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25 Car Cleaning Hacks To Get Your Ride Looking Fine

Updated 4 months ago on April 2, 2020
By Lifehack Lane

Cleaning anything can be an absolute chore but cleaning your car can be the worst because it doesn't stay clean for long, the interior has all these nooks and crannies and sometimes it can seem like an impossibility to clean them all.

However, here we have a few cleaning hacks to help you out the next time your car needs a shine up so pay attention and we'll have it looking tip-top in no time.

Click Next and find out what the car cleaning hacks are.

1. A Little Bit of Bleach Can Make Your Wheels Look Great

Hub caps are always a pain to clean as they pick up so much grime, oil and the like from the roads but with a bit of elbow grease and some bleach powder you can work wonders on them.

If you spray the caps with a disinfectant spray like Lysol and sprinkle bleach powder over the rag, a bit of hard scrubbing with the said rag will then see your caps shine up nicely.

2. Brush Up Your Vents

Air vents very rarely get cleaned and clog up terribly for it but due to their slatted nature, they are extremely hard to get at. However, if you get foam brushes from your local hardware store they can slide right in and pick up most of the dust and debris that collects there.

It's pretty important to clean your vents and filters actually because if mold gets in there it can cause respiratory problems. Another great way of cleaning them out is to use the compressed air cans that are often sold as keyboard cleaners.

3. Toothbrushes and Q-Tips are Great For Detail

A lot of people who want to detail their car often end up splashing out on expensive detailing kits and tools whilst many more just leave them to save the hassle but with a bit of determination and a simple household item, it's pretty easily done.

All you need is a toothbrush that can use its bristles to get into all those tight cracks and crevices and you've saved yourself some serious cash. For interior detailing, try a Q-tip to get to hard to reach places as it is softer than the bristly toothbrush.

4. Toothpaste For Misty Headlights

New headlights can cost an absolute bomb but all too often this is what people do when theirs become misty without realizing there is a simple solution.

It would seem that bathroom products are also useful on the car as if you cover your headlights with toothpaste (especially a whitening one) it can help really clear them up. Spread the paste all over the lense then just give it a really good scrub.

5. Oil Away Embarrassing Bumper Stickers

Ever bought a second-hand car with bumper stickers that profess a love for a dubious political party or slapped a bumper sticker on your own car only to regret it some years down the line?

Well, turns out that penetrating oil, such as WD-40, can lift that really stubborn glue used on these stickers right off. Just spray the sticker with it, let it soak in for a while and then peel it off.

6. Clay Works WOnders For Bodywork

If you are looking for a way to shine up your bodywork on the cheap then a clay bar may be just the thing.

It picks up dirt and grime and also leaves a shiny finish so saves on any expensive cleaning work if you'd rather do it yourself.

7. Make Your Own Washer Fluid

We would always recommend buying washer fluid for your car but if you are in a pinch in an emergency, you can always make your own.

Mix three cups of grain alcohol with four cups of water and then add two teaspoons of dishwashing detergent.

8. Coke For Coin and Chrome Scrubbing

You can clean up old and valuable coins nicely by dropping them in a glass of Coca-Cola overnight and leaving them as the dirt gets dissolved and you can then just polish them off.

The acidic compounds help break down any oxidized rust and so are great in the use of polishing up chrome or nickel and can even be used on old car parts.

9. Keep Nail Polish Handy

Regardless of whether you polish your nails or not, it is a good idea to keep a bottle of clear nail polish in your car.

This is in case a pebble chips your windscreen, you can fill the crack with it and it won't grow any further until you reach a garage to get your windscreen replaced.

10. Magic Erasers Are Great For Interiors

If you have grubby or stained seats, magic erasers re really great for returning them to a clean and tidy condition.

Get them slightly damp and scrub at your interiors and the stains and dirt should lift right out.

11. Use Vaseline On Rubber and Leather

Although using vaseline on rubber and leather sounds like you might do in an S&M situation, it is also really good to stop your leather seats cracking as it holds in moisture.

If used on rubber seal on doors and windows, it will also stop them freezing in the winter.

12. Squeegee The Upholstery (for pets owners)

This is particularly useful if you have an animal you allow in the car as dog/cat hair can get stuck in the upholstery and is murder to get out.

However, if you use a small spray bottle of water and a squeegee, you can pull it out of the upholstery by sweeping along the chairs after spraying them lightly and then just pick up the clumps you've collected together.

13. The Best Ways To Remove Bumper Bugs

Dead bugs all over your car can be gross and really hard to get off once they've dried on but there are a couple of techniques to getting them off. One is dryer sheets and a bit of water where, if you dampen the sheet and rub gently, they should come off nicely.

Another is cooking oil spray, like Pam, which will soften them up and make them easy to wipe off.

14. Remove Smells With Baking Soda

Some upholstery can really hold onto smells for quite a long time and that can be pretty unpleasant.

Baking soda is a good remedy for this and if you sprinkle some all over any soft furnishings and spread it over the seats, leave it for a few hours and the vacuum up and your car will be odor-free.

15. Wipes For Windows

Are you forever getting streaks on your windows when you wash them or have you been a situation where there has been a mess on them whilst on a journey?

Keep baby wipes on you and they will clean the windows easily and streak free.

16. Hair Conditioner Beats Wax

If you want to get that nice shiny finish on your car but don't have any wax, turn to a product that you use to get a nice, shiny finish on your hair.

If you use a conditioner with lanolin in it, put it on a shammy and buff away and it will have the same effect as car wax.

17. Cupcake Molds For Cup Holders

Cup holders are great if you like a coffee on a long drive but they also get super gross because they are hard to get your hand into to clean out.

If you pop a rubber cupcake mold in them though, they can be shaped to fit, will still hold your drink and then will pop right out to be cleaned. Genius!

18. Steel Wool On The Windshield

This may sound counterintuitive and we wouldn't recommend doing it regularly but windshield glass is incredibly tough and scratch resistant so if it is in a state, take some steel wool to it and give it a going over.

Don't scrub too hard but if needs be, don't worry about giving it some effort.

19. Buff Your Dash With Leather

Leather is really hard to clean but if you use olive oil on it, it will buff up nicely and you only need a tiny bit to do so.

Use olive oil and a rag and rub it on the dash in circles. However, bear in mind you may have a car that ends up smelling like a pizzeria.

20. Rubbing Alcohol On Wipers

Wipers are notoriously hard to clean as you think you've done the job and then they leave streaks all over your windshield when you next turn them on.

However, if you rub them down with some rubbing alcohol you should notice (or more to the point, not notice) the results.

21. Dig It Out

When Dirts Gets Into the fascia of the dashboard and other nooks and crannies, it can be almost impossible to get out but by using a screwdriver, you can dig it out quite easily.

However, you run the risk of scratches or damages if you slip so if you cover the end with a cloth or rag, it should be much softer on the car whilst still giving a point to dig dirt out with.

22. Old Socks Make For Great Cleaning Tools

An old sock can be a great cleaning tool as the material is really good for picking up dirt and the elasticated nature of them means they can change shape and fit over other items. For example, if you spill anything in a cup holder, put a sock over a travel cup and use it to absorb the liquid.

They also make for great and inexpensive shammies at the end of their life as an item of clothing.

23. Homemade Air Freshener

If you don't have an air freshener or find their smell too strong or disfavorable, why not make your own?

All you need is some essential oils to your taste and a wooden clothes peg. Soak the peg and then clip it to an air vent for your own, homemade, air freshener.

24. Have A Car Trash Can

Forever picking litter out of the car? Why not keep a trash can in there? 

Seriously, it may sound odd but it keeps all the litter, cans and packaging in one place and you can easily empty it in one go. Just get a small one and put it in a footwell and you are good to go.

25. Use Silicon Gel To Clean Between Buttons and Vents

Silicon gel can be a godsend for cleaning crumbs, dirt, and dust out of awkward places as it is sticky and can be shaped and molded to fit.

Silica gel will lift it right out and is stable enough to stick together and not leave any sticky bits or residue over your car.

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