13 Car Cleaning Hacks To Help You Detail It For So Much Less

Last updated on October 17, 2019 | Written by | Lifestyle

No matter how hard you try, your car can become a terrible mess. Even if you try to clean it weekly, chances are, you will be left with another mess before the week is up. Maybe it isn’t in the form of clutter, but dust can build up over such a short period of time on your dashboard and door buttons that it can be exhausting to clean. To help you learn to detail your car yourself and save some time and money, there are some great car cleaning hacks out there.

No one wants to have to dust their car as often as they dust their furniture. And vacuuming the interior can feel like a full-time job, especially if you have kids. It might not be easy to keep your car clean, but with these hacks, you can be armed with the tools you need to clean your car without needing to do it every other day.

1. Use Olive Oil For Polishing

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If you need a way to keep your dashboard polished, shiny, and free from cracks, wipe it down with a dab of olive oil. Using too much will make the surface slick to the touch, so less is more and a little bit can go a long way.

2. Clean Up Hair With A Squeegee

You can use a lint roller until the cows come home, but it won’t always get all of the pet hair out of your car cushions. You can even rub the seats with tape to try and pry off fur and dander. Instead, do the job more thoroughly with a spray bottle of water and a squeegee. The combination makes it a lot easier to get all of the pet hair out of the fabric of your car cushions.

3. Get Toothpaste For Your Headlights

There are plenty of car soaps and waxes you can buy for the exterior of your car. To really get the shine back into your headlights, however, use toothpaste. It can bring back the crystal clear sheen you might have lost a long time ago without any backbreaking scrubbing.

4. Use Coffee Filters To Take Care Of The Dust

Dusting the inside of your car can be done with the standard feather duster you use for your home. The problem is that a lot of that dust tends to kick up and then settle back down where you just wiped it. Using coffee filters, which are lint-free themselves, can be an easy alternative for dusting. 

5. Consider Cola Soda For Rust

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Because cola has a lot of acid in it, you can break down rust on the outside of your car by pouring some on, waiting for a few minutes, and then whipping it away. No, it isn’t a cure-all for that totally rusted fender, but it can help you take care of smaller problem areas.

6. Prevent Muck From Building Up In Your Cup Holders

Believe it or not, cupcake liners fit perfectly in most car cup holders. The next time you get frustrated about trying and failing to clean the gunk out of the tiny space in your car, think about adding cupcake liners to prevent any unwanted buildup. You can even use silicone cupcake liners so you can take then out, wash them, and then put them back in afterward.

7. Get Out Carpet Stains Yourself

You could go the professional carpet cleaning route for your car and no one would judge you. After all, it can be the worst problem area with little solutions. Or, you can use this hack for cleaning your car’s carpets and spend a lot less money. Use peroxide and a scrub brush to scrub our stubborn stains and watch them disappear as the carpet dries.

8. Use A Sock For Getting In A Hard To Reach Spot

A clean sock can make cleaning the interior of your car a tad easier in more ways than one. You can put it over a finger or two in order to reach awkward tight spaces that need to be dusted or cleaned. You can also stretch it over a cup, spray it with a cleaning agent, and twist the sock-covered cup in your cup holders to get them clean. 

9. Choose A Carpet Deodorizer Or Use Baking Soda For Smells

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Even if you clean the carpets and upholstery in your car, you might be met with a stench you can’t quite get tidy of – especially if the car is used. So sprinkle some baking soda or a carpet deodorizer you’d use in your home and then vacuum the powder up to get rid of the stagnant odors in your car.

10. Get A Small Garbage Can To Keep In Your Car

As far as car cleaning hacks go, keeping a garbage can handy on the front passenger floor is probably obvious, but you would be surprised by the amount of people who rely on the compartment in their driver’s side door to hold all of their garbage until it is jam-packed with old gum wrappers and parking garage tickets.

11. Make An Air Freshener Yourself

There are plenty of air fresheners you can buy to hang in your car or place under the seats. But if you are sick of picking out that “new car smell” or fresh pine, make something that is all your own. Take the wax out of your favorite scented candle and place it in a mason jar. Then, put holes in the lid and place the jar somewhere in your car. It is especially handy for warmer days when the wax is that much more likely to melt and give off a strong pleasant scent.

12. Use Hair Conditioner For The Outside Of Your Car

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Keeping up with a steady supply of car wax can be taxing. Luckily, a lot of hair conditioners have lanolin in them, which is also a wax and can be safely used on the outside of your car. It can also be a lot less costly, which is just an added bonus.

13. Don’t Try To Scrub Off Exterior Stickers

Getting stickers off of surfaces in your home might require scrubbing and when it comes to your car, that may be your first instinct too. Instead, use a blow dryer and a safe tree sap remover and it can be a lot less intimidating to take stickers off your car’s windows or bumper.

The worst part is that, even if you aren’t particularly messy, depending on who you allow in your car or how much time you have, things can get cluttered and messy before you know it. And the outside of you care is a whole other story. If you live somewhere with hefty winters, you know the struggle of cleaning mud, slush, and rock salt off your car. You don’t have to be a neat freak to keep your car clean either. But with these car cleaning hacks, you can get it clean without spending hours every weekend doing it.