How To Spring Clean Your Car In 12 Simple Steps
Many drivers don’t bother to regularly clean their car over the winter months, and it’s easy to see why. The minute you’ve finished cleaning your vehicle, it’s inevitable that you will drive through a puddle, or get stuck behind a muddy truck spraying grime from its wheels.
Due to our busy modern lifestyles, most of us simply don’t have the time on our hands to constantly be cleaning our car. For many motorists, it’s easier to wait until the weather is drier to clean their vehicles.
Doing a spring clean is a quick and easy way to get your car back to its former glory. By investing time in spring cleaning your car, you can minimise weather damage from winter driving conditions, and prepare your vehicle for the year ahead.
A simple declutter and clean can make your morning commutes a more pleasant experience, reducing early morning stress and helping you to feel more organised and efficient from the start of your day.
In this article, we will outline 12 easy spring-cleaning tips for your vehicle, including time-saving hacks to make cleaning your car a quicker and easier task!
Step 1: Clean The Exterior
Winter driving conditions can cause grime to build up on your vehicle, as a result of muddy lanes and road grit. This dirt can damage the paintwork over time, but careful removal is required to avoid scratches.
Grit used on roads over the winter can cling to the body of your car, and wiping the surface with a sponge can cause it to scratch the body paint.
To remove grit, first give your car a pre-wash by applying a grime remover and spraying the body of your vehicle with a hose or pressure washer, working from the top down.
If you use a pressure washer, 1,500 psi should be forceful enough to remove stubborn grime and give your vehicle a deep clean. Do not allow the pressure to exceed 2,200 psi – this will damage the paintwork of your vehicle.
When you have sprayed down your car, you can then pay attention to washing down the paintwork using a wash mitt. Take two buckets and fill one with your wash solution and one with clean water. You can buy buckets with built-in grit-guards to prevent grit from being transferred back onto your car.
Dipping the mitt in the wash solution, clean the body of your car using long, smooth strokes, rinsing the mitt in clean water after each wipe. Wipe down the cleanest elements of the car first to prevent dirt transfer. When you are satisfied that the body of your car is clean, rinse it off using the clean water.
Step 2: Clean The Wheels
Apply wheel cleaner to the wheels and allow it to work its magic for a couple of minutes.
Rinse the wheels using a hose or pressure washer, then give them a deep clean using a mixture of car shampoo and water, or alternatively, you can simply use watered-down laundry detergent.
Use a brush to clean the dirt off the inside of the wheels before cleaning the fronts.
To dry your vehicle, use a specialist drying towel. Start with the paintwork, before moving on to the door jams, boot shuts, and finally the wheels. Make sure your car is fully dry to prevent marks and water damage.
Step 3: Clean Your Windows And Windscreen
A dirty windscreen can impair your vision on the road, making driving dangerous, especially in low light. Car windows develop a film on the inside, which can cause poor visibility even if you’ve thoroughly cleaned the exterior.
As such, you should clean your windows both externally and internally to ensure that you can see the road properly at all times.
To clean your windows, simply take two microfibre cloths and a glass cleaner spray. Spray one cloth with the glass cleaner, and use it to wipe down the windows and windscreen. Use the other cloth to remove any residue and buff the windows clean.
Step 4: Replace Or Clean The Wipers
It’s all very well cleaning your windscreen, but it can quickly become filthy again if your wipers are dirty or old. If you find that your wipers are continuously smearing grime over your windscreen, it may be time to get them replaced.
Otherwise, you can simply clean your wipers using rubbing alcohol. Simply cover your wipers in rubbing alcohol, then wipe clean. Alternatively, you can use alcohol wipes or vinegar on a clean cloth.
Step 5: Clean The Vents
The vents in your car can harbour all kinds of dust, dirt, and bacteria. This can lead to dust particles circulating around your car’s interior, leaving it dirty and musty.
To clean your vents, simply take an aerosol of compressed air and attach the provided straw to the nozzle. Then place the straw through the vents and spray the aerosol. This will blow the dust out of your vents, leaving you with a clean air supply.
If you don’t have an aerosol, you can use an old paintbrush to brush out the vents, or you can even use a handheld hoover to extract the dust particles.
Step 6: Declutter
Your car can pick up all kinds of clutter, from rubbish such as old coffee cups, sweet wrappers and food packaging, to children’s toys, bits of old paper, and pet supplies.
Take out all unnecessary clutter from your car, leaving only the essentials such as your emergency kit and car documentation.
Step 7: Clean The Floor Mats
Stomped on by dirty shoes and pet paws, floor mats can quickly acquire dirt. To clean them, remove all floor mats from your car interior. Give each mat a quick hoover, before moving on to cleaning. To clean carpeted mats, use an upholstery cleaner and follow the instructions.
For rubber, vinyl, or silicone mats, give them an initial clean using a hose, then give them a thorough clean with a scrub brush and washing up liquid. Allow to dry before replacing.
Step 8: Clean The Centre Console
Clean the centre console using a slightly damp microfibre cloth. You can get in the nooks and crannies of your console using an old toothbrush, a cotton bud, or a paper towel wrapped around a screwdriver.
Clean out the cup holders using warm water and washing up liquid. To prevent them getting dirty again, you can insert cupcake liners into the cupholders to hold clutter.
Step 9: Clean The Dashboard
Use a slightly damp microfibre cloth or a specialist cleaning wipe to wipe down the dashboard. Pay attention to the small spaces around knobs and vents by cleaning around them using a toothbrush or cotton bud.
Clean the steering wheel using an antibacterial wipe to eliminate germs and buff dry using a clean microfibre cloth.
Step 10: Clean The Upholstery
Hoover your car seats using the crevice tool to clean between the stitching and joins. Then, you can wipe down your seats using a specialist leather cleaner for car upholstery. Finally, use a leather conditioner to keep your upholstery in top condition.
If you have fabric car seats, go over each seat with a hoover to remove surface dirt and dust. Remove any stains using oxygen-based bleach powder and water. You can then use an upholstery cleaner and a scrub brush to get a deep clean. When you are satisfied, you can wipe away any cleaner residue using a damp microfibre cloth.
Allow to air dry, with the windows, and ideally doors open, to encourage airflow. If you are cleaning your car inside a garage, you can use a fan to help dry your upholstery.
Use a hoover to clean the carpet inside your car, paying attention to crevices. You can use a carpet cleaner to remove stains and get a deeper clean.
Step 11: Clean The Door Panels
Use a damp microfibre cloth to wipe down the door panels, including the pockets and features. Keep the doors open to prevent dirt falling inside the car.
Step 12: Eliminate Bad Odours
You can remove bad odours by applying bicarbonate of soda to the carpet and seats. Leave overnight, and hoover the next day. Alternatively, you can use a commercial odour remover such as Febreze.
You can even make your own air freshener by filling a jar with bicarbonate of soda and adding your favourite essential oil. Cover with breathable fabric, and there you have it! Your own air freshener!
If you prefer a hanging air freshener, you can also thread wool balls onto a string, before soaking in your favourite essential oils.
Have you followed these 12 simple steps? Congrats! Your car is now looking its best and ready for your sunny Spring road trips!