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It’s spring. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing and it’s time for spring cleaning. I look forward to shaking off the dust and dirt of winter each spring with a thorough deep cleaning of my home and car. I spend so-oooo much time in my car in the spring and summer traveling and sitting at kids’ sports practices and games, so having a cleaner car is important to me. I don’t want to be trapped in the small enclosed space of my car with a winter’s worth of dust, dirt and grime. Over the years, I’ve wrestled with how to spring clean your car and have discovered 6 tips that work for me.
I knew I’d done a great job of spring cleaning my car when my teen daughter got into the car, paused and said, “Hey, mom, the car looks great. And it smells good, too.” When my teenager notices, I know I’ve made a big impact.
The secret to a thorough spring cleaning of your car is gathering the right supplies and choosing a nice day when you can allocate at least an hour to cleaning.
How to Spring Clean Your Car
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Vacuum attachments – crevice nozzle and dust brush
A bowl or bucket of water
A bowl or bucket of all purpose cleaner
While I was out running errands in preparation for spring cleaning, I popped over to Walmart to grab everything I needed for cleaning, including Fabuloso® all purpose cleaner. I found it on a special end cap near the cleaning supplies. I picked up the Lavender Fabuloso® because lavender is a calming scent and goodness knows, that this busy mama could use a calming environment while driving (and driving and driving) and waiting (and waiting and waiting) at sports practices. I also brought home the Limited Edition Spring Bloom Fabuloso® cleaner because it has a fresh, spring-like scent and I’m so very happy that spring is finally here!
Step 1 – Vacuum the dashboard, doors, console and any other surfaces other than the upholstery and carpet
Step 2 – Use all purpose cleaner to wipe down plastic or metal surfaces
I add a tsp of all purpose cleaner to a large bowl of water. I also have a second bowl of water for rinsing. I use a cloth to wipe every surface down with cleaner and then wipe the surfaces well with a second cloth dipped in water. I clean from the top down and leave the door wells for later. I often have to change out the bowls of cleaner and water a couple of times.
Step 3 – Clean the seats
Vacuum all the upholstery. Use the crevice tool to get down into the back of the seats. Clean up stains with a soft cloth and water. For more stubborn stains, check your car manual for cleaning recommendations.
Step 4 – Vacuum the carpets
Remove the floor mats. I shake them out first and then vacuum them well. Vacuum in one direction first and then vacuum in the other direction to remove all the debris. I often find it helpful to just use the vacuum nozzle without any attachments.
I then vacuum the carpet inside the car. I like to use the crevice tool to get into hard to reach spots. Here again, I find it most effective to use the vacuum nozzle without any attachments on the carpet.
I take everything out of the trunk and vacuum it well. I know the trunk is clean when I can see vacuum lines in the carpet (and it makes me very happy). I then return only the necessary items to my trunk (how did all those extra things sneak into the trunk?!)
After I’ve vacuumed all the carpet, I use my bowl of all purpose cleaner and wipe down the door wells where grease and dirt collect. I rinse these surfaces well with water and then dry them with a paper towel. Taking the extra few minutes to clean this area seems pointless until your daughter’s beautiful prom dress is marred by brushing against her friend’s car door. (ask how I know!)
Step 5 – Clean the windows and mirrors
I’m always surprised at how much dirt and yuck I wipe off of the inside of the windows and the interior mirrors. I’m ecstatic at how much clearer my windows and visibility are.
Step 6 – Add your own car freshener that costs pennies
Instead of purchasing a car freshener, I just make my own. Start with a repurposed plastic berry container. The smaller berry containers are the perfect size. I use a couple of paper towels and all purpose cleaner. I choose a cleaner with a fresh scent, like the soothing lavender Fabuloso® all purpose cleaner I used to clean my car.
I simply add a few drops of cleaner to the paper towels, fold them up and place them inside the cleaned berry container. I put the container under the front seat of my car. Voila! My nice clean car will continue to smell clean and fresh for days. When I find that the scent is lessening, I just add a few more drops of fresh smelling cleaner.
Every time I’ve jumped into my car this week to rush off to another activity, I’ve actually paused for a moment to enjoy my fresh smelling and beautifully clean car. Really.
More spring cleaning ideas
My favorite Tips for a Clean Car Interior in No Time by taking advantage of time spent waiting at kids’ sports practices and activities.