You're cleaning out your car wrong

Don't be a slob

Credit: Getty Images
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As winter comes to a close, the spring showers have finally washed off the dirt on the outside of your car. It’s just too bad they can’t clean out the inside too.

For me, cleaning out my car is up there with making my bed and folding my laundry as three of the most miserable tasks I have to do from time to time.

It’s a lengthy and sometimes strenuous process, but there’s not many better feelings than getting into a car that looks and smells like new. Of course that only lasts until I drop a few McDonald’s fries and some ketchup in between the seats, but the point still stands.

So while there are no real tips on how to expedite the process, here’s how to do it right and a few products that may make it easier along the way.

Step 1: Get rid of the junk

Remove all the clutter, trash and virtually everything else from the car. For me, that includes empty Gatorade bottles, straw wrappers, clothes, notebooks, old broken chargers and piles and piles of change.

Set the change aside to buy yourself a sandwich or some candy after cleaning, but make sure all the trash in your car is disposed of and that everything you don’t need is gone.

Step 2: Vacuum

Whether you use a shop vac, your household vacuum, a dust buster or anything else, get every single piece of fluff, crumb, french fry, gum wrapper, penny that looks like it could be flattened gum or other dirt and grime on the floors (and ceilings) of your car.

Start with the ceiling and work your way down, removing floor mats so you can get under them, getting in crevices between seats and getting the seats themselves. Leave no cup holder unvacuumed.

Also, wash the floor mats in whatever way is required, be it hosing them down or using a special cleaner.

If you’re looking for a vacuum, we have our list of the best shop vacuums and a list of the best handheld and car vacuums to make sure you find one that works for you.

Step 3: Clean the seats

CarGuys
Credit: Amazon

Whether leather or a different fabric, find the appropriate cleaner for your car seats and clean and vacuum them one more time.

For leather seats, make sure you use a conditioner after otherwise the seats will crack. Most cars will have products you can use to clean the seat listed in the manual.

You can also use stain remover to get out the really tough stains, while a tip from one of us here at Reviewed is to use a toothbrush and a mixture of vinegar, water and baking soda especially when cleaning stains out of nylon seat belts.

For a do-it all cleaner, though, we recommend the CarGuys Super Cleaner.

Get the CarGuys Super Cleaner on Amazon for $16.99

Step 4: Clean the console/dashboard

Microfiber Cloth
Credit: Amazon

I’m guilty of letting dust settle all over my console and dashboard. If the button is unused, there’s dust. If someone were to put their feet up on the dash, they’d pick up some dust.

You can use household cleaning spray and a rag or car wipes for this, but start with the cleanest spots and move to the dirtiest so as not to drag grime across your dash. A simple microfiber cloth should work wonders on all surfaces in the car.

Get all door pockets, cup holders and the steering wheel as well before moving to the buttons and nobs. To get into further detail or get tough grime spots, use a toothbrush once again.

Get a pack of AmazonBasics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths on Amazon for $11.98

Step 5: Clean the inside glass

Windex
Credit: Amazon

Using a circular motion with a rag and some Windex or other glass cleaner, wipe down all the windows last to make sure you get all of the dirt and dust off.

Once done cleaning, polish with a clean rag to eliminate streaks.

Get Windex on Amazon for $3.09

Step 6: Air out the car

Get all the funky smells of gym socks and old food out of the car along with the overpowering smell of the cleaners you just used by airing it out.

If weather permits, pop all the doors (preferably in an area with little pollen, though an open garage will do fine) and let the seats especially air out.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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