How to clean your car: a guide to interior and exterior care

Owning a car comes with great responsibility.

Not only must you always drive with due care and attention when on the road, but you must also ensure that the car is fully roadworthy. Taking it to a professional mechanic or performing regular car maintenance yourself.

Then, of course, there’s the small matter of trying keep your car like new also.

After all, driving a vehicle covered in dust, dirt, or mud not only damages the engine’s paint, it can also be embarrassing. Especially when some prankster takes it upon himself to write ‘clean me up’ in the residue.

While many people choose to have their car serviced professionally cleaned, this is an expense that can quickly add up over the course of a year.

So for those who want to keep costs to a minimum but still want their vehicle to be spotless, here are our recommendations on how to clean your car inside and out.

Follow this guide to interior and exterior care and cleaning, and your engine will always maintain a look you’ll be proud to drive.

How to clean your car’s interior

For some people, cleaning their car is just making the exterior look pristine.

However, for hygienic reasons, it is very important to properly clean and disinfect the interior of the vehicle as well – not least because the risk of COVID-19 still prevails.

All cars have an interior consisting of various fabrics and upholstery, as well as vinyl panels, carpeting, floor mats and rubber window seals.

While they will undoubtedly add to their appearance and overall quality, they also attract germs, stains, dirt and bacteria and therefore need to be cleaned regularly. Here’s how you do it.

First – Arrange the car

The first thing you need to do, when cleaning your vehicle’s interior of course, is to get all the junk out of it. Be sure to look under the seats, in the cup holders and in the glove box.

Once you have done that, you should remove the car’s interior from its floor mats, seat covers and other removable car accessories. Wash them with suitable cleaning products and let them air dry.

car roof

You might not notice it while driving, but after a while most car roofs tend to get pretty dirty.

Fingerprints or smudges from palm prints can mark your material and therefore give it a very shabby appearance.

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To clean it like this, you will need to vacuum or wipe its surface, depending on what material it is made of.

Stains can be wiped off with a soft cloth and recommended shampoo or soap, depending on the fabric. Just make sure you don’t saturate the ceiling.

Applying a disinfectant spray to a clean towel and wiping the ceiling should also eliminate bacteria or germs.

Mirrors, windows and windshield

After a while of driving, most parts of your vehicle’s glass tend to become dusty, cloudy and smudged. Which can become dangerous regarding your line of sight.

It is therefore essential to regularly clean these surfaces.

The best way to do this is with a microfiber cloth and a special glass cleaner, as this will keep you from scratching the glass.

When cleaning the windows, first clean the rubber seals with a damp cloth soaked in soapy water and dishwashing liquid. Then roll them up to clean any dirt or grime that has accumulated on the edge of the panel.

Once you’ve done that, roll them back up to clean up the rest.

You can also clean the rear view mirror and interior windscreen by first removing dust and then wiping it off with a soft cloth and window cleaner.

Door panels and dashboard

While the material of door panels and dashboards varies between cars, as a rule of thumb, you should always use a cleaning brush or cleaning cloth to remove debris first.

After that, you can do a deep clean by just dampening a microfiber cloth with disinfectant spray and giving it a thorough but gentle wipe.

Be sure to clean all parts of the door and dash panels, including armrests, door handles, and speakers (if you have them).

Cup holders and air conditioning outlets

Over time, cup holders and air conditioning vents tend to accumulate a lot of dust. The former can also become stained or sticky as a result of spilled drinks while driving.

The best way to remove them is to wipe them with a cloth soaked in soapy water.

Once the stains and grime are removed, be sure to rinse the area with a damp cloth.

Since the air conditioning vents are a little harder to reach, you can use a toothbrush or brush to get the dust off.

Steering wheel, center console and gauge

Since the steering wheel, center console and gauge are the most touched parts of your car, this means they can be hotbeds for bacteria.

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So you will obviously need to pay special attention to cleaning these areas.

The best way to get rid of the germs and viruses that reside there is with an EPA-registered disinfectant as well as a good microfiber cloth.

However, for a really thorough cleaning, be sure to use cotton swabs, as this will allow you to get into hard-to-reach places like the knobs on your sound system.

On the meter, use a cleaning cloth to remove dirt and dust particles, then wipe it with a damp microfiber cloth sprinkled with glass cleaner.

Seats and upholstery

Whether your car’s upholstery is leather, suede, or vinyl, it needs to be vacuumed.

To do so, you should use the respective suction head to collect dirt and dust from its surface, without damaging it. You will also need to use cleaners specially formulated to remove stains.

When cleaning the seats, pay special attention to crevices and seams, as this is where significant levels of dust can accumulate.


Carpet is another area that will need to be thoroughly cleaned and vacuumed.

First, use a good quality carpet cleaner to get rid of any mud stains, spilled food or drinks, and dirt stains.

Then use the relevant attachment head to vacuum the vehicle. Be sure to vacuum under the seats as well.


Having made the effort to clean your car’s interior well, the last thing to do internally is to make sure it smells good too.

Sometimes bad odors can linger in your car, especially if there are leftover food or wet towels after a day at the beach.

To get rid of them, simply sprinkle baking soda on the floor and seats and leave it there overnight before vacuuming the next morning.

To match its pristine appearance, this should ensure your car smells wonderfully clean too.

How to clean your car’s exterior

No matter the make and model of your car, if mud, dirt, grease, oil, dust, tree debris, or the aftereffects of heavy rain are left on the paintwork for too long, it can result in damage. 🇧🇷

Because paint can be expensive to repair properly, it’s important to regularly wash your car’s exterior. Once you’ve found a suitable place to wash your vehicle, here are the best ways to do it.

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Fill two buckets of water

The first thing to do is fill two separate buckets with water.

One will contain a mixture of warm water and car soap, and the other will contain clean cold water that will be used to rinse the sponge.


The wheels are a good place to start, as this is where a lot of dirt, mud, and grime collects—especially around the tires, fenders, and hubcaps.

You can wash this area thoroughly with a hose to remove debris. Although it is also worth using a sponge and water from a bucket of soap solution to properly clean the hubcaps and mudguards.

The body

When washing the car body, be sure to soak it well with a garden or electric hose to rinse off all the dirt and grime.

Once you’ve done that, you can apply the soap solution to the bodywork with a clean sponge – cleaning every surface, including the doors, hood, trunk and windshield.

Be sure to start cleaning from the top first, as this will clean up all the dirt as it runs off.

If you find particularly stubborn bits of dirt or grime, you can use a microfiber cloth, chamois, or car glove to remove them.

After washing it well with the sponge, you can give the car another thorough rinse with fresh water to remove any soap residue or dirt.


To allow you to drive more safely, don’t forget to clean your headlights well too. This will allow them to shine brightly at night – without the darkening effect of dirt or grime build-up.

You can clean your headlights very effectively with toothpaste and a microfiber cloth.

Keep wiping in a circular motion until it looks as clean as a whistle.

final thought

So there you have it! Our tips on how to clean your car’s interior and exterior effectively.

While it might be quicker to go to a car wash, nothing beats the satisfaction of driving a gleaming vehicle that you’ve cleaned yourself.

All you need is to use the right cleaning products, a few hours of your time and follow the steps outlined above!

Other than that, the only other option you have is to upgrade your car to a new one. What can you do if you Click here🇧🇷

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