meguiar's D101 Cleaner

Another great example would be the cleaning of cloth seats. Below we have an example of what happens when you take your dog to the beach and then let him climb all over the car. These seats were pretty dirty but actually came clean with minimal effort. First thing you want to do is thoroughly vacuum the area to remove all the loose dirt and dog hair. If you have access to an air compressor it also helps to blow the seats off with air, especially the seams as it will remove whatever the vacuum couldn’t. Next you will want to lightly mist the seats with some APC mixed at 10:1. (Be sure your sprayer is set to mist the APC and not stream) Let it sit for a few seconds and then take a clean, dry micro fiber towel and wipe over the seat using some pressure until clean. Repeat when needed but be sure to use a clean side of the towel. Some stains may benefit from the agitation of an upholstery brush, just be sure the fabric of those particular seats is safe for use with a brush.

Cloth seats with sand and dog hair

Cloth seats after vaccuum and cleaning

For those of you who may not have a carpet extractor or steamer, Meguiar’s D101 will also work great for carpet cleaning. To do this thoroughly vacuum the areas with a shop vac, spray the soiled areas of the carpet down with some APC, agitate the soiled areas with a carpet brush, wipe with a clean towel dampened in water followed by a dry towel with lots of pressure. Repeat as needed, finish off with a thorough vacuuming. (Note: D101 is not suggested for use with hot water extractors because of its foaming action)

Carpets before cleaning

Carpets before cleaning

Carpets after cleaning with Meguiar's D101

A few other great pictures which show the cleaning power of Meguiar’s D101 APC.

Center console and carpet before cleaning


Center console and carpet after Meguiar's D101 Cleaning

Carpet and door sill before cleaning

Carpet and door sill after cleaning with Meguiar's D101 All Purpose Cleaner

Door panel before cleaning

Door panel after cleaning with Meguiar's D101 All Purpose Cleaner

  • My suggested mixing ratio for general cleaning is 10:1. For heavily soiled and dirty areas I will mix at 4:1.
  • I only suggest using Meguiar’s D101 APC on leather for extremely neglected cases where the leather simply won’t come clean using traditional leather cleaners. In such cases I will mix my APC about 15:1 and I strongly suggest testing in a discrete area before using any cleaner on leather. Clean by spraying the APC onto the surface, agitate with a leather brush, and wipe clean with a towel dampened in water followed by a dry towel.
  • For cleaning of cloth headliners I suggest misting the APC directly onto your towel and gently wiping the soiled areas. You want to avoid getting the headliner material too wet as it can affect the adhesive used to adhere the cloth material. Vinyl headliners can safely be cleaned using the same method as other vinyl surfaces.

I hope this article helps with your interior cleaning needs. Please feel free to post any questions you may have.

Chad Rskovich Rasky's Auto Detailing
Chad Raskovich
Rasky's Auto Detailing
Minneapolis, MN

44 comments on Review: The Many Uses for Meguiar’s D101 APC (All Purpose Cleaner)

  1. Mo says:

    Chad – Thanks for the write up. I actually purchased D101 a few months ago when DI had the Megs sale, but never had to use it until yesterday. I dilluted the product about 10:1 as sugguested and used this to clean my all weather mats and WOW. Amazing product for sure. Thanks for the tips above. One thing I would HIGHLY recommend is to purchase a spray bottle with this stuff.

  2. Marc Harris says:

    Truly is some great stuff. Great write-up with the perfect pictures to show how effectively this can be used.

  3. MrGolfrider says:

    Great write-up with very good picture tutorials. I love using Megs APC for all the above reasons, it is such a versatile product! You cannot go wrong when thinking about purchasing this product, and the now you have the write-up to prove it.

  4. Jeff Smith says:

    Wow this stuff really works. Used it on the carpet and vinyl, really worked well. I mixed it 10:1 and it worked great, never thought it was not strong enough this way.


  5. Max says:

    Hey Rasky, thanks for the tips πŸ™‚

    Question: I tried using some D101 on the civic seats diluted at 10:1 and some stains will not come off. Do you leave it on for a period of time or wipe off with water or what? Any pointers would help.

    Once again, amazing stuff you do πŸ™‚



    • Hey Max,

      Any idea what they stains are from? Some stains simply benefit from the use of a cleaner targeted for the specific type of stain your dealing with (Protein-based, ink, oils, dyes…). On top of that, the material used on the 8th generation Civic Si interiors is not the easiest to clean (Alcantara).

      Since you cars interior uses a material typically not found in most of today’s cars, I’d actually suggest you read the info listed on the Alcantara manufactures website and follow their directions on stain removal. πŸ˜‰


  6. David C says:


    What’s the difference between this D101 and Meg’s D103 APC? Which one smells better? I’m looking to buy one big jug of APC and would rather buy whichever solution is more versatile.


    • Nicholas says:

      I have not personally used or smelled either product. But I have spent a lot of time researching these two products. The only difference that I could find is that the D101 will foam easily, where as the D103 won’t (but still can if you try).

      Chad, could you please tell me if I’m correct?

      • Yes, the foaming would be the biggest difference between the two. In my opinion the D103 is probably the better all around cleaner if you only want to use one of them. I personally like having both of them though. I use the D101 for most my interior cleaning (seats, vinyl, headliner). I will use the D103 for engines, tires, door jambs, and carpets.

        Of the two I’d say D101 smells the most pleasant to me, though they both smell pretty good.


  7. Liz says:

    Does this product also work to clean residue and dirt off of spray in bedliners? If not what do you suggest. I think I have a buildup of that cheap spray wax they use at the carwash dulling the finish on the liner.

    • Hello Liz,

      Meguiar’s D101, or any of our All Purpose Cleaners for that matter should all be effective at removing and loosening up that type of buildup. However, it’s likely not going to be as easy as just spraying the area with a cleaner and rinsing it off. I would suggest filling up a bucket with warm soapy water, spraying the areas you want to clean with an APC and allowing it to dwell for a minute or so. Next, get a good medium stiffness brush like you’d use for scrubbing tires or wheel wells, dip the brush into the soapy water and agitate the dirty areas until it has removed the buildup. Follow that it up with a good rinse and repeat if needed.

      Hope this helps,

  8. DAYANNA says:

    I’d like buy this product, I need know the cost and all things about this product. help me please…

  9. Mike Williamson says:

    Very good article, especially the way the photos were taken showing how well the product worked. I am adding this to my want list.

  10. Tim says:

    Chad what is your opinion on the difference between APC 10:1 and Meguiars Interior QD? Both claim to be safe to use on leather, is there any reason you would not use them for that application?

  11. Sergio says:

    Hi Chad, Do you recommend the D101 for tackling water stains on the headliner or is there a better product for this? I have some stains on the sunroof shade and the bordering edges of the headliner. Thanks

  12. jambascript says:

    Wow, that car was disgusting. Nice work, Chad, and pretty impressive plug for Meguiar’s APC! This product might be the solution to my problems. Too bad once the car was cleaned, it was still a Lincoln. πŸ™‚ I thought maybe it was just a really dirty McLaren.

  13. Dave says:

    I really like the D103 but have not tried this one yet. I may get some to try though. I have used the D103 in a Little Green and it works much better than I had imagined and also used it on some carpets in my mothers house and it worked great. I might might have to get some of this D101 too though!

    • Hey Dave,

      If you have the D103 already you probably won’t really benefit from picking up the D101. The most noticeable difference is the foaming action in the D101 and unless you have a need for that just stick with your D103. πŸ˜‰

      If you want to try another good All Purpose Cleaner you can look at the Optimum Power Clean. It’s a little pricey compared to D103/101, but it also works very well and is a little safer on painted surfaces. D103 is a solid and cost effective APC though. πŸ˜‰


  14. Tony says:

    Chad, in your photo that you posted of your work on the center consol and seat of the Lincoln, it looks like you got the leather back to a nice satin/matte finish. Is that accurate? And if so, is that typical of what D101 will do to the leather found in most cars sold in the U.S? Trying to get my ’09 Pilot leather back to that factory matte
    look. Thanks!

  15. […] Re: A few questions here ya go…. Review: The Many Uses for Meguiars D101 APC (All Purpose Cleaner) – Detailed Image […]

  16. arunkumar says:

    what apc can be used in tornador black instead of d103 as only d101 is only available in india

    • dan lauzon says:

      I only use d101 4-1 for interiors with my tornador. Chevy door panels is the only problem iv ever had. What ever spray on coating they use to protect the panel is junk! Always top with 303 protectant. Have been topping that with megs last touch, BOOM!

  17. robert says:

    my headliner has water stains in the front corners and I thought it was from my skyslider sunroof on my jeep liberty but after looking at it close they are no where near the sunroof and must be from a bad windsheild that was replaced and no sealed right… How do I get these water stains out ? Will this D101 stuff really work ? Fixing the top seal of the windsheild btw.. They never put that rubber strip back into place… Grrrr thanks everyone..

  18. James says:

    Nice write up! A quick question. If I used the d101 diluted at 10:1 as an interior cleaner for the dash, center console area, door panels etc, do I need to apply a layer of protectant on top like 303?

  19. Sesh says:

    I am planning to use D101 for my Acura leather seats(light color). What would be right dilution mix for cleaning leather that leather will not be damaged and also How frequently we can use D101 for leather? Appreciate if you have some guide lines

  20. Butter white says:

    Don’t listin to this guy he is not right at all u can mix this how ever 10 or 4 to one and it will not hurt ur leathers. That’s what it’s made for

  21. Butter white says:

    I’m a pro detailer I have ben in the game 15 years now meguiars apc is made for every thing on the inside of your. Car don’t mix 15 to 1 it will not work 10 to 1. For light light cleaning 5 to 1 for works best all around apc is made for leather and every thing else on the inside don’t be scared to use it I repeat it will not hurt any thing in your car

    • Mr. Butter,

      Perhaps so you should go back and reread my article. At no point did I say that D101 could not be used on leather. The DI AAP blog is designed to help out consumers, car enthusiast, people new to detailing, and even professional detailers such as yourself. Since everyone reading this is not a pro detailer, I erred on the side of caution when writing this article, as I do with many of my product related articles. I would however suggest you take some time to read the MSDS sheet on D101 and look up what some of the ingredients are and what they do. I would also suggest reading up some more on proper leather care.

      When not used properly, APC’s like D101 can damage interior surfaces and care needs to be used with them. Hard plastics like those around the radio display, clear plastic covering the information centers, and those “touch-coat” plastics found in some higher end cars are easily damaged by APC’s. Many used cars have also had leather repair work done on them prior to resale and APC’s will damage those repaired areas with a quickness! If mixed too strongly or left to dwell too long they can also cause the urethane top coat to delaminate or cause staining (typically when the products drips on the surface).

      When it comes to leather care it’s best to used products designed specifically for them. However, APC’s like D101 are very effective at cleaning heavily soiled leather and often necessary, they just need to be used with care.


  22. Review: The Many Uses for Meguiars D101 APC (All Purpose Cleaner) | Ask a Pro Blog

    […]How to do vinyl siding around steps of the scientific method?[…]

  23. Scott Cole says:

    Will the D103 remove years of built up Armor All? I have a mint AZ truck but the car washes there use AA on all interior vinyl and plastic surfaces. Carpets need a good clean too. We are in Mankato.

  24. parsa bahmanyar says:

    i have meguiar d101 and my exhausts need a cleaning, my question is can i use this to clean the exhaust and carbob build up and all before using a polisher/ metal shine? thank you

    • Reece @ DI says:

      Parsa – The D101 should work great at helping you clean your exhaust tips! We highly recommend testing it on a small area first before applying it to the entire tip. There should certainly be no issues, but we always recommend starting slow with any new product on an area you have not used it on before.

  25. Paul says:

    I just purchased Meguiars D101 and read the back of the container and the MSDS, which essentially state that you don’t ever want to ge this stuff on your hands, eyes, or breath it. What surprised me the most is that the container itself said if you get it on your skin, rinse and get immediate medical attention. Is this stuff that dangerous?

  26. Austin says:

    Great write up! I am thinking about purchasing this product. I came by a review on another site as well highly recommending this. I have an ’06 F-150 that I recently acquired that wasn’t well taken care of :/ it also seems like the guy was a former smoker because there is an odd aroma in the cabin that kind of smells like smoke. I was thinking about scrubbing all the carpets, seats, dash, and console with this stuff because it needs to be deep cleaned but also with hopes that it might take out the smoke smell. Would this be a good product to use? Will it help get rid of the smoke smell? Are there any other tips/tricks you have used to get rid of that aweful smell?

    Thank you!

  27. I been using d101 a lot and even had a big interior job removing coffee stains. Which came out 100% better. I wanted to ask about the issue of re-soiling as they call it with d101, the product saids leaves no residue. I see they made d106 for tannin stains and ph neutralizer, that being said and d103 being a alkaline Cleaner Would ph neutralizing be necessary.

    • Hi Dallen,

      I actually wrote this article about 7 years ago now and admittedly I was less knowledgeable at that time on the importance of understanding the cleaners we use and the need for things like ph neutralizers. While the short answer to your questions would be yes, I felt you deserved a better answer than what I could give so I reached out to my good friend over at Meguiar’s, Michael Stoops. You can see the in-depth reply he sent me below. Also, if you ever have the chance to attend one of their interior classes, I would jump at the opportunity! πŸ™‚

      “Hi Chad – Here’s the deal with using APC for specific spot stains, or any other typical all purpose cleaner for that matter, as they all tend to be pretty high pH products. High alkaline cleaners are great for general purpose cleaning – dirt, grime, grease, oil,etc. All the typical stuff your shoes tend to pick up walking across a parking lot, etc. But on very specific stains, like coffee (tannin) or blood (protein) you need a more specialized cleaner to not only properly remove the stain, but to avoid having it come back and definitely to avoid setting the stain. A stain can be “set” when the wrong pH cleaner is used, and you don’t fully remove the stain with the process. Tannin stains, like coffee, are easily set if you just spray some alkaline cleaner on it and blot it up. You won’t get enough product to the stain and you aren’t pulling enough of it, and the stain, out by simply blotting lightly. So the alkaline salts left behind when everything dries out end up binding to the stain and the surrounding fabric. This then acts like a wick that causes the stain to migrate back to the surface and, voila, it looks like the exact same stain is back!

      Now, if you soak a fairly fresh tannin stain with APC and blot or extract everything up, then it’s all good. But how often does that happen?? Usually the stain is dry and done when brought to a detailer. We always recommend treating specific stains with the right cleaner first (D106 or D116) and then cleaning the entire surface (carpet, mat, seats, etc) with APC as per usual.

      Problem is, as a detailer you don’t always know for sure whether you’re dealing with a tannin or protein stain. So we always recommend that you treat it as if it were protein and use D116 first to avoid setting the stain. Worst case scenario is that it won’t clean the stain fully because it’s actually a tannin stain, so you can then follow with D106 as per the directions. Once that’s done, clean the entire surface area with APC to remove dirt, grime, oil, etc. And that’s where the neutralizing rinse comes in.

      APC (or any other high alkaline cleaner) will leave alkaline salts behind that can make the fabric feel almost crunchy, and those salts can and will attract dirt. So a simple spray down the appropriately diluted fiber rinse, followed by a quick back brushing, does the trick and returns the fabric to a near neutral pH state.”

      Hope this helps,

      • Richard says:

        Sooo maybe I missed something … but I have NO idea what this means ” So a simple spray down the appropriately diluted fiber rinse”

        I get I need a fiber rinse .. but what is a good fiber rinse to use? Is there anything specific? or a Specific brand? orrr a specific ph level needed for the APC?

        Thanks for the help. I have been looking at this stuff for a long time and I never seen anything just for cars .. the only thing I can find is stuff for home carpet … and I am not sure if they would be safe for automotive carpets as they can be from different fibers or fiber blends. Thanks again.

  28. Tom M. says:

    Was in a hurry. Didn’t stop to read the directions and used the cleaner full strength in a spray bottle. Was able to wipe interior clean, however an overspray caught the inside of my windshield. Can’t remove the overspray residue. Have tried numerous cleaners including the D101.

    Need help removing the overspray. Your help would be appreciated.


  29. Matthew Woywod says:

    You have etched the glass, best bet is using an abrasive polish or compound or maybe a magic eraser. Good luck

  30. ivan ocejo says:

    So any surface that has had product applied should be gove over with a damp towel to neutralize then a drying towel

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