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40 Car-Cleaning Hacks

Toothpaste for Cloudy Headlights

Don’t waste money on expensive headlight cleaning kits, just do it yourself. Grab some toothpaste, rub it all over the headlight, let it sit, and wipe it off. That’s all it takes!

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Vaseline for Shine

Cleaning the interior of your car can begin to seem a losing battle over time. To ensure your car retains its freshly cleaned shine you can simply apply a small amount of petroleum jelly. This small touch can leave a long-lasting shine for less money.

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Charcoal Bag for Odors

Charcoal is nature’s toxin absorber and is a great tool for clearing gross smells. You can buy a little bag with charcoal chunks already in it or make your own.

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DIY Car-Wash Solution

You can use items you already have in your home for this easy cleaner! Just mix about one-quarter of a tablespoon of baking soda and one-quarter tablespoon of dish soap in a big bucket of water.

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Clean Air Vents Regularly

You have to clean out your air vents to truly get rid of dust, dirt, and odors that hide in there. Grab an old toothbrush or a can of compressed air to make this job quick and easy.

Vinegar & Linseed Oil Mixture

An easy way to quickly get spotless, moisturized upholstery is with linseed oil. Make a mixture of one part vinegar with two parts linseed oil, shake it up, and apply to your car’s inside with a rag.

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Scrub the Floor Mats

It’s important to clean your mats to get out any dirt, debris, and stains that you could track into your house. Just use dish soap and water with a stiff-bristled brush, and everything should come right off.

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Squeegee Up Pet Hair

Everyone who’s traveled with their pet knows that animal hair can be next to impossible to get all the way out of your car’s interior. Just lightly spray the area with water and rub them down with a rubber squeegee. Voila!


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Sprinkle a Little Cornstarch

Accidentally spilling drinks or food in your car is the worst because those smells and stains are next to impossible to remove. Sprinkle some cornstarch on any grease or oil stains, let it sit for ten minutes or so, and wipe clean with a damp cloth!

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Roll Your Windows Down

Having completely spotless windows is such a good feeling. To achieve that look when you clean your windows by hand, make sure you roll them down about halfway to get off all the built-up gunk that sits at the top.

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Mayo for Tough Stains

Those horrible, crusty stains on the outside of your car seem to never go away, no matter how many times you go through a car wash. To get rid of them, put a little dab of mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip), let it sit for five or 10 minutes, and wash it off with a clean, wet rag.

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Club Soda for Stains

Even tough stains like caked-on crud on a window and coffee spills on a seat aren’t impossible to get out—even though it can seem that way. Just put some club soda on the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, and then dab it up with a towel!

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White Vinegar for Windows

Sparkling-clean, ultra-clear windows are every driver’s dream. To achieve this, mix a few tablespoons of white vinegar with water and wipe with a newspaper for a streak-free shine.

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Razor Blade for Decals

This one should be used carefully. A razor blade can be a handy tool for getting off stickers or baked-on stains without leaving behind any residue. Just be sure you don’t scratch up your paint job!

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Screwdriver for Small Spaces

Getting the dirt from those hard-to-reach cracks and crevices can be really frustrating. There’s an easy solution, though. Grab a flathead screwdriver, cover it with a soft cloth, and go to town on those small spaces. 


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Nail Polish for Cracks

Got a hairline crack on your windshield or the body of your car? Use nail polish to cover the area and seal it up! Make sure you use clear polish for windows and a similar color for the body of your car. This isn’t a permanent solution, but it will stop a small crack from spreading into a big problem before you can get it fixed.

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Q-Tips for Close Cleaning

This is another great hack for cleaning hard-to-reach spaces. Just get a handful of q-tips and use those to get the dust and dirt out of cracks, corners, and other small places. 

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Thermal Paper for Crayons

If you have kids then you know the mess they can make in your car. Crayons are especially bad because they get left behind, forgotten, and melt all over your upholstery. Luckily there’s an easy fix. Grab some thermal paper and iron a sheet over the spot to remove the crayons!

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Magic Eraser for Sticky Stains

A spilled drink is a recipe for disaster, leaving behind a sticky and smelly mess. If you’ve got a sticky spot to clean up, dip a magic eraser in some antibacterial cleaning fluid, like Lysol, and those spots will come right up!

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Rubbing Alcohol for Wiper Blades

If you don’t want to mix up your own cleaning solution, just use rubbing alcohol on your wiper blades. Dip a cotton ball in the alcohol and rub it on your wiper blades for an instantly clean surface.

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Sticky Mats for Loose Items

A great way to cut down on clutter is to get some sticky mats in your car. These nifty devices will hold onto your phone, lighters, glasses, or whatever else you need handy while you’re driving. 

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Coke for Rusty Stains

Rust stains can be really tricky to get rid of. One of your favorite sodas, Coca-Cola, can help. Just pour the soda on a rag and rub in a circular motion to get rid of the stains.

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Gum for Leaks

Do you have a leak in your engine bay? Gum can be a good temporary solution. Just chew up some gum and put it on the leaky area. This will buy you enough time to bring your car to the repair shop. 

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Ashtrays for Phone Docks

If you don’t smoke, those built-in ashtrays in your car are perfect for storage! Slide your phone in the space for an easy-to-reach storage place. 

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Diapers for Spills

Diapers are great at absorbing liquids—it's what they're made for. You can also use them to soak up a fresh spill before it stains your upholstery!

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Hand Sanitizer for Ice

No one wants to spend time chipping away at your frozen door handle before work. To quickly de-ice doors and locks, spritz some hand sanitizer on, and it will quickly melt the ice. 

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Newspaper for Stickers

The stack of registration stickers on your license plate can quickly pile up. An easy way to remove them without leaving a residue or scratching your plate is to leave the damp newspaper on it for 10 minutes, and it will peel right off. 

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Vinegar as an Enhancer

Vinegar can help boost the power in many cleaning solutions. To get extra spotless upholstery, just add a few tablespoons of vinegar to your favorite cleaning liquid.

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Clay Bar for Grease Stains

A little clay bar can be a big help when it comes to cleaning your car. Rub the clay bar on grease stains to quickly and easily remove them.

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Dryer Sheets for Bugs

Dried up bug splatters are ugly and gross to clean up. If you use a wet dryer sheet to scrub the stained area, those dead bug bodies will quickly disappear.

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Replace Air Filters

Replacing your air filters on a regular basis can help keep foul odors and allergens at bay. Over time air filters will accumulate dust, allergens, and odors that will steadily decrease the air quality over time.  

Old Shoe for a Cup Holder

It’s incredibly frustrating when you don’t have cup holders or, if you do have cup holders, those cup holders are too small to be useful. Just grab an old tennis shoe for a cheap solution!

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WD-40 for Stickers

WD-40 can be used for more than just squeaky doors! To remove stickers and decals without leaving behind any residue, let WD-40 sit on the area for ten minutes before wiping with a cloth.

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DIY Wiper Blade Cleaner

No matter how clean your windows are, if you have dirty wiper blades then your windshield will still be cloudy. Mix one part ammonia eight parts water for a good, strong cleaning solution that will remove all the grim from your wiper blades.

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Baby Shampoo as a Car Wash Soap

It’s easy for cars to get covered in dust, mud, and bird grossness. These stains can quickly be removed by using baby shampoo as a car wash soap. Just pour it directly on a washcloth and start scrubbing.

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Hair Conditioner for Shine

Getting a wax and buff for your car can be time-consuming and expensive. A cool hack to get a glossy finish to your car is to use a lanolin-based hair conditioner. Just apply it to your freshly washed car, let it sit, and then wipe it off.

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DIY Windshield Wiper Fluid

If you have some leftover vodka, this is a great use for it. Mix three cups vodka, four cups water, and two tablespoons of dish soap for a homemade windshield wiper fluid solution.

Lemon & Olive Oil for Upholstery

It’s important to take care of your upholstery to keep it from cracking. If you mix two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice, you have a quick-and-easy homemade solution that will protect your vehicle’s vinyl.

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Bleach for Shiny Tires

Who doesn’t like the look of freshly washed, glossy-black tires? Make a cheap and easy cleaning solution with a tablespoon of dish soap, a cup of bleach, and a bucket of warm water. 

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Sticky Slime for Dust

Slime isn’t just for kids! It’s a great way to quickly remove dust and dirt from cracks and crevices. Just knead together with half a cup of regular white school glue, a quarter cup of liquid starch, and half a cup of water for a quick-and-easy slime solution. 

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