Spring cleaning tips and tricks for your car

On the Road 3 min read

Spring cleaning season is almost here, and you may already be running around frantically trying to shake off the last vestiges of winter as the weather warms. While your home or office might be a priority for the spring cleaning madness, one place you shouldn’t neglect to clean is your car.

Winter months can be hard on your car, both inside and out, so it’s important to give it a bit of extra TLC once the spring months start. Here’s a guide to getting it back in shape!

Swap out your cabin air filter

We all know how important it is to change out the air filter under the hood, but a lot of people neglect the cabin air filter. Usually located behind the glove compartment, this overlooked piece filters pollen and other contaminants out of the air that your air conditioner blows into your cabin. When was the last time you changed yours?

If you can’t remember the answer to that question, it’s definitely time to change it. They tend to get most clogged during the spring and fall months, when the plants and trees are working overtime to churn out pollen, so if you notice poor air flow from your AC or a weird smell, it could be a sign your cabin air filter needs to be changed. Speaking of smells, an in-car air purifier can also help de-stink your interior.

Refresh your carpets

If you live in a snowy climate, you probably just spent the past few months tracking through slush and salt during your commute. Chances are your carpets and floor mats are covered in unsightly white salt stains. Thankfully, these stains only require one extra step and you probably already have everything you need to clean up your carpets stored in your kitchen.

Your floor mats might also benefit from a power-wash, but make sure you let them dry completely before putting them back in your car.

De-fuzz your seats

Humans shed a bunch, and this includes hair. Add children or pets like dogs and cats to the equation, and your car probably looks a bit fuzzy on the inside. Much more so than when you first bought it. In theory vacuuming should work, especially if you have a slender attachment to reach into the crevices. But we know this isn’t always the case. The fibers on the seats and carpet floor mats like to hang on to hair fibers no matter how long you stand there with the vacuum or what attachment you use.

Put on a pair of rubber gloves — good ones, like the ones you do dishes with that have grippies on them — then rub your hand across the seat or carpet. MAGIC.

I can see clearly now, my windshield’s clean

One part of the car that usually gets overlooked during a deep cleaning is the window and windshield glass. Skip the household glass cleaners, though, especially those that might contain alcohol or ammonia. These chemicals can damage the rubber seals around the glass and ruin your window’s tint.

Your best bet would be to pick up a good glass cleaner designed for automotive use, as well as a microfiber towel. The former will be safe to use in your car, even if you’ve got tinted windows, and the latter will help you get a good, clear shine without leaving behind fibers to cloud up your vision.

Get new wipers

There is nothing worse than getting caught in an April shower with old wiper blades. Wiping away snow and ice during the winter months is hard on your wipers. You may find they’ve cracked or dried out, and are not able to clear your windshield as effectively.

Replacing your wipers is a quick, easy and usually inexpensive way to ensure you’re ready for whatever Mother Nature decides to throw at you during the spring months.

Brush your … headlights?

Cloudy headlamps are an inconvenience at best and a road hazard at worst. If you haven’t gotten around to cleaning your headlights, spring cleaning season is as good a time as any to get started. If you’ve got plastic headlamps, all you need is some toothpaste.

Toothpaste with baking soda is just abrasive enough to clean the gunk off your headlights without damaging the plastic. Note: If you’ve got glass headlamps, you will need to use a different substance, since toothpaste won’t be abrasive enough to clear the fog.

Wax on, wax off

Now that you’ve gotten rid of the last stains of winter from the inside of your car, it’s time to shrug off the salt and snow that might have left their mark on your car’s exterior. Take the time to really scrub and detail the outside of your car. Pay special attention to your rims and the undercarriage. These areas catch the brunt of winter abuse, so cleaning them up makes your car look better while preventing rust.

Don’t skip your car when that spring cleaning bug bites you. It won’t take much time, but it will definitely leave your car looking better for seasons to come.


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