When it comes to car care, it’s important that you keep up with cleaning on a regular basis. This will not only keep your car looking new, but it will also cut down on those expensive washes and details you find yourself paying for on a monthly basis.
While some people are sticklers for keeping their car in tip top condition, there are many like us here at Funnyand who simply fail to notice the dirt and grime accumulating until it’s too late. Then…BAM…your sitting in a mobile dump. Thankfully, cleaning your car doesn’t have to be a traumatizing affair on you or your wallet.
Thanks to the magic of the internet and some pretty crafty people, there are so many ways you can clean your car yourself and not have to worry about blowing up the budget. Here are 40 of the most genius car cleaning tips, tricks, and hacks that will have your vehicle looking new in no time!
40. Essential Oils for Air Freshening
From time to time your car can start to smell. Sometimes it’s due to just use and dirt in the AC vents and other times it’s because you had one too many burritos. Regardless of the reason for the smell, there’s no need to waste your money on expensive air fresheners.
Essential oils work just as good and they are all-natural, ditch the synthetic smell and will even help elevate your mood. Our favorite is the lavender and thyme, it not only smells fantastic, but it puts your mind at ease too!
What could be better?
39. Olive Oil for Leather Seats
If your car has leather seats it’s of utmost importance to keep them from cracking. An easy way to do this is to put some olive oil on a rag and then work it into the leather. This will keep your seats looking new, shiny and moisturized to prevent cracking.
Even better, olive oil is something you most likely already have in the house. Don’t pay for expensive seat treatments when you can easily do it yourself for a fraction of the cost.
38. Bleach Powder for Sparkling Tires
Who doesn’t want their tires to look brand new? There’s nothing more satisfying to a car enthusiast than a shiny tire that looks right out of the packaging and now you can experience that satisfaction with just some water and bleach powder. That’s all it takes.
Sprinkle the powder over the tires, and then scrub with a brush and some water. Your tires will look so new the car dealership will think you jacked them off one of their floor models!
37. Dust the AC Vents with Foam Brushes
One quick and easy method for cleaning your car vents is a foam brush you can pick up at most arts and crafts stores.
What’s great about foam brushes is they can fit between the vents and clean them out all at once. They’re also dirt cheap so you don’t have to waste your hard earned dollar on something like dusting.
36. Bugs on the Windshield? Use a Dryer Sheet!
It’s bound to happen sooner or later…bugs on your windshield. Not only are they quite unsightly, but they can be really hard to clean off…until now! You have to be very careful when it comes to what you use to clean your windshield to avoid scratches, and we’ve found that dryer sheets work wonders.
They quickly remove the bug guts from your car and you don’t have to worry about micro-scratches on the glass. It can be tempting to pay off someone to do this task for you, but here at Funnyand, we love saving money, so anything that’s free…we’re all about it. Save that money for a vacation, not a car detail!
35. Toothbrush for Nooks & Crannies
The interior of your car can collect your skin’s oils and dirt quite easily, which can also be pretty hard to clean. The dirt works its way into the crevices and crannies of the vinyl, so a simple scrub just won’t work.
However, a toothbrush is the perfect tool to solve this problem. Just use some baking soda and vinegar and scrub with a toothbrush and your interior will look good as new!
34. Enhance Headlights with Toothpaste
Over time, your car’s headlights can begin to dull and yellow. While most people just accept it as a sign of aging, you can actually restore the headlights back to their original clarity with one of the best cleaners out there: toothpaste!
Toothpaste is considered an abrasive substance and can help clear away the grime and buildup on the headlights better than a simple wash. All you need to do is coat the headlights in a generous layer of toothpaste and then use a toothbrush, scrubbing in small circular motions. Once you wash off the toothpaste, your headlights will look good as new!
33. Remove Decals with WD-40
Removing bumper stickers can be a real pain, but with WD-40 it’s super easy! All you need to do is soak the bumper sticker in a nice layer of the solution and then wait 5-10 minutes.
Once the WD-40 has soaked into the sticker, it should easily pull right off. And it’s much cheaper than going to a professional or trying to scrape it off yourself.
32. No More Slimy Windshield Wipers with Alcohol
From time to time your windshield wipers can get quite slimy and most people just replace them. This is a waste of money! All you need to do is pour some rubbing alcohol on a rage and wipe down the blades, and they’ll be good as new!
Rubbing alcohol is also great on hubcaps and tires as well if you want to give the rubber that “like-new” appearance.
31. Take Your Shine to the Next Level with a Clay Bar
For most people who are not car enthusiasts, car cleaning clay is a foreign term, but once we educate you on its uses, we promise this will be a go-to item every time you clean your car. So, what is it? In short, auto clay helps remove foreign objects from your car’s paint that a simple wash can’t.
You simply run the clay bar over your paint and it will pick up any contaminants that have been left behind. This can include rail dust, brake dust and little particles that become lodged in the paint. We promise, your car will look cleaner than ever when you use one of these clay bars.
30. Forget Wax…Use Hair Conditioner
A really good professional car wax can get quite pricey, thankfully there are other ways to see your reflection in the hood of your car and you’ve probably got a bottle in your shower. Yes, you read that right…you can actually wax your car and give it an amazing shine with hair conditioner!
All you need to do is apply a layer of conditioner to your car and leave it on for five minutes then wash it off. Not only will your car have a sparkling shine, but it will easily repel water too!
29. Get Your Car Interior Clean with Slime!
Silicon gel aka “slime” is another great tool for cleaning your car that’s cheap and very effective. You simply press the slime over the areas of your car that are dirty and when you peel it up, the dirt and dust will stick to it! You can even make it at home with a simple recipe.
All you need is 1.5 cups of warm water, 1/4 of a cup of borax laundry detergent and five ounces of white school glue. That’s it! Why pay for a car detail when you can inexpensively do it yourself?
28. Q-Tips for Air Filter
Q-tips are a great tool for cleaning your car, especially air filters.
They can easily slide between the vents and reach dirt that is sometimes missed and you can also use them in the other nooks and crannies of your car to clean out grime that’s accumulated. They’re not just for ears, folks!
27. Kerosene “No Wax” Treatment
While washing your car with a flammable solution may seem pretty crazy, we promise there’s a method to our madness. This excellent no-wax solution for a shiny car is a cheap and easy way to make it look new!
Just add one cup of kerosene to three gallons of water and wash it over your car. Not only will it leave you with an amazing shine, but when it rains the water will simply bead up and roll right off the car. How cool is that?
26. Say NO to Dish Soap
Most people when they wash their car at home use dish soap and we understand why. It’s considered an abrasive soap and helps remove dirt and grime easily.
The problem is dish soap also accelerates the oxidation process, which can dull the pain and also break down your wax coating. It’s best to actually use a car washing soap in this instance, otherwise, your car might start to look faded and old long before it should.
25. Whip Out a Makeup Brush
Makeup brushes are another great tool when it comes to dusting your car and cleaning out the air vents. It doesn’t matter which type or size, they all can be just as effective and get the job done.
Personally, we like to use the smaller brushes to get into the harder to reach areas easier. We promise it works just as good as what the professionals use–maybe even better!
24. Squeegee Your Pet Hair Away
Pet hair in your car can be a real pain, but you don’t need to turn to a professional to get your car pet dander free! Simply spray down the seats with a light mist of water and then use a squeegee.
The squeegee will catch the hair and you’ll be able to easily pick it up and throw it away. Who knew?
23. Vinegar + Baking Soda = Clean Upholstery
Sometimes accidents just happen. The dog pukes in the car or a child spills his or her milk all over the seat. While panic is usually the first response along with how much the car detailing bill is going to cost–don’t worry! We have a solution that is cheap and effective!
All you need is one-half cup vinegar and one tablespoon of baking soda. Then simply mix it together and pour it over the stained area. Scrub like your life depended on it and in a few minutes, your car should be stain free! And even better, you didn’t have to spend a ton of money.
22. Cupcake Liners for Cup Holders
Cup holders in cars can be the WORST when it comes to cleaning because of food, drink, and other grime that can get stuck inside and no matter how hard you try it won’t come out. Rather than ban all drinks from the car, an easier (and more rational) solution is to use cupcake liners in your cup holders.
This will keep them clean and then once the liners are dirty they are easy to throw away and replace. Neat hack, right? At Funnyand we are all about making your life easier.
21. Mason Jar with Laundry Scent Balls
Sometimes car air fresheners can be a little too overpowering, turning your car into a suffocating cloud of synthetic pine. Thankfully, there are other great ways to give your car interior a burst of freshness that doesn’t induce a migraine.
One method is to take a mason jar with slits in the lid and place either laundry scent balls or scent bars inside. Place the jar in a cup holder or in a secure area of the car and you’ll never have to worry about someone turning up their nose in your car again. You’ll probably get quite a few more second dates as well!
20. Pluck the Finish with Clay Putty
Clay Putty is just like the clay bar we mentioned earlier, but it’s in a putty form.
While it does the same thing and removes contaminants that are deeply embedded in the paint, it also allows for you to customize the shape and size that you use, which works great for crevices and grooves in your vehicle’s exterior.
19. Vacuum the Dust as You Go
One way to avoid making new messes while cleaning your car is by vacuuming up the dust and dirt as you go. This will make sure it’s not being displaced into other areas of the vehicle and you’re removing it all at once.
You can use a small handheld vacuum or an attachment, but both will work wonders for maintaining the cleanliness of your vehicle.
18. Iron Out the Gunk
If you’ve ever dribbled candle wax on your carpet or upholstery you know how hard it can be to get out. If this happens in a car, well…most people would just throw up their hands and say “oh well.” But there is a solution!
Simply take a piece of paper and place it over the area of the carpet or upholstery impacted. Then you just iron over it and bam! The wax will stick to the paper and peel right off! Isn’t that awesome?
17. Blow Dryer for Tough Stickers
Decals and bumper stickers are easy to put on but can be a real pain in the rear when it comes to taking them off. Scraping and pulling is NOT going to work no matter how hard you try, but don’t worry.
We have a tip that is going to make life so much easier for you and your car–a blow dryer. All you’ve got to do is blow the dryer directly onto the decal, which will heat up the old glue and allow you to remove it with ease. Is your mind blown? Yeah, we thought so.
16. Dust with a Coffee Filter
Car detailing experts will always recommend super expensive tools to dust and clean your vehicle, but here’s a little tip…you don’t need to spend tons of money to keep your car clean!
If you’re strapped for cash, coffee filters can work wonders in terms of dusting your car interior. Don’t believe us? Try it. You’ll never look back–we promise.
15. Amazing Cheap Stain Cleaner
There is absolutely NO reason to waste tons of your hard earned cash on expensive car upholstery stain removers. Here at Funnyand, we’re all about pinching pennies when we can, so this cheap DIY stain cleaner is a real game changer.
All you need to do is make a mixture of ammonia and water. This not only will remove stains, but brighten the color of the upholstery as well, since over time the color can begin to fade. Therefore, this cleaner will keep your car looking new for years to come. Awesome, right?
14. Keep Your Upholstery from Cracking with Conditioner
If you have leather or vinyl upholstery in your vehicle, over time it can dry out and crack. If you want to avoid such a travesty hair conditioner is a cheap and quick solution.
Simply apply the hair conditioner directly onto the leather or vinyl and let it soak in for five to ten minutes. Then simply wipe off the excess with a cloth. You’d be surprised at how well it prevents cracking!
13. Baking Soda & Dish Soap for Clean Tires
If you’re going to go through the trouble of cleaning your car, it’s important to make sure your tires get the loving they deserve as well. One cheap way to make those tires and hubcaps sparkle is a solution of baking soda and dish soap.
All you need to do is mix a tablespoon of dish soap into one-half cup of baking soda and create a paste. Apply this past to the tires and hubcaps and then scrub off with warm and soapy water. Your tires will look good as new!
12. Slide Your Seats Forward!
What you see is not always what you get when it comes to cleaning your car. While this may seem like a no-brainer, always push your seats forward when cleaning your car interior.
You won’t believe all the dirt and trash that can accumulate in places you can’t see. If you’re going to detail your car yourself, you might as well do it right!
11. Magic Eraser for Sticky Vinyl
They don’t call the Magic Eraser “magic” for nothing. One super simple way to remove sticky substances from your car vinyl is with a magic eraser.
Thanks to its dense foam material and awesome cleaning properties, the eraser will leave the vinyl in your car looking good as new. It’s also great for removing dirt and grease that’s accumulated on the surfaces of your car interior as well!
10. Washing Machine for Dirty Floor Mats
Sometimes no matter what stain remover you use or how hard you scrub, stains and dirt just won’t come out of your floor mats. You wouldn’t believe how much dirt can accumulate in those things. One of the easier ways to get car mats clean is to simply throw them in your washing machine with a strong detergent.
However, we recommend selecting two rinses so you can be sure that the dirt and grime coming out of the mats aren’t left sitting in the machine once they’re done. Believe us when we say you’ll thank us later.
9. Super Clean Windshield with Steel Wool
There’s no need to pay for an expensive detail for a quality clean, you just need to know the best tricks and we’ve got you covered. While washing your windshield with soap suds can remove surface dirt, sometimes it’s just not enough to get the really old and embedded grime that’s left over.
However, steel wool can easily remove what’s left, leaving your windshield looking almost invisible in terms of clarity.
8. Roll Down Your Windows for Full Clean
Do you roll down your windows when cleaning your car? No? We aren’t surprised. Many people clean their car windows without rolling them down, forgetting there’s a good inch or more inside the door that they are missing.
Don’t cut corners! Roll those windows down and give those windows a good clean!
7. Compressed Air Works Wonders
Sometimes dust and dirt can accumulate deep in your car’s air vents, which leads to a block in airflow and a musky smell. A cheap and effective way to remedy this is with a can of compressed air.
The air will clear any buildup, as well as remove dusty and dirty from the vents so you can stay worry-free and cool during the summer months.
6. Microfiber Cloth for Interior Windshield
There’s nothing worse than driving on a sunny day and being bombarded by streaks and fingerprints on the interior of your car windshield.
Thankfully, we have a quick solution: a microfiber cloth. All you need to do is wipe down the interior of the windshield with the cloth and you’ll be streak-free in no time!
5. Cereal Container Trash Can!
It may be tempting to just throw your trash anywhere in the car while driving, but this only leads to stains and other kinds of icky things accumulating in your vehicle. One easy way to keep trash to a minimum is keeping a trash can in the car at all times.
Personally, we love this DIY version that’s made from a cereal container. It’s cheap, small and won’t draw much attention from family and friends. We’ll take two, please!
4. Use Baby Wipes for Between Cleaning Maintenance
One way to cut down on how many times you need to clean your car is in-between maintenance. The less dirt and oil you let accumulate the better. We prefer using baby wipes when it comes to keeping our car interior clean.
They are free from harsh chemicals and are a quick way to wipe down the dashboard, steering wheel, and doors. They also smell really good, so they provide a little bit of an air freshening boost as well.
3. Seat Covers for the Win
If you want to try and avoid cleaning your car seats altogether, you can always select a fashionable seat cover to protect from dirt, grime, stains and pet hair.
While these aren’t 100% in preventing your car seats from getting dirty, they are an excellent way to deter messes. Plus, you can go wild on the designs. Leopard? Hot pink with tassels? Let your imagination fly free!
2. Cooking Spray for Bugs
During the summer, bugs can be a real hassle for your car and trying to keep it clean. Most of us are guilty of ignoring the dead bug carcasses accumulating on the windshield, but the truth is you want to clean them off as soon as possible. Certain compounds that leak from the dead bugs can eat away at the paint of your car–yikes!
One quick and cheap way to remove these crusty critters is with basic cooking spray. Spray down the impacted area with a nice thick layer of your favorite cooking spray (we prefer the olive oil-based at Funnyand) and then wipe the bugs off with a microfiber cloth. It’s really that easy.
1. Organization is KEY
Of course, one way to avoid your car turning into a dirty dumpster fire is keeping things organized to begin with. Whether you want to go all out in terms of organizing or simply keeping a few pouches or boxes for storage, the more you do to maintain order in your car, the less you’ll have to clean it regularly.
Plus, your friends will be absolutely jealous of how amazing your car looks all the time.