Have you tried cleaning your car only to end up disappointed with how it turned out? You checked off all the familiar car cleaning tips, but your car still doesn’t look as clean as the day you bought it.
Is that day just a distant memory or is it possible to ever get your car back to that pristine state?
With our 7 obscure car cleaning tips, you’ll be able to deep clean your car inside and out and have it looking (and smelling) like the day you drove it off the lot.
7 Car Cleaning Tips You’ve Never Heard About (That Totally Work!)
1. Use Soda to Clean Nearly Everything!
Soap and water are a good cleaning solution for the deepest stains in your carpet and upholstery, but a solution of soda water and alcohol can be a powerful cleansing agent and disinfectant to use on the interior and exterior of your car.
Mix 3 parts water with 1 part alcohol or vinegar and pour the solution into a spray bottle, then use it to clean nearly anything.
One advantage the soda solution has over traditional soap and water is that it doesn’t leave streaks on slick surfaces like your windows.
Roll down your window so you can clean the grime buildup at the top and spray it with the solution. Then simply wipe it off. The alcohol will permeate the grime buildup and the carbonation will break up the particles so you can rinse it away with water and a cloth.
Many people suggest using cola for this (because of its high citric acid content and carbonation) but its high sugar content can leave your windows and doors stick attracting more dirt!
Wiper blades tend to start leaving streaks after awhile. Most people don’t realize that because the blades are constantly clearing dust and grime from your windshield, it starts to build up after a while.
Wipe the edges of your blades down with a cloth soaked in the alcohol solution and get rid of those streaks! In a pinch, you can even use the solution as wiper fluid, but use non-carbonated water for this!
Battery Terminal Corrosion
Surprisingly, corrosion on your battery terminals CAN be dissolved by cola. Corrosion can prevent the electrical signal from traveling properly through your battery terminals, even preventing your car from starting.
Loosen the terminals slightly with a wrench, pour cola on the center of the terminal until soaked, let sit for two minutes, then rinse off the battery with water.
When you’ve dried your battery with a towel and reattached the terminals, you should be able to jump start your car again.
Carpets and Upholstery
Use a solution of soda water and vinegar to clean your car’s carpets and upholstery. Scrub the surface with a toothbrush to rub out hard stains.
Cola can also be used to remove rust from small parts like bolts and nuts. Remove the small parts and soak in a cup of cola for 5 to 10 minutes, then scrub with a toothbrush to remove the rust particles.
2. Toothpaste for Everything Else!
Over time your headlights will start to get a “foggy” effect which dims your lights and makes it more dangerous to operate at night.
Scrub down your foggy headlights with toothpaste, then rinse off the lights with water and dry with a towel. But be careful not to scrub the paint on your car. Toothpaste is abrasive and could damage the paint.
Leather or vinyl interior can also be cleaned with toothpaste!
First vacuum the seats to remove excess dirt and grime, then dab non-gel toothpaste on the unclean area. Wipe with a clean, damp cloth, then dry with a towel.
It can also be used to remove scuffs on leather.
3. Hair Conditioner to Wax and Clean Water Spots
Waxing with a traditional car wax can take hours of buffing, shining, and applying multiple coats.
Hair conditioner not only removes the water spots already on your car, but applying it as a final coat after you’ve completely washed your car can leave it mint-condition shining, and will actually prevent dry water spots from forming.
4. Clean Out Your Ducts For That New Car Smell
Most people neglect to clean out the air ducts in their car. Over time, dust runs through your car’s air intake system and collects on the inside of your vents, causing a grimy, unclean smell.
To get your “new car smell” back, use a canister of compressed air to clear out the vents in your car, then take a paint brush and a vacuum to remove any loose particles of dust that you dislodge with the compressed air.
You can also use the brush and vacuum to clean out all the knobs and buttons on your dashboard and radio.
5. Freshen Your Carpets
Another car cleaning tip you’ll need to follow to get the fresh smell back again is to clean the floormats and carpets. This is where most of the dirt, liquids, and contaminants usually end up, so they can cause bad smells to slowly form.
Clean with a solution of soda and vinegar to get up any ground in contaminants, then dry overnight.
Sprinkle cornstarch onto the carpets to absorb any remaining liquids, then vacuum up and add baking soda to kill any lingering smells.
Vacuum up and enjoy the new car smell!
6. Lift Animal Hair with a Spray Bottle and Squeegee
If you have to transport animals around in your car or if your own hair is becoming more noticeable in your car, use a spray bottle of cold water to spray the seats and carpets, then use a squeegee to lift the hair into clumps so you can easily remove it.
7. Keep It from Getting Dirty in the First Place!
Finally, the best way to have a clean car is to take steps to prevent it from becoming dirty in the first place!
Stuff an empty tissue box with plastic bags so you’ll always have an easily removable trash bag on hand in your car.
To prevent harsh sun spots, fading paint, and dry water spots from forming on your car, always put a car cover on your car when it’s not being used or cleaned.
Your car is vulnerable to the elements and if you’re not covering it up, then it’s going to deteriorate before you know it.
You’ve cleaned your car with the traditional methods, but now it’s time to think outside the box.
You can clean nearly every surface, nook, or cranny with a solution of household items, then hair conditioner to make it shine like new.
Clean the vents and interiors to bring back that natural new car smell and lift any excess hair to make it pristine.
Finally, take the time to prevent your car from becoming a dirty mess in the first place so you won’t be looking up this guide again in three months.
Follow our guide and bring your car back to showroom condition today!