A busy work and home life can leave very little time for cleaning your car. As a result, many of us turn to expensive car valet services and specialist cleaning agents.
But keeping your pride and joy in showroom condition is probably easier than you think. With just a few clever cleaning hacks, your car can be kept clean and presentable at all times.
1. WINDSCREEN CLEANING MADE EASY
The most important thing you will ever clean on your car is your windscreen. Dirt, grime and dead insects can make a windscreen very dirty indeed – and leave your field of vision on the road severely restricted.
But you don’t need to head to the nearest car wash every time your windscreen needs attention. Keep a small bottle of cola in your car, and pour some directly onto your windscreen when your field of vision becomes restricted. To protect the paint on your car’s bonnet, place a towel at the bottom of the windscreen to catch the cola as it runs down. The cola should cut through grime and bugs relatively easily, and you can then rinse it off with your screenwash.
It’s also a good idea to keep a razor blade in your glove compartment – particularly if you drive in the country a lot. A good blade can be very effective at scraping away dead bugs that other cleaning methods can’t shift.
2. REMOVING TREE SAP AND BIRD DROPPINGS
There is very little you can do to stop birds doing their business on your car. And if you have to park under trees, sap can also pose a problem for your car’s bodywork.
But don’t worry, as just a little WD-40 should be enough to remove these unwanted substances from paintwork. Spray a little on the affected area, and leave it for around 10 minutes. Rinse away with some warm, soapy water, and your car’s bodywork should be restored to its former glory.
3. MAKING YOUR CAR SPARKLE WITH THE MINIMUM OF EFFORT
It’s the age-old question that many car owners struggle with: ‘What should I clean my car with?’
Cleaning a car rigorously without scratching it is not always simple. A chamois leather or a sponge may be kind to your car’s bodywork, but they don’t always perform well on stubborn dirt and dried insects.
Instead of paying professionals to clean your car, use an old pair of tights for the job. They are great at removing dirt, insects and bird droppings without scratching bodywork – and they’re also good for polishing paintwork after cleaning.
4. REMOVING UNWANTED ODOURS FROM INSIDE YOUR CAR
The inside of your car is just like the inside of your house; strange smells will develop unless you take preventative measures to stop them. Unfortunately, the constant procession of wet and dirty shoes in the average car makes some odours – particularly those emanating from carpets and mats – inevitable.
One way you can quickly combat bad odours in your vehicle is to place an open bag of charcoal inside it overnight. Charcoal is great at absorbing odours that prove impossible to remove through conventional cleaning methods.
5. CLEANING YOUR HEADLIGHTS
Even the most powerful car washes often fail to clean headlights effectively, which can mean the road ahead is not as well lit as it should be at night. But you don’t need expensive cleaning agents to restore the power of your headlights… just a little toothpaste.
Use a microfibre cloth to spread white toothpaste liberally across the entire surface of each headlight. After a few minutes of contact time, rinse it off with a little hot, soapy water. Just one coating of toothpaste can make your headlights crystal clear again.
6. CLEANING YOUR DASHBOARD
The vinyl, leather or plastic of your dashboard can become exceptionally dirty over time. And this problem might also affect other areas of your car that are made with these materials, including door interiors, panelling and seating.
When dirt embeds itself deep into the grain of these areas, some detailed cleaning is necessary. And you can achieve fantastic results by using a toothbrush. Fill a bowl with hot water and dishwashing liquid, and dip your toothbrush into it. Scrub the areas of your dashboard and car interior that can’t be cleaned with conventional cleaning methods.
And if you want to finish things off in style, polish your dash with a little olive oil for a smooth, glistening finish.
7. REMOVING HAIR, DUST AND DIRT FROM UPHOLSTERY
Bang the palm of your hand on the front passenger seat of your car. If you see a cloud of dust fly up into the air, it’s time to clean. Hair, dirt and dust can cause serious problems for people with allergies and respiratory problems – but these things are not always immediately obvious when you assess the upholstery in your car.
You can pick up the vast majority of dust, dirt and hair on your car’s upholstery by using the detachable unit of the Shark Lift-Away Light True Pet vacuum cleaner. And to get rid of the more stubborn dust, dirt and hair, you’ll need some steam power.
The Shark Lift-Away Professional Steam Pocket Mop comes with a window squeegee attachment that is surprisingly effective at cleaning car upholstery. Your seats won’t be left drenched afterwards, as this highly efficient cleaning tool emits the optimum amount of water for cleaning. Just make sure you can leave your windows open for at least two hours afterwards – to give your seats time to fully dry.
Keeping your car in showroom condition doesn’t require expensive cleaning agents and professional cleaning services. These clever hacks – and your constant vigilance – should be enough to keep your vehicle in tip-top condition.