Between keeping up with the bathroom, the kitchen and the rest of your house, cleaning your car is probably the last thing on your mind. But after a few months it can start to get, well, gross. And if you live in a colder climate, rock salt and sludge from winter roadways can build up and cause damage to your car’s exterior.
We’ve got your back with a simple seven-step cleanout that will have your car sparkling both inside and out.
Give the seats and floor of your car a thorough vacuuming, and make sure to use the hose extension on the center console, cup holders and the pockets in the doors. Move the seats all the way forward and back so you don’t miss any nooks or crannies.
2. Clean the Interior
Every car’s interior needs a little TLC. Using a cleaner suitable for vinyl and a Bounty DuraTowel, wipe down the doors and center console. For any stuck-on grime, use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to remove it. For leather seats, make sure the cleaner you use won’t damage them, or find a cleaner specifically designed for leather.
For any spots on the carpet or cloth seats, spray a generous amount of glass cleaner – or other mild cleaner – directly on the spots and scrub with a dry cotton rag. You may be able to get many of those spots out with just a little elbow grease.
3. Clean the Exterior
Now that the inside is clean, it’s time to get to work on the outside of the car:
- Spray the car with water to rinse off excess dirt and rock salt
- Wash the wheels first (spray and clean one at a time) so you don’t splash the clean car later. Dawn dish soap can be used to remove grease and grime from dirty hubcaps – get the full tutorial here
- Choose a product designed specifically for washing your car so that it doesn’t remove the wax
- Wash by hand from the bottom up so you don’t miss any spots
- Rinse thoroughly from the top down
Dry the car with old 100 percent cotton bath or beach towels, or use a lawn or leaf blower to dry the car instead. Just make sure the nozzle is clear of any dust or debris – you don’t want to undo the work you’ve just done! Be sure to wipe inside the doorsills when drying the car.
Wash windows last with glass cleaner and Bounty paper towels. Wash the inside horizontally and the outside vertically – if you get streaks, you’ll be able to tell which side of the window they’re on.
Two times a year, wax the car with a quality wax. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to see if your car has a clear coat or other paint specifications.
7. Finishing Touches
Attach a Febreze CAR air freshener to eliminate odors in your freshly cleaned car. To keep the car tidy between cleanings, keep a portable trash can or a plastic grocery bag in the car to collect trash, and tuck a Swiffer 360 Duster into the glove compartment to trap and lock dust on your dashboard and console. Finally, keep your car in tip-top shape this winter with our helpful guide.
How do you keep your car clean and fresh? Share your tips with the P&G everyday community by commenting below.