Many people spring clean their house, yard and garage but your car also needs a thorough clean. Here are some clever car cleaning tips for spring.
Clean Out the Big Stuff and Organize the Rest
The more people you have riding in your car on a regular basis, the more dirt, trash and miscellaneous items you are likely to collect. Clear away winter items you might keep in your car, like a snow scraper, snow boots or an extra winter coat. Invest in car organizers including storage cubes or seat covers with storage pockets on the back.
Give the Exterior a Thorough Washing
Once your car is neat, tidy and organized, you want to give the exterior a thorough washing. If you live in a snowy area, pay attention to the undercarriage, salt and other substances can rust your undercarriage over time. For this, you can wash it at home or take it to a car wash.
Before you vacuum, give your carpets a through brushing with a stiff bristle brush. Don’t forget to push seats all the way back and all the way forward to get everything underneath them. Vacuum the seats and all the crevices around the center console. Most vacuums come with a wide variety of attachments that will help you get into all the deepest nooks, crannies and crevices. Spray the floor mats with a stain remover and throw them in the washing machine. They will come out stain-free.
How to Remove Salt Stains on Carpets
• Fill a spray bottle with a solution of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water
• Spray the solution on salty areas just enough to dampen carpet and let it stand for a few minutes
• With a clean, dry rag, gently dab the wet spots – don’t rub. You want the cloth to absorb the salt, not smear it
• If the rag gets too wet, it won’t absorb the salt and vinegar, so switch it out for a dry cloth
• Once the spot dries, the salt stain should be gone. If you can still see it, you can repeat steps 2 through 4.
Give all of your windows a thorough cleaning inside and out. Use a commercial glass cleaner with paper towels or vinegar and a wadded up sheet of newspaper. When you finish washing your windows, top it off with a coating of windshield treatment to keep your glass spotless all through the summer.
Give Seats a Thorough Cleaning
Depending on your upholstery, there are many different types of cleaners you can use. For leather interiors, use leather cleaner and for cloth interiors you can use a carpet shampooer. For vinyl, you can use a cleaner or you can just use soap and water. Quickly clean away pet hair by dampening the seat with a spray bottle and using a squeegee to gather all the pet hair and brush it away.
Tips, Tricks and Cleaning Hacks for All the Hard to Reach Surfaces in Your Car
• Use cotton swabs or foam paintbrushes to deep cleaning air vents
• If cotton swabs or foam brushes just aren’t working, use compressed air
• Use a magic cleaning eraser sponge to clean stains off vinyl and plastic
• Coffee filters are great at absorbing dust
• Clean away sticky messes in cracks & crevices using a toothbrush
• Use a toothbrush with some leather cleaner to clean the seams on leather seats
• Wrap a soft cloth around the head of a flathead screwdriver to get into the crevices
• Polish your dashboard with a soft rag and some olive oil
Clean Your Headlights
Dirt and grime that accumulates on headlights can make them dull and dim, making it harder to see. A great way to clean your headlights is to apply a thin layer of toothpaste. Let the toothpaste dry and then polish your headlights with a clean, dry, soft rag or towel. Your headlights will gleam brighter than your pearly whites.
Clean Off Your Battery
The interior and exterior of your car aren’t the only things that need cleaning; clean the battery terminal as well. First, remove the battery cables.
When working with batteries, you always want to wear protective eyewear to protect yourself from any contact with battery acid. Loosen the battery cables by turning the battery end nut counterclockwise with a battery cable wrench. Remover the negative cable first and then the positive cable. Clean the terminals; mix baking soda and water and dab on around terminals. Then, pour a small amount of water on the paste. The baking soda will bubble ferociously, cleaning the terminals. You can also do the same thing for the cable ends. Scrub the corrosion off the terminals with a stiff brush, preferably wire, but a toothbrush will work just fine. Scrub all around the terminal inside and outside of the cable end. When you’re finished, rinse the battery and cable ends thoroughly with water.
Let dry and prepare for reconnection. Dry the terminal and cable ends with a dry cloth, but you also want to let them air dry completely. You want to be sure they are thoroughly dry before trying to reconnect them. Before reconnecting, smear a bit of petroleum jelly around the terminals. This will allow a charge to still be conducted through the terminals, while preventing corrosion in the future.
Reconnect battery cables. Connect the positive battery cable first, and then repeat with the negative.