For the most part, there are two types of cars out there: Brand new ones with that new-car smell and sparkle, and the kind people have clearly been using and enjoying, going by how filthy and messy it is. If you’re anything like me, your car is often the latter kind; full of life and memories but also dust, scratches and wrappers. Getting the car detailed is too expensive to do regularly.
Use Toothpaste to Decloud Headlights for Full Sparkle
This trick works with white sneakers too: Toothpaste, especially whitening toothpaste, transforms your car’s headlights from cloudy mess to pristine shiny clear perfection.
Just apply toothpaste to the plastic cover with a rough cloth and rub it hard.. really get in there. Once it’s all rubbed out just wash with water and towel dry.
You know have the most sparkling headlights on the block.
Wash your Floor Mats
Stop paying to have these cleaned at premium prices! For fabric mats, use a stain remover to help break up difficult stains, throw them into the washing machine on “gentle” cycle with some detergent.
Note: This tip has only been tested on front-loading washing machines.
WD-40 Gets Bumper Stickers to Slide Right Off
Have several elections passed since that old bumper sticker from 2000? This trick will make it easier to peel off than it was to stick it on. Just spray some WD-40 directly onto the sticker and give it a minute to soak through. Now you just pull it right off.
There’s another way. Whether you are looking to sell the car and need to take beautiful photos, or want to impress someone you are picking up from the airport, these tricks will show you how you can get a dealership-level of cleanliness and polish to your car. And of course for a fraction of the price.
Hair Conditioner Really Makes your Car Shine
Shiny cars are always the most inviting, and it doesn’t require getting an expensive wax job on your exterior. The trick is to use regular hair conditioner. Yes, the kind humans use.
This works because most hair conditioners contains something called lanolin (make sure your has some in it), which is the magic ingredient that gives your car that waxy finish. Just pour some onto a dry towel, and buffer in circular motion until you see that brand-new car shine. You’ll be surprised just how well it works.
Cola Makes Your Windshield Crystal Clear
Rain isn’t as clean as you think, and dust mixing it is why your windshield looks as bad as it does. Not only is it unsightly but it can be dangerous.
Don’t worry, what Windex can’t do, a can of cola can easily: Simply pour the cola over the glass. Place a towel on the hood to protect the paint. The bubbles in the soda will fizz away the grime. Just be sure to wash away the sticky soda off right after, or the sugar’s stickiness will attract dirt all over again.
“UnCrumb” Your Car Using a Toothbrush
Crumbs are good at getting into your car and bad at ever getting out.You can actually remove them easily though using a regular toothbrush. Bristle them out of the way and vacuum them right up for best results.
Get A Perfect Wipe Down with A Coffee Filter
Wiping your dashboard with coffee maker filters is the best way to absorb and remove dust and dirt. These are made of lint-free paper which is best for dusting, and it gets hold of every spec. Unlike using a feather duster, all dust is kept in and not flying around.
Cooking Spray Greases Bugs Away
They say a happy motorcyclist is recognized by the bugs in his teeth. For car owners though, getting rid of bugs takes more elbow grease.
Not any more! Grab a bottle of PAM or other cooking spray from your kitchen and apply it to your car grill or bumper, then wipe all the bugs off easily with a towel. The oil helps remove crusted on bugs instantly.
Clean Vents with Silica Gel
Your car’s air vents work around the clock and are most likely filled with dust, grime, and all sorts of bacteria. A popular quick way to clean this hard-to-get-to spot is by using one of those silica gel gummy cleaners which easily disinfects and cleans your vents. These can be found online for a couple bucks.
Clean Out Cup Holders Using an Old Sock and Windex
Grab a travel cup, place an old sock over it and and spray it with Windex. Then just twist it inside the holder to get to those spots you otherwise would miss.
Fresh Car Smell Using a Wooden Clothes Pin
This is my favorite tip, personally: Regular car fresheners often smell to strong or to “fake” and chemical based. It’s not only healthier but much less expensive, to use essential oils.
Take your favorite scent of essential oil and drizzle a few drops on a wooden clothespin. Then, pinch the clothes pin onto one of your air vents.
Screwdriver to Clean Nooks and Crannies
This is in a way a different approach to the toothbrush trick. Since wiping with a cloth will only do half a job with the usual contour rich car interior, a good idea would be to take a screw driver with any old cloth draped around its tip to be used as a soft-surfaced scraper.
This trick takes care of those tiny lines you didn’t normally notice until AFTER you’ve cleaned it. It’s that important.
Get a Dealership Wax Finish with a Clay Bar
When you’re done washing and drying it, rub the outside of your car with a clay bar. The clay picks up any built-in gunk that may be stuck on your car’s exterior, leaving a nice finish.
Avoid Wiper Blade Streak Marks With Alcohol.
Remember how your “totally clean” windshield wipers left those dirty streaks on your glass? To prevent that from ever happening just put some rubbing alcohol on a cloth or towel, and wipe the blade clean. Now they are truly clean: No streaks anymore.
Remove Any Stain on Your Car Seats. Any.
Some car seat stains are so ingrained, that no traditional cleaner will get em out. Here’s the trick that will make you a miracle worker: 1 Cup of Distilled Vinegar
1 Cup of Club Soda
1/2 cup of Blue Dawn dish soap
Mix and shake the ingredients in a spray bottle, spray directly to seats, and work it in vigorously with the brush. Let dry, and that;s it! All clean.
Polish Leather with Olive Oil
Stop purchasing bottles of expensive cleaners to revive your leather seats. Use olive oil: It’s cheaper, healthier and it works just as well. Apply a small amount of oil onto a clean cloth or small towel, rub it in circles on your seats. Be sure to apply sparingly, as a lot goes a long way. Remember: Don’t get expensive, extra virgin cooking olive oil! As long as its real olive oil, the cheapest kind will do the trick just fine. We are here to save money, after all.
Use hand squeegee and spray bottle to remove pet hair.
Don’t waste your time vacuuming your pet hair in the car, you’ll be frustrated and left with 10% of it anyway. For faster removal just use a squeegee, and a bit of water in a spray bottle.
Mist some water onto the seats and use the squeegee to loosen the hair. It will gather every single pet hair on your seats.
Maintain Clean Cup Holders Using Silicone Cupcake Liners
Considering the spills and crumbs, oour cup holders are usually one of the dirtiest places in any car. A simple solution to keeping them clean all the time, is lining them with silicone cup holders. They keep your cup holders from getting sticky. Just throw them in the dishwasher when it’s time to clean!
Naturally Rid Your Car of Odors
The difference between an aroma and an odor is a too important one. If you car smells funky, you can easily fix it. Just sprinkle the seats and floor of your car with some baking powder, let it sit for several hours (important), then vacuum it up. The baking soda will absorb the smells in your car,you won’t even remember what it smelled like.
Get High-End Detailing Look on Tires… With Nothing but Kitchen Powder Cleaners
The powders that you use to clean and polish your pots and pans are are actually perfect for detailing those rims and tires to a professional grade shine.
Just take a cloth or towel, sprinkle some of the powder, and spray some Lysol onto powder. Then, just work into the rims and tires. Scrub until you see the transformation right before your eyes.
Get a Trash Bin
This is so obvious yet skipped by far too many people. Get one of these car-friendly trash cans! They are small enough to leave enough leg room to still enjoy the ride, and will stop you from collecting bits of paper and wrapper every time you realize your car is a mess.
Stained Leather Seats? Use a Magic Eraser to “Erase” Stains and Buildup.
If you’ve got leather or vinyl seats, you can use a Magic Eraser to gently scrub out some of the hardest stains. Just get a large Magic Eraser slightly wet in order for it to work properly.
Note: This tip is powerful. Before trying this out, test this in a hidden spot to make sure it won’t harm the interior of your car.
Easily Clean Air Vents
Take a foam paint brush (that you can easily purchase from any dollar or hardware store), and use it to clean your vents. It’ll make your life much easier.
Newspaper for Cleaning Windows
Those of you that have been living under a rock for that past 50 years might not know this, but NOTHING cleans a window like a crumpled up was of old newspaper. As long as you don’t have tinted windows, you can use this hack.
Spray the window or the paper, and clean that glass. Sparkling!
Remove Bugs with Dryer Sheets
Bugs are gross, dead bugs are even grosser. A great and effortless way to remove dead bugs from your paint is to spray your exterior with some water, and gently rub the surface of your car with a dryer sheet.
Remove Salt from Your Car
When left on your car for too long, salt can cause rust and even ruin your paint. Thanks to its neutralizing properties, vinegar makes it easy for you to wipe the salt off with a cloth.
To remove, simply mix one part vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle and spray on the salt. Wipe and smile.
Detail Leather or Vinyl Surfaces
The armrest in your car is probably one of the grimiest, because well.. humans touch it a lot and humans are pretty grimy, all in all. Simply wiping it with a cloth won’t get into the crevices. To clean it like it were brand new, take a toothbrush and a mild dish soap and scrub the area. Goodbye dirt buildup and oils.
Protect Your Car from Kids and Pets… With a Sheet
If you have any kids or pets, you probably have some trouble keeping your car’s seats free of crumbs, or hair, or stick messes.
Easiest way to prevent this? Use a flat sheet to cover your seats, and change it every now and again. So obvious you’ll be mad you hadn’t thought of it sooner.
Dry Your Car Off Thoroughly After Washing
Not so much a “trick” as a reminder to all those who forget this super important step for making your car look absolutely perfect. The best thing to do right after giving your car a wash is to dry it thoroughly. This will ensure that no dirt or bugs stick to the water drops, and will keep your car looking clean for as long as the weather will allow.
Use an Iron to Remove Wax
One day you you notice that there’s a sticky pill melted into the fabric of your car’s upholstery, or that one of your grand-kids had put a crayon to very good (very bad) use.
50 seconds to remove it all is all it takes! Grab an iron and a piece of thick paper or paper towel (I prefer the latter but to each their own). Place the paper over the spill and on low setting, iron on top of the paper. The sticky mess will lift from the upholstery and onto the paper.
Tip: This trick works GREAT for spilled wax on clothes, by the way.
Freshen Your Car with Scented Wax