I bought my first new car back in April of last year and while I promised myself on the day I bought it that I would always take care of it and always ensure that its spotless, I discovered pretty soon that with three dogs and working full time that having a spotless car is not always possible.
When spring and winter roll around in turn, my car is constantly covered in an alternationg layer of dirt, mud, and salt from the roads. And don’t even get me started on the dog hair.
I have also found that my car turns into a virtual dumping ground for all my garbage, extra clothes, and bags for work that I just don’t want to lug out of my car at the end of the day. As a result, I tend to have to do some deep cleaning in my car every few weeks.
I must admit though that once I have cleaned and shined her up my car does look pretty great (for a few days at least).
And now with spring quickly approaching, I thought it would be a great time to share my tips and tricks that I do use when I clean my car (and maybe some to keep your car from ending up like mine).
Cleaning Your Car
To avoid messes in the first place:
1. Invest in quality weather mats.
Weather mats help to keep the dirt, salt, mud, rocks, and dog hair off of the carpet of my car. When they get too messy all I have to do is take them out and shake and wash them off. Then Voila! My car is as good as new and my carpet is still spotless.
When I purchased my car in April, I was lucky enough that my vehicle came with quality weather mats from the manufacturer. However, after my car was totaled in September and I purchased my new car (which did not come with weather mats) I knew that It was worth it to shell out the extra money and buy new ones. To make sure you are getting a quality product I would check out Weather Tek or your car’s manufacturer. That way you know that the mats are going to fit just right. It may be more costly, but it will be worth it in the end.
2. Keep a little garbage bag in your car.
I have a tendency to let my garbage (i.e. drink and pop cans or bags from fast food I have eaten) pile up in the back seat. A few weeks later you’ll see me begrudgingly shifting through the mess with a garbage bag in tow. To avoid this, consider keeping a small trash bag or plastic bag in your car. That way you can toss your trash into the bag instead of just letting it sit in your backseat. The bag will keep your trash contained and will make clean up much easier.
3. Invest in seat covers
Especially if you have leather seats (and dogs) it is definitely worth it to invest in some quality seat covers. The covers will help to protect the leather from the damaging sun and will also help to keep away the dirt and hair. And if your covers get too dirty you can always take them off and wash them instead of getting on your hands and knees to scrub your seats clean.
4. Invest in a dog barrier/mat
Another way to prevent pet messes (dirt, drool, fur) in your car is to purchase a barrier for your back seat. This barrier will help to keep your pet from climbing all over your car and will contain any and all messes. If purchasing the pet barrier is too much you can always throw down some sheets or towels across your seats before you let your pup in your car. You can also use these towels to clean off you dog and his paws before he gets in the car to reduce messes.
So now that you know how to contain messes in your car, what can you do to ensure your car is as clean as possible?
1. Remove and scrub your weather mats.
Remove your mats and shake off any and all debris. Scrub your mats with some warm soapy water and let them air dry.
2. Remove all garbage.
Remove your garbage bag or loose trash from your car.
3. Vacuum the carpet under your weather mats. Scrub away any dirt that may have slipped under your mat.
Sometimes debris manages to slip under your weather mat. Clean it up with a vacuum. If any dirt or mud has stained the carpet, scrub it with some warm, soapy water. Replace your weather mats once the carpet is dry.
4. Scrub down the interior of your car with cleaner or car wipes.
This will remove any dirt from your dash board or steering wheel and keep your car looking shiny or new.
5. Remove your seat covers and clean your seats.
If you have leather seats grab a bucket of warm water and mix it with some Murphy’s Oil. Give your seats a quick rub down and scrub away the dirt.
6. Clean the windows.
Scrub down the interior windows with some car safe window cleaner. When you’e done washing and waxing your car, clean and shine the exterior windows as well.
7. Wash that baby until it’s shiny.
Make sure to use car safe cleaner and scrub and wash that car until it shines. Clean off your wheels as well. Lastly, Make sure to dry off your car with some towels when you’re done.
8. Wax her up!
Use car wax to protect your car and keep it looking shiny!
9. Take care of any odors.
If you car has lingering odors, consider purchasing a vent clip or spraying down the seats and carpet with some Febreeze. The more you reduce the garbage and mess though, the better your car will smell.
Hopefully from now on your car will be clean and shiny all year round!
Download this printable guide to cleaning cars for dog moms!