Properly cleaning a car never means simply washing and waxing it. In order to have it look just like the day it went off the assembly line, you will need to pay attention to all the nooks and crannies that could harbor dust, and also know a few useful strategies and tips.

While taking the car to an auto wash will make the interior and exterior better, you will get the best results if you make time in the evening and do the job yourself. The entire process isn’t complicated, and it doesn’t take long, especially if you use the right equipment.


This having been said, there are two categories of items that you will need: tools and cleaners. If you don’t feel like buying or using store-bought cleaning liquids, there are also a lot of household substances that will get the job done.


Using the right tools can make the difference between having to scrub your car for hours on end in order to get rid of the mud and dirt that has accumulated on its body, and simply spraying everything off in a couple of minutes. However, these are not the only things that you need. Supplies like paper towels are just as important.

A high-powered pressure cleaner can do wonders when you don’t have much free time or a lot of dirt has accumulated on the body of the car. A pressure cleaner is also great for cleaning the places that are harder to reach, like the bottom side of the car and the tires.

Also, if you want an easier way to clean the interior of the car, consider using a steam cleaner. These are extremely useful when cleaning dirty car seats or various spaces where a sponge cannot fit, such as the seams between leather pieces.

Let’s take a look at the things that you will need in order to be as thorough as possible when cleaning your car:

  • Brushes – You will need at least two brushes; One for the interior and one for the exterior. While most tend to only vacuum the interior of their car, brushes do the job better due to the fact that they can really get in-between fibers. You should look for brushes that are specially designed for cleaning cars and get at least two of them. Use on for the exterior and one for the interior without ever mixing them.
  • Sponges – Again, if you want to clean both the interior and the exterior of your car, then get two sponges and never mix them. The sponge that you use on the outside will collect a lot of dust that can easily end up on other surfaces if you’re not careful. Get a larger, thicker sponge for the exterior and a smaller one for the interior. Also, never use sponges that are designed for dishes as these have a rough side that can take away the shine of the paint;
  • Towels – You will need both paper towels as well as one or two regular ones. Get a roll of highly-absorbent paper towels to use on both the interior as well as the exterior of your car, and a couple of soft, cotton towels. Always avoid synthetic towels because these cannot absorb water properly and will leave smudges on your car;
  • Cleaning products – Choosing a higher quality cleaning product means that you will have to spend less time scrubbing. Choose the one that you like the most, however, if you want to supercharge the product, there are a few ways to do that using things that you may already have in your kitchen;
  • Wax and sealant – Cleaning a car won’t be enough to make it look like brand new. To do this you need to also wax it.


Always clean your car’s exterior before moving to the interior. If you start with the interior there is a big chance that some of the dirt on the exterior will find a way inside.

You don’t have to completely clean the car’s exterior before moving to the inside elements, but make sure that you at least spray it with enough water to dissolve most of the dirt that may have built up on various surfaces. Once that’s gone, rinse the car again and you’re good to go on the interior.


Some are happy with simply throwing a few buckets of water onto their car and then using a sponge to get rid of the dirt. If you want to clean your car properly, you will have to make sure that all the visible dirt is gone, and then move on to clean the harder to reach spaces. Use a sponge for this, and once you’re done with an area use a paper towel to dry the surface so that dirty water won’t drip or get to other parts of the car.


If you haven’t cleaned your car in a while, or regularly drive through dusty rural areas, then traditional cleaning supplies may not be enough. You can enhance the cleaning power of these products by mixing them with baking soda. The ratio is 1/1 and the final solution should be mixed with a lot of water before using it. Apply it using a sponge, leave it for a few minutes to soften up the dirt and then clean it off with lots of water.


All in all, there is no easy way to properly clean a car, however, if you take your time and are thorough, you should be able to make it look like it’s brand new. Don’t forget that the interior is often dirtier than the exterior due to the fact that it’s usually cleaned less often, so take a small sponge and some cleaning solution and go through every surface and seam that you can find.

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