Few things feel greater than getting into your freshly cleaned car interior. It’s a relatively easy checklist and sense of accomplishment that can last for over a month to follow the job. There are many ways to freshen up an old vehicle, or bring that new-car luster to your slowly aging ride. No matter how long its been, most cars that are not plagued by deep stains can be renewed, but, even stains can be tackled and replenished.
Here’s a set of tips that will help you speed up the process, and give you better results:
- Get a feather duster for later. Most of the grime that builds up in cars is actually layers of dust that are exposed to moisture. If you use a duster, then you can keep your fresh clean rolling for a substantially longer time with very little work. Once a week or so, just take the duster and quickly brush off the dashboard components, console, and the trim around doors, windows, and under the rear windshield. This can take as little as 30 seconds and leave you with rarely having to deep clean those areas of the car.
- Have a liter bag in the car. One of the biggest offenders to prying eyes is seeing loads of garbage in the floor boards or tucked in the cup holders. That trash looks unnoticeable to some car owners, but surprisingly when they see the same trash in other people’s car, it can gross them out. It’s easy to overlook our own messes, but the impression it leaves on others is always worse than we think!
- Get a cheap set of car detailing tools. There are special tools that make it very quick to clean grime out of small plastic tracks, off air vents, and even rubber tips that can help push grime out strange facets in car surfaces. For areas like the parking brake nook or cup holders, it can be really hard to get a paper towel into the cracks. Special tools can make the job very easy, especially when wrapping a paper towel around the tips, and pushing that into the tiny areas to truly sponge up the goo.
- Vacuuming now will save you from scrubbing stains in the future. It’s the added water that comes from shoes, especially in the winter that leaves the worst stains behind. Vacuuming a car once a month might take a few minutes, but vacuuming once a year could take an hour or more, once you factor in stain cleaning.
- Some stains just need water to remove, if you catch them early. Many modern car fabrics are completely synthetic and by using water and paper towels, you can remove stains that would be crazy-difficult to remove from normal fabrics. Think tea, soda, and even… blood (if a grocery store steak package drips). The trick is to pour some water on the stain, and use paper towels to press it dry, and do this over and over again. A better spot cleaning agent might be necessary, but in a pinch this trick has worked even soaking up an entire large tea spilled onto a light-colored seat!
- Skip the Armor-all and specialty cleaners. If you like the effect those cleaners give, then more power to you, however, modern car materials are most likely plastic and specialty cleaners can change the integrity of various rubbers, and also waxy cleaners can leave a residue behind that just interacts with dust poorly over time, leading to the need to more deep cleaning (instead of a light feather dusting). Believe it or not, a spray bottle of window cleaner and paper towels is a very effective method to cleaning a car interior for the entirety of that car’s ownership. You can used window cleaner to clean almost every surface inside of a car.
- Clean half the car now, the other half later. It can be tiresome doing a deep clean on a car. However, cleaning half a car can feel rather rewarding and simple. Treat yourself to a two-part cleaning and see how much easier it seems, how much less you’ll sweat, and how you’ll hardly notice the time lost.
- Instead of expensive one-time use air fresheners, you can get a spray can of Glade, or small spray vial of Scent Bomb, which is even more potent. For the second one, you just spray a bit into a folded paper towel or a cotton ball, and leave it in your cupholder. The effect is incredible, as it’s only as strong as you make it, and when the smell wears off, you can just do it again!
Keeping a clean house is great, and a clean car on top is even better. If your kids make a mess, unfortunately it will take a bit of extra work on top, but if the car is only used by adults, these tricks will give you maximum bang for your buck!