40 Car-Cleaning Hacks

a collage of car cleaning tips like using club soda or dryer sheets to remove stuck on material

Cleaning a car is never fun and going to the car wash can be expensive. Let’s not even start with how much getting a car detailed can cost. It’s so much easier and better to save time, money, and energy at home by using these car-cleaning hacks.

If you’re one of those people who like super shiny, sparkly, and spotless cars, then this is the list for you. We’ve put together 40 car-cleaning hacks that are worth a try. These easy solutions are designed to make windows spotless, cars completely dust-free, and get rid of any nasty smells that might be lurking.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on cleaning your car. With all of these alternative cleaning solutions we’re giving you, why would you ever want to? Unless you just don’t want to clean your own car, you’re going to love these cleaning tips.

These tips cover everything from upholstery, hard-to-reach areas, removing stickers, fixing hairline cracks, space-saving solutions, and so much more! Cleaning your car has never been more easy—or fun! Many of these cleaning hacks use items that can be found in your kitchen, so you might not even have to go to the store to find good ways to clean your car.

If you’re interested in finding out a ton of ways to quickly, easily, and cheaply clean your entire car from the inside out, keep reading. Having a car that looks like it just drove off the dealer’s lot is only a few slides away!

1. Toothpaste for Cloudy Headlights

a toothpaste bottle on top of a car headlight

Don’t waste money on expensive headlight cleaning kits, just do it yourself. Grab some toothpaste, rub it all over the headlight, let it sit, and wipe it off. That’s all it takes!

(image via Facebook)

2. Vaseline for Shine

rubbing vaseline into the dash of a car to clean it

Cleaning the interior of your car can begin to seem a losing battle over time. To ensure your car retains its freshly cleaned shine you can simply apply a small amount of petroleum jelly. This small touch can leave a long-lasting shine for less money.

(image via Pinterest)

3. Charcoal Bag for Odors

a charcoal bag in a car to absorb oders

Charcoal is nature’s toxin absorber and is a great tool for clearing gross smells. You can buy a little bag with charcoal chunks already in it or make your own.

(image via Pinterest)

4. DIY Car-Wash Solution

a bowl of homemade diy car cleaner in front of a tire

You can use items you already have in your home for this easy cleaner! Just mix about one-quarter of a tablespoon of baking soda and one-quarter tablespoon of dish soap in a big bucket of water.

(image via Pinterest)

5. Clean Air Vents Regularly

cleaning a car air vent with a cloth

You have to clean out your air vents to truly get rid of dust, dirt, and odors that hide in there. Grab an old toothbrush or a can of compressed air to make this job quick and easy.

6. Vinegar & Linseed Oil Mixture

pouring a jar of vinegar and oil mixture onto leather to clean it

An easy way to quickly get spotless, moisturized upholstery is with linseed oil. Make a mixture of one part vinegar with two parts linseed oil, shake it up, and apply to your car’s inside with a rag.

(image via Facebook)

7. Scrub the Floor Mats

soapy covered car floor mats

It’s important to clean your mats to get out any dirt, debris, and stains that you could track into your house. Just use dish soap and water with a stiff-bristled brush, and everything should come right off.

(image via Facebook)

8. Squeegee Up Pet Hair

a squeegee used to collect pet hair

Everyone who’s traveled with their pet knows that animal hair can be next to impossible to get all the way out of your car’s interior. Just lightly spray the area with water and rub them down with a rubber squeegee. Voila!

(image via Facebook)

9. Sprinkle a Little Cornstarch

a container of cornstarch

Accidentally spilling drinks or food in your car is the worst because those smells and stains are next to impossible to remove. Sprinkle some cornstarch on any grease or oil stains, let it sit for ten minutes or so, and wipe clean with a damp cloth!

(image via Facebook)

10. Roll Your Windows Down

a car covered in soap in the process of being washed

Having completely spotless windows is such a good feeling. To achieve that look when you clean your windows by hand, make sure you roll them down about halfway to get off all the built-up gunk that sits at the top.

11. Mayo for Tough Stains

a cloth wiping the outside of a car with mayonnaise to remove stains

Those horrible, crusty stains on the outside of your car seem to never go away, no matter how many times you go through a car wash. To get rid of them, put a little dab of mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip), let it sit for five or 10 minutes, and wash it off with a clean, wet rag.

(image via Pinterest)

12. Club Soda for Stains

a bottle of club soda sits on the hood of a car with bird poop on the windshield behind the bottle

Even tough stains like caked-on crud on a window and coffee spills on a seat aren’t impossible to get out—even though it can seem that way. Just put some club soda on the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, and then dab it up with a towel!

(image via Pinterest)

13. White Venegar for Windows

a bottle of white vinegar being sprayed onto a car windshield to clean it

Sparking-clean, ultra-clear windows are every driver’s dream. To achieve this, mix a few tablespoons of white vinegar with water and wipe with a newspaper for a streak-free shine.

(image via Pinterest)

14. Razor Blade for Decals

a razor blade removing a decal from a car

This one should be used carefully. A razor blade can be a handy tool for getting off stickers or baked-on stains without leaving behind any residue. Just be sure you don’t scratch up your paint job!

(image via Pinterest)

15. Screwdriver for Small Spaces

a cloth wrapped around the tip of a screwdriver to clean small places in a car

Getting the dirt from those hard-to-reach cracks and crevices can be really frustrating. There’s an easy solution, though. Grab a flathead screwdriver, cover it with a soft cloth, and go to town on those small spaces.

(image via Pinterest)

16. Nail Polish for Crayons

nail polish being used to recolor a scratch on a vehicle

Got a hairline crack on your windshield or the body of your car? Use nail polish to cover the area and seal it up! Make sure you use clear polish for windows and a similar color for the body of your car. This isn’t a permanent solution, but it will stop a small crack from spreading into a big problem before you can get it fixed.

(image via Facebook)

17. Q-Tips for Close Cleaning

a q tip being used to clean the logo on a car steering wheel

This is another great hack for cleaning hard-to-reach spaces. Just get a handful of q-tips and use those to get the dust and dirt out of cracks, corners, and other small places.

(image via Pinterest)

18. Thermal Paper for Crayons

an iron being used on thermal paper to soak up crayons

If you have kids then you know the mess they can make in your car. Crayons are especially bad because they get left behind, forgotten, and melt all over your upholstery. Luckily there’s an easy fix. Grab some thermal paper and iron a sheet over the spot to remove the crayons!

(image via Pinterest)

19. Magic Eraser for Sticky Stains

an image of mr clean drawn in the dirt on a car window

A spilled drink is a recipe for disaster, leaving behind a sticky and smelly mess. If you’ve got a sticky spot to clean up, dip a magic eraser in some antibacterial cleaning fluid, like Lysol, and those spots will come right up!

(image via Facebook)

20. Rubbing Alcohol for Wiper Blades

rubbing alcohol being poured onto a towel used to clean a window wiper

If you don’t want to mix up your own cleaning solution, just use rubbing alcohol on your wiper blades. Dip a cotton ball in the alcohol and rub it on your wiper blades for an instantly clean surface.

(image via Pinterest)

21. Sticky Mats for Loose Items

a phone a key and a coin stuck to sticky mats on a car dashboard

A great way to cut down on clutter is to get some sticky mats in your car. These nifty devices will hold onto your phone, lighters, glasses, or whatever else you need handy while you’re driving.

(image via Facebook)

22. Coke for Rusty Stains

a coca cola bottle sitting beside a car tire

Rust stains can be really tricky to get rid of. One of your favorite sodas, Coca-Cola, can help. Just pour the soda on a rag and rub in a circular motion to get rid of the stains.

(image via Facebook)

23. Gum for Leaks

gum covering a hose inside a car

Do you have a leak in your engine bay? Gum can be a good temporary solution. Just chew up some gum and put it on the leaky area. This will buy you enough time to bring your car to the repair shop.

(image via Facebook)

24. Ashtrays for Phone Docks

an iphone sitting in an ashtray slot

If you don’t smoke, those built-in ashtrays in your car are perfect for storage! Slide your phone in the space for an easy-to-reach storage place.

(image via Facebook)

25. Diapers for Spills

a diaper in a car cup holder

Diapers are great at absorbing liquids—it’s what they’re made for. You can also use them to soak up a fresh spill before it stains your upholstery!

(image via Facebook)

26. Hand Sanitizer for Ice

a key being inserted into a frozen car door handle

No one wants to spend time chipping away at your frozen door handle before work. To quickly de-ice doors and locks, spritz some hand sanitizer on, and it will quickly melt the ice.

(image via Facebook)

27. Newspaper for Stickers

someone removing a sticker from a car window

The stack of registration stickers on your license plate can quickly pile up. An easy way to remove them without leaving a residue or scratching your plate is to leave the damp newspaper on it for 10 minutes, and it will peel right off.

(image via Facebook)

28. Vinegar as an Enhancer

a bottle of white vinegar sitting on the floor of a car and someone wiping up a spill

Vinegar can help boost the power in many cleaning solutions. To get extra spotless upholstery, just add a few tablespoons of vinegar to your favorite cleaning liquid.

(image via Pinterest)

29. Clay Bar for Grease Stains

a clay bar removing grease from a car

A little clay bar can be a big help when it comes to cleaning your car. Rub the clay bar on grease stains to quickly and easily remove them.

(image via Pinterest)

30. Dryer Sheets for Bugs

dryer sheets being used to remove bug residue from the front of a car

Dried up bug splatters are ugly and gross to clean up. If you use a wet dryer sheet to scrub the stained area, those dead bug bodies will quickly disappear.

(image via Pinterest)

31. Replace Air Filters

an air filter being replaced under the hood of a car

Replacing your air filters on a regular basis can help keep foul odors and allergens at bay. Over time air filters will accumulate dust, allergens, and odors that will steadily decrease the air quality over time.

32. Old Shoe for a Cupholder

a starbucks drink sitting in a shoe as if it were a cupholder

It’s incredibly frustrating when you don’t have cup holders or, if you do have cup holders, those cup holders are too small to be useful. Just grab an old tennis shoe for a cheap solution!

(image via Pinterest)

33. WD-40 for Stickers

a can of wd40

WD-40 can be used for more than just squeaky doors! To remove stickers and decals without leaving behind any residue, let WD-40 sit on the area for ten minutes before wiping with a cloth.

(image via Pinterest)

34. DIY Wiper Blade Cleaner

car wiper blades as rain comes down on top of them

No matter how clean your windows are, if you have dirty wiper blades then your windshield will still be cloudy. Mix one part ammonia eight parts water for a good, strong cleaning solution that will remove all the grim from your wiper blades.

(image via Facebook)

35. Baby Shampoo as a Car Wash Soap

baby shampoo being used to clean a car

It’s easy for cars to get covered in dust, mud, and bird grossness. These stains can quickly be removed by using baby shampoo as a car wash soap. Just pour it directly on a washcloth and start scrubbing.

36. Hair Conditioner for Shine

a bottle of hair conditioner sitting on the hood of a car

Getting a wax and buff for your car can be time-consuming and expensive. A cool hack to get a glossy finish to your car is to use a lanolin-based hair conditioner. Just apply it to your freshly washed car, let it sit, and then wipe it off.

(image via Pinterest)

37. DIY Windshield Wiper Fluid

windshield wiper fluid being poured into the reservoir of a car

If you have some leftover vodka, this is a great use for it. Mix three cups vodka, four cups water, and two tablespoons of dish soap for a homemade windshield wiper fluid solution.

38. Lemon & Olive Oil for Upholstery

a bottle of olive oil being held in a car

It’s important to take care of your upholstery to keep it from cracking. If you mix two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice, you have a quick-and-easy homemade solution that will protect your vehicle’s vinyl.

(image via Facebook)

39. Bleach for Shiny Tires

shiny black car tires

Who doesn’t like the look of freshly washed, glossy-black tires? Make a cheap and easy cleaning solution with a tablespoon of dish soap, a cup of bleach, and a bucket of warm water.

40. Sticky Slime for Dust

a childrens sticky goo toy being used to pick up dust in a car

Slime isn’t just for kids! It’s a great way to quickly remove dust and dirt from cracks and crevices. Just knead together with half a cup of regular white school glue, a quarter cup of liquid starch, and half a cup of water for a quick-and-easy slime solution.

(image via Facebook)