Is it a jungle in there? Our cars get wild over winter: mud, ice, road salt, empty coffee containers, snack wrappers, and many other things that leave our vehicles utterly filthy. Clean your car as part of your annual spring clean, so it’s ready for all the road trips ahead!
Here is a handy spring-cleaning checklist to rev up your car as clean as new (well, almost).
Your dashboard and console see a lot of action. Start spring cleaning your car by wiping them down with an all-purpose car cleaner—as some household cleaners are not intended for car interiors. Spritz a cleaning rag with an all-purpose car cleaner and wipe the dash, console, inside doors and cupholders. When cleaning, be careful not to get any electrical connections wet!
Vacuum the car seats, the floor and mats. Just remember to clean under the mats too—that’s where dust and dirt collect.
It’s also a good idea to wipe down and wash car seats with hot water and a cleaning cloth. Use a stain removal spray or cleaning foam designed for upholstery or leather, depending on the interior. Select the right one for the upholstery of your car and follow the directions on the product packaging. Discover how to get rid of those really baked-in stains, here.
It’s a different universe under there! Tissues, drinks, that long-lost glove and maybe even some loose change. It’s amazing what you can find under your car seats. Clear them out, then vacuum. Moving the seat backward and forward will increase your access to hard-to-reach places.
A lot can accumulate there over winter! Recycle empty windshield washer bottles, pack away old jackets and generally clear out the trunk, ready to be filled with springtime items like picnic baskets. Vacuum the trunk to get every last crumb and piece of dirt. It’s also a good idea to check your spare tire, making sure it is in good shape.
If you live somewhere that gets cold and snowy from December to March, this section is for you. Driving on winter tires all year long is dangerous. The tread wears down fast, and bald tires cannot grip the road. It also means they are pretty much useless by the time winter rolls around again. Store your winter tires safely in the garage, and switch to all-season tires for the rest of the year. Check tire pressure once they are on.
For aesthetics and safety, use glass cleaner and a cleaning rag or an old newspaper (seriously, it works!) to clean your side mirrors, the rearview mirror and all your windows—inside and out.
From mud to road salt, there is probably a lot caked onto your car’s exterior from driving during winter. Time to give your car a good wash! We like to keep it simple with a bucket of warm water, a sponge and some dish soap. Really work the winter grime out of the crevices, the lights and taillights. Their visibility is vital for car safety. You don’t want clouded or muddy lights.
We are not suggesting to scrub the engine clean as that would be crazy! But it is a good idea to check under the hood once in a while. Remove any leaves or sticks that may have got stuck there and wipe down the edges to remove excess dirt. Also, check your oil.
Put a spring back in your car’s step by treating the exterior to a wax. A liquid or spray wax gives good results when done out of direct sunlight. Do a test patch to ensure it works fine.
These spring-cleaning tips will have your car looking (almost) as good as new! Spring is also a good time to have a full maintenance check at a licensed car repair shop to ensure all is in good working condition. After all, safety first!