Home Remedies for Your Car

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home remedies for cars

Whether you have a Camry, Dodge, or Porsche – your car will show the signs of use over time. It will need a washing both inside and out. You may run over a skunk or other road kill. If someone smokes in your vehicle, the odor will linger. To address some of these common issues, home remedies for your car can certainly provide cost-effective solutions.

Common Car Issues

As a car owner, you’re going to have to prepare yourself to deal with some of the following common car problems:

• Smelly odors (like cigarette smell or musty car seats)
• Stains, spills, scratches and rust
• In need of a car wash
• Dirty tires
• Foggy, frosty or dirty windows and mirrors
• Dead battery and corroded car parts
• Dullness (on plastic dashboard parts and leather seats)

Car Home Remedies

From removing a stain in the floor mats to treating your battery terminals to a bit of tender loving care, the following home remedies for cars can help you save money, time and energy for common dilemmas:

a) Baking Soda:

Use a soft cloth to apply a paste of baking soda and water to the exterior of your car to remove tar. After the remedy has dried, rinse off with warm water. You can use this same thick paste to clean the corrosion that builds up on battery terminals. Leave on the remedy for 10 to 15 minutes, and then wash off.

b) Butter:

If you rub butter or margarine onto sap that has fallen on your car, you can remove the sticky mess with ease. Use a soft cloth to apply and wipe off.

c) Carpet:

When your car floor mats get to grungy to use, replace with a carpet sample or old house carpet that you’ve cut into the shape of a replacement mat.

d) Aluminum Foil:

Dip a shiny piece of crumpled aluminum foil in cola soda so that you can scrub away any rust that has developed on a chrome bumper.

e) Steel Wool:

To clean your whitewall tires, opt for the finest steel wool in the form of a pad.

f) Iron-On Patch:

When you’ve burned a hole into your car seat or have torn the material, use an iron-on patch to mend the upholstery. Use a couple of straight pins to hold the patch in place while you iron.

g) Petroleum Jelly:

Wipe down the battery posts with petroleum jelly once every two months to prolong the life of your battery.

h) Cola Soda:

Remove corrosion from battery terminals by pouring a can of cola over the terminals, and let it sit for 30 minutes before wiping clean.

cola soda

i) Baby Oil:

Remove scuff marks and scratches from your odometer by rubbing a bit of baby oil[1] into the dashboard plastic. You can also rejuvenate and protect leather seats by applying a thin layer of the baby oil. Let dry to prevent drying out and cracking of the leather.

j) Club Soda:

Keeping a spray bottle filled with club soda in the trunk of your car can come in pretty handy. The liquid is effective in removing bird droppings, dirt, and bugs from the windshield. Just spray on, and turn on the wipers to clean after waiting a few minutes.

k) Aspirin:

To revive a dead battery without the help of jumper cables, drop a few aspirin tablets into the battery. The acid in the headache fighter provides just enough of a charge to get you to the nearest service station [2].

l) Towels:

If the forecast says ice and snow are on the way, make getting out quicker by placing two old bath towels across the windshield. When it’s time to drive, just pull off the towels and there will be no snow or ice to remove.

m) Plastic Bags:

When parking your car outside, avoid the time-consuming task of scraping ice and wiping away snow from the side mirrors and windshield wipers by wrapping in old plastic bags.

n) Hubcap:

If you are stuck in the snow or mud and have no way to dig yourself out, you can actually use your hubcap as a way to remove debris and free your wheel.

o) Floor Mats:

When your car is stuck in an icy patch and the wheels could use a little extra traction, take out the car floor mat and place under the tire. Drive over the mats and when you are in a same place, retrieve the mats and continue on your journey.

p) Hair Conditioner:

Follow up a car wash with an application of hair conditioner. Leave the remedy on for five minutes, and then rinse off to reveal a just-waxed look. On rainy days, this treatment will also help repel water better.

q) Nail Polish [3]:

If you feel the indentation of a scratch on your car’s finish (after rubbing your finger over the mark), you can use nail polish to cover the scratch. This means that the paint layer has been damaged – buffing and polishing will not help. You must paint over the mark to make it less visible. Find a nail polish that matches the color of your finish and carefully paint over the scratch. Let the polish dry, and you should see a great difference. If you make a mistake during the process, use a Q-tip dipped in a little nail polish remover as a touch up.

r) Rubbing Alcohol:

Clean dirty windshield wipers by swiping the blades with a paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol. You can also rub in a small amount of rubbing alcohol with your fingertips into droplets of sap to remove from your car’s paint finish.

rubbing alcohol

s) Cornstarch:

Clean dirty windows by applying a mixture of one tablespoon of cornstarch added to ½ gallon of warm water. After washing, dry with a soft cloth.

t) Vegetable Oil[4] or Cooking Spray:

Sometimes, your car tires become covered in brake dust – a fine, black powder. When you apply a little bit of cooking spray or vegetable oil, you can wipe clean after 10 minutes. After this treatment, spray or apply once more to reduce the amount of brake dust that gathers next time.

u) Mayonnaise:

When you need to remove tar or pine sap off of your car, apply mayonnaise to affected areas. Leave the mayo on for several minutes, and then wipe off with a soft, clean rag.

v) Spray Bottle:

To keep ice from lingering on your windshield and mirrors in the winter months, store a spray bottle in your trunk that is filled with windshield cleaner with ½ teaspoon of antifreeze. This combination will help melt the ice on windshields, windows, and mirrors.

w) WD-40:

Remove the bodies of insect causalities from the grill of your car by spraying a small amount of WD-40 on the grill and hood before taking to the road again. Most of the bugs will slide off, and the ones that do not are much easier to wipe away without damaging your paint job. You can also use WD-40 to solve a squeaky door problem.

x) Soap:

Did you know that you can fill a mesh bag with a scented soap to create a homemade freshener that hangs from the rearview mirror?

y) Cat Litter:

To absorb oil leaked by your car, put the absorbent qualities of kitty litter to good use. Pour the basic, inexpensive kind over the oil and the liquid should be soaked up within one hour. To remove the litter, sweep up into a dustpan and toss in the trash.

z) Dryer Sheets:

Place unused fabric softener sheets under all of your car seats to help neutralize the musty odors that can develop in a car. This remedy is also effective in counteract cigarette smoke smells.

aa) Vinegar:

To clean dirty wiper blades, wipe with a cloth or rag dampened with undiluted white vinegar. Run the cloth down the full length of the blades – one to two times each.

bb) Vinegar and Water:

A solution of one part water and three parts white vinegar can be used to keep car windows from frosting up during cold winter months. Wipe or spray the outsides of your windows to keep away the frost. Each coating can last up to several weeks.

cc) Vinegar and Credit Card:

Vinegar can also be used to remove stubborn bumper stickers. Saturate the sticker with undiluted distilled vinegar for 10 to 15 minutes. Use an expired credit card to scrape off the residue. This remedy can also be used to remove decals from your back windshield.

dd) Socks:

When looking for something to buff the wax on your car, use a large old sock.


[1] https://www.johnsonsbaby.com/oil/johnsons-baby-oil

[2] Who Knew? Almanac by Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin; pg. 22.

[3] Five Minute Fixes by Reader’s Digest; pg. 338-339.

[4] http://www.wessonoil.com/vegetable_oil.jsp