Home Remedies for Cleaning Cars

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car cleaning remedies

When the weather is hot enough, car owners all over will whip out a bucket of sudsy water and give their set of wheels a good wash. From pine sap to tar, your car could be covered in all sorts of grime – including the remains of an unlucky skunk. To effectively wash and deodorize your vehicle, you may want to become familiar with home remedies for cleaning cars.

Car Cleaning Home Remedies

There is no need to collect bottle after bottle of car wash soap and wax when you need to give your vehicle the once over. There are plenty of home remedies for cleaning cars that you may want to get familiar with, including the following suggestions:

a) Spray Bottle:

Fill a spray bottle with windshield cleaner with ½ teaspoon of antifreeze to have an instant ice melter on hand at all times. This combination will melt the ice on your windshield and mirrors in the wintertime.

b) WD-40:

To remove pesky dead bugs from the grill of your car – spray a bit of WD-40 on the grill and hood before going for a drive and most of the bugs will slide right off. The few bugs that cling onto the hood of your car can be easily wiped off without damaging the finish to your vehicle.

c) Scented Soap [1]:

When your car freshener has lost its power, fill a mesh bag with your favorite bar of scented soap to create a deodorizer that you can hang from your rearview mirror.

d) Fabric Softener Sheets:

Place a fresh dryer sheet under each of your car seats to counteract some of the musty odors that can linger in a car.

e) Sock:

Handle the buff job on your car by using an old sock to add shine to your finish after waxing.

f) Vinegar:

When wiper blades get dirty, you can clean by wiping with undiluted white vinegar on a cloth or rag. Run the cloth down the full length of each blade one or two times.

g) Vinegar and Water:

A solution comprised of equal amounts of water and white vinegar can be used to remove salt residue left on car carpets during the wintertime. Sponge the mixture onto the carpeting and after a couple of minutes – use a cloth or paper towel to blot up.

h) Vinegar and Bread:

Deodorize a smelly car trunk by soaking a slice of white bread in white vinegar, and then leaving it in the car overnight. By morning, the odor should have disappeared.

i) Vegetable Oil or Cooking Spray:

You can clean brake dust (a fine black powder found on the tires) by applying a small amount of cooking spray or vegetable oil. After 10 minutes, wipe clean, and then repeat the application to prevent future buildup of brake dust.

j) Mayonnaise:

To get tar off of your car, apply mayonnaise over affected spaces and leave on for several minutes. Use a soft, clean rag to wipe off the residue. The remedy also works to remove pine sap off of the hood of cars.

k) Mustard:

Remove the smell of skunk from your car after running over the poor critter by adding one cup dry mustard onto a bucket of warm water. Mix well, and then splash on the tires, wheels, and underbody of the car.

l) Baking Soda:

To remove tar from the exterior of your car, make a paste out of baking soda and water, and then apply using a soft cloth. Allow the remedy to dry, and then rinse off with warm water.

m) Butter:

Rubbing butter or margarine onto sap drippings smeared on your car exterior can help remove the sticky mess. Use a soft cloth to apply and wipe over the paint job, and you will find the sap instantly comes off.

n) Hair Conditioner:

After washing your car, apply hair conditioner to the paint job, and wait five minutes before rinsing off. It will give your vehicle a waxy shine. You will also be able to better repel water during rainy days.

o) Aluminum Foil:

Remove rust from your chrome bumper by scrubbing with a shiny piece of crumpled aluminum foil that has been dipped in cola.

p) Steel Wool:

You can use a fine steel wool pad (the finest grade that is sold) to clean your whitewall tires.

q) Club Soda:

Fill a spray bottle with club soda to keep in the trunk of your car. The soda is excellent in removing bird droppings, grime, and bugs from your windshield. Simply spray on, wait a couple of minutes, and then let the wipers do the rest of the job. Club soda is also effective in removing stains for car carpets by soaking immediately with the soda, and then blotting until the stain has disappeared.

r) Cornstarch:

To get rid of grease spots on your carpet, sprinkle cornstarch on the stain and let stand overnight. Follow up with a vacuum in the morning.

s) Dish and Laundry Detergent:

A recipe for homemade car wash soap combines one cup liquid dish detergent and 12 tablespoons of powdered laundry detergent added to one large bucket of water.

t) A Quick Thorough Dry:

To avoid soap and water spots after washing your car, make sure to quickly dry. When you don’t remove large water droplets, they magnify the light of the sun, which can cause the paint to burn – this is what leaves behind spotting.


[1] Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest; pg.307.