Car Cleaning Made Easy: 15 Fabulous Cleaning Hacks

Car Cleaning Made Easy: 15 Fabulous Cleaning Hacks

Car cleaning isn't a job many of us like doing. It's cold, it's wet, it's dirty - it's hardly a surprise most of us put it off until our cars start looking 'bad.'

Although most of us see car cleaning as more of a cosmetic chore, it also has many other benefits.

Regular car cleaning and maintenance is not only essential for road safety, but also our own health.

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It may surprise you to hear that:

In Winter, car cleaning is more essential than ever

car for winter cold
The cold weather takes its toll on our cars.

As winter often means driving in darker conditions, keeping our cars, and car windows in particular, clean is vital to road safety.

Wetter conditions mean rust becomes more likely. Preventing this is key to how well your car can continue to function.

Learn how to maintain during Winter in Collette's guide.

Why cleaning your car is important in Summer

If cleaning your car is really important in Winter, it must be less-so in Summer, right?

I'm afraid not.

While dirt on the outside of your car won't cause quite as many issues in the warmer weather, dirt inside of your car will.

Germs prefer warm environments, so a hot stuffy car is pretty much heaven.

Crumbs and liquids also become sticky in warmer weather, which increases the likelihood of bugs and infestations - yikes!

Our top car cleaning hacks

1. How to clean car air vents

There's a surprising amount of dust and grime hiding inside those air vents.

Don't adopt the 'out of sight, out of mind strategy.' Pick up a can of compressed air and it will make short work of the dirt hiding inside.

2. A Magic Eraser will remove dirt from your dashboard

Magic erasers aren't just magical in the home, they're pretty useful in the car too.

If you have stubborn marks or dirt on the plastic surfaces of your car, a Magic Eraser is just what you need to remove them.

3. An old toothbrush is perfect for cleaning small crevices

used toothbrush car
Old toothbrushes are great for cleaning.

Your car maybe big, but you'll need small tools to clean it really thoroughly.

For tough, sticky stains in small spaces such as cup holders, a toothbrush dampened with some soapy water will really come in handy.

Check out Collette's tips for more exciting ways to use an old toothbrush.

4. Why you should line your car cup holders

Speaking of cup holders, a wonderful way of preventing dirt build-up in the first place is to pop a silicone cup holder inside each one.

This ingenious idea means crumbs and debris are caught and can easily be emptied.

Discover more creative uses for cupcake cases in our other article.


If you want to keep your car clean at all times:


5. Baby wipes should always be kept in the car

Just like anywhere else, accidents can easily happen in the car.

To mop up minor but messy emergencies, we recommend always keeping the car stocked up with baby wipes.

They're surprisingly good at removing stains, not to mention cleaning sticky hands.

Find more unexpected uses for baby wipes in Ansuhka's article.

6. How to remove pet hair from car seats

Cute but cheeky!

Pet hair gets everywhere. Luckily, we have a quick fix.

A rubber glove is perfect for lifting hair in a matter of seconds. Pop one on and wipe it over car upholstery to leave it looking spotless.

7. How to remove bugs from your windshield

If your issue is bug-related, there are two products you probably have at home that can remove them, fast.

Spray either WD-40 or cooking spray onto the windshield and paintwork to loosen bugs, then wipe clean with a cloth.

8. DIY a car bin using an empty cereal container

This is a really genius idea, especially if you have messy passengers!

Place a lined empty, plastic cereal container inbetween the back seats for the whole family to use mid-trip.

With somewhere to put empty wrappers and other debris, there should be no excuses for dirtiness. That's sure to keep your car much cleaner and hygienic.

9. Clean headlights using toothpaste

dirty car headlights
Look at them sparkle!

This may sound a little odd, but toothpaste is amazing at getting your headlights crystal clear.

Wipe headlights clean, then rub toothpaste over them with a cloth. Leave for a few minutes to remove fog and grime, then rinse with water and dry.


Want a car that looks like it's just come out the showroom?


10. How to clean your dashboard

The secret ingredient to super shiny dashboards is hiding in your kitchen - olive oil.

Rub a small amount onto a cloth, and apply to the dashboard in circular motions to lift dust and get it sparkling.

11. Fast-track your way to a clean car using a vacuum

If you've not got long to clean your car, a vacuum will help you blitz it in no time.

Attach the soft brush, and it will enable you to lift dust from inside air conditioning vents, inside cup holders, door compartments, on seats and pretty much anywhere else dirt and debris has settled.

12. Natural ways to clean car wheels

dirty car tires
Have you considered a natural cleaning method?

If you read our blog regularly, you'll know how much we love baking powder.

It's a great natural cleaner for a multitude of surfaces and will work wonders on your car wheels. It's also much less harmful than many of the harsh car-cleaning products you can buy from the shops.

Fancy trying it out?

  • Ensure wheels are cool.
  • Mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part water and a splash of white vinegar.
  • Apply the paste to your wheels with a sponge, scrub with a brush, then leave to sit for 2 minutes.
  • Wash thoroughly to reveal spotless tires.

13. Freshen up car seats at home

As you've already got your vacuum out, you might as well go the extra mile.

Lightly sprinkle baking soda onto your car seats, leave to sit for two minutes before vacuuming clean for instant freshness.

Discover more reasons to love baking soda in our article devoted to the stuff!

14. How to clean slimy windshield wipers

There's no point spending time cleaning your car windows if you forget to do the wipers - they'll soon add a fresh layer of dirt to clean glass.

Clean them using rubbing alcohol before starting on your windows to prevent this from happening.

15. DIY air freshener

red mini
Look at that shine!

Now you've completely cleaned your car, the final flourish is an air freshener.

We don't spend money on such things at Expert Home Tips, instead, we make our own using essential oils.

How to make a DIY car air freshener:

  • Take a wooden clothes pin.
  • Sprinkle a few drops of your chosen essential oil onto the end.
  • Attach to the air conditioning vent in your car.


One of the best ways to keep the interior of the car clean is to keep passengers busy. Discover how to occupy the kids in the car in Colleen's blog post.

Want a recap? Check out our 5 favourite car cleaning tips in the video below.

With our clever car cleaning tips, your car will be spotless in no time. Do you have any of your own to share?


Stephanie C


Lover of all things fashion & foodie...I look to satisfy my tastes without obliterating my budget. Wannabe interior designer, I'm an avid cushion cover maker and charity shop hunter.

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  1. Author Peter on November 3, 2017 at 9:25 am

    In item 12 are you referring to cleaning the wheels or the tyres, as both are mentioned?

    1. Author Stephanie C on November 9, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Hi Peter. This tip is for cleaning the wheels - sorry for any confusion.

  2. Author Anne Watson on November 4, 2017 at 9:20 am

    How can I clean the inside car windscreen without it going smeary please?

    1. Author Stephanie C on November 15, 2017 at 5:20 pm

      Hi there Anne. I would recommend using a clean cloth, wettened and wrung out in some hot, soapy water. Wipe this over the screen, leave for a minute, then use a microfibre cloth to dry it clean. I hope this helps :)

  3. Author Norman Richardson on January 26, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    How can I clean water stains from my fabric seats. Bad car design means that in wet weather when car doors are opened, seats get water on them from the roof of the car.

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 29, 2018 at 10:08 am

      Hi Norman. As these are just water stains, I would imagine they can be easily removed with a sponge, lightly soaked in soapy water. I hope this helps :)

  4. Author Jacqueline Straw on July 14, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    To clean a windscreen without it going smeary use any window spray but use newspaper instead of a cloth to clean it off. This also works on all windows and mirrors of which I have many in my home. Without newspaper it would take forever to clean all my windows and mirrors. Try it it works extremely well.

    1. Author Stephanie C on July 16, 2018 at 4:41 pm

      Hi Jacqueline, We love using newspaper to clean our windows too! Not only is it effective, but it's also a great way to recycle all the articles you've already red. Thanks a lot for sharing this tip.

  5. Author Lary Cook on January 16, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Hey, Stephanie! Is there anyway to fix the old faded plastic look that starts appearing on the dashboard of the car?? Perhaps, a polish or any cleaning method.

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 16, 2019 at 9:37 am

      Hi Lary! The dull fading you're talking about is caused by UV exposure. There are a number of products that'll revive your dashboard, as well as the exterior trims. These include extra-shine treatment sprays, satin effect dashboard wipes, and Turtle Wax's Color Magic.


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