Car cleaning – ugh! The thought can terrify me! Let’s face it. We spend a ton of time in our cars: commuting to work, running to kid’s activities, personal appointments, vacations and errands. All of that time in the car leads to dirt and grime on the inside and out and a messy interior. Car cleaning doesn’t have to be daunting nor do you have to pay for a professional cleaner.
I’ve compiled some of the best car cleaning hacks and tips from around the web and my personal experience all in one place for you.
Choose the ones that make sense for you. You can always try new ones the next time it is time for a car cleaning.
The car cleaning hacks are broken down into three sections:
Without further ado:
INTERIOR CAR CLEANING HACKS
- Baby Wipes are good for quick clean-up of spills, especially on vinyl
- Woolite mxed 6:1 with water makes a great, inexpensive interior cleaner that’s also safe for leather
- Use a cheap foam brush or paint brush to dust between the AC vents.
- Vacuum up the dust as you brush it off, so it doesn’t immediately settle somewhere else in the car.
- Use a squeegie and a spray bottle of water to get rid of animal hair that is too stubborn to come off with a vacuum
- Keep gunk out of your cup holders. You can use silicone cupcake liners as cup holder inserts. Now when you put things into your cup holder to store them you can easily remove the liner and dump the bits out.
- Throw your car mats in the washing machine to get them back to looking like new. You’ll probably want to run it on a gentle cycle just to make sure the mats don’t damage your washer, but they’ll come out looking amazing!
- If your air vents are not removable, consider buying a can of compressed air and “blasting” the dust out of your vents. Adding a cotton ball with essential oils on it can help draw out the musty smell from within your vents and freshen up your car.
- Dirty, Dingy Car Carpets? Try this homemade and super-effective solution!Use bottle of hydrogen peroxide that is 1/3 full. If you have a full bottle, either pour some of it out, or use another dark colored bottle. Any clear or semi-translucent bottles will break down the hydrogen-peroxide neutralizing the cleaner. Fill the bottle the remaining 2/3 of the way full of water. Add 5 drops of lemon essential oil. Shake lightly. The peroxide breaks down stains and the lemon oil helps release sticky particles.
- To use: Liberally spray the carpet with the cleaner mix. After the mix has set for a min or so, use the scrub brush to loosen the fibers. The yucky stuff moves to the surface. Use a rag an wipe the carpet, blotting out any liquid. Repeat a couple of times until your carpet is clean. You can also use this cleaning mix on upholstered furniture.
EXTERIOR CAR CLEANING HACKS
- Did your window washer fluid run out? Mix your own with household items! Just mix vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water. This solution will get your windows sparkly.
- Do you have black greasy streaks at the bottom of your car’s sidewalls? They can be stubborn to get rid of! Use a paste made from cream of tartar with a drop or two of dish soap. Scrub those on the black marks and they will dissolve.
- Wash your car with a hair conditioner containing lanolin. You’ll become a believer when you see the freshly waxed look, and when you find that the surface will repel rain.
- Keep your headlights polished (and yourself, safe) by applying window cleaner and rubbing vigorously with an old pair of panty hose.
- Yes it’s true, toothpaste (especially whitening) can clean dirty, grimy headlights. For this one you’ll definitely need to bring your elbow grease. Apply toothpaste to the plastic lens cover with a cloth and thoroughly rub it in all over the lens. Then rinse off completely with clean water and dry. For further protection use a furniture polish or car wax with UV protection.
- If your windshield wiper blades get dirty, they’ll streak the glass instead of keeping it clean and clear. Make a solution of 1/4 cup household ammonia to 1 quart cold water. Gently lift the blades, and wipe both sides with a soft cloth or paper towel soaked in the solution. Then wipe the blades with a dry cloth before lowering them into place.
- To give the outside of your car a good cleaning, pour 1/4 cup baking soda into a gallon-sized jug, then add 1/4 cup dishwashing liquid and enough water to fill the jug almost to the top. Screw on the cap, shake well, and store the concentrate for later use. When it comes time to wash the car, shake the jug vigorously and then pour 1 cup of cleaner base into a 2-gallon water pail. Fill the pail with warm water, stir to mix, and your homemade cleaning solution is ready to use.
- In many rural areas (like mine!) so-called oil roads (some unpaved, others semi-paved) are sprayed with oil to control blowing sand and dust. If you find yourself driving along one of these back roads, your windshield may end up coated with oily grime. To cut through the muck, sprinkle cream of tartar over the windshield, and then wipe the glass down with soapy water, rinse well, and dry.
- Washing your car when it’s too hot—right after you’ve been driving it, for example, or when it’s been parked in direct sunlight—can result in soapy splotches and deposits, says Consumer Reports.
- Also according to Consumer Reports, air drying your car—or driving it around while it’s wet—after washing can leave unsightly watermarks on its exterior. Use a chamois or a soft terry cloth, plus a squeegee to soak excess water up—just make sure it doesn’t pick up dirt that can scratch the vehicle.
- Out of date registration or inspection stickers can be a pain trying to remove. All you need is some newspaper and warm water to remove them. Use warm water and place the newspaper over the hard-to-remove sticker for 10 minutes. This lets the warm water penetrate the sticker and will almost fall off into your hands.
- WD-40 can be used to take off bumper stickers! Just spray some over the bumper sticker and let it sit for a bit. You should be able to just pull the sticker off!
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- Wash hubcaps and floor mats in the dishwasher to get them looking amazing without a lot of hassle.
BONUS CAR CLEANING HACKS AND OTHER TIPS
- Adding a key to a key ring can ruin your nails or even cut your fingers. Use this great tip to make adding keys to your ring easier. Use a staple remover. Put the teeth of the staple remover in between the two rings, then press down. They will separate easily.
- A great option for a car garbage bin is plastic cereal container. Don’t forget to use a plastic bin liner so you don’t need to clean the container if any of your rubbish contains food or liquid.
- Does your car door lock stick in freezing weather? A great way to fix the problem is to use an alcohol based hand sanitizer. The heavy alcohol content breaks down ice very well and the squirt style bottles make it easy to inject the sanitizer into the lock to work it’s magic.
- Always forgetting where your car is parked? There’s an app for that. Don’t worry, everyone does it. Just not as often as you do! If you tend to forget where your car is parked then let your phone do the remembering for you. iParkedHere is a great app that allows you to input where your car is in an indoor parking lot or outdoor. It even utilizes a GPS, image capture and notes if necessary
What do you think of these car cleaning hacks? Are there any that you are eager to try?
Do you have any amazing car cleaning hacks to share? Post in the comments below.
Want to organize your car and keep it that way? Even with little ones? See this post with great tips.
Until Next Time,