By Kevin Loria of Sterilite Corporation
It’s finally come to this. The cup holders are caked with who-knows-what. There is a layer of crumbs completely covering the carpet, and there’s a thin layer of film that coats the windows. It’s time once again, to clean the car. It is a task that no one looks forward to, but can surely be rewarding when done right. With a few easy tips that I’ve picked up, you’ll fly through your cleaning process and not spare a detail to get you to that new car smell once again.
Going from obscene to clean in seven easy steps:
- Wash your car mats – Take your car mats out and toss them in the washer. Doing this first allows them to wash while you do the rest of the car so you can take them out when you’re done. Lay them out in the sun for an hour or so afterwards, and pop them back, fresh and clean into your car.
- Vacuum while you dust – Take a small brush and a vacuum cleaner and as you brush off the dust built up in vents and on the dashboard, hold the vacuum up to it. The vacuum will suck up the dust that is brushed off, to keep it from falling on the floor.
- Clean those cup holders – Start by taking out the change that I’m sure has accumulated in there over time. Then grab some dish soap, water and a wad of paper towels. Mix the soap and water together and dip the wad of paper towels in it. Then twist the paper towels around the inside of the cup holders for a fresh, clean look.
- Use Magic Erasers – Magic Erasers work great to scrub out anything caked onto your vinyl or carpet. Just gently rub it on the stain and watch it come right out. Be careful not to scrub too hard though, you could damage the fabric.
- Hair-Be-Gone! – Fill up a spray bottle with water and grab a squeegee. Spray the bottle on the upholstery of the car and then wipe it with the squeeze. Any hair will accumulate into manageable clumps. For those of us with pets, you will be amazed how much hair will come up. Once the hair is wiped into clumps, you just have to run it over with the vacuum!
- Don’t forget the details – Take a toothbrush or a flathead screwdriver and go through all the creases, nooks and crannies of the car to get out the built up dirt. Go through it with a vacuum after and pick it right up. It’s important to get every detail to get that car really feeling new again.
- Finish with streak-free windows – The following mixture can be used to wash your windows and leave them streak free. I used the Sterilite 10 Quart Spout Pail to mix it all together:
- 1.5 gallons water
- 1 cup Rubbing Alcohol
- 1/2 cup ammonia
- 1 tbsp dish soap
Once mixed, take a cloth or car washing brush and wipe down the windows of the car thoroughly. Rinse it off with water afterwards, and it will dry to a clean even shine all by itself.
Now just like that you’ve got yourself a sweet clean car. You can finally drive around with dignity again, feeling proud of a job well done. Now the trick is to make sure you keep it clean. To keep those cup holders clean, try putting reusable cupcake liners in them. When they start to get dirty, you can just throw them in the wash and put another set in. I love that new car smell but I hate having to always buy new air fresheners. What I do instead is take a piece of felt and cut it into some fun shape. (Typically symbolic of the sent I will use) Then I punch a hole in it and put a piece of twine through it so it can hang from the rear view mirror. Next, spread a few drops of an essential oil of your choosing on the felt and voilà! You now have an easy DIY air freshener. My last tip for you all is when going on trips where you need to have food out in the car try using a shower caddy. The Divided Ultra™ Caddy is ideal for holding food and drinks in the car, so the mess falls in the caddy instead of the floor.