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Car Cleaning Tips

The other day our oldest daughter said she wanted to clean my car.  I thought “Awww… how sweet.  She’s getting older and she wants to help out (FINALLY!YEAH!). “   She then said when I pick them up from school it’s embarrassing if someone sees the inside of our car.  Ummmmmm… Ouch.

I’m not going to lie, my car DESPERATELY needed a car spa day.  I have 3 young kids, who knew what I was going to find in there!  So I did what any mom on a mission would do- I went to Pinterest!  I found some super easy car cleaning tips that will help get your car clean in no time without having to pay the big bucks to have it detailed!

I tried all of them but one ( my car has leather, not fabric seats) and they worked!


1. Washing your car

If you can, wash your car in a shaded area.   The sun will make the soapy water dry quicker and you are more likely to have water streaks. Trust me on this. 🙂   ( from popsugar.com)  Don’t forget to rinse your car with water first to loosen up any dirt.

Always make sure to wash your car using a soap made just for cars.   I noticed a lot of tips recommending the use of dish soap, but using it routinely to wash your car can possibly damage the paint and strip away wax.  (from popularmechanics.com) Dishsoap might be more accessible, but depending on where you buy it, it’s actually not that much cheaper than buying car wash soap. I used Armor All Car Wash which I bought locally.


Car wash soap


2. Washing the windows

When cleaning your car, make sure to wash the windows last.  You can use an auto-glass cleaner or for a DIY car window cleaner use 1 cup of distilled water, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, and 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol. Spray on a microfiber cloth or paper towel and wipe.  ( DIY recipe from franksautoglasschicago.com)


DIY Car Window Cleaner


3. Dusting and cleaning the dashboard

I had read using a coffee filter would help dust my dashboard, and for some reason, it really didn’t do much.  So I used my Swiffer and it got the job done!  Then I cleaned my dashboard using this DIY interior car cleaner by mixing equal amounts of water and vinegar. (from thebalanceveryday.com) I used ½  cup of each and then added a few drops of lemon essential oil into a spray bottle.


Dust and clean dashboard


4. Use a foam paintbrush to dust vents

This was a fantastic tip to use a foam paintbrush to clean the vents! I slightly dampened the brush ( with water or even your homemade interior cleaner) and then wiped the vents clean! (from onegoodthingbyjillee.com)


Car vent and foam paint brush


5. Using a toothbrush to dust and clean

I was in heaven when I saw how well a toothbrush dusted and cleaned out small spaces.   I gently scrubbed with an older clean soft toothbrush so it wouldn’t scratch any surfaces.  I used it with and without a cleaning product.  This was an awesome idea!! The before and after pictures are below. Crumbs be gone!! (from oflifeandlisa.com)


Using a toothbrush to clean in car


6. Using a sock and cup to clean cupholders

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t squeal with joy when I tried this.  My cup holders look brand new! ( Or like they really should in the first place.)  I placed an old sock over a cup, and I sprayed the homemade car cleaner in the cup holder, and then twisted the cup around and tada! Clean cup holders! (from oflifeandllisa.com)



7. Cleaning tires and hubcaps

I’ll admit it.  I’ve never thought about cleaning my tires or hubcaps, but I had baking soda and dish soap, so I thought why not?! Mix ½ cup baking soda, 1 tablespoon of dish soap, and 2 cups of warm water.  I used a soft sponge to apply and scrub, and then rinsed it off really well.   It was incredibly easy and I’m so glad I took the extra step! ( from popsugar.com

Tire Cleaning DIY

8. Use a toothbrush to clean rubber all weather floor mats

My all weather rubber floor mats were embarrassing! I took them out, shook them well and vacuumed with my ShopVac.  ( you can just shake them if you don’t have a vacuum handy)  I rinsed them with water and used a toothbrush ( my new car cleaning BFF) to get the junk and grime out from in between the grooves.  I even, ok I had to, go over them with a sponge too.  Make sure that your floor mats can be rinsed off with water before doing this.  My girls keep pointing out our clean floors! Win!


Car floor mats


9. Use a squeegee and water to get rid of pet hair

I have leather seats in my car but I found this online and it looks like an easy way to get pet hair off of cloth seats.   Just lightly spray the seat with water ( don’t saturate), use a squeegee to collect it into a pile and then vacuum!  (Or even use tape or a lint roller ) (tip and photo from careabearasara.tumblr.com)

Clean pet hair off fabric seat in car

10. Cleaning leather seats

This is more of a please don’t do this tip.  As I looked online at car cleaning tips I saw some sites recommending cleaning your leather car seats with olive oil.  However, this can speed up their deterioration over time.  It’s best to stick with a product specifically for leather. (from shetriedwhat.com)




We spend so much time in our cars, but when life gets busy, cleaning your car gets moved to the bottom of your to-do-list.  I hope that these super easy car cleaning tips were helpful and will motivate you to even do a little at a time. Give your mom ride a car spa day, or even a 15 minute express touch up!  Send me an email to let me know if you tried any of them!

Erica Welch

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