Car Cleaning Hacks – Cheap Easy Ways to Keep Your Car Good as New

Cleaning your car can be a bit of a hassle, especially if you have a  9 to 5 job, and even more so if there is a family to take care of at home. Oh, and tons of bills to pay!

We compiled 40 hassle-free car hacks that are easy to do and great for saving a buck or two!

Replacing Air Filters

Air filters collect dust at a very high pace. Especially if you have a full ride every day.


Try and clean your air filter at least once a month. The result will be allergy free, fresh smelling car year around.

Engine Shine

Ever find yourself getting stuck out on a highway and when you open that engine hatch, it’s greasy and gross looking?


Apply Vaseline to the exterior of your engine and you’ll get a layer of protection, and a nice shiny finish too.

Odor Absorption

Are you struggling with a smelly aroma in your car? Maybe you have a messy kid or two, or maybe you have a long drive home from a chilly joint in the dead of winter, and can’t open the window, but you just cut the cheese.


No need to worry! Just put some fabric wrapped charcoal in the car and it will absorb any smell you challenge it with.

Make Your Own Solution

If you are tight on cash and can’t afford to buy a new bottle of car wash soap, look up the chemicals that can’t damage car paint.


Make a mix of some of the cleaning chemicals you have at home. It works just as well!

Clean Air

Ask anyone in the world: the first thing, before anything, that you need to stay healthy is to have clean air to breath.


The air inside of a car can get very dirty, very fast. Keep a brush in you’re glove compartment, and at the end of every day, give your air vents a quick brushing. It’s worth the effort.

Cleaning Leather

Everyone knows how much of a pain in the butt it can be to clean leather. You can keep the leather in your car fresh by spraying a mixture of vinegar and linseed oil on the leather seats in your car.


It’ll keep them smelling nice, and looking good as new! Wait until you read how simple it is to clean the interior!


Take the rubber mats out of your car once a week and clean them with soap. You will be happy you did!


You don’t want to ride into a party with your friends when the car floor looks like the bottom of a dumpster.

Pet Hair

Most people who avoid getting pets avoid them because of the fear of driving them back home and the shedding getting all over their car seats.


Use a hand-held mop to pull pet hair off the seats of your car, and it will only take a couple of minutes to be completely hair free. Another hint: this works for your couch too!

Grease and Oil Stains

Are you struggling in a family that doesn’t let you eat McDonald’s in the car? Are they telling you its because they don’t want grease and oil stains on their seats?


If so, great news! We found out that a bit of corn starch takes those pesky stains right out, and if your parents still don’t let you eat in the car, they either don’t want to let you win, don’t love you, think you’re fat, or all of the above!

“Become the Window!”

If you want spotless windows, you need to use the rubber window protectors to your advantage.


First apply a layer of solution to your window, scrub, then apply a second solution. After that, the window and the pressure on it from the rubber will clean all unwanted spots.

Joining the Club

Club soda for sure comes in handy in many cleaning situations, and cleaning stains on a car is just another one of those situations.


Do you have an exterior stain that just won’t come off? Try club soda. It may work!


Mayonnaise, yes Mayonnaise, is the perfect solution for eliminating those hard to remove stains on your exterior.


Just apply it on the stain of your car, let it sit and harden for 5 minutes, then wipe it off. You’ll be surprised to see the stain is gone. Just don’t forget to wipe it off or else you’ll have a new problem on your hands!

Cereal Container

Grab a plastic cereal container from any kitchen or storage store (e.g. The Container Store, Crate & Barrell, etc.), line it with a regular grocery bag and use it as a portable trash can for your car.

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Simple and easy, and it will definitely help keep your car cleaner.

Solution Boost

Different cleaning solutions have different effects and various uses for cleaning your car. But they all have one thing in common.


They can all be upgraded by mixing vinegar in them. Seems simple doesn’t it? That’s because it is! Keep going to see what other ways you may be able to use vinegar cleaning.

Removing Stickers

If you put some sticker decals on your car in college and need to get to a job interview for a serious job, you’re going to want to clean that car up.


An easy way to remove sticky things from your exterior is to carefully peel them off with razor blade.

Cleaning Hard to Reach Places

If you’re like me, and you like to clean in between hard to reach places, then take a screwdriver with a cloth around it, and rub the inside of the crevices of your car with little hassle whatsoever.


I personally can’t stand seeing dirt in hard to reach places. So this was very helpful for me.

Covering a Crack

Just noticed a hairline crack in your paint job? Find nail polish with the same color and cover it up with that. It won’t fix the problem forever, but it will keep these cracks from spreading.


Most hairline cracks happen in the winter, so stock up on nail polish before the next snowstorm!

Don’t Forget to Tip

Q-Tip that is! Have Q-tips on hand in your vehicle at all times, and you will be able to clean interior hard to reach places, like the crease between the stick shift, or behind door handles.


I know most people only use the Q-Tip for ear love, but maybe this use is a better one than damaging your ears.

Child Proofing

Children tend to make a mess out of cars. One of the most common messes you will find is crayon stains on your upholstery.


If you take a slice of parchment paper and iron over it on the seat, it will melt these stains and they will stick directly to the parchment to be peeled right off.

Invest in an Eraser

If it’s really important for you to keep your car clean, try buying a magic eraser.


They come two in a pack and last very long. Just a small dip in Lysol, and they should guide you through handling any new stain.

Sticky Mats

You can buy small sticky mats and put them in different locations inside your car.


All you need to do from there is make a place to hang your phone, glasses, and other small items that may fall and roll around on the seat and floor!

Mint Condition

Selling your car for a good price can be a difficult task, and the longer you have it, the harder it gets to sell for your ballpark.


There is not much you can do about the miles on your vehicle, but you can pour Coca Cola on rust stains to get them off.

Give your Car A Mint

If you find yourself in the middle of a long road trip in the middle of the Nevada desert with a leak in the engine all the sudden, don’t get startled.



You can block that leak with some gum, or a half-chewed mint until you find the first car shop on the interstate.

Not really a Cleaning Hack

Okay so this one is not a cleaning hack at all, but if you haven’t thought of it yet, then its time someone told you.


If you have an old car that still has an ashtray in it, rejoice! This means you have a built-in phone dock ready to use.

Soaking up Spills

Did your baby just grow out of her diaper and you don’t know what to do with all the leftovers? Well, one thing you can do is use them to soak up spills.


After all, just because the toddler doesn’t use diapers anymore, does not mean there won’t be a mess in the back seat!


Getting ready for a cold winter? One of the things that always happen in below freezing climates is that pesky ice getting into your keyhole, or making it hard to pull the door handle.


Don’t worry though, we have a solution. Just pour hand sanitizer on the spot, and you will find that the alcohol content should quickly melt the ice away.

Damp Paper

Are your license plates starting to fill up with useless old registration stickers? Just take some damp newspaper, stick it on the sticker for ten minutes and presto – it peels right off!


This is also good if your party lost an election and you just want to move on! Or if your child stopped getting straight A’s.


There is one universal way to clean windows, and that’s to spray windows with Windex and then rub them with newspaper.


It takes a lot of time, but if you would like to cut that time in half, then spray the windows with vinegar.


Another way to remove pesky grease stains on the hood of your car is to stick a clay bar on them.  The clay will soak up the grease so you don’t have to worry about how to get it off!


This is a fun cleaning activity to do with your children too. Just make sure they don’t eat it!

Bug Stains

Bug stains are gross, and they are surprisingly hard to get off. A good way to remedy this is to use a wet dryer sheet to wipe them off. It will work, trust me!


Also, try spraying your car with bug spray before hitting the freeway. Just kidding, that’s a good hack for wasting money.

Cup Holding

Had the same car for 50 years? Do you really want a cup holder as they have in America?


No need to dwell over it, just take your 20-year-old shoe off, and put your fast food cup inside. At this point, your life should be shame-free!


Another way to get stickers and decals off your car is to apply some WD-40 oil to them. They should peel right off after.


Ask any engineer, pilot, or soldier who their best friend is for cleaning. They would tell you they would brush their teeth with WD-40 if they could!

Wiper Solution

Out of money this month? Need to apply more windshield wiper solution but can’t afford it? Just mix some ammonia and cold water with a ratio of 21/1 and you got yourself some home stuff!


It works much better then what they use at your local gas station.

Wiper Blades

Wiper blades can get pretty gross throughout time, and should be cleaned at least once a year. You don’t need to spend any money though, just apply alcohol to them, and wipe off with a rag.


Always make sure to treat wiper blades at least once a month, as they can get rusty very fast!

Baby Shampoo

If you want to remove stains and don’t have anything else other than baby soap in the house, then that will work just fine to wash your car with.


It will just smell like a baby’s butt. You can also kill two birds with one stone and put a kiddy pool full of soap next to your car and put your kid in it!


After you have applied shampoo to your car, why not use some conditioner too!


If you use a lanolin-based hair conditioner on your car after cleaning it, it will give it the same shine you would get from buffing.


Are you still broke as a joke? Still can’t afford that new bottle of Windex?


Well, it’s a good time to quit. Take that left-over vodka and mix it in with the Windex you got left! It will work great for removing stains!

Tooth Paste

If your neighbors call you odd, just tell them you are doing a car hack. Then they will think you are crazy!


In this case, you will be putting toothpaste on your headlight windows to be able to get all those cloudy stains off it.

Protecting Vinyl

Vinyl can start to peel off very fast, especially in dry weather. To protect your vinyl, just rub it with a solution of olive oil and lemon juice.


If you made too much, you can use the rest to put on your salad too!

Shiny Tires

Ever miss the way your tires used to look when you first got your car? Well, you can clean your tires with bleach and they will shine right up again!


Email us if you have a solution for getting the new tire smell too! It the best smell on the face of the earth!

Streak Free

If you rub your window with a mix of alcohol and vinegar, it will be shiny and streak-free! Say goodbye to all those highly resistive window stains, say hello to the easy to do window shine that you always wanted!


You’ll never struggle cleaning your window again. Have fun!

Baby Wipes Just for Cars

Make it a habit to keep a pack of baby wipes in your car. Using them regularly to wipe down surfaces can effectively avoid any dust and dirt accumulation.

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This a perfect little way of maintaining your car’s cleanliness.

Removing Dust and Dirt 

If you need to grab some dirt and dust of off your interior surfaces, you can use some homemade sticky slime made with a mixture of liquid starch, water, and glue.

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This should give you an all-purpose cleaning slime in minutes! Although, you might get distracted and start playing with it instead of cleaning!

Olive Oil on Leather

To keep your upholstery looking as good as new, just rub a small amount of olive oil into it after washing off the dirt and grime with warm and soapy water.

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This should break up the dirt and stains while conditioning the leather as well.

A Good Use for Kerosene 

If you’re looking for another alternative in attaining that glossy finish to your interior, just mix some kerosene with water and wipe this solution on your dry car to achieve that beautiful shine!

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It does no harm to the paint, too!

Burn Stains and Raw Onion 

You might want to use this trick if you’re looking into selling your car in the future. Remove those burn stains on leather or vinyl by applying a raw cut onion to the area.

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Just allow it to soak in for a bit before blotting it with warm water. This will effectively reduce the visibility of those stains! Your car will be on the market in no time.

Tooth Brush to Clean

With the simple use of a toothbrush dipped in some soapy water, you can effectively scrub away any dirt and dust on vinyl upholstery.

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We recommend you do this before the gunk gets caked in the cracks of your seats. This should save you the time of repeatedly scraping them out.

Sheets & Aroma 

Use those extra dryer sheets around various strategic locations in your car to keep that good aroma. These sheets should continue to emit fragrance for 1 to 3 months, varying by the climate.

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Just allow it to sit on your cloth upholstery and mats before blotting it with a dampened rag. The stain should be gone in no time.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Another easy solution in removing those tough stains, such as blood, grass, or wine, is applying some hydrogen peroxide.

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A liberal application of hydrogen peroxide can remove even the toughest stains, such as blood, wine, and grass, from cloth upholstery and mats. Allow it to sit before blotting with a damp rag.

Being Thorough

The simplest way of saving money is to always be disciplined in thoroughly and regularly cleaning your car. Make sure you clean out the trash every day, pull out all the mats, and wipe down or vacuum all the surfaces.

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It’s ultimately up to you to be responsible for your car’s condition! Keep up those good cleaning habits and your car will always seem as good as new!

Makeup Brush

There’s nothing worse than turning on the air conditioning in your car and having a wave of dust blow over you. A car’s air vents get dusty with time, and it’s important to clean them out. Not only because you don’t want dust to blow in your face or all over the car every time you turn them on, but because it keeps them running better.

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So, next time you get in your car, grab a new or used makeup brush (obviously washing it out if it’s used) and use it to dust your air vents before you turn the car on. The brush’s hairs reach all the vents crevices and are perfect for cleaning them out.


Cupholders are probably one of the dirtiest places in a car. They accumulate the remains of different drinks over time and inevitably serve as the place where you put everything you don’t immediately know where to throw in the car.

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So, cupholders are usually very dirty with junk and gunk. But there’s an easy and practical fix! You can clean your cupholders and place silicone cupcake liners in them, so next time you go clean the car, simply take out the liners, rinse them quickly and place them back in!

Laundry Ball Hack

You can make your own car air freshener by using laundry scent balls and an empty mason jar. You’re probably familiar with the laundry scent balls you can throw into your dryer or washer with your clothes.

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Well, you can look for an empty mason jar that you’re no longer using, fill half of the jar with laundry scent balls, and open a few holes in the jar’s lid. Presto! The balls won’t come out of the jar and they’ll keep your car smelling fresh!

Windshield Smudges

Often when we clean with a car’s windshield wipers, they leave smears and smudges on the glass. To avoid this, make sure to rub down your wipers with alcohol before you use them.

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This will prevent them from leaving marks on the windshield, making sure you have a clear, 20/20 vision.

Washer Fluid

You should always carry a bottle of washer fluid in your car, but it’s one of those things that we often overlook, and never remember to replace when we finish the bottle. Next time you’re in need of some washer fluid, but don’t have time to stop and buy, or you aren’t close to any car shop, you can just make your own!

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Mix 3 cups of grain alcohol, 2 teaspoons of dish-washing soap and 4 cups of water. Shake well and place in an empty bottle. Keep the bottle in your car and simply make more whenever you need.

Use a Vacuum

Dust is especially annoying to clean when it comes to your car because it accumulates everywhere, and dusting just transports the dust from crevices, vents, and other places, to the floor in your car. And, we’re back to square one; now you need to get rid of the dust.

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However, it is very easy to avoid this. Simply grab your vacuum cleaner’s hand-held attachment and hold it next to the brush as you dust. The dirt will immediately be removed by the vacuum.

Baking Soda

There’s nothing worse than when a smell takes over your car. Smells are absorbed by seats and carpets, and some are especially difficult to take out. Even if you’re a clean freak, you’re bound to encounter this problem at some point. Whether it’s getting in the car after a gym workout, picking up kids from soccer practice, driving your friend that smokes, etc.

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There’s a simple solution to this: baking soda. Go to your kitchen, grab some baking soda and sprinkle it over your seats and carpets. Let it sit for a couple of hours, pass the vacuum to clean the remains, and presto, your car will be smelling brand new.

Clean Your Windshield

We know this sounds like bad advice, and you’re probably thinking who in their right mind would use steel wool to clean glass. But, as it turns out, the windshield glass is very strong and thick and doesn’t scratch easily.

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So, next time you need to properly clean your windshield, use a steel wool sponge to scrub off the glass. You will never see a clearer looking glass!

Windex for Your Cup-holders

Before you take our advice of using silicone cupcake liners for your cupholders, as we mentioned above, make sure you properly clean out the actual cupholders.

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Get a travel cup, cover it with an old sock from the bottom up, and spray some Windex on it. Place the cup in the cupholder and twist a few times. You’ll get every last piece of dirt out.

Great Car Freshener

We always want our car to smell clean and fresh, but it’s not always easy since some of us use our car all day long. So how do you keep it smelling nice?

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Sprays don’t last, and car fresheners have too strong a smell, and, often, not a very good one. But there’s an easy, cheap and fast way to solve this. Grab a wooden clothespin, soak it in the essential oil of your choice, and pin it in your car’s air vents.

Floor Mats

A car’s floor mats are always disgusting. Even if you’re a regular visitor of the car cleaners, floor mats will always get dirty, and sometimes, going to a car cleaner every time gets annoying and expensive. There’s a simple cleaning hack to help with this.

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Grab your floor mats, spray them with stain remover liquid, and throw them in your washing machine with regular clothes detergent. Set the machine’s cycle to the gentlest setting, and you’re good to go.

Pam Cooking Spray

If you’ve ever been driving on a hot summer day, you know what it’s like to see a giant cloud of bugs in the middle of the road, and you definitely know that what follows is having them all stuck to your bumper once you run them over with the car. Obviously, you can’t cause a road accident to avoid them. So, what do you do?

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The best and easiest way to clean them with one swift movement is by spraying Pam cooking oil over your bumper and wiping it off with a cloth.

Avoid Salt Buildup

If you live in a place where there is constant salt buildup on the roads because of snow, this can be very damaging for your car’s bodywork in the long run. And by damaging we mean it’ll slowly melt away your car from underneath, so this is something you should stay on top of.

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To avoid this, next time it snows, mix water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the bottom part of your car with it. It’ll melt the salt right off.

Using an Iron

It is unavoidable for sticky messes to happen in your car – your kid drops a gummy bear and the sun melts it into the fabric, a friend drops a piece of gum in the seat, you sit on a bug and it goes all over your seat fabric, etc. The possibilities are endless, and the solutions not so obvious. But don’t worry, next time this happens, and you want to cry because you think your car is doomed, grab an iron, a thick piece of paper, and some patience.

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Place the paper over the mess and iron over it for 30 seconds. Whatever it is, it’ll attach straight onto the paper and out of your car.

Rubber Gloves

Whether you’re an animal lover or have friends and family members that are, this hack will surely come in handy. You don’t want to be the one to refuse a ride to our furry friends, but you also don’t want pet hair all over your car seats. And usually, pet hair finds a way to get everywhere.

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The best solution for this is to put on a rubber glove, like the ones you would usually use for washing dishes or cleaning the house and wipe it over your car’s upholstery. The gloves will pick up every last hair and leave your car looking brand new.

Under Your Kids’ Car Seat

For those that are parents or for one reason or other have a kids’ car seat in the car, you know the mess that’s left behind after a little one takes a ride on the seat. Once you lift it, you can see all the things your kid dropped and left behind.

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In order to avoid having to clean out the car every time this happens, put a sheet under the car seat, and next time you can just pull out the sheet, throw it in the washer and voila!

Towel to Dry Your Car After Getting It Washed

Whether you go to a professional car wash, or just rinse your vehicle out on the driveway, your car is likely to get water spots if it isn’t dried properly.

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To avoid this, always carry a towel with you, and quickly hand dry it after it leaves the car wash. This will leave your car truly spotless.

Garage Bumper

Those of you that park in a garage will know how annoying it is every time you hit the car door with the garage door when getting out of the car. This hack will make sure that never happens again.

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Grab a pool noodle and screw it or glue it to the wall where your door will touch it once you open it. Now you know your door will never get scratched or damaged. A simple, DIY garage bumper.