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Your Spring Car Cleaning Checklist:Interior, Exterior and More

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Your Spring Car Cleaning Checklist:Interior, Exterior and More

Spring is here, which means it’s time to get your car cleaned up and ready for the warmer weather ahead! A good spring cleaning goes a long way in keeping your car looking and running its best. Here is a comprehensive checklist covering everything you need to know about giving your car a thorough spring cleaning, inside and out.

Interior Cleaning

The interior of your car takes a beating over the winter from muddy shoes, spilled coffee, and more. Follow this checklist to refresh the inside and make it feel like new again.

Clean and Shampoo Carpets and Upholstery

  • Vacuum the seats, floor mats, and carpeting to remove loose dirt and debris. Make sure to get in all the nooks and crannies.
  • Use an interior carpet cleaner or upholstery shampoo to deeply clean the carpets and fabric. Be sure to read the instructions carefully.
  • For leather surfaces, use a leather conditioner or cleaner specifically made for auto upholstery.
  • Allow the carpets and upholstery to dry completely before replacing the floor mats.

Wipe Down Interior Surfaces

  • Clean the dash, door panels, console, and other interior surfaces with a soft cloth and interior cleaning spray.
  • For tough stains or spills, use a degreasing cleaner specifically made for car interiors.
  • Make sure to read the product instructions to not damage any surfaces.
  • Use a toothbrush or other small brush to clean in crevices and tight areas.

Clean Inside of Windows

  • Wipe down the inside surfaces of all windows with a glass cleaner.
  • This will help remove fog and improve visibility.
  • Pay special attention to corners and edges where grime buildup commonly occurs.

Vacuum and Clean Out Interior Compartments

  • Remove floor mats and vacuum underneath them.
  • Vacuum under seats and clean out any debris.
  • Wipe out compartments like the glovebox, center console, and door pockets.
  • Check for items that may have fallen under seats and gather loose change into one area.

Freshen up with Air Fresheners

  • Use a fragrance spray or vent air fresheners to make the interior smelling clean.
  • Choose a light, invigorating scent for spring like lemon, mango, or green tea.
  • Avoid overpowering scents that could cause headaches or nausea while driving.

Exterior Cleaning

The exterior of your car really takes a beating from winter weather. Follow this checklist to remove built-up grime and restore shine to the outside surfaces.

Hand Wash Exterior

  • Rinse dust and loose debris off with a hose.
  • Fill a bucket with cool water and a mild detergent.
  • Wash from top to bottom using a soft cloth, sponge or brush.
  • Rinse off suds thoroughly and dry with a chamois to prevent water spots

Clean Wheels and Tires

  • Use a specialty wheel cleaner and a stiff brush to break up brake dust and grime on wheels.
  • Spray wheel cleaner on a small area first to test for any reaction with the wheel finish.
  • For tires, use a stiff brush and an all-purpose cleaner to remove built-up dirt from the treads.

Clean Headlights and Taillights

  • Use a plastic polish or headlight restoration kit to clean cloudy headlights and improve visibility.
  • Wipe down taillights with glass cleaner to remove any film or dirt.

Touch up Chrome and Trim

  • Polish chrome pieces like the grille, mirrors, door handles and bumpers using chrome polish and a soft cloth.
  • Use an all-purpose vinyl/rubber protectant on trim pieces to restore shine and luster.

Treat Exterior Plastic and Rubber

  • Apply vinyl protectant to any exterior plastic piece like bumpers, side molding, and paneling to renew and protect the surface.
  • Treat weatherstripping around doors and windows with silicone spray to prevent cracking.

Clean Out Interior Compartments

  • Remove leaves, debris, and dirt that have accumulated in the fuel door, sills, and trunk.
  • Vacuum out the trunk and wipe down interior surfaces.

Additional Spring Cleaning Tips

Here are some extra tips to take your spring cleaning even further:

  • Swap out winter wiper blades for new ones. The winter elements can wear them down.

  • Check all interior and exterior lights and replace any burnt out bulbs. Good lighting is key for safety.

  • Inspect windshield washer fluid levels and fill up if needed. Top off other fluids like motor oil, power steering, and transmission as well.

  • Test car battery and take to shop for replacement if it is more than 3 years old. Cold weather is tough on batteries.

  • Inspect tires for wear and rotate if needed. Check tire pressures and inflate to proper PSI.

  • Clean out under seats by removing them and vacuuming below. This is a common place for clutter and dirt buildup.

With this comprehensive spring cleaning checklist, I can ensure my car looks great and performs at its best going into the warmer months. What spring cleaning tips do you use for your vehicle? Let me know in the comments if you have any other good suggestions!

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