STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Are you tired of being greeted by dust, crumbs and unknown sticky substances when you get into your car?
It might be time to give your ride a good cleaning. From scrubbing and waxing the exterior paint, to cleaning the dashboard, floor mats and seat cushions, if you’re going to tackle the job, make sure you do it right.
Keeping things clean and shiny will make your passengers happy, and it might just keep you in a better mood too. With the help of Car and Driver, we put together a guide to getting your car looking better than it did the day you drove it off the dealership lot.
Here’s what you’ll need, and how to use it to get the job done right.
Microfiber cloths: These are perfect for removing dust and dirt from dashboards, door panels, steering wheels and arm rests. The right microfiber cloths will even remove fingerprints from touchscreens with only water. You’ll need a lot of these to get a car clean, but they also come in handy around the house.
Disinfecting wipes: You’ll want to use disinfecting wipes on any surface that is commonly touched by the driver and passengers. Door handles, steering wheel, console buttons and any other handles or knobs in the vehicle.
Glass cleaner: Some glass cleaners, like Invisible Glass, are specially formulated for car windows. Many actually deep clean, are safe for tinted windows and are applied in a thick foam for the dirtiest windows. Other glass cleaners, like Sprayway’s World’s Best, are known for their value and great scent.
Handheld carpet cleaner machine: We found a great hand-held carpet cleaner that’s perfect for car carpets and mats. It’s also awesome for the seats and trunk. The Bissell Pet Stain Eraser PowerBrush takes care of pet stains and hair, too.
A good vacuum with attachments: A cordless stick vacuum, like the Inse Cordless Stick Vacuum, has all the attachments you’ll need with no need for an extension cord all the way to the driveway or curb.
A duster: The ultimate car duster kit comes with two dusters. One is perfect for the dash, while the second one is great for smaller crevices.
Crevice cleaning tools: These will help you get crumbs and grime off a very important part of the car, the console. Clean any touchscreens with only a microfiber cloth and water. Any ammonia products could possibly damage the surface.
Crevice cleaning gel: Gel or putty makes it easy to remove crumbs from hard-to-reach crevices in the console, air vents and on the dash. Just blob it on and out come the crumbs with it. Pulidiki putty is durable and reusable. It’s great to keep on hand for spot cleaning on the run. Tikarve cleaning gel is another great option.
Leather cleaner: If you have leather upholstery, you don’t want to use harsh chemical cleaners, which will damage the leather. Spray leather cleaners are specially designed to clean, and protect, your valuable investment. Just use your microfiber cloths to spread, then remove the leather cleaner quickly.
Foam Wash: You’ll want a car wash product that creates a lot of foam to clear away grime, and a great scent to make the experience fun. Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam can be used with a mitt and a bucket, or with a foam attachment to the garden hose or power washer. Later, then rinse you car by sections, removing the foam before the sun has a chance to dry it.
Wax: Washing really isn’t enough, the pros say. You’ll want to add a layer of wax to protect your paint. “Think of it as sunscreen for your car,’’ they say at Car and Driver. From sprays to waxes and putty, there are dozens of choices in car wax available.
Keeping it clean:
Keeping your car’s interior clean may feel like an uphill battle, but use these tips to keep your vehicle’s interior looking good until the next cleaning:
- Keep car gel or putty handy so you can easily clean hard-to-reach spots like your vents.
- Use a small container to collect trash in your vehicle, or simply opt for buying an in-car trashcan to reduce litter.
- Use a silicone baking cup to line your cupholders or buy liners or expanders to reduce the amount of residue that builds up.
- Invest in an over-the-seat organizer to store travel items, snacks, and entertainment for kids and other passengers.
While regular deep cleans are important for maintaining the interior of your vehicle, using some of these accessories can help you reduce inside mess and keep your car smelling better than the day you got it.