Best Way To Clean Your Car At Home!
Looking for the best way to clean your car at home? Whether you’re looking to restore the body of your car, the inside of your car, or just looking to get a general clean, I’ve got you covered!
Whether you’re a first time or an experienced detailer, I’ll make sure you don’t add more scratches or damage your vehicle further during your washes. Let’s get to cleaning the interior and exterior of your car.
Here’s the proper steps and the best way to clean your car at home:
- Wash the outside
- Polish and wax the exterior
- Remove the floor mats and scrub
- Vacuum and scrub the interior
- Clean door panels and general dashboard
- Wash and wipe down windows
- Clean your seats
- Remove Odors
With the cleaning process outlined briefly, let’s get to cleaning!
Clean Your Car In Shade Only!
Make sure you always clean your car in a cool and shaded area. Otherwise you have your cleaning products dry out too quickly or burn into the paint causing damage.
Exterior And Interior Car Cleaning
I was browsing the web and noticed a lot of the content regarding this subject was only focused on the inside. The outside is also a crucial part of your car so we’re going to do the whole job today!
Before we get started though, here’s what you’re going to need:
- Microfiber towels or microfiber cloth
- Upholstery cleaner, dash cleaner, glass cleaner or window cleaner
- Seat cleaners (for leather seats or cloth seats – whichever you have)
- Detailing brushes or a spare toothbrush
- Sponge or wash mop with bucket of water
- Car washing soap
- Wet Vacuum or extractor
My Recommended Cleaning Products:
I use these exact products myself to get the best shine ever! If this guide helped you out at all, consider supporting us by hitting the images below the next time you buy!
Cleaning The Outside Like The Pros!
Let’s get started with cleaning the outside. When you clean the body of the car, make sure you are only using clean water and take your car to a shaded area.
Washing the outside is the simplest, we’re not going to go into detail (pun intended) on how to remove scratches and whatnot, just a nice simple car wash.
Rinse the vehicle down and then grab your mop or sponge and some soapy water and get to scrubbing! The reason you rinse it down first is to remove any surface debris.
That way when you go in for your deep clean, you don’t push any dirt or grime further into the paint, as this causes scratches.
Pro tip: Use separate buckets for the best results, one for rinsing, one for cleaning
Start at the top and work your way down when washing and rinsing.
Do one panel at a time and rinse as you go. An example would be to wash the roof first, then rinse it. After that wash the driver side door, then rinse it. And so on and so forth. If you you’re looking for a recommend soap, I like Mr. Pink by Chemical Guys or their Hydro Suds (I usually use the Hydro).
Pro tip: Only use automotive grade cleaners, household cleaners may damage your paint.
Don’t forget to spray out all the nooks and crannies to blast out all of that dirt and grime.
When you get done washing the vehicle, rinse your car down, and dry it off using a car towel to prevent wet spots and then give it a wax job. You can let it air dry too but your risk of water spots is much higher.
In terms of waxing, I’ll have a guide on that soon too. Your car needs a protective barrier though to repel dirt and grime. Whether you use a wax or ceramic coat, your car requires a layer of protective coating for maximum protection!
Let’s get back to our car care by moving on to the interior!
Clean Your Car Interior Like A Pro!
Removing The Dust And Dirt
Inside your car is a little more difficult to clean. There’s tighter spaces, and a lot more ground to cover. Grab your cleaner to clean the inside of the vehicle and let’s get started.
Start by removing the floor mats from your car’s interior. Set them aside and grab a vacuum.
Time to Vacuum
Vacuum the surface of your vehicle’s carpet to remove any surface dirt. Remove trash and debris while you are vacuuming as well so you don’t have to deal with it later. Once you vacuumed up the dirt and crumbs we can use a brush to clean your car’s carpet.
Use a brush from here on out to clean the interior of your car. Once you’ve got your brush to clean with, clean the car carpet using a carpet and upholstery cleaner or interior cleaner made for automotive carpet.
Using vertical and horizontal motions, use a moderately stiff brush to really work the product into the carpet. Make sure you get in any small crevices and focus on any stains while scrubbing.
Pro tip: Your carpet is prone to germs and bacteria when it gets wet. Get it damp, but not soaking wet for the best results.
When you’re done with your cleaning, follow back through with a wet vac or extractor and suck up any remaining moisture and detergent. Your carpets should now look pretty darn clean. Take your time and it might take a pass or two to get the job fully done.
If your flooring is still pretty wet, blot dry it with a towel, leaving your carpet too wet encourages mold growth with bacteria. Not good stuff.
How Often Should You Clean The Interior?
You don’t need to perform a deep clean every time you want to clean your interior. I always say, keep your car in mind, and follow these steps every other month. You do not have to clean your car’s interior every week to keep it looking good, you can but it isn’t necessary.
Keep your car’s interior in good shape frequently and this will save you a lot of hard work in the future.
Clean The Console And Dashboard Too!
The dashboard and console need to be cleaned as well. Keep your microfiber cloth dipped in some cleaner or spray some cleaner onto your microfiber towel and work it into the panel and dash. You can use any pattern you want just make sure you remove any dirt and be very careful not to spray any product directly onto the dash.
Pro tip: The major reason why you should apply the cleaner to a towel is so you don’t get overspray. You also don’t want too much cleaning product sliding down between your radio buttons or climate controls. This can damage them and cause them to no longer work.
Start in a small test area first and apply the cleaner to your rag. Overspray can get your on windshield and other area you don’t want it. I’ve had some cleaners become a nightmare to remove from the windshield because I didn’t know this back in the day.
When your done with your cleaner, follow back through with a dry and clean microfiber towel to remove any residue.
Don’t Forget To Clean Floor Mats And Steering Wheel!
Scrub your floor mats down and use a cleaner of your choice on them. I like the Mothers VLR for this as I usually use a plastic/rubber floor mat. Once you’ve scrubbed them and applied a cleaner, we have just 2 small things left to do!
Almost Done With The Inside Of Your Car…
From here all you have left tackle is the seats, glass, and odor removal. Take some glass cleaner and apply it to your towel. Work this into your interior windows and use the crevice at the bottom as your guide. Work your way around the entire inside of the car, if you need some tips on how to clean the inside of your windshield, I have a guide on that as well.
Use the upholstery cleaner you had earlier and lets move onto your seats. Use a scrub brush (soft bristle) to scrub your seats down with upholstery cleaner or leather cleaner depending on what you have.
Whether you have leather or cloth seats, don’t ever skip out on cleaning them. Leather gets dry, brittle and cracks and needs to be cleaned and moisturized frequently to keep it in good shape.
Cloth seats on the other hand absorb moisture and stain incredibly easy. Make sure you clean the seats often and frequently with your interior.
Odor removal is a double edged sword kind of. To keep your car interior clean properly, you need to keep things organized, remove dust and dirt, and make sure you clean often. When we spill food or drinks in our vehicle it attracts a nasty mildewy smell.
Using a air freshener or my personal favorite is Ozium. You set this off in your car and it removes any odors from your vehicle. It works great and is very cost effective.
Make sure you clean your air vents as well, they make a detailing brush kit that I recommend to help you get in those hard to reach areas of the vents.
A Nice Clean Ride!
I’ve hope you enjoyed my tips to keep your vehicle clean. You now know the best way to clean your car at home! If you have any other tips or want to help other readers/users, feel free to leave a comment below! I love to see the feedback! Here’s some FAQ to wrap up with! Thanks all!
Q: What is the best method to wash a car?
Wash from top to bottom using an automotive grade soap, never use dish soap to wash your vehicle. Between wash cycles rinse your mitt or sponge often against a grit guard to remove any contaminates.
Q: Can I use Dawn to wash my car?
You should never use Dawn dish soap to wash your car. While you technically can, Dawn dish soap removes the protective wax from your vehicle leaving it exposed to the elements.
Q: What kind of soap can I use to wash my car?
Any automotive grade detergent. I really like the Chemical Guys Hydro Suds, or their Mr. Pink car wash.
Q: What products can I use to clean the outside of my car?
Contrary to what Kelly Blue Book states, use only automotive grade detergents, washing in rubbing alcohol or dish soap is going to strip the wax and do more harm then good over time.
Q: Can I use baking soda to clean my car?
Baking soda actually can come in handy when removing stains but that’s about it. Baking soda or activated charcoal are some solid ways to help remove stains. Try it in a small area first to make sure no reaction occurs.