How to achieve a perfectly cleaned car

No one enjoys a crumby, smelly car interior. And, most people aren’t enamoured with bird poo, twigs, mud and other new additions to the exterior. You could grab a sponge and give the outside a quick scrub, and vacuum the inside – but a job worth doing is worth doing correctly. 

When it comes to how to clean your vehicle, and where to start – it’s all covered below. 

Car Shampoo

Liquid dish soap will lift bacon grease off pans in a heartbeat, but don’t be tempted to use it for the outside of your car. It will remove dirt, old wax, and grease but over time can cause some damage to your paintwork. Car paint, car shampoo and car wax all have some particular oils in to protect your vehicle and keep it gleaming. If you use liquid dish soap on your car, you are going to shorten the lifespan of your paint job. 

Use a specially formulated car shampoo. They might cost a bit more, but that is because they are designed for the job. 

Sharp Debris

While most outdoor debris will just be deflected, some smaller, sharper particles can get stuck in the paint and to the surface of your car. In order to safely remove all of that, you can get a clay bar kit. A clay bar kit will remove all of the embedded stuff on your car. It doesn’t take long to do and really makes a difference. 

Polish up

There is a difference between polishing, waxing, and washing. Washing the car is one of the first steps you need to polish and wax to get a beautiful gleaming finish. Polishing will carefully remove all of the surface imperfections and scratches. Waxing will add a protective and glossy finish. 

There is an investment to be made into a good polisher, but many DIYers might skip it. 

A polisher really gets all of the work done, with minimal effort. 

Wax On

There are several wax types that you can use for your car. Some people prefer an ultra-glossy shine, which is achievable by using synthetic polymer wax. Others prefer to use carnauba wax. To wax your car, you will add wax to the foam applicator and use a swirling motion to rub it in. Be sure that you use the right clot or applicator here, some people have made mistakes and need to learn how to remove swirl marks on a car too. 

Once you have rubbed the wax in, you will wipe off the haze that is left behind. Be sure you are using clean cloths, they get heavy with wax pretty quickly. 

Dust First

Use a small brush to help you remove all of the dust that gathers in air vents, on handles, hooks and more. Vacuum as you go and you will make the rest of the cleaning much more manageable. Vacuum everything twice, because as you do it the first time, other dust and grime will be disrupted and fall. 

Interior Smell

Everyone’s car has a particular smell, but that smell doesn’t have to be feet and spilled coffee. It is a good idea to make sure that you have an interior spray that is fabric friendly. It will remove the smell of smoke, sweat, pets and more. 

Follow the instructions on the bottle, and make sure your car is well ventilated. 

Leather Seats

If you have leather seats, then the chances are you want to keep them as clean and well maintained as possible. This will likely mean that you need to make the investment into a leather upholstery cleaning kit. They will have a range of useful items. Ink, dye, makeup and other items can permanently dye the death within a few hours. 

Having a leather kit in the car will mean you can take care of accidents quickly. Follow the instructions on the packet to make sure that you keep your leather interior soft and pristine. 


You are probably going to find a range of surprises under your chairs, down the sides of the doors, and in other nooks and crannies. You might be quite surprised at just how much can be found behind the car seats. Just remember to sit back in the driver’s seat and adjust it the right place before you start off on your next adventure. 


When you clean the outside of the car, most people forget to wind their windows down a little bit and clean the top edge of the window. You will often notice when you wind the window down as you are driving, there is a line of grime. It only takes a few minutes to clean this with a window cleaner and some clean cloth. 

Upholstery and Carpet

All of the vacuuming and spray isn’t a replacement for a real deep clean that you can get with a VAX machine (or similar). Using a deep-cleaning system, the hot water or steam will penetrate deep into the car’s upholstery and carpet, and pull out the dirt you wouldn’t be able to remove any other way. 

You can usually rent these types of machines, but even if you buy one, after a few uses it will pay for itself. 

Air freshener

Once you have spent all of the time cleaning the inside and outside of your car, until it looks almost brand new, then it is time to add a scent. Pines and lemon scents are a great option as they tend to last the longest and if you have any travel sick people, then those scents can help relieve some of those symptoms. 

Cleaning your car properly can take a few hours, but when it is done, you will enjoy your clean and fresh interior. The paintwork will be rejuvenated and last longer, and it just feels nicer to drive. So long as you pick the right products, and take your time, your car will be protected from the elements and won’t smell like the bottom of a bin anymore. 

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My Take On Life is a UK Men's Lifestyle Blog. You can expect to see content posted about a range of topics such as Lifestyle, Health & Fitness, Food, Travel, Music & Much more!

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