It’s that time of year when many of us are doing a bit of spring cleaning. As winter draws to a close it just feels right to spruce things up a bit. And that includes cars. Winter weather takes its toll and it’s a good idea to spring clean your car. You’ll love driving a freshly cleaned car with the windows down and happy music playing on warm and sunny days!
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How to Spring Clean Your Car
Do you keep a relatively clean and tidy car or does it often look like a bunch of toddlers had an unsupervised party in it? Either way, this is a good time to give our cars a bit of attention.
If your car isn’t too bad you might want to do some detail cleaning (check out the video I share later in this post). But if you’d be embarrassed to give a friend a ride, don’t let the thoughts of what it would take to give your car that showroom sparkle keep you from doing anything at all.
Even 15 minutes can make a huge difference. Take out all the trash and anything that doesn’t belong in the car. Shake out the mats and wipe the crumbs off the seats. See? Much better! Schedule 15 minutes each week and over time you’ll build on that progress.
If you want to give your car a good, relatively thorough cleaning, set aside an hour or so and take it step-by-step.
Steps to a clean car:
- Remove everything, including trash, that doesn’t belong.
- Don’t forget the glove compartment and console.
- Set aside things that will go back in the car
- Remove the floor mats. If made of rubber, spray with all-purpose cleaner, wipe and rinse if necessary. If carpet, vacuum well and spot clean if needed.
- Dust the interior (dash, door panels, console, air vents, etc.)
- Wipe down all surfaces of the interior with a cleaner appropriate for the surfaces. A microfiber cloth dipped in a mild, soapy solution and wrung out works well enough on most surfaces but if your car interior is genuine leather, be sure to use a cleaner made especially for leather.
- Clean upholstery. Methods will vary depending on whether your upholstery is cloth, vinyl or leather.
- Clean inside windows and mirrors. Do not use ammonia-based cleaners on tinted windows.
- Wash car. You can do this by hand in your driveway or go to the car wash.
When the car is clean, organize what you are putting back. You may need some type of organizer for the trunk or rear area of the vehicle.
I like the interior of my car to look tidy so I try to make sure everything is tucked away out of sight as much as possible.
What I keep in my car:
- duster (I keep this in the driver’s door pocket and use it often to dust the dash and steering column or brush crumbs off the seats)
- xylitol mints, gum and nasal spray (Note: xylitol has been shown to offer some protection agains SARS CoV-2 so I pop a mint or gum and use the nasal spray before donning a mask.)
- masks (I keep one or two hanging on the gear shift handle.)
- hand sanitizer (I keep a pump bottle in the drivers door pocket for easy access.)
- glass breaker and seatbelt cutter tool
- extra napkins (Anyone else notice that you practically have to beg for napkins from drive-throughs these days?)
- phone charger
- whisk broom
- fire extinguisher
- tire gauge
This video is an excellent guide to giving your car a very thorough clean and detailing:
Here are some car organization ideas:
A few helpful items:
Now that your car is clean and organized, keep it that way with regular upkeep. Get in the habit of bringing in everything from your car that doesn’t belong each time you arrive home.
Be sure you have a trash receptacle in the car and empty it regularly. For instance, each time you get gas, throw out any trash. That’s a good time to do a quick dusting of the dash, too.
You’ll still need to do a more thorough cleaning periodically but this regular attention will keep your car tidy and much more pleasant to drive.
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