So, your car has seen better days. The upholstery is looking a bit worn, and the once-shiny windows are now…well, not so shiny. Sure, you could take your car to a professional cleaner—or you could save your money and spruce things up yourself. Here are our top car-cleaning hacks.
Shine A Light
After a few years of driving, the plastic on a car’s headlights tends to oxidize, giving it a cloudy, yellowish appearance. That film can be dangerous because it cuts down the amount of light they cast. You could splurge on an expensive buffing compound to clean them up, or opt for a cheaper solution—toothpaste. Just dab some on a rag and rub away. Once you’re done, rinse with water; you’ll be amazed by the difference.
Window Polish Perfection
Have your kids decided to do some finger-painting on your car’s windshield? To give your windows a streak-free shine, follow these easy steps.
Combine ¼ cup of vinegar with ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol. Add two cups of water and a few drops of lemon essential oil. Mix together and add the contents to a spray bottle. You’ve now got a solution that will have your windshield, windows and rear-view mirrors looking spotless. Try wiping down your windows with old newspapers—you might be surprised with the streak-free results.
If your vinyl dashboard has seen better days, there’s an easy way to get it looking new again: take a slightly damp cloth and run it over all the surfaces. This will remove dust and grime. For tougher stains, use a small amount of the mildest laundry soap you can find—the plastic and vinyl on dashboards can be scratched or discolored by abrasive cleaners. When you’re done, wipe away excess soap and moisture with a soft, clean, dry cloth.
Bye Bye, Bugs
Dead bugs—is there anything harder to clean off your car? Some people rent power washers to blast them away, while others opt for cleaners laden with special enzymes and harsh chemicals. But those solutions are both expensive and could damage your finish. The better way? Wet your car and apply a healthy dose of car soap, which you probably already have on hand, with a soft washing mitt. Work in small areas and rinse each section when you’re done. With a minimal amount of elbow grease, those critters will start dropping like, well, flies.