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Top 25 Car Cleaning Hacks

Smiling young father with his kid washing a car with a water hose.

Maintaining a clean car can be challenging, but it’s worth it to keep that new car feeling. Accidents and unexpected events can make it even more difficult to achieve that level of cleanliness. Fortunately, we’ve compiled 25 of the best car cleaning hacks to help keep your vehicle looking great both inside and out. And, with auto insurance coverage, you can have peace of mind in case of any unexpected incidents on the road.

Cup Holders

  1. This one is brilliant and so easy! Take a cup (like for coffee or soda from the gas station), wrap an old sock around it, and spray some all-purpose cleaner on it. Set the sock cup in the cup holder, twist and turn it, and then check out your clean cup holders (and maybe throw away the sock).
  2. To keep them clean, place cupcake liners in the cupholders to catch any future drips and spills.
  3. Empty gum containers (the hard, cylindrical kind) are great for storing loose change. Keep one in your cup holder (just don’t let anyone accidentally chew a penny).


  1. Shoe organizers hooked to the back of the front seats work as great organizers. Keep anything you or your passengers may need (tissues, gum, phone chargers, etc.) conveniently at arm’s reach. Especially helpful for kids’ toys.
  2. Use a carabiner clip to hang purses, umbrellas, or bags from the neck bar of the front seats.
  3. Use an empty tissue box to store grocery bags. Use the grocery bags for garbage, car sick bags, or carrying small items in and out of the car.
  4. Use boxes and bins in the trunk to keep smaller items from rolling around.

Trash Bin

  1. You can make your own trash bin in a few ways. One is using an empty tissue box to throw out used napkins, straw wrappers, etc. When it’s full, you can throw the whole box out.
  2. Plastic cereal containers make great trash bins for cars. They can be closed if need-be and they are narrow and small, so they won’t take up too much floor space.


  1. Rub a few drops of olive on your dashboard with a microfiber cloth. It shines your dashboard right up!
  2. If you don’t have olive oil, you can also try petroleum jelly, to help it not only shine but keep it from cracking under heat.
  3. You can also use coffee filters to clean off dirt and dust. Just rub it over your dashboard and you’ll see the dust picked up on the filter.


  1. Clean off any pet hair on your cloth seats with just some water (sprayed on lightly) and a squeegee (like the kind you use to wipe down your glass shower doors and mirrors).

Air Vents

  1. Grab the compressed air can from your desk and give your air vents a few shots of air to get the deep dust out.


  1. Anyone with kids already has this somewhere in their house: slime. Place slime in the hard to reach nooks and crannies of your console to get out crumbs and dust.
  2. No kids or slime? You can also use a flathead screwdriver with a washcloth. Place the cloth down over the console and use the flathead screwdriver to push the cloth into the hard to reach places. Add some cleaner to help it pick everything up.

Carpeted Floor Mats

  1. When you’re vacuuming your vehicle’s floor mats, grab a tough bristle brush to work out dirt, crumbs, and whatever else is down there from the fibers of the carpet.


  1. Sprinkle some baking soda on the soft surfaces of your car and vacuum. It’ll help absorb and neutralize odors.
  2. If you want to add a light scent, add some drops of your favorite essential oil to a wooden clothespin. Clip the clothespin to your air vent and enjoy the fresh scent.
  3. If you’ve ever used up a candle enough that it won’t light any more, but there’s still wax left, this ones for you. Place your candle in your cup holder. No need to light it! The heat from your car will soften the wax and release its fragrance.


  1. Take off sticker gunk with WD-40. Just spray some on, let it sit for a while, and wipe it all away.
  2. Got bugs? Use dryer sheets to quickly remove bugs on your front bumper.
  3. Looking to shine up your car’s exterior? You can use hair conditioner as a polish!


  1. Mix toothpaste with baking soda and apply in small circular motions to your headlights. Once dirt is gone, wipe off the leftover paste.


  1. Baby wipes can be convenience window cleaners that won’t leave streaks.

Do you need tips on the best coverage for you? Our insurance experts at Freeway Insurance are here to help! Get a free car insurance quote today online, over the phone or at one of our offices near you.

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