Spring Cleaning: Have You Cleaned Your Car Lately?

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I hate washing my car.

But Spring is here in all of its pollen glory! If you are a fellow allergy sufferer, this time of year isn’t really that fun. Not only are you physically having an issue, but your car is constantly covered in pollen and inside it can be just as bad.

However, because we are all practicing social distancing, this is the perfect time to take advantage and do some spring cleaning, not just your home and closets, but also your car.  Sometimes, we don’t realize just how much time we actually spend in our cars, and that the car needs to be cleaned just as often as our homes. Can you imagine all of the dust and pollen you’re breathing in if you don’t clean? Yeah, me either. So… to help you out, here are the things you should cover when you clean your car to make it look sparkly and new.

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Related: How to Clean Your Car Like a Pro

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Please don’t try this at home! ? GIPHY

Wash Your Car, Not Just for Looks, but for Preservation

As someone who used to live in the northeast and now lives in Florida, I know just how much salt can affect your car.  Whether that be salt from the winter, or salt in the air. I already currently have a little spot where the clear coat has been eaten away, and once that happens it’s there forever, unless you have your car painted, wrapped, or plastic dipped. Salt doesn’t just affect the paint though. It also can cause rust to happen.

In the states where there are heavy winters with lots of salt on the road, mechanics know how to work on those cars, it’s almost like a special skill. If you take your car for a road trip down south, that’s where it gets a little tricky. With that being said, make sure to not just clean the outside of the car and make the car look all shiny, but it’s very important not to skip washing the under carriage. This is where rust is prone to happen.

Have You Heard of a Clay Bar?

What is clay bar? From Washos.com:

Automotive Clay Bar is an engineered resin mixture that auto detailers use to remove contaminants and pollutants from the surface of your car’s paint, glass, fiberglass, and metal. Detailing clay can be natural or synthetic. However, synthetic clay bar is most common these days.

My fiance introduced me to clay bar many years ago. You can clay bar your car as much as you’d like, or just use it prior to waxing or polishing it. Using a clay bar pulls out any foreign particles that have really embedded themselves in the paint that you cannot remove.

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Getting down to the nitty gritty PC: Picmonkey

Wash Your Tires and Wheels (especially if you hit the brakes a lot!)

In case you didn’t know, when you hit the brakes a lot, there is a lot of dust that collects onto your rims.  Make sure that when you’re washing your car, you wash this off as well.  Then of course, you can polish those rims, and if you want to go the extra mile you can wash your tires for a nice clean finish.  It may sound a little excessive, but your car will surely look like it came straight off the lot.

Vacuum, Just Like You Would Your Home

After the winter months, you will collect a lot of dust, dirt, and even pebbles, especially if you have carpet floor mats. If you have pets that travel with you, their fur and dander will also collect in the car, whether it’s on the mats or seats or both. And if you ever hope to have someone go for a ride with you, and who may be allergic to pets, you’ll be glad. Keeping your car fur-free isn’t just for your health, but the health of others.

Related: On the Road to a Healthier You and Car

Polish Your Seats or Deep Clean Them if They’re Cloth

I haven’t had leather seats in quite some time in my car, because once I bough my Subaru WRX, I’ve had cloth seats.  However, when I did have leather seats, I always made sure to polish them. Not only does it preserve the leather, but it just looks classy and #likeaboss. If you have cloth seats like I do, I highly recommend not just vacuuming them, but deep cleaning them. A mixture of vinegar, soap and water applied with a cloth and brushed with a stiff brush will lift out most dirt and many stains. There are also cloth cleaning sprays you can find at the car parts store, but be careful: you want to get all the detergent out that you put on your seats – or risk wearing it on your clothes.

Wash the Mats and Carpet

If you want to go the extra step, instead of just vacuuming your mats and carpet, deep clean them, too.  Not only will it make your car smell very fresh and clean, but it actually will be fresh and clean.

Clean Out Your Center Console and Glove Compartment

Are you that person that collects change in their cup holders, or that person that just puts all their random papers in their glove compartment? If I’m being honest, I am most definitely this person. This is something that I usually clean when I’m doing a deep clean because while I don’t really use my cupholders for drinks anymore (I try not to eat out that much), I do have a lot of coins in there that have collected dust.

My glove compartment is also bombarded by not just my proper documentation (registration and insurance), but I also have all of my maintenance receipts for my car. I know that a lot of times when selling a car, this can actually help because it shows that you have taken care of your vehicle. It’s a good idea to organize these so that if you get pulled over, you aren’t frantically looking for your documentation.

Related: Keeping Your Car Clean with Kids


Clean Out your Trunk

If you’re one of those people who throw empty water bottles into the back seat of your car, you most likely have a trunk filled with nothing. No shame or judgement here, I was one of these people back in the day. Even if you don’t use your trunk for anything other than luggage when you travel, make sure to clean it out too. You might find some random things that you have been looking for or forgot you had. And, you’ll have more room to hide shopping bags (once we are allowed to go out again) in your trunk and sneak them into the house with no one knowing! See, it’s a win-win.


Your Dash Should Also Look Brand Spankin’ New

Grab some wipes and wipe down your dash. Make sure to clean every single button and get all of the dust off.  This will give the interior the beautiful finishing touch that it deserves. Plus, imagine how many germs are actually in your car from everything you touch before you get in it!

Related: How to Clean Your Car During Flu Season

Keep at Microfiber Cloth on Hand

I actually keep one of these in my car at all times.  These cloths help with cleaning up tiny fibers that you may not be able to pick up in your car. I keep one in my car at all times to wipe down my windshield when it gets super foggy.

Finally, Clean Your Windows

If you’re like me, I have pets that like to dirty up my windows so I’m constantly cleaning my windows. However, it’s good to clean these, because you’ll be able to see better. You’ll get all of the “gunk” for lack of a better term out of your car.

Related: 9 Road Trip Hacks to Keep Your Car Clean Throughout The Trip

Spring Cleaning Feels so Good!

The best thing about cleaning your car? The accomplishment feels great and it’s rewarding to see your shiny car sitting in the driveway. Even if your most exciting adventures are trips to the supermarket.

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Monica is a Centenary University grad with her MBA. She was always a creative person, and found that creating... More about Monica Siembieda