Let’s face it, sometimes our cars get a little overwhelmed with our busy lives! Many of us spend a good portion of our time in our cars, so keeping them clean and tidy will help add some organization to your busy life.
Let’s Start with the Exterior
When it comes to cleaning the outside of your vehicle, many of us just run it through a car wash. Which is fine, but every now and again you will want to give it a good once over yourself, that way you can look for any blemishes or spots that will need attention later on. You will also get a better clean by hand washing it. If you opt for the automatic car wash, make sure to try to use one that has an undercarriage wash, especially if you are in a climate that uses harsh chemicals on the roadways. Getting those rinsed off will help save the underside of your ride.
Here are some tips to help you streamline hand washing your ride.
- Get the tires clean, use a scrub brush and get in there! Remember brake debris and road grime like to hide in your wheels, plus who doesn’t want clean shiny wheels?!
- Rinse the car off, then use a two bucket method (if you are bucket washing) use one for clean soapy water and one for dirty water. Make sure you use a carwash product that is made for automobiles, make sure to read the label as well to see if there are any limitations on the product.
- Get a good sponge and wipe the soapy clean water mix all over the damp exterior, making sure to get the top and in the fender wells.
- When it is time to rinse, make sure you rinse from the top down , this is a much quicker way than chasing soap all over the car.
- When drying your car, make sure to use a soft microfiber cloth or a cloth meant for this job. It helps absorb the water to prevent water spots as well as helps polish. You can add a wax product now if you want, just make sure to read the label as they all have different application methods.
Now for the Interior
You will want to get everything out of your vehicle before you start cleaning; floor mats, car seats, toys, trash, etc.
- Depending on the type of material your interior is, you will want to find an automotive product that fits your needs. They make leather specific, fabric, shine, or a general cleaning product as well. Just make sure you get the right type for your application. Use that product on your dash, doors, armrests and steering wheel.
- Getting a can of compressed air can help you get debris from the nooks and crannies, or you can use a detail brush.
- If you leave the seats and floors for last, you won’t have to sit on a wet seat or track dirt onto your clean floors while you are working on the rest.
- Starting from the top of your dash down, clean your screens (your vehicle may have come with a cleaning cloth for this), radio, buttons, and anything else until you are at the console where you will clean cup holders, shift knob, etc.
- Now it is time for the seats. Vacuum them to get loose dirt off and to look for stains that may need further attention. Make sure to use a product made for this purpose. The idea is to use as little moisture as possible while still getting the area clean.
- Now vacuum everything! Yes, even the seats you already cleaned, just in case you loosened any debris while scrubbing them clean. Plus it helps them dry.
- Don’t forget the windows! Using a good window cleaner will help you see things a little better here!
- Clean the floor mats that you removed, you don’t want to use a shine product on these, even if they look better with it, because it can get slippery if they get wet again. Same goes for foot pedals, you don’t want your foot slipping off of those!
Now you can put the essentials you removed back into your vehicle, and hopefully, enjoy the cleanliness of your ride for a few weeks!
Tips for Staying Organized
There are many products out there that help keep you organized while in the car. You will want to see what is available for your specific need, such as a cargo area storage bin for the back of an SUV, or a headrest rear seat organizer. All of these types of products help keep things where they should be and off of your floor!
If you have a lot of trash you collect in your ride over time, invest in a car trash can, plastic grocery bag, or a storage container with a lid that can sit in the console or on the floorboard to keep trash contained.
Organize your glove compartment! Have you ever got pulled over and ended up dumping the entire contents of your glove box on to the passenger seat looking for your registration and insurance card? No? Just me?! Get a receipt folio to help keep receipts, registration, insurance cards, etc all readily available.