Steve’s Car Tip #6: Economy Car Cleaning Solutions

Clean car

Photo Credit: David Martyn Hunt

Been looking for some inexpensive car cleaning solutions that really seem to do the job?…look no further than this handy dandy guide of economy car cleaning solutions.  Clean your car without breaking the bank while being gentle on the environment, too (in many cases).  So, with a busy schedule and tight budget, clean your car with materials you may already have in your house!
Our Pro tip: It’s always a good idea to test on a small, unnoticeable area first to be sure it won’t damage the fabric or paint on your car.

Washing Your Car

Try a mixture of a dab of hair conditioner and clean water for an inexpensive car wash that’ll make your vehicle’s finish shine, repel water and look like it was just waxed. A good choice would be one that includes includes lanolin as one of its ingredients for even better results.

Shining Up Paint

A little WD-40 will often do the trick to remove tar, tree sap, bird droppings, and dried bugs – always notoriously difficult to remove. It’s also handy for removing old bumper stickers – just spray a little on whatever it is you want to remove and then wash it off.  You may want to use a soft cloth and some gentle rubbing to help speed the process.  For an extra economical solution – try a little bit if creamy peanut butter or shortening on that sticky spot, they can work wonders and are environmentally friendly.

Scrubbing the Windows

Just as women from 50-100 years ago used to use as their major window cleaner – choose vinegar, instead of ammonia. Ammonia can harm some window tints and so it is always best to avoid ammonia whenever possible. There are many commercial products out on the market containing vinegar like Windex, Eco-Touch, and many others.   Or, if you want to save some money, make your own window cleaner. Combine one cup of water with half a cup of vinegar and a quarter cup of alcohol. Mix well and spray away.  Be sure to use a microfiber cloth when cleaning your windows for extra gentleness to the surface.
Another economical, environmentally-friendly solution is to sprinkle some cream of tartar on the dry windshield’s exterior, wipe it down with soapy water, rinse and dry for a sparkling, streak-free view. Your vehicle’s windshield won’t taste better afterward, but it sure will be cleaner.

Cleaning Interior Surfaces

WD-40 is a magic solution for many cleaning needs.  Not only is it good for exterior removal of bugs, tar, tree sap and nasty bird droppings, use it inside to remove gum and grease on interior fabrics and surfaces (spot check first, though).  A little bit goes a long way to remove many stains.  Just spray a little on the spot you want removed, rub it gently with a clean, soft cloth and then with some soap and water and, presto!  The stain is gone.
An all-natural solution to shine up your interior can be made at home with lemon juice and olive oil.  It will make your interior shine bright!  Mix one part fresh lemon juice with two parts olive oil. Dab some on a soft cloth and get to work rubbing it into the vehicle’s interior plastic and vinyl surfaces – being careful to avoid the steering wheel and gas and brake pedals. Polish and rub in the residue with another clean, soft cloth and you’ll have an interior that looks, and smells, great.

Removing That Smell

Ever wonder how your once new car went from having such a fresh smell to the staleness it now has?  How about taking a paper bag and put in some food scraps, a cup or two of dirt, and some fresh grass clippings, keep them in your car for three months with the windows rolled up and the sun beating down.  Pretty disgusting odor after just a few months!  But, a great solution for this is to place a small bag of charcoal under a seat and leave it there to help remove odors and serve as a dehumidifier.
Another odor busting solution is to use baking soda with a pleasant-smelling herb, such as lavender, mixed in can also help replace offensive odors with pleasing ones. Sprinkle the mixture on the floor and fabric seats, let it set for a few hours or overnight and then vacuum it away.

Fighting Stains

A water-vinegar mixture and a spray bottle can remove stains just as good as many store bought cleaners.  Also, try using some corn starch by sprinkling it on a grease or oil stain, leaving it on there for a few hours.  The starch may help to absorb and lift the grease so it can be vacuumed – a real economical solution that works on fresh stains!
Use these natural car cleaning, eco-friendly solutions that are easy on the pocket book for a fresh, clean car that your passengers will surely love!
If you’re around Osage Beach at beautiful Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri – stop in and see Steve at Gerbig’s Osage Auto Repair Service for expert car advice for you.

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