Back to Newsroom

How to keep your car clean

These simple tips will keep your car gleaming inside and out.

Keeping your car clean doesn't have to be such a chore

Keeping your car clean doesn't have to be such a chore

When you’re constantly commuting, piling the kids in the back for school pick-ups and drop-offs, or taking the dog for a walk in the park, it’s easy to forget to keep your car clean and tidy.

But before somebody writes ‘Clean Me’ in the layer of grime that has built up on the paintwork, we’ve got some simple tips to help you keep it sparkling inside and out.

Wax it every so often

You might think that waxing your car is next-level maintenance, but it really is quite easy, and dare we say it – satisfying – to buff your bodywork to a showroom shine. Plus, it keeps your car looking cleaner for longer, which is always a good thing, right? Apply the wax with a foam applicator a little area at a time, let the wax sit for a few minutes and remove with a microfibre cloth. Et voila – shiny car!

The two-bucket trick

Unless you’ve been driving your car on dirt tracks or through the Sahara, a quick wash down every few weeks should keep it looking clean enough to the naked eye. Chuck a bucket of soapy water on it, and scrub it down. Then rinse off with a bucket of clean water. A good way of minimising labour is to get a child to do the ‘fun’ scrubbing part while you have a nice up of tea and a biscuit and murmur words of encouragement from a deckchair.

Take one thing away when you leave

Breaking up a big job into small manageable steps is the only way to tackle in-car mess. When you get out of the car, take some rubbish with you instead of leaving it to fester inside. You may not have tackled the true horror of what lurks within, but every little helps.

Clean your tyres

Clean tyres can hide a multitude of sins – even if the rest of the car is filthy, those gleaming black wheels make it look so much better. Get in there with a bucket of water and a tyre brush and give those alloys a wipe, too. Do this semi-regularly and your tyres will stay in better condition, and you’ll be able to keep an eye on your tyre tread depth too. For more information on tyre care, see our guide to tyres and the law.

Take care of the little things

Sometimes cars feel dirtier because of all the grime that collects in gaps and hard-to-reach areas. To deal with that easily, cover a screwdriver with a damp cloth and run it along the rubber window seals, the controls and the vents to get rid of built-up dirt. Clever, eh? It also wouldn’t hurt to give the seats a spray of upholstery cleaner, to get rid of bacteria.

Buy a bin

It’s a simple concept, isn’t it? So much easier than trying to cram your rubbish into the door and the glove compartment, and so much more hygienic than secreting apple cores under the seats and banana skins in the sun visors. Yet very few cars have a bin. Remedy this and you are well on the way to a cleaner car.

Keep safe with some strategic cleaning

Headlights covered in grime and dead flies might dim your beams when you need them most. Likewise, dirt-covered windscreen wipers can restrict your vision when you’re driving. Clean headlights with a glass cleaner and they’ll always shine bright. A good way to keep your wipers doing their job is to add a dash of household bleach to bowl of cold water, clean them with a cloth and dry them with a paper towel before replacing them back onto the windscreen.

Do the shake and vac

Would you vacuum the carpet in your house only once a year? Treat your car(pets) nicely and regularly shake out and hose your mats to get rid of dirt, mud, pet hair and disgusting sticky stuff. Then use a hand vac to banish the bits that lurk in footwells and under seats.

Too busy to clean? We’ll give you a complimentary Wash & Vac every time you get your car serviced with us.

About the Author

Lucy Sweet

Staff writer at Arnold Clark