Cleaning your car is a bit of a necessary evil. It’s not the most fun way to spend your free time, but it has to be done. After all, you don’t want a car that looks dirty outside and messy inside. If you want to impress anyone, here are 40 easy tricks that’ll make you AND your car look sharp.
The market is full of options for you to choose from for keeping your car clean, but what if we told you there’s a way you can keep your car fresh without spending hundreds of dollars on cleaning products. If you are unsure of where to start, let us guide you through the process with these nifty ideas.
Getting your car clean is a job you cannot avoid. But you need to work smart, not hard. There are plenty of tips and tricks you can use to clean your car efficiently. They generally involve items you should have around the house and don’t cost a fortune. Some of them are so effective you’ll never clean your car any other way again. They may sound a bit off the wall when you read them, but they are worth a try. So, the next time it’s car cleaning day, take the unconventional approach and see the results for yourself.
Our trusty friend in the tube is a lot more useful than for just getting your teeth clean every morning. A common occurrence that drivers often don’t know how to deal with is headlights getting cloudy after months of driving through all sorts of weather.
Luckily, toothpaste is here to save the day once again. Just rub a little bit of the stuff onto the lights and scrub for a minute or two, then let it sit for about a minute. Your lights should be as shiny and clean as new.
Using harsh solutions to clean the interior of your car when you have leather seats is a definite no-no. You need a different approach, which should preferably be not too expensive. As with all things leather, olive oil is the miracle worker.
It won’t damage or fade your fabric but is also excellent at picking up and cleaning any signs of stains of debris. Start with a small amount and progress slowly until all the dirt is gone.
When cleaning those hard-to-reach cracks and crevices in your car’s interior, cotton swabs are the perfect solution. They are made from cotton, which means they are soft enough to not cause any real damage and are also super-cheap.
When buying them, get them in packs of hundreds. They can also be used to get rid of annoying pieces of dirt and quickly absorb grease that gets stuck in your car during servicing.
Mushy Cleaning Gunk
Speaking of gunk, whenever dirt gathers together with grease or some sort of oil in any part of your car, you will end up with a mixture that’s going to be tough to get rid of. However, there’s another easy solution for getting rid of all kinds of dirt that hide in hard-to-reach parts of your car.
Mix half a cup of liquid starch with some Elmer’s glue and water. It’s both sticky enough to pick up the dirt and won’t break apart in the process.
During wintertime, it can be very annoying to clean the fog from the windows and the windshield. Seemingly, the only solutions are either to risk crashing or to buy an expensive cleaning product. However, there is a solution that can both save your money and your life.
The average shaving cream contains many of the same ingredients as many defogging agents. Just cover the inside of your windows and wipe it off after 10 minutes. Not only will the fog be gone in an instant, but the cream will also leave a layer to prevent it from reforming.
Toothbrushes have long been known to have a lot of practical uses aside from cleaning your teeth.
It may seem like a lot of work, but all you need is a little soap and water to clean out the grunge from parts of your car that normally don’t get the attention they deserve. As this can be time-consuming, the best time to do it is over the weekend.
Again, buying air fresheners gets pretty old pretty fast. Add that to the fact that the same old smell gets tiring after a while, and it’s a double whammy of tough luck. Why not just make your own custom fragrance then?
No prior knowledge of chemistry required — just a can-do attitude, a piece of wood and some essential oils. Wood does a good job of absorbing and slowly distributing the odor and essential oils are good at being absorbed.
WD-40 is like the super-utility tool of the car-cleaning world. From degreasing the windscreen to waxing the exterior, there is nearly an endless number of things you can do with the spray in terms of cleaning your car.
WD-40 is an excellent solvent, which means it can easily break apart the adhesives found in stickers too. It also has similar components to kerosene,making it possible to give your car a great shiny finish.
Just like your skin needs something to moisturize it when it goes dry, your dashboard also needs something to prevent it from cracking. This is an especially important tip to remember if you live in drier parts of the world.
If you reside in hot climates, you need to make sure your dashboard is moist and clean to keep peeling of the outer layer in check. Good old plain vaseline should be able to do the trick and have your car looking better than ever.
If you love your food and your car, then you will love food while in your car twice as much. All the dirt and residue crumbs aside, a shower caddy is a simple solution to storing your food for eating while your drive.
If you have children, you will reap even more benefits out of them. This way, you will eliminate the need to keep passing snacks back and forth to everyone, avoiding the possibility of a big mess.
Screwdriver for Cracks
Cars are great big hunks of metal that are given the ability to move. Thanks to the way they are designed, however, there are way too many cracks and crevices in which dirt, debris and bugs can accumulate.
All you need to get them out is a clean fabric (or whatever else you have on hand) and a screwdriver. Cover the head of the screwdriver with the fabric and scrape the affected area lightly until all the gunk comes off.
The air ducts of your car very likely do their job pretty well — they absorb a lot of dust and debris. However, an unintended consequence is that they also collect a lot of dead bugs and mold.
As soon as you turn on the AC, these are going to be blown right at your face, whether you realize it or not. A paint brush is an easy way to prevent this since it can easily reach those tough places.
As kids, we probably all played with modeling clay (often referred to as Play-Doh by newer generations) at some point. Well, that old friend can prove pretty useful even this far into your later years.
To give your car a sparkly finish, use a sizable mound of modeling clay to wax your car like you normally would with regular wax. Make sure your car is wet beforehand to avoid making a mess.
Keeping Groceries Safe
Whenever you go shopping, nothing sucks as much as having all your stuff pour in the back because you have no way of restraining the bags. Woe unto those unwise enough to put the carton of milk and eggs in the trunk.
An easy way of dealing with this is having a bungee cord. Lace it through the handles of each of your bags and attach one end to the hooks of your trunk. What you effectively have now is a seat belt for all your groceries.
When a leak appears in your fuel tank, it’s going to cost you a whole lot of cash in wasted gas through the petrol that seeps through the crack — especially when a mechanic isn’t anywhere in sight.
Even when you do get to the mechanic, though, having them fix it is a very costly affair. At least for the short term while you look for a more permanent solution, some chewed-up gum should be able to prevent further trouble.
Socks in the glove box
When it’s winter, you have to be prepared for everything. To make sure that you can accomplish everything, you have to fight the weather. A good trick to use is to have socks at your disposal at all times. But why?
Sometimes, when it’s wet, and there is ice everywhere, you can put them over your shoes for better traction. Also, woolen socks can be a good way to walk through snow more easily. Also, socks can be a good makeshift cloth to wipe your windows or any other part of the car.
Using socks to cover windshield wipers
One other annoying thing is waking up in the morning and realizing your wiper blades are covered by multiple layers of ice and snow. This can be very annoying as you may have to clean them and, therefore, be late to work. Hold that thought.
In order to avoid this, you only have to use your spare socks and cover the wipers before going to bed. The wool will cover the wipers from the cold and allow you to de-ice them in just a few seconds. This can aid you greatly, and it’s easy to accomplish.
Making use of a drinking straw to unlock your car
Don’t have a lighter? Fear not, because you can manipulate heat in ways you couldn’t imagine. In your purse or backpack, always keep a drinking straw. If you don’t have a lighter, it can be the best possible thing to solve the problem of having ice within the lock.
Since it’s flexible and small, you can insert it. The only thing you have to do is blow hot air through the straw. Such a sudden and large influx of heat will cause the ice to melt rapidly and to cover the walls of the lock, preventing new ice from forming any time soon.
Hand sanitizer can help you as well
Ice can get anywhere, not just in the lock of your door. The handles, the window mechanism, the trunk – it can get in places you wouldn’t even believe. If this wasn’t enough of a problem, many agents that can help you with this are expensive.
To solve this, you just need to go to your local appliance store and buy the cheapest hand sanitizer. It’s basic chemistry – the alcohol in the sanitizer is the most efficient eradicator of ice. Before trying to open the door, spray it over everything. That way, you won’t have problems.
Defrosting frosty side mirrors
Side mirrors getting frosty can be one of the most complicated car-related problems. Why? Well, windows are exposed to the hot air within the car, so they can get defrosted much sooner. Since side mirrors are exposed to the cold 24/7, they can’t be saved, right?
Wrong. You only have to cover them, and the absolute best solution are Ziploc bags. They are designed especially for the isolation of the things within. Cover your side mirrors with one or two bags, and you’ll see them ice-free the next morning. Works 100%.
Protecting your headlights with wax
Even if you don’t realize it, ice and snow can really reduce the effectiveness of your headlights. That small difference in illumination strength is sometimes the difference between accident and salvation. To prevent such a situation from even happening, take some toothpaste, squirt it on a tissue or rag and scrub your headlights.
Take off the covers and rinse the bulbs as well. The only thing you have to do is to wash everything with warm water and apply wax. Wax will ensure that no water or ice sticks to them for weeks.
It really sucks to make a turn and have to ask yourself whether you just made an expensive mistake. To avoid the constant anxiety as things jump around in the trunk, use velcro to hold everything down.
Everything that’s fragile and at risk of breaking should be stored in a container and attached with a strip of velcro on the side. The velcro should be able to stick on the walls of your trunk without a problem.
Don’t ask how it works because we don’t know. All we do know is that magic erasers are able to get rid of nearly every type of stain on every type of surface.
It should be your go-to solution for cleaning stains off your upholstery. If you’re ever in a tight spot where the rest of these solutions can’t help (or you’re just lazy), the magic eraser is there to save the day.
Arrange the Glove Box
The glove box is without a doubt the most universally loved and detested area of the car. It’s one of those things that makes you go, “I was sure I left that there” when it clearly isn’t there anymore.
Nobody knows the voodoo behind it, but it turns out those little curses can be avoided just by being a tad more tidy. Use a small accordion folder to label the categories that are relevant to you and place it in the glove box. Problem solved.
This fizzy drink is a great tool to use when you want to remove stains from any part of your car. If you’ve got any kind of upholstery in your car, you’ve probably had the unfortunate experience of dealing with stains.
It could be from coffee, mud, blood, grass or even food. It doesn’t matter in any case since they can all be taken care of with club soda. Just dip an absorbent cloth in club soda and gently rub it on the stain.
Having an air vent freshener in your car is almost a necessity at this point. They are great while they last, and only as long as they last. Over time, the fragrance can only propagate so far. The backseat may be stuck in a perpetual state of stinky sweat from your last passenger.
Instead, use the Downy Unstoppable beads in tiny mesh bags and place them at convenient points within your car. Preferably, this should be somewhere near the doors.
Storage space inside the car is one of those things vehicle engineers keep forgetting to include in their latest models. There’s almost nothing as annoying as staring at your rear-view mirror only to realize it’s been obfuscated by some sort of toy or cloth.
Instead, get a bunch of sponge holders with suction pads in a range of sizes. Stick the holders to your window and hang whatever needs remembering there.
Once again, what works for your body isn’t very different from what’s going to work for your car. Just like with Play-Doh, regular hair conditioner is an excellent tool to give your car that coveted sparkling, waxy finish.
Depending on the kind of conditioner you have, pour a good amount onto a towel and apply it to your car in circular motions. Repeat the process until you have a nice glossy look.
Using an air freshener to mask bad smells in your car will only serve its purpose for so long. It won’t do you any good if you’re trying to get the smell to go away. What you need is something that’s great at absorbing smells.
Charcoal does just that. All you need is a handful of charcoal in a bag made of breathable fabric. Have this under your car and the smell could disappear overnight.
During accidents, aside from not wearing seat belts, the leading cause of death is anything that’s not been strapped down. In other words, that phone carelessly thrown in the passenger seat can easily turn into a projectile.
Instead, grab a few sticky mats on Amazon and place them on the dashboard or wherever you prefer. It’s convenient — you won’t ever lose your keys in the car again and increase your chances of surviving a car accident.
Shoe in Some Order
You’ve likely had an experience where you were driving and realized you needed something from the back seat. Despite all your efforts, you just couldn’t quite get to it. The traffic lights turned amber and the guy behind you started honking obnoxiously.
You could prevent this issue and add a hint of organization to your car by using one of those nifty little shoe hangers as your new car organizer. Hang it by the headrest and you won’t have to worry about it again.
Coke is the world’s leading soft drink and has been for some time now. What some people don’t know is just how good this fizzy beverage is at removing rust from nearly any metal surface. If your car hasn’t seen a mechanic in while, rust will likely accumulate near the windshield or on the car’s exterior.
To get rid of the unpleasantness, dip a clot inside a bowl of Coke, dip some on the rusted area, let it sit for a while and wipe away the rust with a cloth or aluminum foil.
You know how you’re required by law to renew your insurance every year and your proof of insurance has to be on the windshield of your car? It’s understandable. What’s not, however, is how hard every one of those stickers is to remove.
Well, yet another trick to get those annoying things off your windshield is to soak a few pages of newspaper in some warm water, hold them over the other side of the sticker for a while and watch it peel off.
Mayo is a secret sauce in many regards, and this time, the application lies outside the realm of your dinner salad. It’s a really great choice for cleaning tar spots anywhere on the exterior of your car.
Rather than spending perfectly good money on solutions meant to get rid of tar, apply some mayo on the affected spot and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Wipe away the grease and watch the tar peel away super easily.
WD-40 Tricks That Actually Work For Your Car
Most people know about WD40 and that it’s good for loosening up things that are stuck. The miracle oil is much more than that though, and here are some handy WD40 tricks to keep your car running smoothly.
Cleans and protects chrome
If you’ve got chrome on your car, the worst thing you can do is neglect it. That’s the part of your vehicle that’s supposed to shine the brightest, and blind everyone else on the roads as the sunlight bounces off it. Your chrome won’t be blinding anyone if it’s covered in dirt, or worse, is beginning to rust.
By rubbing WD40 onto your chrome, you can prolong its shiny appearance forever. All you have to do is make sure to apply the oil to your bright car parts, and the chrome will remain the most impressive feature of your car.
Removes road debris from bodywork
You might love keeping your car clean, but the roads you drive it on are rarely ever cleaned, which makes things very difficult. There is no way of preventing road debris from fixing itself to your vehicle, but there is an easy way to remove it from your beloved vehicle.
WD40 is a great cleaning agent and it’s tough on the grit or dust that builds up on your car bodywork. The best thing is that the oil is not harmful to the paintwork, which means you can use it to easily get rid of those tough to remove materials.
Prevents wipers from squeaking
There aren’t many things that are more annoying when driving your car than squeaky windshield wipers. You need them to see, but in some cases, you’d rather drive blind than turn them on and have that squeaking in your ear every other second.
If you apply some WD40 to the hinge of the wipers and then rub it across the blades, you can remove that annoying noise once and for all. It doesn’t take much WD40 to get rid of the squeak, and you can go back to using your wipers without wanting to crash just to stop the squeaking.
Unsticks doors during cold weather
Sometimes in frosty months, it feels as though you’re about to rip the handle of your car door off as you try to unstick it from the frost. Adding water doesn’t always make them unstuck, and if you leave the water there, the doors are only going to get more stuck.
WD40 comes to the rescue once more as it will easily cut through the frost that has jammed your door and allow you entrance into your chariot. The oil makes easy work of the ice, and in a matter of seconds, you’ll be in your car ready to drive.
Protects from rust
Rust is a common problem for vehicle owners, especially those who live in the rainy parts of the world. It can eat away at the bodywork of your car, making it look much older than it actually is. Rust has an added downside, and your vehicle will be much less waterproof once the rust sets in.
Rubbing WD40 on the parts of your car that are susceptible to rust helps protect the bodywork from the rain for much longer. Remembering to rub the oil on the car bodywork is another story though, but it will save your car from rust.
Removes paint rub from other vehicles
One of the worst things that can happen to any proud car owner is getting hit by some careless driver who rubs their paintwork onto your vehicle. This is typical of parking lots where people seem to fail to understand the basics of common decency.
From people taking up more than one space to those who hit your car but leave no note; parking lots are bad places used by bad people. WD40 will make your car seem as though there was no collision in the first place though and it will easily remove the paint rub with a cloth.
Gets rid of the squeaky fan belt
Squeaks in cars are annoying, we’ve already established this. While windshield wiper squeaking is annoying, it doesn’t happen all of the time. The fan belt, however, is another story and it can begin squeaking from the moment you put the key in the ignition to when you take it out.
That fan belt noise is no match for WD40 though, and by spraying a little of the oil onto the dry belt, you’ll notice the sound disappears completely. Your car will be so quiet you’ll think it’s running a little too well and you’ll start listening for a new noise.
Cleans the steering wheel
The steering wheel is one of the dirtiest places in your car, because that’s what people touch the most. Unless you are washing your hands before you start driving it’s going to be covered in germs and eventually there’ll be a layer of grime.
It’s not pretty and it’s persistent, so you’ll need something special to get rid of it. If you haven’t guessed by now, the secret cleaning agent is WD40, and it works wonders. You can say goodbye to the grime and enjoy what driving with a clean wheel feels like once you’ve rubbed some WD40 on it.
Removes bumper stickers
Bumper stickers on vehicles are a fun way to express your personality, or a red flag for everyone else to avoid that person as much as possible. Sometimes people end up buying a used car, and it comes with the dreaded bumper sticker that needs removing as quickly as possible.
They are the first thing to go when you get the keys, but they are pretty persistent and want to stick around as much as possible. WD40 is perfect for removing the tough stickers and you can scrub them off with relative ease, removing evidence that they were ever there.
Grease comes with the territory of having a car, but you’re only really exposed to it when you go poking around the engine. It’s needed to make the car run as smoothly as possible, but sometimes there’s just too much. Even if you’re just trying to do some basic repair work, it becomes impossible because your tools keep sliding on the grease.
WD40 is perfect for degreasing your engine, and allowing you to work on it as easily as possible. The grease will dissolve as it comes into contact with the oil and you’ll just have to wipe it away.
Stops car jack from rusting
Your car jack doesn’t get used all that often, but when the time comes for you to use it, you don’t want it to be rusted so badly it won’t work. Rust is a common problem for many car jacks and applying some WD40 to it occasionally will help prevent it from jamming at an important time.
Most of the time it just sits in your garage or trunk and doesn’t go anywhere, but if you get a flat, you’re going to need it. It’s best to make sure you apply WD40 to your jack every once in a while.
Buffs out fender scratches
Car bodywork tends to bear the brunt of anything our cars come into contact with. Sometimes that’s poles in the ground, fences, signposts, or even long bush branches. They all leave their mark on our fenders, and some WD40 can help buff them out to make sure your car still remains looking its best.
The oil is perfect for getting rid of the annoying little scratches that make your car look old and tired. Applying some WD40 to the fenders will help to buff out the imperfections and keep your vehicle looking like one of the best-kept on the roads.
Cleans tire sidewalls
The sidewalls on our tires are what keeps the rims from rubbing along the ground. They are an important part of our tires, and so it’s vital that we look after them if we don’t want to change our tires too often. WD40 is great at removing any dirt that settles on the walls of your tires, and it prevents anything staying there for too long.
If tires fall into disrepair, they can become cracked and essentially useless at protecting our cars from the roads. WD40 helps extend the lifetime of our tires by keeping them clean and dirt free.
Protects the rubber
Rubber seals on cars are susceptible to damage. They can become cracked when wet and eventually stop doing the protective job they were put there for. Also if the rubber gets too dry, it’s likely to crack so help it last longer by treating it with some WD40.
All it needs is a spray of oil onto a cloth and then going around all parts of your vehicle to rub it into the rubber. Sunroofs are very prone to leaking so using WD40 on their rubber seals can prevent you from getting a wet lap every time it starts raining.
Removes brake dust
Braking is an essential, and there is no way to stop the brake dust from covering your wheels. Well, there is a way to prevent brake dust forming, but it tends to end in a crash as you stop hitting the brake pedal. It can make them look rusted and dirty, so getting rid of the dust is important.
It couldn’t be easier with a spritz of WD40 and a cloth as it gathers up without much elbow grease. Applying the oil to your wheels will instantly make them look much cleaner, and it will take years off your car.
Keeps motorcycle chains slippery
One thing motorcyclists always need to check before they set off on any journey is the condition of their chain. It is the thing that drives their bike, and without it, the rider will be going nowhere fast.
Checking it is pretty simple, all you have to do is look at it, and if you think it’s looking a little bit dry, then it’s time to get out your can of WD40. Just make sure to coat the chain with the oil, and it will keep you on the road until you get some proper motorcycle grease for the chain.
Unsticks electric seats
If you have electric seats in your car, you better hope they stick in a position where your legs can reach the pedals. The seats are an amazing convenience while they work, but they don’t always like to play ball. If your electric seats get stuck on their track, then WD40 can come to the rescue once more.
Spray the oil on the tracks, and the seat should slide back and forth along like there was never a problem at all. Keeping the oil in the trunk can be a lifesaver some day as it has so many different uses.
Removes melted gum
Chewing gum is both one of the greatest inventions and one of the worst. It’s great while you’re chewing it, but what do you do with it once you’re done? If there isn’t a trash can to throw it into you’ve got three options; keep it in your mouth, throw it in a food wrapper, or stick it to something.
When chewing gum in the car, it’s easy to throw it in a wrapper and forget about it until your seats are covered in gum. WD40 can remove that gum quite quickly so you can chew until your heart’s content.
There are plenty of bolts to be found on your car, and not all of them are easy to remove. In a way that’s a good thing, because it means the bolts won’t just rattle out as you drive along a bumpy road.
It can be a problem though when you come to do some maintenance work on your car. The problem with trying to pry open a difficult bolt is that it can damage your tools, making them useless. Applying some WD40 along the thread of the bolt will coax it out of its place once and for all.
Restores shine on classic cars
If you see a classic car, then most of the time they are looking as clean and shiny as possible. That’s because their owners take good care of them and if you’ve just got yourself a classic car there is a helpful secret.
Yep, it’s WD40, and by rubbing it on your vintage bodywork, you can keep your old machine looking as shiny as possible. The oil won’t harm the paintwork, but it will have it shining bright as you wheel it into the car show. Using WD40 ensures all eyes are on your vintage machine and not anyone else’s.
Cleans bull bars
Bull bars get put through their paces on many all-terrain vehicles, especially if the drivers actually take their trucks off the road. They’re great for protecting your vehicle from any damaging obstacles in your way, but they tend to get covered in mud and dirt.
Even if you don’t take your vehicle with bull bars off the road, you’ll still want to clean them as best as possible. WD40 cuts through any dirt and grime on your bull bars. Applying the oil on a rag to your bull bars will have them looking like they’ve never been off road before.
Removes bugs from grill
One of the most annoying things about living somewhere that has a lot of bugs is the amount of them that end up squished on your windshield. Trying to get them off can be damaging to your paintwork but so can leaving them there.
WD40 can safely remove those squished bugs from the front grill of your car effortlessly, and for a while, you can have the cleanest car in town. Then when you take your car out for a drive again, you’ll have to clean it all over again as you inevitably squish even more bugs on your grill.
Windshield wipers are there to make seeing out the front of your vehicle easier. Sometimes they end up being pretty dirty, and all they seem to do is smear the dirt across the window even more. After just a few minutes, your windshield is impossible to see out of and you’ve become a danger on the road.
By rubbing WD40 on your wipers, you can reduce the amount of dirt that forms on them and protect the rubber in the process. Now you won’t have to worry about the rain because your wipers are going to be in top shape.
Prevents locks from freezing during winter
As if the doors freezing wasn’t a big enough problem in the winter, there is also the added challenge of the frozen locks. Most of our cars are opened remotely, but not everyone’s car does. For those who still use the old lock and key method, this tip will get you into your car quicker than ever.
That means you won’t have to stand around freezing while you desperately try to thaw out the frozen water in your lock. Now you can get into your car as soon as possible and freeze on the inside until the heaters warm up.
Removes fingerprints and smudges
Fingerprints and smudges can be particularly annoying on things like car windows and mirrors. You’re meant to be looking at other things, but all you can see is the big mark that someone left, and it’s very distracting. WD40 will make light work of those stains so you can go back to driving safely without any distractions.
Keeping a clean car isn’t easy, especially if other people travel with you, so WD40 is going to come to the rescue quite a lot. The miracle oil not only cleans the outside of your car, but it’s great on the inside too.