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Freshen Up With These Easy Car-Cleaning Hacks

The changing of the seasons is the perfect opportunity to check in on your vehicle. Before you get down to business cleaning the interior, let the pros handle the not as fun — but necessary — part of maintaining your vehicle. Schedule a routine maintenance visit with the Certified Service experts at your local dealership to get a tune-up and check the condition of all the belts and hoses on your vehicle. You’ll especially want to make sure you get your vehicle prepped if you're planning a road trip.

Here are six budget-friendly DIY car-care ideas that will leave you and your vehicle feeling fresh as a daisy.

  1. Crystal clear windows

  2. Mix a solution of equal parts tap water and distilled white vinegar to get a streak-free shine on all your windows. Spray, scrub and wipe away the dirt. Spritz the cleaned window with water and dry. To avoid lint, use a microfiber cloth, newspaper or clean coffee filters.

  3. Spotless seats

  4. Pet hair and crumbs stick in crevices and cling to cloth seats. Get in the habit of brushing your cushions regularly with a rubber squeegee or silicon dish scrubber to collect clumps of hair and the remains of last week’s snacks. If your upholstery is starting to smell unpleasant, sprinkle baking soda on your seats, then let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming it up. Tuck a dryer sheet under the seat or in a side-door pocket to help keep odors away.

    To remove smudges from leather seats, put a bit of baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub gently. Rinse the area with a clean, damp sponge and buff with a dry cloth.

  5. Dazzling dash and doors

  6. Avoid using alcohol- or ammonia-based cleaning products on your dashboard or doors, as these can wreak havoc on the materials. Instead, fill a spray bottle with a diluted 4-to-1 mixture of warm water and a gentle shampoo and spray it on a soft microfiber cloth. For those hard-to-reach places like air vents or around door handles, use a damp sponge paintbrush or cotton swab. To touch up between cleanings, wipe your dash with a dryer sheet to help pick up and prevent dust.

    Pro tip: Owners’ manuals often recommend how to clean your car.

  7. Noticeably neat nooks and crannies

  8. Don’t let the grime stuck around your instrument panel or door handles stress you out. Gently press an electronics-safe cleaning slime on dirty areas and watch with glee as the debris lifts away. And since kids love slime, you may be able to enlist their help with this task.  

    Pro tip:  It’s a good practice to test all cleaning products you use on your car in an inconspicuous area first.

  9. Incredibly clean cupholders

  10. If your cupholders are coated in crumbs or sticky residue, spray them with the soapy cleaning solution you prepared for your dash and doors. Let it soak in for a few minutes, then use an old kitchen sponge to scrub away the gunk. Spray again and dry with a microfiber cloth. Drop in an easy-to-clean silicone cupcake liner to keep your holders tidy and looking fresh.

  11. Flawless floor mats

  12. Floor mats often get the brunt of day-to-day life and see the most dirt in the vehicle. Shake them out and vacuum to get the crumbs, dirt and dried grass off. If you have all-weather mats, you can spray them down with a hose. Use your warm water/shampoo mixture to wash the mats using a scrub brush or toothbrush. Rinse and let the mats dry all the way before placing them back in your vehicle. For carpeted floor mats, mix a solution of two parts water, one part vinegar and a splash of dish soap, and work into the area with a cloth. Rinse clean.

    Pro tip: Drop in an easy-to-clean silicone cupcake liner to catch debris and keep your cupholders tidy.

Ready to take it to the next level? Check out five more tips for showing your car some love all year round.

Elizabeth Ygartua
By Elizabeth Ygartua, GM Financial

GM Financial's Elizabeth Ygartua is an eighth-generation Texan who never knew she needed a truck until she drove the GMC Canyon.


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