Today’s cars are making life easier in so many ways. They remind you to perform regular maintenance with warning lights. They park themselves and automatically stop if something comes in front of them, like another vehicle or the neighbor’s new dog. They have rear cameras, heated seats, and mondo speakers that allow you to listen to Drake as loud as you’d like. Oh, and they even cancel out sound, so you won’t hear road noise. And your neighbor can’t hear you rapping along with Drake. :) New cars even come with vacuum cleaners installed for easy cleanup. However, if you're unfortunate enough to not have a vacuum in your car, or even if you do, and you want your car to look its very best, check out these tips for a spotless car. Remove all trash.
Get a plastic grocery bag and pick up all of the large pieces of trash that the vacuum cleaner will not get. Throw out the junk mail that you left between the front seats, the empty fry bag from the back seat, and the water bottle that rolled under the driver’s seat. Move the seats forward and check underneath and pull out the floor mats so that you don’t miss anything. Wipe down the dashboard.
A wet paper towel or wash cloth should do the trick. Some people purchase wet wipes made specifically for a car’s interior that work great, too. Remove anything that may have been set on the dash and forgotten, particularly small items that may have rolled up against the windshield. Clean the knobs, buttons, and vents.
Use a cheap foam brush from a craft store or a clean paint brush to dust between the AC vents. If you hold the vacuum hose by the vent, any dirt or dust will be sucked up rather than settling elsewhere in the car. Work your way along the face of dash with the brush to clean all knobs and buttons as well. Use a wet cloth to wipe away flat surfaces, the steering wheel, and column. Don’t forget to wipe out the cup holders. Wipe down the seats.
Wipe any vinyl or leather portions of your seats with a wet cloth and use a magic eraser to scrub away anything that won’t come off. Be gentle so that you don’t damage the material. If dirt is embedded into the vinyl, you may need to use an old toothbrush. The bristles can reach into the texture of the vinyl surface and pull free any bits of dirt that are stuck there. Polish the dash.
Once you have cleaned away all the dirt, you can use olive oil to condition and polish the hard plastic of your dashboard, seats, and cup holders. Put a squirt of it on a soft washcloth or paper towel and work it gently into the surface using small circles. You may want to test a hidden portion of your dash first if you are cleaning something that is not hard plastic to make sure the olive oil does not discolor or stain your dash. Olive oil is non-toxic, scentless, and will leave your dash clean and shiny. Clean the air filter.
Check your owner’s manual to see if your make and model has a removable air filter and where it is located. Remove it and either replace it with a new one or clean the old one, depending on its condition. Make sure you put it back. Some stores sell scented air filter
sheets, which can be placed against the filter to release a fresh scent. Make sure you get one that is suitable for vehicles or the smell may be overwhelming in the small interior of your vehicle. Clean the upholstery.
Vacuum the upholstery using a brush attachment to get all of the crumbs and dirt. If your dog takes rides with you, you may find that the vacuum doesn’t get all of that pet hair he leaves behind. However, one way to pick up all that hair easily is with rubber gloves. Or really, any rubber substance, like a squeegee or a clean rubber flip-flop. Put on a rubber glove and then pull along the edges, back, and seat of the fabric. The hair will stick to the rubber and pull right off. If there is ground-in dirt or stains, use a fabric cleaner spray and a white washcloth or toothbrush to gently remove them. Spray the floor mats.
Use a fabric cleaner or stain remover for ground-in dirt, then you can be put them in the washing machine in most cases. Lay them flat out in the sun to dry. Do not use the clothes dryer. The rubber backing is not suitable for home dryers. Once they are dry, return them to their places on the car floor.