If you're like me, cleaning your car is one of those things that's constantly on the agenda, but always seems to get pushed aside for another task. But with all the purposes our cars serve, whether its hauling pets or groceries, running children to or from various activities, road tripping, or using it as a home away from home, there is no denying that it takes on some major messes. Below you'll find everyday household items to help get your car cleaner than every before.
1. Let’s face it; it’s happened to all of us. One too many fast foot meals, or loading up the family dog and suddenly you car is overrun by foul smells. To remedy this take a few clothes pins and add several drops of your favorite fragrance, cologne, perfume or essentials oils and clip them to your car air vents. Fragrance should last several weeks, and when it starts to fade add another drop or two. This is a quick easy way to make at home air fresheners and avoid the overpriced store bought ones to keep your car smelling great.
2. Cleaning delicate leather seats is always tricky business. However there’s a nearly fail safe way to get rid of pesky dirt and stains and it’s sitting in your cupboard. Take a lightly damp cloth or paper towel and add olive oil. Just a few drops should do. Gently rub the leather is circular motions and the dirt will be gone in no-time.
3. Of all the hard to reach crevices in your vehicle, perhaps the worst ones are your vent ducts. Over time these easily become corroded with dirt, dander and debris, which all blows into the air every time you turn on your heater or A/C. Gross. A great way to clean these out is by using a small foam brush (the ones used for painting). Unlike using a small paint brush or other object that simply moves the dirt around, the particles actually cling to the foam.
4. Dryer sheets (with fabric softener) can be multi-purpose when it comes to cleaning your car. Placing them under seats and in glove compartments can keep odors at bay. They can also be used to polish chrome. But perhaps their best use is to clean pesky bug remains from your windshield. Wet the dryer sheet slightly and with a little elbow grease your windshield will be bug free.
5. Bumper and window stickers can be a great way to express yourself and personalize your vehicle. However if you ever find yourself wanting or needing to remove them it can seem an impossible job. There are dozens of products on the market for just the occasion, but all you really did is a can of WD-40 and a flat metal object (I recommend a putty knife, dough scraper or a simple razor blade will do). Spray the WD-40 directly onto the sticker and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Gently scrape it adding a little more WD-40 as needed and your car will be sticker free in no time.
6. Like your air vents, many small crevices get filled with debris overtime. Take a paper towel or spare piece of cloth and place it over the tip of a flat head screwdriver. Pull the fabric tightly and you immediately have the perfect tool to deep clean those crevices. Adding a little bit of your regular household cleaner to the cloth can make this even more effective.
7. Grimy headlights making it hard to see when driving at night? A simple trick can get them crystal clear in no time. The trick? Toothpaste. Using a rag or piece of cloth apply toothpaste over the entire headlight with a circular motion. If there are any particularly bad spots, spend a little extra time to ensure a clean finish. Rinse the rag out with warm water and gently wipe away the toothpaste. Voila!
8. If you’re a dog lover who frequently takes your pet for rides, you know that dog hair and car upholstery don’t go well together. Wet the seats down with a spray bottle and use a squeegee to scrape away the hair- it’s just like magic.
9. Dirty windshield wipers are not only bothersome but they can be dangerous. Making sure you have the best visibility when driving is important, so grab a clean wash cloth or rag and soak one end of it in rubbing alcohol. Lift the wiper from the windshield and run the cloth along the blade until no more dirt comes of onto the rag. Using alcohol ensures no soap residue is left clouding your glass.
10. Stains plaguing your fabric upholstery? Using a mixture of 2/3 cup cub soda, 1/3 cup vinegar and 1 TBSP of baking soda can help get rid of them for good. Place the mixture in a spray bottle and liberally apply to the stain. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before using a towel to blot away the mixture. This will lift the top layer of the stain. Spray the area a second time and use a dish scrub brush to penetrate deeper into the fabric.
BONUS: Want a nice shine on your car, but don’t have any car wax just lying around. Try a bottle of conditioner. Most brands contain an ingredient called lanolin which is a type of wax used in many everyday products. Wash and dry your car (by hand or at the car wash) before attempting to polish. Once completely dry mix 2 cups warm water with ½ cup conditioner. Using a soft rag or microfiber cloth apply to the body of your car. Once the car is completely covered with the mixture rinse off the mixture. With a little time and patience your car will be as shiny as new.