I don’t live in the car, never have, never will. I also never really allowed my children to eat in the car, except on road trips, which made it easier to keep the car clean. Not eating in the car is something that has worked for me and my family, but instead of having crumbs in my car, I have receipts so it cancels out right? Anyways, after I’ve turned into the crazy receipt lady, I usually determine it’s time to clean the car and I have some quick and easy tips for you.
5 Minute Tips to Clean the Car
Sometimes five minutes is all I have to clean the car before I embarrass myself when I’m giving someone a ride. That’s when I usually
- Grab a grocery bag and clear out the trash
- Take a damp cloth (water) and wipe away visible grime
I don’t always do all three, but getting the trash out will make a huge difference. And if your cup holders look nasty or you forgot to get the stuff out of those, simply close it to hid the mess. My next favorite thing to do is to wipe away the dust on the console and near the door handles. Those two areas always see the most grime and need a good wipe down every one in a while anyways.
10-25 Minutes to Clean the Car
In addition to my five minute tips to clean the car, if you have just a bit more time, you can do more to detail your car like:
- Vacuum the floor, the big chunks
- Quick vacuum of the seats
- Wipe down the seats
*The level of clean you will get and how quickly it gets done is up to you. I can do a quick surface clean on most of these tips in about 15 minutes which will dramatically improve the appearance, but leave enough that I still need to deep clean the car later.*
Someone I know likes to collect empty water bottles on the floor of the car, just in case we have a zombie apocalypse and need to stop to fill them up in a river. Not really, but there’s still and unhealthy attachment to them; get rid of the water bottles so there’s nothing kicking around anyone’s feet.
When you vacuum the floors of your car, move the front seats all of the way up like in the picture above, so you easily get all the way under the seat. This is by far my favorite tip because I can also get my vacuum nozzle into the pits of despair and reclaim the money or pens I’ve dropped down there. For your limited time, focus on getting the big chunks off of the floor and seats.
Pick up any nasty goo on your seats with a lightly damp cloth (water), or with an appropriate leather cleaner. This will also pick up some of the stubborn dust the vacuum left behind.
25-50 Minutes to Clean the Car
This is where you can really detail your care and make it as good as new. In addition to everything else mentioned, try to:
- Remove floor mats to vacuum and spot clean
- Wipe down rubber seals
- Detail high and low traffic areas
When I’m in a hurry and want to do a quick vacuuming, I don’t remove the floor mats and usually miss some crumbs. On days that I detail the car, I remove them, thoroughly vacuum, and treat problem areas. If your car mats are very dirty, take them to the car wash and power wash them clean with the hand sprayers; just be sure to rinse all of the soap out with plain water.
What rubber seals? The ones that keep the wind out on the doors; those never get cleaned unless you do it or you have your car professionally detailed.
Use a soft cloth and water to remove any dirt and grime lurking on and around the seal. I like to see, even when the door is opened, that all surfaces are clean. Cleaning the car door seal can help make your car smell cleaner as it can help remove some lurking odors.
Detailing the inside of the car is tedious, but well worth it. I like to use pre-moistened cleaning cloths for this part, but you can also use a damped cleaning rag too. Use your fingernails, an old credit card, or a toothbrush to clean the seams in the seats, near the gearshift, cup holders, and door handles. Taking the extra time to remove micro dirt and dust from these areas will really make your car feel new again. I also recommend to take the time to disinfect the plastic parts of the dash, door, and seat belt to make your car healthier too.
Those crumbs in the seats drive me insane, however, the upholstery attachment on your vacuum should be able to pick up most of those, if not, use a toothbrush to get them out.
After doing all of these tips and tricks to clean the car, it feels like new again and nothing is better than rocking out in a clean car.
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