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How To Clean Air Vents In Your Car

Air vents in a car. Cleaning your car's air vents is a crucial part of completing a thorough interior cleaning.

Do you know how to clean air vents in your car? They might not be the first thing you notice when the time comes to give your car a thorough cleaning, but your air vents need a little attention. They look better when they’re clean and removing any dust keeps that same debris from ending up in the air you breathe.

Getting Into Every Nook and Cranny

Air vents are small, so you need something small to get them clean. A cotton swab is a great solution. If your vents areHow to clean air vents especially dirty with fingerprints or anything sticky, then soak the cotton swab in an interior car cleaning solution before running it along each slat.

A toothbrush is another great tool for cleaning the air vents in your car. Soak the bristles in a car cleaning solution and use the brush to clean the slats. A toothbrush has the bonus of a nice long handle, so you can reach down into the vent and grab even more dirt.

Pressurized or canned air can also help get your vents clean. This helps dislodge any dirt around the exterior of the vents and loosen anything just inside. Once you spray the inside of the vents, turn on the car and run the air for a few seconds to blow any loosened material out of the vents.

Break Out the Vacuum Attachments

Another easy way to clean air vents in your car is to use a small vacuum brush. Many vacuum cleaners come with an accessory pack that has smaller tools — and now is the time to finally give those tools some use.

If you have a garage vacuum cleaner, they’re often the best vacuums for the job because they include a longer hose so it’s easy to reach every vent. Make sure you don’t use any attachments with hard bristles or simply a plastic head. These can scratch car surfaces, including the materials used to make your dashboard.

Although the vents you likely think of cleaning are the ones right up front on the dashboard, they’re not the only air vents in your car. There are air vents down low, often unseen below the dashboard, that send air to your legs. Make sure you clean those, too.

Getting Rid of Odors

If you’re cleaning your air vents because there’s a musty odor, then you may need to go a bit further than simply cleaning visible surfaces by changing the cabin air filter. Don’t worry, this is an easy job. Simply check your owner’s manual for the exact location and type of filter you need and pop in a new one to help get rid of stale smells.

Knowing how to clean air vents in your car is a key part of keeping your car in good condition and it’s an easy job. When was the last time you cleaned your car air vents?

Check out all the tools & equipment available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on cleaning your car’s air vents, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Image courtesy of Flickr.


Nicole Wakelin View All

Nicole Wakelin covers the automotive industry as a freelance journalist for a variety of outlets. Her work includes news pieces, podcasts, radio, written reviews, and video reviews. She can be found in The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, US News and World Report, and AAA along with lifestyle blogs like Be Car Chic, The Other PTA, and She Buys Cars. She is active on social media with a large following on both Twitter and Instagram and currently serves as Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association.

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