Here's How to Keep Your Car Clean Inside and Out

A car wash may seem like an easy solution to keeping your car clean. With busy schedules, sometimes it's the only option. But is it the best option? Car wash equipment carries grime from one car to the next, and some of the chemicals used in commercial washes can damage paint and plastic. And the inside of your car? You will probably be able to make it more sanitary and pleasant if you DIY interior cleaning, too.

Why Should You Clean Your Car Yourself?

Besides saving money, many people aren't aware that car washes use powerful chemicals that can even etch glass. Although many car washes have switched to softer brushes, the equipment still carries grime from car to car. Even brushless car washes can spray debris that creates fine spiderweb scratches on your paint.

Interior cleaning is usually superficial at a car wash. While a quick wipedown won't hurt anything, many people worry about the security of their personal items while their car is being cleaned and the job is seldom thorough.

Easy Exterior Car Cleaning Tips to Clean Like a Pro

Canadian weather is hard on car paint and exterior trim. If you hand-wash your car, invest in cleaning soap made for cars. Dish soap strips protective wax and oils from your car's paint, leading to oxidization and eventually, rust.

Use a wash mitt to put suds on your car. With a suds bucket and a rinse bucket, you can also save water by rinsing the mitt out as you complete washing segments of your car. Start at the top and work your way down to allow suds to cover every part of your car without extra work.

If you really want a shiny, glass-like finish, invest in a clay-barring kit, which removes small bits of road debris embedded in your paint. You can follow up with a buffer. Not to be confused with waxing, car buffers polish the paint's finish to a show-car level of shine.

If you want to use car wax, consider a synthetic wax as opposed to carnauba wax. Carnauba wax is a plant-based wax that comes from a Brazilian palm tree. Carnauba wax works well on paint, but unlike synthetic waxes, it can leave white marks on rubber or plastic trim.

Smart Ways to Clean Your Car's Interior

Don't start cleaning your car by shampooing or vacuuming the rugs first. You'll just get them dirty again while you clean seats, dashes, consoles, and windows.

First, gather your equipment and supplies. You'll need a vacuum cleaner with a hose and attachments for upholstery and crevices. You'll also want shop towels, rags, or paper towels and cleaning products. Vinyl and leather cleaners help spruce up upholstery, dashes, and consoles.

Empty your car of any trash and belongings. Take out your floor mats -- if you wash them first, they'll dry before you finish the rest of the interior.

Clean your dash, console and seats with your vinyl or leather cleaner. Then, vacuum your car. After this step, clean your windows and buttons and controls. Replace your floor mats and do a final check to make sure you've gotten all of the grime.

Keeping your car clean not only makes it more pleasant to drive, it helps to preserve its value. Cars with damaged, dirty interiors and chipped, dull paint and rust have a lower resale value than well-maintained vehicles. You won't have to pay a higher insurance premium because you are keeping your car clean and in good condition, so why not shop for a car insurance policy that meets your needs using's tools.