How to Clean Your Car Perfectly?

Saturday 25 February 2012, 15:52 PM by Payal Pathak

Most of us have car cleaners or drivers to clean our cars. They make our cars shine but some of the ardent car lovers simply make it their own job to clean their cars. Even if you do not clean your car, you can definitely keep few notes to run a check of events that should take place while your vehicle is cleaned.

Let’s break up cleaning of car into easier parts – Exterior, Interiors and the Engine.


All the glitters may not be gold but is certainly glamorous. Your car should definitely be a glam-model for you. Heads are sure to turn when a sparkling shining car swoosh’s by.

How to Clean Your Car Perfectly? |

Car Wash

  • You can begin with washing your car regularly. Even if you can get someone to clean your car daily with soap and water, it is a good idea to take a personal look at least twice a month. There are certain foreign matters, like bird droppings, mud stains, limestone dripping or even tree fruit droppings that often leave permanent stains. So many car owners have frowned on their car’s exteriors after the festival of Holi!
  • When the car is clean, the moisture on the car evaporates quickly but when it is dirty, moisture tends to accumulate for longer spells. This means that there are more chances of developing corrosion on your car if your car often remains dirty.
  • Just because you get your car cleaned every day does not mean that it does not need pressure wash. Take your car to a good car care or car wash station, which can clean the car with pressure jet at difficult to reach places. Do not pressure-jet on paint too close, it may peel off loose paint but you should definitely check places like inside wheel arches, under the bumpers, behind mouldings, under the car, around the wheels, etc.
  • You should also remember to clean the dirt near the windshield. If the dirt around the wind-shield is left unattended, wipers tend to pick these dirt particles while operating which may scratch the windshield in the long run. Not many people take care of cleaning the area at the foot of the windshield as they do not realise the long term repercussions.
  • Chamois is one of the best kinds of leather to dry wash your car. If you can use it to wipe your car occasionally, it lends a shining gleam to the exteriors.
  • If you need to clean the wheels, it is always better to use a spray. It can reach hard-to-reach places. The car wash can usually take care of the mud and salt stuck on the inside but using a spray is a more aggressive approach in daily routine that can keep your wheels shining.
  • If you have plastered tints on your glass windows from car care, then stay away from ammonia cleansers. They will ruin it however, factory fitted tinted glass remain unaffected.

Car Wax and Polish

  • It is always good to have a good car wax and polish done on the exteriors. It helps in keeping the shine for long and also helps retaining the original paint.
  • Good coating also prevents the car from small scratches and tiny chip offs.
  • While removing tiny scratches from bushes or may be a narrow encounter, always clear the area with a small sand paper. You may dust off the foreign matter and in the end put some liquid wax to fill the scratches. Wipe with a small soft cloth and allow it to dry on its own.


Interiors of the car need to be as shiny as the exteriors. Cars are often smelly after long drives and inconsistent cleaning. This is especially true in case of diesel models which tend to have a typical smell after long stretches. Keep vacuuming your car very often to keep the interiors clean and dust free.

  • Vacuuming the Car
    • Take out all the matting before you start to clean your car from inside. It always helps to reach you under the floor and enable you to clear foreign matter, mud and litter under the mats.
    • Vacuum your car thoroughly including the floor, under the seats, sections between the seats, arm rests and head rests.
    • Your vacuum should have different variants of nozzles to reach the insides and insert into close corners.
    • Remember to use the blower in the vacuum to blow away foreign matter and the smell of interiors especially during summers.
  • Cleaning the Dashboard
    • All plastic, metals and various gadgets tend to accumulate dust so wash everything with soap and water. Don’t try it on the dashboard! You may lose your precious music system or something even worse. J
    • Use vinyl moisturising wipes to clean small areas on the dash board near the music system, AC knobs etc. You can also use the soft brush on the vacuum cleaner to clean the dashboard knobs.
    • It is always best to use a moist cloth to clean the knobs with your own hands slowly which allows you to clean small areas. Fine lines of the music system or turning knobs are best cleaned with the help of ear buds.
    • Just put dry-polish, rub it gently and then just wipe it with soft cloth occasionally to keep it shining.
  • Cleaning Seats and Mats
    • Use a good upholstery cleaning agent to remove stains. You can get these cleaning agents at the petrol pumps or at any of the car care shops. Spray the cleaning agent and rub vigorously. Wipe with a damp cloth afterwards and allow it to dry. Remember to smoothen it with a soft cloth when completely dry.
    • Clean the carpet mats in the similar fashion if they have stains. If you have rubber mats, you can wash them in the beginning when you take them out and allow them to dry under direct sun while you clean the exteriors and the interiors. They will be ready to be placed once you are finished with your car. A soft laundry detergent can also work on the carpet mats to remove the mud-stains etc.
    • If you have carpet mats, it is always good to vacuum and wipe with a damp cloth rather than washing them thoroughly with water. It may lead to corrosion or mould smell in the long run.
  • Cleaning the AC vents
    • If you find a typical odour from the air-conditioning vents, you can go in for local odour treatment at the car care shops. Cleaning the vents and spraying outside air-intake vent to remove the musty smell. The spray will also kill bacteria and remove the mould smell in the vents.
    • Also, get your air conditioners drain tube checked. A clogged or chocked tube along with accumulation of dust, leaves under the cowl cover can also result in mildew smell. This results in unpleasant smell from AC vents, whenever the AC is turned on.

Cleaning the Engine and Under the Hood

The engine bay is usually an array of wires and mechanical stuff. Although, you need not be an expert in cleaning under the hood but you can begin with checking the water levels of the radiator or that used for the wipers.

Cars in high humidity areas tend to rust more than those in dry areas. It also means that crucial parts like brake systems, etc. can easily corrode and rust under salty conditions or humid climate. It is always advisable to have rust-proofing and under-coating done in your car. Rust proofing helps to prevent corrosion of brake systems and other crucial parts of the machinery that lie underneath the car.

If you have never cleaned your engine area, you can begin with blowing off the dirt with the blower. Refrain from using any water around alternator, air filter, carburettor, coil and similar components. Wipe it clean with a soft cloth where you find oil stains or grease.

Remember to put a plastic sheet under the car when you begin cleaning any grease or mud. Scratching dirt, grease and oil will lead to spilling on the floor and can leave permanent oil stains on your drive way or your car park area.

Refrain from using any solvent based cleansers to clean under the hood especially engine. It may lead to fire. Clean the cowl area to clean any debris, leaves or dust especially beneath the wipers.

Most of the people are not trained to clean under the hood but regular cleaning can definitely keep it clean even if not sparkling and shining like a new car.

Tiny Tips

  • Keep two soft cloths for wiping the exteriors. This way you will not leave any wet trails on the glass or the paint.
  • Let the car dry on its own under a shady area after you have cleaned your car.
  • Always park your car in such an area, where you have enough space to move around. This way you will be able to clean hard-to-reach areas.
  • Assemble all accessories or any materials in the car at one place before you begin to clean. Taking them out as you keep cleaning the car will make your surrounding area cluttered. If you take out everything in the beginning, then in the end you will be able to find everything at one place to put back into and sort out the clutter as well.
  • Kids in the car usually leave the car very messy. Ask them to take out things as they hop off. This will help you maintain a disciplinary order in the car.
  • Most of the drivers keep shoving small slips, highway receipts, and petrol receipts in the front. Clean your glove box, ash tray, side pockets, dash board pockets, etc. occasionally.
  • If you often go on long drives or commute long distances, keep a small trash bag or polythene bag in your car. You never know when they come in handy.
  • Keep small non-gel toothpaste in your glove box. They help you to remove stains instantly in case you accidently spill something in the car. Wipe a little toothpaste on the mark and wipe it with a soft damp cloth.
  • During rainy season, replace your carpet mats with cheap set of rubber mats. Some may try to put them upside down but water and mud can always trickle down.
  • Do not spray cleaning agent or water in the interiors. It may not dry completely and may lead to corrosions in the long run yielding a typical smell inside.
  • It is always handy to keep tissue box or paper napkins in your car.
  • Keep some emergency numbers along with details of your car registrations, insurance number in a small booklet or a paper. If your car has road assistance program number, make sure you carry all the details of it.

With this Do-it-yourself Auto guide, we wished to inform you the detailed procedures of keeping your car in the best condition possible. In case you have something to share about the same, please feel free to post it here and let other readers learn from it.

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