Your Car’s Exterior
Make sure you have a good quality car soap. Don’t have any on hand? Do NOT be tempted into using dishwashing liquid as car wash soap – it removes the wax from your finish! Make a quick run to the store for the real thing. It makes a difference! Use one bucket for the bulk of the car, and the second one just for those really grimy parts: wheels, tires, and the lower quarter of the vehicle.
Use a microfiber cloth with a good quality car polish to get those scratches off, and get that paint shining again. (note: Polish makes it pretty, wax keeps the finish protected)
After she’s washed and polished, put some dates on the calendar for regular car wash maintenance. You should wax and/or polish your car every six months or so for best results.
Your Car’s Interior
Vacuum from the top down, so anything that gets loose and falls can be sucked up from the flooring when you get there. Use an upholstery nozzle on all fabric areas, and even include the trunk in your cleanup. Take out those floor mats (if you have fabric mats for the spring, wash up the rubber winter ones and put them away for a few months). Floor mats need a good vacuuming, scrubbing and /or shampooing. Away with the salt and winter crud, hello sand from the beach.
Go the Extra Mile: Clean the area housing your tools and spare tire!
The vacuum’s crevice tool is perfect for cleaning visors and seat pockets, while you should switch to a dusting brush for any plastic, hard vinyl, or metal parts. Careful, don’t scratch anything!
Go the Extra Mile: use an air compressor to blow dirt out of the dashboard.
Use the floor brush for the carpet, of course moving your car’s seats forward or back to clean thoroughly under each.
Shampoo the Carpet
Just like in your home, you can use a good steam cleaner to freshen up the carpeted areas of your car. Tip: rent one and clean your home carpets and your car’s carpeting in the same day.
Go the Extra Mile: clean the seat belts with the carpet steamer, too.
Clean your Leather Trim
You can use products like leather cleaner or saddle soap for the leather on the interior of your car. Just make sure you follow product directions, and be sure to get any excess soap cleaned up – especially in seam areas.
Shine that Glass
Any glass cleaner is fine for the interior windows of your vehicle. A tip: spraying it on the cloth (instead of the window) avoids streaks! And, it keeps it off your upholstery.
Get into Those Crevices
Use an all-purpose cleaner on your dashboard and interior trim. Spray it directly on a clean cloth to keep things neat and tidy. For tight spaces, you can use a damp soft toothbrush, paintbrush, or even cotton swabs.
Go the Extra Mile: Clean seat belt buckles, your glove compartment, and even the change drawer.