Spring cleaning the interior of your car
Ryan Darby

Ryan Darby

Ryan takes the lead on all things 'wordy'. With a sports media background, a true passion for cars, and a LOT of driving experience under his belt, he'll make sure you have all the information you need, when you need it.

Tips for spring cleaning your car

After some harsh winter months, there is nothing more satisfying than giving your car a deep clean to get it looking pristine as we enter spring.

Our poor cars can often be neglected as we battle the cold, with rubbish and dirt building up throughout the interior over time.

However, as we prepare for the brighter days and warmer weather that is to come, it is important to get your car looking its best.

We have compiled some useful cleaning tips that will have the interior of your car looking spick and span in no time.

items for cleaning your car

What do I need to clean the interior of my car?              

Before you start, there are some useful appliances that you might need to get the job done. Some of the more important ones could include;

  • Hoover
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Old paintbrush/toothbrush
  • Upholstery cleaner
  • Interior polish
  • Glass cleaner
  • Disinfectant spray or wipes
  • Stiff bristle brush

How to clean the interior of your car

Step 1: Clear out the rubbish

Start by removing any excess or leftover rubbish that you may have laying around in your car. It could be coffee cups, fast-food wrappers or just mess your kids have left in the rear seats. Grab yourself a bag and clear it out.

Step 2: Clean your floor mats and surrounding areas

Your car’s original carpet area underneath the floor mats can often be ignored during a clean and this can be a hotbed for loose grit and dirt.

Gently remove your floor mats and clean them separately. Remove any larger stones or objects by hand. If you have one nearby, use a stiff bristle brush on the carpet areas. It can be easy for small stones and grit to get stuck and caught up in the carpet.

By doing this first, it will be easier for you to use the vacuum cleaner to collect any remaining grit. Remember to push your seats back as far as possible to get into those hard-to-reach areas.

Most floor mats can be washed with soap and water if you would like to go that extra mile but ensure they are all completely dry before reinstalling them.

Car front interior

Step 3: Empty cup holders and compartments 

These can be some of the dirtiest areas of your car’s interior and often the most neglected. We’ve all been there, you’ve picked up a coffee to go at the weekend and left the cup in there, or you’ve demolished a banana for breakfast during the early-morning commute and left the peel in there. 

These compartments can often be sticky or full of dust and dirt. Start by removing all left-over rubbish and larger items. If you have a suitable attachment, hoover any remaining grit that you may find in the nooks and crannies of these compartments before tackling them with a suitable cleaning product and cloth.

To keep your cupholders looking brand new, consider lining them with a material or additional fitting that adds additional protection.

Step 4: Polish your dashboard

Dashboards are prone to collecting dirt and dust simply through everyday use. Be it fingerprint marks or stains, it is important to clean them regularly if you want to maintain that clean and new-look finish.

There are several dashboard cleaning products on the market, but if you don’t have any to hand, wiping them down with a slightly wet cloth will do a great job. 

As best you can, avoid spraying into any electricals or vents to avoid any internal damage. When polishing the dashboard, ensure that you do not polish the steering wheel, gear stick or pedals, to avoid them becoming slippery while driving. 

Step 5: Clean the steering wheel 

Now that you have cleaned your dash, turn your attention to the steering wheel - perhaps one of the dirtiest aspects of your car. While on face value, they may not appear to be that dirty - a previous study from the Queen Mary University in London, which featured in the Mail On Sunday, stated that steering wheels can have nine times more dirt than your average public toilet.

In times like these, we know the importance of washing our hands. With our steering wheels requiring so much hands-on contact, it is important to clean them regularly. How you clean your steering wheel will depend on the type of wheel your car has, as you will want to take extra care with leather. 

To avoid stripping colour from a leather wheel, use a leather cleaning spray and a microfiber cloth. Work your hands around the wheel, twisting as you go to ensure you cover all angles before wiping down with a dry cloth.

For plastic wheels, soap and water will do the job. Simply use the same techniques as above and dry the wheel down with a separate cloth. Avoid spraying cleaning products directly onto the wheels to protect any electrical equipment underneath. 

Mercedes-benz close up wheel

Step 6: Use a paintbrush to clear your air vents

If you have an old thin paintbrush available, these can be great tools to clean out your air vents. By their design, air vents are not the easiest of places to clean, despite them often being a hotbed for dust. Thin paint brushes allow you to work yourself into the smaller gaps without damaging them.

Step 7: Freshen up those seats

Your car seats have a pretty thankless task and they are put through a lot over time. There are various upholstery cleaning products on the market, so whether you have fabric or leather seats, you have plenty of choice. 

A good idea would be to test any product you do intend on using on a smaller, out-of-sight patch to ensure that it does not react badly with the material. 

If you have another small brush to hand, these can be useful to help clear out dirty from the crooks and hard-to-reach areas. Allow enough time for your seats to fully dry and use your vacuum to pick up any extra grit or surface dirt that may be present.

BMW interior

Step 8: Don’t forget the windows

Cleaning the inside of your windows is a very important step in the spring clean and it was one that shouldn't be overlooked.

Glass Doctor claim that cleaning the inside of your car windows ‘every few weeks’ can help them to defrost quicker, as well as improving your visibility and decreasing your chances of being involved in an accident.

When cleaning windows, we advise that drivers avoid ammonia-based glass cleaning products, as they can damage other areas of the car such as leather. You should also look to use a car-specific glass cleaner. Work your way from either top to bottom of the windscreen or left to right to avoid any patches or smears.

For those who like to keep their motors looking factory fresh, we offer an additional vehicle maintenance package with our car lease deals that include a host of valuable benefits, including a complimentary wash and vacuum.

Five top tips to keep your car tidy after a spring clean

1.     Buy a car bin

2.     Install car organisers

3.     Invest in an air freshener

4.     Line your cup holders

5.     Use a money pot to store loose change

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