Get 5% off in-app
400k+ download
Open app

Car Cleaning Tips and Tricks

  • Car Wash
  • Renee Martin
  • 6 minutes

Spread the love

It’s hard to ignore the fact that your car or personal vehicle is an integral part of your day-to-day routine. With Americans spending over 54 hours stuck in traffic every yearthe last thing you‘d want to experience while gridlocked is a dirty car interiorSo, if you find yourself spending a lot of time in your car, you’ll know that keeping it clean and tidy is close to impossible! You almost always end up taking it to a car detailing facility, which usually costs top dollar. Here’s where we’ve got you covered! Our car cleaning tips and tricks rundown aim to help you buckle down and clean your car yourself – all you need is a little elbow grease! So roll up those sleeves, and let’s dive right in!

This blog has been updated on May 20, 2021.

Car cleaning tips and tricks

Rinse before you wash! 

When you blast dry paint with soapy water right off the bat, any dust that’s on the surface of your car, along with grit from the ground, will embed itself into your car’s paint finish. Auto detailing and professional car wash facilities often begin with a clear rinse of water to remove as much dirt and dust as possible before moving on to soapy cleaning procedures. 

Using the right kind of soap 

Most DIYers tend to choose dishwashing liquid as a go-to option for washing their car’s exterior – this isn’t the best idea, and here’s whyThe chemicals present in dish soap are simply too harsh for your car’s delicate paint job. It removes essential oils from your car’s finish and can possibly shorten your paint job‘s lifespanChoose a car wash soap instead! 


Ditch the sponge, go for a microfiber wash mitt 

Sponges tend to hold in dirt and grit and get captured in the sponge’s large pores. No amount of wringing it out will dislodge the embedded dirt – that’s like trying to wash the exterior of your car with sandpaper! Family handyman recommends using a microfiber mitt – these specialized wash mitts dislodge any grime or dirt whenever you rinse it during your cleaning process. 

Two buckets are better than one 

Using two buckets simultaneously – one for dirty rinse water and another for clean soapy water – is the way to go. Make sure to dunk your wash mitt in the rinse water bucket before diving back in to coat it with more soapy water for your next car exterior go-around. When you’re done cleaning one side of the car in this manner, it helps to empty out the dirty rinse water and refill it before you head over to the other side.  


Dry off using a microfiber towel 

Once you’re done with the rinsing and washing of your car’s exterior, use a microfiber towel to dry off any excess moisture that’s left behind. These towels pick up any dirt or dust that’s left behind after your wash – just make sure to wring them out often if they get too soaked.  

Car cleaning tips and tricks

Refurbish your worn-in headlights 

Cloudy headlights can not only make your car look a little beat up but can also be a major hindrance to oncoming traffic who might not be able to see them clearly. We recommend using a non-gel toothpaste (yes, toothpaste!) on the surface of your headlights – the gentle abrasive action of the toothpaste will help remove any dirt or grime that’s built upon the headlights’ covers. Using a microfiber cloth, apply a thin layer of toothpaste onto the headlight cover surface and slowly remove it using a circular motion, and voila, you’ll have refreshed looking headlights! Note that it’s advisable to use a toothpaste containing whitening action or baking soda for added sheen. 


Use a sock to clean your cup holders 

If your car lacks removable cup holders, cleaning them can be difficult task. Using a cut-up sweater or an old sock will help wash those stains out with ease. Soak the sock with an all-purpose cleaner, place it in the cup holder, and twist until all the stains have been removedNote that you’ll want to vacuum the holders before going at it with your wet cleaning sock. However, if your car features removable cup holders, it’s best to throw them in the dishwasher instead of scrubbing them through – just make sure you dry them by hand afterward to reduce any chances of the cup holders melting inside the dishwasher!  

Cleaning your leather or vinyl car seat 

Leather or vinyl seats in your car are prone to wear and tear over time and tend to stain easily. Fortunately, a Magic Eraser will come in handy if you do need to get them cleanSimply moisten the magic eraser and scrub the stain softly – just make sure you test it on a small portion of the seat that’s out of view to ensure it doesnt affect the car seat in any way. You could also use a mixture of olive oil and white vinegar, mixed in equal ratios, and rub it onto the stain gently using a clean rag – wipe the surface down afterward. This mixture also acts as a great disinfectant and helps the leather remain in excellent condition. 

Want to create your own DIY car cleaning kit? You’ll find a detailed list of must-have car cleaning gear and products here. 

Car cleaning tips and tricks

How to effectively disinfect your car 

The CDC recommends using cleaning products that contain at least 70% isopropyl alcohol for the best possible results. This effectively eliminates any traces of the COVID-19 virus, both inside and outside your car. What’s more, diluted household bleach is a safe substitute if isopropyl alcohol isn’t available to you – simply create a solution of five tablespoons of bleach per gallon of clean water. Note that isopropyl alcohol and bleach should only be used on non-porous surfacesAlso, keep in mind that the following high-contact surfaces need to be wiped down and disinfected regularly:  

  • Windows and door handles 
  • Liftgate handles and gas caps 
  • Steering wheel and cup holders 
  • Dashboard surfaces – including all plastic or metal knobs and buttons  

Websites and apps like Way offer professional and top-rated car wash services at great prices. What’s more, the whole family can get in on the sudsy action thanks to Way’s Carwash Voucher and Family Car Wash Pass that can be used on multiple (that’s right, multiple) vehicles!

Car cleaning tips and tricks
Read our blogs for information on the best airport parking and hourly parking spots near you and the most affordable insurance for your car. 

Related Posts


Press ESC to close