Many drivers consider their car a little like their second home. However, dirt, grime, bugs, and pet hair can quickly turn your vehicle into a dirty mess. Of course, your local car detailing shop will do a great job at making your car shiny and fresh, but did you know that you can achieve the same results at home for half of the price?
So, what are some car cleaning tricks that local car detailing shops don’t want you to know? Here are a few:
- You can create DIY cleaners yourself
- Use everyday household products to obtain professional results
- Most issues have an easy solution you can implement at home
- You can take care of the cleaning of your car from top to toe
You are now probably thinking, “easier said than done.” However, getting your car to shine on a budget is doable and extremely easy. In the sections of this article, we will explore all the methods you can use to do a professional-like job from the comfort of your garage!
Get Your Headlights To Shine With Toothpaste
Today, cars boast hard-to-break, resistant headlights made of plastic or polycarbonate. While they ensure a higher resistance to all conditions and natural elements, such materials are prone to oxidation.
Such a state comes from exposure to UV lights, chemicals such as smog, and debris. All of these can cause your headlights to look cloudy. In turn, their inability to shine light properly can lower the levels of safety of your car, especially when you are driving at nighttime.
To find a solution to oxidative damage, follow this guide:
- Start by cleaning the lights with soapy water.
- If they are still cloudy after soap application, you can proceed to apply and spread toothpaste across the surface. Since toothpaste is a mild abrasive, it will get rid of the patina on the headlights.
- Leave the substance on for up to five minutes and then rinse the area with water and a clean microfiber cloth.
Remove Old Stickers In Minutes With WD-40
All drivers go through a stage of their life when they think a sticker on the rear boot is the best addition to a vehicle. Unfortunately for you and your car, this stage is bound to end soon, leaving you with annoying stickers marking your family car. Removing them without damaging the pain can be tricky, but there is an easy solution that won’t have you deal with streaks and marks: WD-40!
For this method, remove as much of the sticker as you can, then spray the WD-40 on the interested area. Allow the solution to rest for a couple of minutes then remove it with a moist microfiber cloth. Both the stickers and glue marks will come off with it!
Clean Your Car Mats with A Stain Remover
The floor mats are among the parts of a car that can get the dirtiest, even in short timeframes. Aside from your car seats, dirty carpets are what convinces you to bring your car to a detailer finally.
However, you can quickly get them back in their best form and look at home, thanks to your washing machine. Fabric-covered mats can quickly end up being covered in crumbles, mud, and dirt.
For the best results, apply a stain remover before the wash cycle, which will loosen and stubborn grime. Use a gentle cycle setting for your mats to protect the internal mechanisms of your washer.
Get Cleaner Wiper Blades With Rubbing Alcohol
Have you installed new wiper blades just over a month ago, and they are already leaving behind streaks? Were they not meant to last up to a whole year?
Driving in rainy or dusty weather conditions can get the wiper blades dirty and clogged, which has a detrimental effect on your windshield. However, don’t rush back to your detailer just yet, there are some tricks you can apply to avoid them messing up your windows again.
To clean them, start by putting them in the upward position, away from the windshield. After soaking and scrubbing them with soapy water, apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol on their edges.
Get Rid Of Rust With Cola
Is rust making your beloved vintage car look scruffy and less charming? Detailers might come up with all sorts of solutions for this annoying problem, but there is another method you can try at home, for cheap!
You have probably heard the myth that thanks to its acidic levels, cola can get rid of rust. Well, you will be thrilled to know that the legend is real, and you can make your car look new with such a standard beverage.
Indeed, Coca-Cola’s carbonation can break down rust and solve metal oxidation issues. For this method, you only need a sponge to rub the drink into the rusty part and soapy water to wash it off afterward!
Gummy Gel Has Many Uses
Crumbs, dirt, dust, and mud are usual dwellers in any car’s pocket, seats, vents, and holders. Even if you strive to keep your four-wheel spotless in between clean-ups, debris build-ups are impossible to avoid if you use your car every day.
Gummy Gel is best-known for its ability to keep keyboards and cell phones clean, yet you can put it to use in your car just as well! Best of all, you can make one at home with some simple ingredients such as liquid starch! This sticky Gel works by capturing particles, crumbles, and debris from harder-to-reach gaps and cracks.
A Clay Bar Can Get Your Car Paint To Shine
Have you ever admired how clean and shiny cars look as they come out of a trip to a detailer? You can get a just as professional outcome by cleaning the exterior of your car at home with a Clay Bar.
No wonder that your local car detailing shop is a little reluctant about giving away its secrets! Detailing Clay was invented in the 1980s in Japan and, once the patent expired, many American manufacturers started creating their variant since the 1990s.
Today there is a massive range of these products on the market. They work by removing all sorts of contaminants and stubborn debris from your car surface without the use of harsh chemicals that could compromise the paint.
You Can Clean Your Air Vents In Minutes
Whether you live in a climate zone characterized by harsh winters or you are continuously dealing with scorching hot summer, your A/C vents are always in use!
Due to the constant of airflow, it is easy to notice dust build-up around the edges of your car vents. This problem is not only frustrating, but it could also make conditions such as asthma and dust allergy worse.
However, cleaning them is easy, with a foam paintbrush. The second one is an ideal solution as it not only cleans the surfaces but also traps in dust particles. If you are using a regular brush, you could opt to hold a vacuum cleaner just by it, so as soon as the particles lift, the machine will suck them away.
Olive Oil Is A Natural Polish For Your Dashboard
Have you noticed that your dashboard has been looking scruffy lately? The continuous exposure to temperature changes, UV rays, and daily use can harm your new car’s dashboard.
However, there is no need to splash money on a detailer’s bill. You can get it back to its original shape in minutes, and all the ingredients you need are probably already in your cupboards. Indeed, olive oil is a great polishing agent, which is entirely free of harsh chemicals and pleasantly affordable!
Vaseline Is Great To Get Your Dashboards To Shine
If you are dealing with an older car that is now carrying the signs of aging, you could opt to treat its dashboard with vaseline. This petroleum jelly incorporates all the waxes and mineral oils needed by the surface of your panels to look awesome!
Its positive effects are similar to the ones obtained through the use of harsher chemicals such as Armour All. Vaseline is useful not only to polish your dashboard but also to render small scratches and marks less visible. Wipe the dash with a clean microfiber cloth a few minutes after applying the product.
Crumbles In The Cup Holder? Here Is How To Clean Them In Minutes
The most annoying part of cleaning a car? Get rid of the crumbs and dirt in the cupholders! No matter how hard you try to keep your car clean, the cupholders are like a black hole for grime and food residues! The vacuum cleaner’s attachments can’t get in the narrow gap, and clothes don’t seem to have a significant effect on that stubborn debris.
So what can you do?
Allow the cupholder to do what it can do best: hold a cup!
However, remember to cover the glass or takeaway cup with a sock or absorbent cloth. For even better results, you could opt to spray the fabric with an antibacterial substance. Once it is all done, throw the sock in your washing machine and get it back into your wardrobe!
Protect Your Cup Holders With Cupcake Liners
So, now that your cup holder is clean and sanitized, the last thing any driver wants is to see it getting dirty in a matter of seconds. Instead, add rubber or plastic cupcake holders or liners into the holes. The containers will pick up all the debris and food crumbs, and they will be much easier to clean any time you need to!
Pet Hair Is Not A Problem With A Squeegee
You can ask any pet owner what their more significant issue is, and their reply will always have something to do with the amount of hair their furry friend is shedding!
The problem does not only regard your living room carpet, but also beds, sofas, and cars! There are a few ways to remove pet hair flying around your car, but if you are looking for a budget-friendly and highly effective solution, you should opt for a squeegee! You are likely to have one somewhere in the house if you clean your windows or glasses.
Move the squeegee across your car upholstery and carpets and watch the rubber edge capture all the hair! Repeat the technique until all the hair is off the fabric. This method is one of the most eco-friendly and affordable.
Your Tires Are Just Important, Get Them To Sparkle
Are you about to drive to your niece’s wedding, but your car’s tires look dirty and dusty from a drive through the countryside? You can get them to shine in minutes through different DIY methods.
If you are looking at avoiding chemicals and harsh compounds, you can produce tire polish in your garage by mixing lemon oil, dish soap, Borax, and lukewarm water. Rub the blend on the tires and watch the magic happen! Don’t forget to absorb excessive moisture before driving off, or it can attract new dust and mud particles along the way.
A Fresh-Smelling Car? Baking Soda, Charcoal, And Essential Oils!
Especially if your car boasts fabric upholstery, it can easily absorb smells and odors from pollution, nicotine, pets, mud, and food. Car detailers will use chemical-based sprays and deodorants that leave behind a pleasant fresh scent.
However, these products can contain potent substances which make them not particularly safe, especially if you spend long hours in your car or you haul children.
Instead, if you are looking for a safer solution, you could opt to use natural odor absorbents such as charcoal or baking soda. To use baking soda, sprinkle the powder directly on the seats and carpet with the help of a salt shaker or strainer.
Baking soda won’t eliminate odors instantly, so you should let it rest for a few minutes then remove it with a vacuum cleaner. For a more long-lasting effect, keep some charcoal under the seats and enjoy a fresh smell all day long.
Lastly, to create a car freshener that does not contain disturbing chemicals, mix the baking soda with the essential oils you prefer and pour the blend into a small mason jar. Cover it with a coffee filter and ensure the pot is sealed!
Get Rid Of Bugs On Your Bumper With Cooking Spray Or Dryer Sheets
Any driver has at least once powered through a swarm of flies, which, inevitably, end up splattered across your car’s bumper. Black vehicles’ look might not suffer too much from such an encounter, but it can make white cars look messy and stained.
Instead of booking an appointment with the next available detailing shop, you can use cooking spray or dryer sheets to eliminate the dead bugs. Spray the area with water and rub the dryer sheet against it until it is spotless. Alternatively, spray the anti-sticking cooking oil across your bumper, scrub the surface, and then rinse it with water.
Hair Conditioner Is A Great Wax For Your Car Exteriors!
Thanks to the wax treatment that car detailers use on the exterior of your car, there is no wonder that your vehicle looks so shiny as it comes out of the shop!
However, you can quickly achieve the same results at home by using a hair conditioner to wash your car. Since commercial hair conditioners include lanolin and silicone in their recipe, they will protect your vehicle from watermarks and generally improve its exterior look.
To create a blend at home, mix the hair conditioner with car wash soap and lukewarm water. Rub the solution across your vehicle and then rinse it with a hole. Yes, as simple as this! However, don’t forget to pick an overcast day for your projects, as the intense sun will dry the chemicals on your car much quicker and potentially ruin the paint.
A Magic Eraser Has Many Uses
Magic Erasers have become popular cleaning tools and all-purpose stain remover.
However, few users know that their secret lies in their melamine foam content. This substance, once mixed with water, reaches and dissolves even the most stubborn spots. You should avoid using such tools on the exterior of your car as the strong chemicals can ruin the paint.
However, they can do miracles when it comes down to cleaning a vehicle’s interior! If you are lucky enough to be driving a car with vinyl or leather seats, remember to spot test this method in a less-visible area of the upholstery before continuing to clean.
Make A DIY Car Bin
If your car always seems more messy than actually dirty, a genius hack is to build a suitable DIY car bin to keep with you while driving. This solution limits the chance of food scraps, paper, and the trash being loose in your car.
Each DIY model is different but, if you are after the most straightforward solution of all, you can just insert a plastic bag into a cereal dispenser and close the lid. This kind of container makes a small non-spill trash can that you can easily hide under the seats when other passengers join you on the road.
Instead, if the rubbish problem derives from your children playing around in the back seats, you should opt for a hanging bin. You can easily make one yourself by hanging a plastic bag around the front seat’s headrest. Best of all, both of these DIY bins are inexpensive and highly efficient!
Baby Wipes Are an On-The-Go Solution
You might be thinking that all these solutions are valid only if you have all the necessary material at your disposal every time a stain shows up.
Unfortunately, though, this is very rarely the case! So what do you do if your passenger spills chili sauce on your dashboard while on the road?
One of the best life hacks for such situations is always to have baby wipes handy. Such sheets are moist but won’t contain harsh chemicals that can damage the upholstery or surfaces of your car.
While they might not get rid of the stain completely, they can limit the damage until you reach your garage and clean the area with one of the methods we have seen above!
Make A DIY Cleaner For Your Cloth Upholstery
There is an endless number of recipes that you create at home with natural products and obtain professional results. However, these might vary depending on the type of upholstery of your car.
If your seats boast a fabric cover, you can mix one tablespoon of Borax, 250 milliliters of boiling water and some mild dish soap. Transfer the solution into a spray bottle, shake, and then spread it across your seats. Proceed to scrub and then eliminate any excess moisture with a soft microfiber cloth.
If you are looking at avoiding chemicals altogether, you can mix equal amounts of water and vinegar and clean the interior of your car with such a solution. Don’t forget to spot-test any blend before proceeding with the cleaning process.
Clean Tight Places With A Screwdriver
After all this cleaning, your car is probably looking great now!
However, no matter how much scrubbing you have been doing, there will always be some stubborn dirt nestled in smaller gaps.
Have you already tried using Gummy Gel to trap the dust, but it did not yield any positive results? If there is still some encrusted dirt bugging you in the tiniest cracks and gaps of your car, you could opt to put one of your screwdrivers to use.
Pick a flathead tool and wrap it in a thin and soft cloth. Use the tips of the screwdriver to peel off any dirt in tight corners. While doing so, be extremely careful not to scratch the internal surfaces of your car!
Olive Oil For Your Leather Seats!
Leather seats can make a car look lavish and classy, no matter what the brand is. However, if you are a lucky enough driver to own such vehicles, you might have long made your peace with the fact that such seats always need professional treatments.
Of course, if it comes down to removing harder stains and spots, you might consider visiting your local detailing shop. However, if everything your seats need is a quick brush-up and regular maintenance, you can easily do so at home with products that are common in every household. One of the best tricks is to use olive oil.
This completely natural substance is present in any pantry and can honestly do miracles to your leather seats. Pour some drops onto a rag and use this old cloth to rub the oil into the leather. Wipe any additional moisture off with a clean and dry microfiber cloth and enjoy your shiny leather seats!
Use Clear Nail Polish To Stop Cracks From Spreading
Getting your windshield cracked due to pebbles and stones on the road is common and can happen even to the best drivers. However, what at first can look like a tiny fracture, can spread and grow in a matter of hours.
If this happens, there is no other solution than bringing your car to a detailer shop and getting your windshield replaced. You can easily postpone your visit to the technicians by adding some clear nail polish to the crack as soon as it appears on the glass. While this trick might not represent a long-lasting solution, it allows you to drive a few more kilometers before having to pay an expensive detailer’s bill!
Add A Little Vodka When Cleaning Your Windshield
While adding vodka to your windshield washing mix might seem to you an unnecessary and quite expensive step, it can help you avoid having to clean your windshield for weeks to come.
Especially if you tend to park in the shade of trees, you might have noticed that the front of your car can quickly become covered in sap and leaves. Instead, vodka can create a protective patina against the glass, keeping it clean, and allowing you to enjoy better visibility while on the road!
Solve Frozen Locks With Hand Sanitizer
Harsh winters can be idyllic: slow-falling snow, crackling fireplaces, Christmas trees, and hot chocolates can make you feel cozy and loved. However, the car that you have parked outside overnight might have a surprise or two in store for you in the morning.
Frozen locks are only one of the most common issues to deal with over winter, but they can have you deal with more severe problems, such as broken keys. A life-saving hack that you can try out right away is pouring hand sanitizer over the lock.
Indeed, pouring boiling water over the lock can easily ruin your lock in the long run. On the other hand, hand sanitizer contains ethanol and isopropanol, the agents responsible for lowering the freezing point of the mix. Such a blend can also melt the ice inside the lock in just over 30 seconds.
All of the methods listed above are incredibly easy to complete successfully at home, without the help of an expert detailer. Even better, such tricks can help you save quite some money when it comes down to see your car professionally clean.
In any case, remember to spot check any of the blends you created at home before proceeding to wash the whole car. Lastly, always pick an overcast day for your projects, to avoid chemicals drying on your car paint!