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How to Easily Clean Your Car

Dec. 10, 2021

Winter can be tough on the outside of your vehicle. However, it can also do a number on the inside. Keeping your car’s interior tidy is no small task when the temperature dips!

Here are a few quick and effective car cleaning tips.

Garbage and Other Debris

Trash lying around in a car

Before moving on to cleaning products and vacuuming, you need to remove anything that could get in your way. Some items will go directly into the garbage, while others find their way into the recycling or compost bin.

Once this task is done, go around the inside of your car (including the trunk) and remove any useful items. For example, you may have some stray books, tissue boxes or bottles of hand sanitizer lying around. Put these items in a safe place while you finish the rest of the cleaning. You can put them back afterwards!

Lastly, take out any accessories that may get in the way of your cleaning, like floor mats, CDs, charging cables and more.

Dust and Crumbs

Person vacuuming a car floor

Although this is the second step, it’s actually the most important.

Admittedly, vacuuming all the nooks and crannies takes some time but is well worth the effort!

Scour your vehicle to ensure you remove all the sand, rocks, road salt and other debris.

Vacuum the most obvious places, as well as those that seem out of reach, like:

  • Behind the gas and brake pedals
  • Behind your legs (front seats)
  • The storage compartments between the seats and in the doors
  • The fabric between your rear windshield and the trunk of the car (unless you have a hatchback or SUV!)

Dust and Clean Surfaces

Hand wearing a glove cleaning the air vent of a car

Vacuums are great for removing solid chunks of dirt and debris in hard-to-reach places, but there are limits to what they can do. For example, a vacuum can’t clear away the thin layer of dust on your dashboard.

It’s normal for your car to get dusty very quickly in the winter because your heater is constantly running. That's why even after your big winter clean, you should add dusting to your weekly to-do list.

Ideally, choose a cleaning product that smells good because you’ll catch a whiff of it for weeks or even months after you’ve cleaned. Wipe away sticky stains and look in every nook and cranny to ensure you don't leave anything behind.


Person cleaning a windshield

If you want your windows to be sparkling clean, wash them yourself and skip the Windex! Use a cloth and a bit of soap to wipe down the inside and outside of your windshield.

Make sure to scrub hard, but use a soft, window-cleaning cloth to remove any stubborn dirt. The same goes for your windows, rear windshield and mirrors!

Floor mats

Person cleaning a car floor mat

Fortunately, you already removed your floor mats in step one. However, before you put them back, you must wash them.  If they only need to be vacuumed, great! If not, scrub or soak them in soapy water to remove stubborn stains. Once the floor mats have been rinsed and dried, you can put them back in your car. 

We recommend having a second set of floor mats on hand in case you need to use your car while the other set dries.

Put useful items back

Person putting back papers in the glove compartment

You're almost done spring cleaning! Before you close the doors and fill your vehicle with luggage for a weekend getaway at the cottage, put back the items you removed in step one.

Aside from the floor mats, you'll probably have registration papers, road maps and other items you don't want to be without!

You can also take this opportunity to make a list of any accessories you need to purchase for your car. For example:

  • Do you need a new snow broom or shovel in case of a storm?
  • Do you need a new bottle of hand sanitizer?
  • Do you need an extra pair of gloves?

Think of the different scenarios to come up with a list.

Once your winter cleaning is done, try to keep your vehicle tidy until the big spring cleaning!