Some of us were born with the clean gene — the tendency to keep our homes, cars and personal spaces uncluttered and ready for company.
And some of us weren’t. You might even have two separate standards for your home and your car — one is pristine while the other is covered in strewn papers and garbage.
It’s more common for the car to get dirty since you’re on the go and spills are practically inevitable. Plus, cleaning the house is something you might already have a routine for, especially if you have a knack for entertaining.
Use these cleaning hacks to keep your car spotless, inside and out:
Keep the outside sparkling
Driving through the automatic car wash is easier than ever these days. You don’t even have to walk inside anymore — just use your credit card at the machine.
Regardless of the convenience, some people don’t prioritize regular washes, perhaps assuming that their clients won’t notice. If you tend to be lazy with washing, at least wipe down the sides with a damp cloth regularly, because people will notice when they touch a dirty car handle and end up with a fistful of dirt.
In terms of appearance, black shows dirt and water stains easier, but white is the perfect backdrop for mud. Try silver as a happy medium.
Car manufacturers often offer “pearl” or “sparkle” versions of basic colors, but it’s best you go with the standard finish.
Did you know you can use hair conditioner as a wax for the outside of your car? You probably have an extra bottle lying around somewhere, so why not make your car pop before your next big showing or open house?
For an aggressive glass cleanser, use Coca-Cola on the windshield and windows. The acidity of soda removes salt stains like magic. Just make sure to rinse off residue since stickiness attracts more dirt.
For headlights, a simple streak-free window cleaner does the trick. Cleaning your headlights is overlooked far too often, but it’s something you should pay attention to because compromised lighting is a safety concern.
Finally, clean your windshield wiper blades to avoid smears after going through all of the previous steps. Mix 1/4 cup household ammonia to 1 quart cold water. Gently lift the blades, and wipe both sides with a soft cloth or paper towel soaked in the solution, then wipe with a dry cloth.
As a general rule, never wash your car when it’s too hot. Washing your car in the heat leads to soapy stains.
Don’t let the inside become a trash pile
When you’re driving, it’s difficult and potentially dangerous to put things away in their respective places. Therefore, tidying up at the end of the day should be a regular routine. For papers that you prefer to keep in your car, use accordion folders and stow them in the trunk for filing on the go.
You probably eat in your car at least a few times a week. Put a small trash bag in the bottom side pocket of the driver’s side to toss your wrappers in between meetings. And it’s always nice to have a place for others to put their litter so they aren’t forced to hold onto empty cups and napkins all day.
Never smoke in your car, but if you must, use an air deodorizer instead of an air freshener to eliminate odors rather than simply mask them. You can also install a clip filled with aromatic oil on your vents that circulates fresh scents throughout the car when the air conditioning or heater is blasting.
Topless coffee cups and moving vehicles don’t mix. When you do spill, use baby wipes on leather for quick cleanups. Always store extra napkins in the glove box in case you need to wipe your hands or face.
To maintain a clean floor, use the quarter-operated vacuum every couple times you go to fill up your tank. It requires some extra time, but letting dirt build up for months might cost you a detailing to remove dried-up and embedded grime.
It’s best to prevent stains on car floors, especially during inclement weather. Use protective floor mats under each seat in your car. This way, your clients won’t feel guilty bringing their wet or snow-covered shoes onto your freshly cleaned carpet.
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