Our cars are there to take us to where we need to go, but along the way they can get damaged or dirty and in desperate need of a good cleaning. We found a nice long list of hacks for cleaning your car that will save you both money and time. Some of these hacks are laying around your house today and clean your interior and exterior as quickly and efficiently as if you took it to the body shop for full detailing.
Getting dust and dirt out of hard to reach places is no easy feat. Getting into those small spaces is also a hard job for anyone with adult fingers. We found solutions for these issues, as well as tips for cleaning hard to get out stains from upholstery, interior doors, and every part of your car’s exterior. There are situations where bugs like to ned their days on the front of your bumper, as well as rain, snow or hard sun that frosts or bakes your car’s exterior. We have a trick with rust and Coca Cola, as well as WD-40, and Lysol.
Every single cleaning hack on this list can be done at home with household cleaners, the most you will need to go is to the local supermarket to get a cheap cleaning supply that you may not have at home. We value our cars and want them to be in the best state they can be for our own comfort but also for the comfort of those who come into our car to ride along with us. These brilliant car-cleaning hacks will be your go-to once you get through with them.
Clean your AC vents with a foam brush
The air conditioning in your car is a godsend on cold days and hotter ones. What we seldom do is clean the vents in our cars, something that is very unhealthy for us. The best way to clear your car’s air conditioning vent is by taking a foam brush (you can get a narrow one at your local hardware store) and gently clean each slat in your car. This will keep your air conditioning fresh and smell-free, as well as healthier for anyone in your car.
Detail your car with a toothbrush
A toothbrush is a cleaning tool for anything that has small crevices. The buttons in your car are small and the cracks around them are even smaller. In order to clean the dust and grime that can develop in these small spaces, take a toothbrush and start to brush out the dirt from the spaces. The small teeth of the toothbrush will get into every nook and cranny of these spaces and will get everything back to tip top shape.
Brighten up your headlights with toothpaste
Toothpaste is so much more than a tooth cleaner, folks! When your headlights are beginning to cloud over with the car’s age, the best way to get them back to their original state is by either taking it to the dealership or cleaner and shelling out about $1,000, OR you take a tube of toothpaste and go to work (saving you a ton of money and making you oh so proud of your DIY nature). In order to clean the headlights, take the toothpaste and put it on the headlight, scrub it into the glass and then rinse off. Once you dry it off you’ll see the biggest difference in your car.
How to remove a sticker!
Some of us thought bumper stickers were cool for a good five minutes. While putting one on is super easy, taking it off can be a pain. Don’t fret, though, we found a brilliant hack to get those stickers off of your car without leaving a single scratch – WD 40! Spray some of it on top of the bumper sticker, wait a few minutes so as to let the product work and then peel it off. Voila!
Take your car’s body paint to a new level
Over time, the body paint of the car gets some wear and tear due to the environment. The best way to get that shine right back to your four-wheeled baby is by taking a clay bar and washing your car with it. The clay soaks up the grime that has seeped intot the body paint and brings out the new car color once again.
Make your own washer liquid
Want to keep your windshield spick and span but don’t want to buy the expensive brand fluid? We have a trick up our sleeve. Take three cups of alcohol, four cups of water and two teaspoons or so of dishwashing liquid, mix it all together and pour it into the washer liquid holder. This do it yourself version is just as good as the name brand stuff and is easier and cheaper.
Use a Q-tip for those small spots
Just like the toothbrush trick, the Q-tip is a small piece of cleaning material that makes a big difference in your car. Use the Q-tip to detail the inside of your vehicle. You can use it to clean the steering wheel, cup holders, those super small spaces that need more than a brush but also a wipe. Q-tips are cheap to buy and come in bulk, so don’t feel bad if you use 100 of them to clean your car, there will be 100 more where they came from.
Use clear polish to protect from cracked glass
Drop everything and go buy a bottle of clear nail polish. Whether you are male or female, you need a bottle for emergencies. What kind of emergencies? When you’re driving on the highway or anywhere really, and have a pebble crash on your windshield at max speed, it can create a tiny crack that can become much bigger if not treated. If you stop and put the nail polish on it, the crack won’t become a bigger issue and will remain the small dot that it is.
Polish your interior with a magic eraser
Leather seats in a car are super nice, but over time they have a tendency to get stained and discolored. Magic eraser to the rescue! Take the eraser, which you can buy at your local supermarket, and get to scrubbing those stains right out. It might take some time to get everything out but the eraser really does remove everything. By the time you’re done your car will look like new.
Protect your leather interior with Vaseline
Vaseline is so much more than for your lips or other hydrating/moisturizing purposes. Once your interior has been scrubbed clean by the magic eraser, take some Vaseline and put it on a rag. Once you have done that, start rubbing it on the interior of your car to help protect it from future stains, as well as keep it as shiny as it was the day you got it.
Vacuum the dust away
So we mentioned cleaning your air conditioning vents with a brush, but what happens to the dust you are taking out of the vents, it goes on the floor? No way Jose! Take a vacuum and Hoover the dust into the machine. If you are already cleaning then clear all the way. The vacuum is also good at picking up pet hair (or your hair) from your cars interior.
Use a squeegee to pick up hair
Since we mentioned hair… Vacuuming is a good option for getting some of the pet hair out of your car, but this water and squeegee method is foolproof. Take a small spray bottle of water, spray the interior of your car and then use the squeegee to pick up the hair! Then you can either pick up the hair with your hands or bring out the handy vacuum and vacuum it all up.
Remove pesky rust stains with Coke!
Coca Cola has a bad rep for being unhealthy and all, but it does a car good when it comes to removing rust that can accumulate on the extrior of the car. In order to remove the rust, take a bottle of Coke pour it onto the rusty area of the car, wait a couple of minutes and wipe away. The rust will come off along with the Coke. The only part of this that is disconcerting is that we are also drinking this and it can’t be good.
Buff the dashboard with EVOO
Olive oil is known for being good for all things leather. It’s also known for being extremely delicious to cook with. The two-in-one product is the perfect tool to buff your dashboard, bringing it back to its former glory and shine. Take a paper towel, pour some olive oil on it and go to town on your dash. Make sure to scrub in circles to keep the leather supple.
Use baking soda to make the car smell fresh
If you have pets, children, or Indian food in the car, the smell may decide to make its home inside your vehicle. In the case of a car that doesn’t smell so great, take some baking soda and sprinkle it all over your car’s interior. Let the powder sit for several hours to soak up the odors, vacuum it all up and there you go, a car that smells fresh.
Use baby wipes to clean your windows
Baby wipes are good for many things, most of which have nothing to do with a baby. They can be used to remove makeup, clean up messes, and now, clean your car’s windows. Keep a package of baby wipes in your glove compartment in case you need to clean your windows (birds do exist, you know). In general, it’s good to keep wipes in your car, you never know when you may spill some coffee on yourself.
Lanolin infused hair conditioner instead of waxing your car
Getting your car waxed in the body shop can cost a fortune! However, we have this hack that can give you the exact same finish for less than $20. Take lanolin infused hair conditioner, put it on a shammy and get to work. Buff the car from top to bottom in a circular motion until the conditioner is gone. Your car will thank you for the tender loving care and will look like it just came out of a full detailing session.
Use cupcake holders in your cup holders
Why, do you ask? Because if you end up being messier than you planned with the cup holder, lets’ say putting a granola bar inside it or something, you won’t have to then reach in to clean it. All you need to do is pull out the cupcake holder and toss the contents of it. Another use for it is that it prevents cups from moving inside it and therefore makes the likelihood of spills lessen.
Use a keyboard cleaner for your vents
A keyboard cleaner is such a useful tool! The pressured air is good for cleaning any little space that nothing else can fit into. Use it to clean the inside of your air conditioning vents, past the part of the vents themselves and farther into the mechanism. The compressed air will remove anything that shouldn’t be there from its resting place, making the air more breathable in any case.
Steel wool is fantastic for cleaning your windshield
Now, before you get all crazy on us, this one works! It doesn’t sound that smart to take steel wool and rub it into glass, but windshield glass is not the same as other types of glass, it is far stronger and more durable, meaning it can take the steel wool’s scratches without any mark ups. The reason for using steel wool would be to get out super hard stains that have found their way to you windshield. Trust us, it’s worth a shot.
Method for removing bumper bugs: dryer sheets
Yes, bumper bugs are a thing, especially if you live in a tropical climate (Florida, anyone?). When you are driving, you are unknowingly killing little bugs who are flying into your bumper as you drive. In order to remove these little critters from your bumper, take water and a dryer sheet, dip the sheet in the water and rub the bugs away!
Use rubbing alcohol to clean your windshield wipers
No one likes streaks on their windshield when they are in need of their use. Using rubbing alcohol to clean your windshield wipers is the antidote for such steaks. Take some of the alcohol and put it on a paper towel or cloth, then wipe the blades of the wipers clean. Once you place them back where they are meant to be, there will be no steaks in sight.
Another way to clean the small spaces: cloth covered screwdriver
We kid you not, take a piece of cloth and put it over a screwdriver. Then take the screwdriver and go into those small spaces with some elbow grease. Don’t go too hard since you are working with a metal object that can also scratch if held with too much force, but use your strength to get the dirt off of the spaces between the controls in the car and other such spaces.
Don’t have a shammy? Use an old sock
The best tool to clean your car with is an old sock. The fibers in the sock are thick and sturdy and are absolutely wonderful for cleaning the interior of your vehicle. Put some of the cleaning supplies we talked about on it and go to town. By the time your are done cleaning your car, the sock will be dark and your car will be spotless.
Take a sock, Windex and a cup to clean your cup holder
If the cupcake holder wasn’t for you, there is another way to clean your cup holder – a cup, a sock and a whole lot of Windex. Put the sock on the cup, spray it with Windex and place it in the cup holder. Twist the cup several times to sort of scrub the holder and then lift the cup. You will see that the cup holder is as good as new, with old residue gone and beauty restored.
DIY car deodorizer: wooden clothes pin and essential oils
This is the favorite of all the do-it-yourself lovers out there. Take a wooden (has to be wooden as it soaks up the scent) clothes pin, drop a few essential oil droplets onto it and clip it to the air conditioner vent of your car. The car will smell incredible, without being too strong like the other brand name car scent diffusers.
Buy yourself a car trash can
There are people out there who make their car their garbage can. Now there’s a way to keep your car neat and organized without littering it all the time – get yourself a car trash can. Yes, they exist. The trash can can be placed in the passenger front seat or in the back but more importantly has a cover to it as well as a square shape to ensure maximum storage.
Launder your floor mats
This one may come as a surprise to some of you but you can pull up your floor mats and place them in the laundry with stain removal liquid on them in addition to the laundry detergent. Put the washing machine on gentle to ensure your machine doesn’t collapse from the effort. Once it’s done, take the floor mats out and place on the ground to dry. They will look as good as new.
Another way to remove bumper bugs: Pam
Grab yourself a spray bottle of Pam and get to spraying the oily concoction onto your front bumper. Follow up the spraying with a rag and wipe away the bugs from your bumper. The oil in the spray makes it all too easy to make the stuck on bugs unglue themselves from your bumper, all the while making sure that your car’s paint stays on.
Make your own interior scrub
Here is what you need to make your very own car interior scrub to take those very hard to remove stains away from your beloved car:
1 Cup of Distilled Vinegar
1 Cup of Club Soda
1/2 cup of Blue Dawn dish soap
Put all of the ingredients into a spray bottle, spray it, let it sit for a while, and then proceed to allow it to dry on your cushions.
Scented wax instead of air fresheners
The regular air fresheners for your car that you can buy at any gas station are just all together too strong for your nose. Instead of buying something too powerful, take some of the wax from your favorite scented candle and place it in a jar with holes that have been cut into the top of it (as you can see in the photo). This hack will make your car smell fantastic without being too overwhelming.
Clean your windows with newspaper
Most cleaning men and women know that newspaper is the perfect tool to clean windows with. If you don’t have tinted windows, take a ball of newspaper and some window cleaner and get to cleaning! the newspaper will make your window cleaning life a whole lot easier and will leave zero streaks. Anything to make our windows more clear!
Use vinegar and water to protect your car from snow and salt
If you live anywhere where it snows, the ground is also going to be salted to make the roads as clear as possible. The salt and snow are then flicked up into your car when you drive. The salt can damage your car without you even knowing so when the snow season begins, take some vinegar and water and spray on bottom of your car to protect it from the salt damage.
Protect your interior seating with a bed sheet
Granted this is more about prevention than cleaning but it’ll help you nonetheless. If you have little kids around or pets, putting a simple bed sheet down on the interior upholstery of your car can save you alot of trouble in the long run. The kids can get whatever they want on the sheet, the dog can shed as much as he or she wants, but nothing will happen to the beautiful interior beneath it.
Dry your car with a towel
Whether you decided to spend the money on a professional car wash or did it yourself in your driveway, the most important thing is drying the car off on your own with a towel. The reason for this is that this prevents spots from forming on the car if drops of water are just left there to dry. Drying things out with a towel guarantees you a perfect photo finish.
Don’t forget to clean in INSIDE of your windshield
We constantly think of the outside of our car when it comes to cleaning the windshield. What about the interior? The inside of the windshield may not get as filthy due to environmental factors but it still gets its fair share of dirt. Grab a cloth and dip it in a mix of water, dish washing detergent, and a few drops of vinegar. Then go ahead and clean the windshield, you’ll thank us for this one.
Use silicon to clean your AC vents
We keep coming back to the topic of the air vents in the car. The reason for this runaround has to do with how important it is to keep them clean and the many ways there are to do so. By using a tool such as silicon gel to get dust and dirt out of your air conditioning vents you are eliminating hard to remove and get-to stains and particles.
Use Silly Putty to clean your buttons
Another form of silicon get is Silly Putty! Take the gooey material and get to grabbing all of the dust and dirt out of the hard to reach buttons and other smaller spaces. It’s sticky to the dirt but not to the rest of the car. Check out this photo as a guideline for how to use it to clean the buttons that control the window and doors.