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How to Spring-Clean Your Car

A bucket and hose on the ground by a red car

Girl Washing Car

The sun is finally shining, meaning it’s time to spring-clean your car. Winter is hard on a car, and a good cleaning makes it look good as new inside and out. Also, a nice bath helps your car last longer by removing the winter buildup on paint and interior fabrics. It doesn’t take long to do the job and, once it’s done, you’ll have months of summertime weather to enjoy. Here’s how to spring-clean your car.

Vacuum Away Dirt

All the sand and salt that was on the bottom of your winter boots is now all over the floor of your car. Start by removing the floor mats and vacuuming the carpet. Next, give your floor mats a deep cleaning with soap and water.

The floor of your car should also be vacuumed. Push the seats all the way forward and all the way back to easily access the area underneath. You should also wash the floor, but be careful — you don’t want to oversaturate the carpet, which could cause mold. Instead, aim for a surface scrubbing, and let the carpet and mats dry completely before putting the mats back in.

Clean the Seats

Although they may not show it, your seats need to be cleaned, too. Vacuum them first and then use the same gentle application of soap and water as you did when cleaning the carpeting. Again, do not soak them completely.

Leather seats deserve special treatment. Use an approved leather cleaner to remove surface dirt and then apply a leather conditioner.

Wipe All Hard Surfaces

The wood, plastic and metal surfaces throughout your car should all be given attention when you spring-clean your car. Start by removing any dirt using the brush attachment for your vacuum. This is also a great way to clean the slats in your air vents, which collect dust quickly.

Next, use a soft cloth sprayed with an approved cleaner to wipe away surface dirt. Harsh chemicals can harm your car’s interior, so only use approved products to clean hard surfaces. Break out the cotton swabs to get into all the cracks and crevices.

Wash the Exterior

The salt and road grime from winter can dull a car’s finish and cause permanent damage. Take the time to clean your car with soap using a large, soft sponge. Hose off loose dirt first to avoid dragging it across metal surfaces, which can cause scratches. Then, wash the whole car from top to bottom, including your wheels. Tires take the brunt of winter weather and may require a little extra elbow grease to clean.

Spring-cleaning your car is a once-a-year job that will make your car look great all summer long.

Check out all the spring-cleaning products 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, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo 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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