How to Clean Your Car at Home

car and sponge

Okay, let’s be real: few people love manually cleaning their cars. But it’s one of those things that has to be done, right? 

And if you’re anything like me, you probably don’t want to spend a ton of money on expensive car washes or detailing services.

So, what’s a car owner to do? Never fear, I’m here to help you clean your car at home like a pro. 

I’ll walk you through the steps for a basic car wash, as well as some tips for tackling those pesky stains and odors that can accumulate in your car over time. 

And the best part? You can probably do it all with stuff you already have around the house (or can easily pick it up at the grocery store).

So, let’s get cleaning.

Here’s how to clean your car at home.

Gather Your Supplies

You’ll need a bucket, a sponge or washcloth, car soap (or dish soap in a pinch), a hose or pressure washer, and a microfiber towel. You may also want to have some tire cleaner, wheel cleaner, and glass cleaner on hand, depending on your needs.

Start with the Wheels

The wheels tend to be the dirtiest part of the car, so it’s a good idea to tackle them first. Use a tire cleaner and scrub brush to scrub the tires and rims, then rinse them off with the hose or pressure washer. 

If you have particularly dirty or greasy wheels, you may want to use a dedicated wheel cleaner to help break down the grime.

Wash the Exterior

Wet the entire car with the hose or pressure washer, starting from the top and working your way down. This will help to loosen any dirt or debris on the surface of the car. 

Next, use your bucket of soapy water and a sponge or washcloth to scrub the exterior of the car, starting from the top and working your way down. Be sure to rinse the car thoroughly when you’re finished.

Dry the Car

Use a microfiber towel or chamois cloth to dry the car, starting from the top and working your way down. Be sure to pay extra attention to any crevices or tight spaces, as water can accumulate in these areas and lead to rust or other issues.

Tackle the Interior

Now it’s time to move on to the interior of the car. Start by vacuuming the seats, floors, and trunk to remove any dirt, dust, or debris. Then, use a fabric cleaner or a mixture of water and mild detergent to scrub the seats, dashboard, and other hard surfaces. 

For particularly stubborn stains, you may want to use a specialized stain remover. And don’t forget to clean the windows! Use a glass cleaner and a microfiber towel to wipe down the windows, both inside and out.

5 Tips For Keeping Your Car Clean

Here are 5 things to keep in mind for keeping your car clean and smelling fresh.

  1. Pre-treat stubborn stains. If you have any particularly stubborn stains on your car’s upholstery or carpets, you may want to try pre-treating them with a stain remover before you start scrubbing. This can help to loosen the stain and make it easier to remove.
  2. Protect your paint. To help protect your car’s paint job and keep it looking shiny and new, you may want to wax the exterior of the car after you wash it. This will create a protective barrier that can help to keep dirt and grime from sticking to the surface of the car.
  3. Use a car cover. If you have to park your car outside and are worried about it getting dirty again, you can use a car cover to protect it from the elements. This can be especially useful if you live in an area with a lot of pollution or harsh weather conditions.
  4. Freshen up the air. After you’ve finished cleaning your car, you may want to consider using an air freshener to help get rid of any lingering odors. You can use a store-bought air freshener, or you can try making your own using essential oils and a small spray bottle. You can even use baking soda. 
  5. Keep it clean. Finally, the best way to keep your car clean is to stay on top of it. Try to vacuum and clean the interior of your car at least once a week, and wash the exterior at least every other week (or more often if it’s especially dirty). This will help to keep your car looking and smelling fresh and will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

How Often Should You Clean Your Car Interior and Exterior?

So, how often should you wash and clean your car? The short answer is that it depends on a few factors, including your location, driving habits, and personal preferences. 

If you live in an area with a lot of dirt, pollution, or harsh weather conditions, you may need to wash your car more often. 

Similarly, if you’re someone who drives a lot or takes a lot of long trips, your car may get dirty more quickly. In general, it’s a good idea to wash the exterior of your car at least every other week, or more often if it’s especially dirty.

As for cleaning the interior of your car, it’s a good idea to vacuum and wipe down the surfaces at least once a week. This will help to remove dirt, dust, and debris from the car, and will keep it looking and smelling fresh. 

If you have pets or kids, you may need to clean your car more often, as they can leave behind extra messes and spills. Overall, the key is to stay on top of it and clean your car regularly to keep it in good condition and make it a more pleasant place to be.

Important Reminder

While cleaning your car at home can be a cost-effective and satisfying way to keep your car looking and smelling fresh, there are some situations where it’s best to leave it to the professionals. 

If your car is particularly dirty or has severe stains or odors, it may be worth it to invest in a professional car cleaning or detailing service. These services can use specialized equipment and products to tackle tough grime and stains and can help to restore your car’s interior and exterior to their original condition. 

However, be aware that professional car cleaning and detailing services can be costly, so it’s a good idea to weigh the cost against the benefits before making a decision.


So there you have it: a step-by-step guide for cleaning your car at home like a pro. With a little bit of elbow grease and the right supplies, you can easily keep your car looking and smelling fresh without breaking the bank. 

And while professional car cleaning and detailing services can be helpful in certain situations, sometimes all you need is a bit of DIY know-how to get the job done.

Did you know you can clean your foggy headlights with baking soda? Read How To Clean Car Headlights Fast & Easily With Baking Soda to learn how.

Thanks for following along with me on this car-cleaning journey! I hope you found these tips and tricks helpful, and that you’re feeling confident in your ability to tackle any messes that come your way. Happy cleaning your car!

-Baking Soda Guy

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