According to a survey made by the International Carwash Association, people love to have attractive cars, but the process of making it attractive is a different story altogether. This is validated in their study, where 62 percent of car owners place a lot of importance to their vehicle’s appearance. However, only 53 percent of the respondents wash their cars less than a month, and 16 percent actually don’t bother to wash their cars at all*.
What’s more, 27 percent of those who answered the survey thought their car smelled bad, while 61 percent left garbage inside their vehicles.
If you can relate to this, then you’re not alone. But the good news is there are easy and simple hacks you can do to keep your car clean. And you only need these simple items that you’d most likely already have at home:
Lingering Bad Odors – Charcoal and Baking Soda
Cars sometimes have a knack for absorbing smells–and making them linger for a long time. And it doesn’t matter whether they’re leftover fries from your kid’s Happy Meal, or a half-eaten sisig from last night’s take-out dinner. The mere fact that your car smells more like a gym locker or a cafeteria can be quite off-putting, to say the least.
The solution? Take out some bits of charcoal, place them in a small pouch, and place them inside the car. To make it more effective, place the charcoals on top of a bed of baking soda. These two will absorb those odors in no time.
But what if there are still bad odors left? Sprinkle baking soda inside the vehicle, and leave them for a couple of hours. Vacuum them thoroughly, and place an air freshener to sweeten the deal.
Wiper Blades – Alcohol
Did you know that you should change your wiper blades 1-2 times a year? If you don’t, then you can see a lot of evidences that things are not working, such as streaks on the glass, frayed and cracking blades, and scraping noises when you use them.
If you’re extremely busy and have no time to replace them, the least you can do is to clean them by using alcohol. Simply get a cotton ball, put some alcohol in it, and wipe the blades back and forth until all the dirt is removed.
Rust Stains – Coke
Who says Coke is only a thirst-quencher? Apparently, it can also get rid of rust stains on your windshield.
Just get a can or bottle of Coke, soak it in a piece of cloth, and rub it in circular motions to get rid of those unsightly rust marks.
On a side note, Coke can also be used for other stains inside your home, such as those brown circular smudges in the toilet. So if you have some left, then just pour it in your toilet bowl, leave for a few hours, and clean with a toilet brush.
Or simply drink up the remaining soda and cringe a little bit. Let’s just hope your insides are still working properly after this.
Dusty, Small Crevices or Holes – Screwdriver
Your screwdriver can be a great help if you have trouble cleaning dust that’s lodged inside small holes and other minuscule crevices.
Just remember to cover it with a piece of cloth first. Not only will it take out all the dirt, but it will also help protect your car’s materials from getting scratched.
Dirty Car Upholstery – Soda Water, Vinegar, and Dishwashing Liquid
Want to know an effective DIY cleaning recipe for dirty car seats and upholstery? All it takes are three ingredients: soda water (club soda), vinegar, and some dishwashing liquid.
Mix together 1 cup of club soda, 1 cup of vinegar, and 1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle, and spray them on the seats. Allow them to remain for 10-15 minutes before you scrub them, and let them dry overnight.
By the way, before you spray it, make sure to vacuum your seats to get rid of all the accumulated dirt first.
Grimy, Tight Ridges – Foam Paintbrush / Baking Spatula
It’s easy for your car’s air vents to get smudgy. What’s more, the dust that accumulates inside them can be difficult to clean.
If it feels like you’re wrestling with an alligator just to clean the dust out from all those tight ridges, then you can purchase a small foam paintbrush that’s sold at any book or arts supply store. If you can’t find any, then just cover a baking spatula with a soft cloth or foam, and use it as an alternative.
Simply use them to wipe the vents or ridges, while at the same time holding a small vacuum hose to suck out all the dust that you’re wiping off. This saves you a lot of time in the process.
Melted Wax / Crayons – Hot Iron
Did your kids have an intense sugar rush and decided to unleash all their energy into coloring your car seats? Don’t worry, your good old hot iron can remove these “artistic doodles” in no time.
Simply place a piece of paper over the stain, and then iron it. In time, the crayon will melt and will transfer to the paper.
This technique can also be used for candle droppings and other melted wax products.
Car Stickers – Newspaper, Blade, and WD-40
Stickers can be a nuisance, particularly if there are bits and pieces of them left on your nearly-flawless window.
And it seems like the harder you try to get rid of them, the more adhesive mess you’re spreading on the surface, doesn’t it?
You can remove them by placing a piece of newspaper on top of the stickers. Pour some warm water over the paper, let stand for a few hours, and then use a razor blade to remove them.
Another way you can do this is to rub WD-40 on their edges, apply heat using a blow dryer, and then scrape the stickers off with a credit card or a blade.
Headlights – Whitening Toothpaste
Your toothpaste not only can make your teeth clean, but it can also do the same for your car’s headlights.
Just squeeze in a small amount of whitening toothpaste on them, and wipe the paste gently on the entire surface. “Amazon Hands” need not apply here–make sure to apply gentle pressure whenever you do this.
Leave it for a couple of hours, and wash it all off. You’ll easily notice the difference.
Oil Stains – Cornstarch and Vinegar
Got too excited with the buffalo wings and dropped some of them on your car’s upholstery? No need to panic. If there are visible oil stains and patches, simply mix cornstarch and vinegar together and dab them on the stain. Allow them to dry off (and repeat when needed).
* The study surveyed 1,000 U.S. car owners
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