How to Clean Your Car at Home
I don’t know about you, but the first major hint of sunshine I see, I’m itching to open the windows and get my life feeling fresh again. This often means “spring cleaning” or also known as “Cleaning All The Things I’ve Neglected Over The Winter”. But this doesn’t just have to be limited to the house!
Most of us spend a LOT of time in our cars, driving kids to and from school, driving to and from work, to the store, on road trips or vacations. Even if the sun hasn’t chased away the cold weather where you live, “spring cleaning” your car can make you feel like you’ve got a fresh start.
Here are a few tips for cleaning your car, including areas you might not think about!
Clear out the Trash
When you start cleaning out your car, START WITH THE TRASH. And listen. I have a relatively clean car, but somehow there are still string cheese wrappers and library receipts and pen caps littered under the seats.
It’s better to do a full sweep for trash before you start doing any deep cleaning, so you don’t have to stop. It’s even worth taking out the things you intend to keep and Marie Kondo-style putting them back in after you’re totally done. Does having three umbrellas in my backseat bring me joy?
Dust the Air Vents
Air vents collect a LOT of dust and when air conditioning season starts up, that dust is going to get blown right in your face. You know that smell when they first get turned on for the season.
Prevent this by cleaning out the air vents with a small brush, even an old toothbrush will do. Grab this inexpensive set of mini brushes to keep in your glove compartment if you want to dust more often or live in a particularly dusty/dirty area.
Clean Floor Mats
You can just vacuum these along with everything else in your car, but at the beginning of the season, it may be worth doing a full clean. Take them out and give them a good shake to get rid of loose debris, then clean with soap and water.
Allow them to air dry completely before putting back into the car.
There are so many areas in your car that collect dust, including the steering wheel, under the windshield, your cup holders and console. Use a microfiber cloth to collect dust and wipe clean or use a dedicated car interior cleaner.
You may have to get a little up close and personal with your cup holders. Use a Q-tip or small brush to get into those hard to reach places or see if your cup holders actually come out so you can wash with soap and water!
If you struggle to clean those weird spots in between the console and front seats, consider wrapping one of those cheap paint stirrers from the home improvement store with a microfiber cloth. Secure with a rubber band and make a few swipes in those hard to reach spots. Also, don’t be horrified by what may come out of there.
Check Windshield Wipers
Winter can be harsh on windshield wipers, so be sure to test them while you’re cleaning. Are they smearing? Try putting some rubbing alcohol on them. If they continue to smear after that you may just want to replace them for the season.
Costco often has great prices on replacement wiper blades for all types of vehicles!
Clear Out the Trunk
The trunk of a car can quickly become a pit of despair with who knows what inside. Spring is a great time to go through the trunk and find out what’s rolling around in there. You might just find that can of corn that went missing at Christmas time.
If you have kids that play sports or travel a lot, the trunk can become a catch-all and one of the last places we remember to clean out.
Take anything out of the trunk that doesn’t belong there and get an organizer of some kind for everything you want to keep. This collapsible trunk organizer from Amazon gets great reviews, has a non-slip bottom and straps for securing it in place.
Restock your Emergency Kit
Make sure that your emergency kit is fully stocked and all the food inside is still within date. If you don’t have a kit in your car, this is the perfect time to get one.
Have a change of clothes and a blanket for every member of your family, a first aid kit, snacks or a no-cook meal that stores well, enough for everyone in your family to eat at least once.
Also, make sure you have a flashlight or a headlamp. Wind-up lights are the best because you don’t have to worry about batteries. Keep a day’s supply of any special medications anyone in your family needs. These are all helpful if you have to leave the house in a hurry or you get stranded somewhere away from home.
It’s also worth looking into a small, inexpensive roadside assistance emergency kit. Most come with jumper cables, flares, a flashlight, small first-aid kit and more.
Wash Under Your Car
While you’re doing your spring cleaning, remember to clean underneath your car. You might have a lot of dirt that has collected under there throughout the winter or the drainage holes might be clogged with debris from the road. Rust can develop under there as well and when rust gets in, your car starts slowly dying and affects the resale value.
If you have one of those wide fan sprinklers for your lawn stick it under your car and let it go back and forth for a few minutes. If you have a larger vehicle, you may need to move the sprinkler a few times to hit all the spots. You can also start the season with a good professional car wash and then take care of it yourself throughout the spring and summer.
We’d love to hear from you? What’s your favorite tip for cleaning the inside of your car and keeping it fresh?
If you have room in your glove compartment or console, consider keeping some car interior cleaning wipes on hand (Meguiar’s is a great brand). If you’re waiting in the school pick-up line or at your kids’ soccer practice, you can give the interior a quick wipe down to keep it looking fresh.
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