Is your car gross on the inside? No judgment from this mom of three. I get it!
I can clean it myself, and my kids trash it. I can pay to have someone else clean it, and they still trash it. I eventually hit a point of total defeat.
However, we all know if we want things to last, we must take care of them. Our cars are no exception, and we all know they aren’t cheap investments.
If you’re looking for a few simple ways to keep the interior of your car clean on a budget, I’m going to share a few ideas.
Here are the few car cleaning hacks I use to clean my car without breaking the bank (because we all know it’s going to get dirty again!)
Before we get started, here’s our warning:
Be sure to read all the warning labels on the products you use to make sure it won’t damage your car in any way.
In the event your experience turns out differently from mine, I must state we aren’t responsible for any damage which may occur to your vehicle, yourself, or any machine you use during the cleaning process.
1. Ditch the Trash
My friend and I were talking about our kids and cars the other day. She was telling me how every time her van door opens in the carline, trash falls out.
She jokes with the lady in the carline and embarrassingly says, “Oh, would you mind simply tossing those back in here?”
We all laugh because we know our cars have been in similar shape at one time or another. The first one of the car cleaning hacks on a budget is to move the seat, open the trunk, and dig through every area of your car to remove the trash.
You’d be surprised how opening your car doors and not having trash fall out can boost your confidence!
2. Dry Dusting Does the Trick
There was a time (before kids) I’d spend all kinds of money on specific products to clean the dash in my car, or I’d pay for someone else to clean my car.
There are two problems with this now. First, I don’t have the time to take my car to have it cleaned. It’s become a luxury these days.
Secondly, I refuse to spend money on cleaning products for my car when in reality, it’s going to be dirty after my kids ride in it more than twice.
I love my children, but they’re some of the messiest people I know (no matter how much effort I put into trying to change this.)
Instead, I carry a dry hand towel around with me. When I begin to see dust pop up in my car, I pull it out and do quick dry dust.
This may not be perfect, but it keeps me from having to stare at dust while I’m driving down the road, and it cost me nothing to do.
3. Pull Out the Paint Brush
When you have a little extra time, pull out the paintbrush. No, I’m not suggesting you paint your car. Instead, use the brush to get into the deep creases of your car.
The paintbrush will slide easily into your air vents, consoles, and other compartments. Brush all the dirt out of those areas.
When the dirt is out, if you’re near a vacuum, suck it up. If not, try to use the dry towel you dusted with to gather as much of the dirt as possible and discard it.
4. Magic Erasers are Your Friend
I discovered Magic Erasers when my youngest was about 2 years old. He found a crayon one day and every time I turned around this particular day, he’d found a new wall to color on.
I had red crayon all across my living room wall, his bedroom wall, my bedroom wall, and one of his brother’s walls too.
I tried all of the tricks to remove the crayon with no luck. Finally, someone suggested a Magic Eraser. I hadn’t tried one before but after this particular day, I was hooked.
They work wonderfully in a messy car too and are another excellent car cleaning hack. If you have vinyl seats or your dash is vinyl, it can come in handy.
If you have anything which is extremely sticky, the Magic Eraser can come in handy with removing it.
5. Toss the Floor Mats in the Washer
Do you have carpeted floor mats? Isn’t it frustrating how great they look when you buy your car but over the years they look gross?
Well, I’m in the same boat. When I bought my car, I loved the lighter interior. Over the years, we’ve had our go-rounds because the lighter the interior, the more dirt it shows.
Instead of battling the dirt, consider applying an all-purpose cleaner to your rugs and tossing them into your washing machine.
Anytime a machine gets to do the scrubbing for me, I’m game.
6. Don’t Throw Away Your Old Toothbrushes
Instead of tossing your old toothbrush into the garbage, consider putting them to work on your car. Toothbrushes are great for scrubbing vinyl because the bristles are soft enough so it shouldn’t scratch. Yet, they’re able to reach into tight spaces.
Also, if you get crumbs stuck in the creased part of your seats, use a toothbrush to help brush them out. Once they’re out, be sure to use a napkin or a vacuum to remove them fully from your vehicle to keep them from getting stuck again.
7. Olive Oil… for Your Car
If you have leather seats, you may be aware they’ll become dry and cracked over time. If you’d like to keep them conditioned, don’t use harsh chemicals on them.
Instead, apply a light coating of olive oil to them. This should help them remain soft and also help avoid cracks in them as well.
Dab a small amount on a soft rag. Rub the rag over the seats and wipe dry. I’d give them time to dry prior to sitting on them to keep the oil from staining your clothes.
8. Windex Works Wonders
This is a funny story. I discovered how useful Windex was while watching the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
The running joke in the movie is if you have a problem, put Windex on it.
Well, I had a stain on a rug one day and desperately needed it gone. I thought of Windex and applied it. Would you imagine it pulled the stain from the rug?
I’ve applied it to pet stains, and it’s removed both the odor and the stain. When my car’s carpets started having stains appear on them, I pulled out the trusty Windex. It worked well for removing individual stains.
9. When All Else Fails Rent Heavier Equipment
Let’s say your car’s carpets are a mess. They’ve been stained for years, and you haven’t had the time to address them.
Well, don’t worry. Most grocery stores have carpet cleaners you can rent for the day. They’re usually affordable and are perfect for cleaning your car’s carpets.
I’ve had to do this because my light interior became too dirty for even Windex to touch. It’s better to routinely clean the rugs with a rug cleaner to ensure they stay clean.
If you don’t, the carpet will get out of hand and make your car look much worse than what it actually is.
These are my car cleaning hacks to keep your car clean on a budget. Hopefully, they’ll help you feel better about the car you drive and the care you provide to it.
I know many people swap cars regularly at this day in time, but remember, cars are an expensive investment. If you take care of them, they’ll last for years to come.