What’s better than having a clean and properly maintained car? Having a clean and properly maintained car, AND cash in your pocket. We’ve compiled all available DIY car cleaning tips to help you save some bucks and trips to car wash salons.
1. Baking soda as your car cleaner
Prepare in advance for your next few car washes by making your own condensed cleaner base.
Pour 1/4 cup baking soda into a gallon-sized jug, then add 1/4 cup dishwashing liquid and enough water to fill the jug almost to the top. Screw on the cap, shake well and store the concentrate for later use. When it comes time to wash the case, shake the jug vigorously and then pour 1 cup of the cleaner base into a 2-gallon water pail. Fail the pail with warm water, stir to mix, and your homemade cleaning solution is ready to use.
2. Mix your own no-wash washer
You won’t have to spray the car before washing or rinse or wax once you’re done. The key here is to add 1 cup kerosene to a 3-gallon (12 liters) pail filled with water and sponge the solution over your car. The next time it rains, rainwater will bead up and roll off the car, lessening the likelihood of rusting.
3. Condition it for extra shine
Wash your car with a hair conditioner containing lanolin. Not only will this give your car a freshly waxed appeal, but this also helps the surface repels rain.
4. Windows Cleaner
Baby wipes! Surprise surprise! You can use it to clean your car shield and car windows.
5. Fizz windshields clean with cola
You may not be a fan of soda but here’s a reason why it pays to keep one. The bubbles in the cola will fizz away the grime in your windshield, especially when it rains after a long dry spell. Just be sure to wash the sticky cola off thoroughly or your cleaning efforts will end up attracting dust and dirt. Tip: Stretch a towel along the bottom of the windshield to protect the hood paint.
6. Crystal clear windows and windshields
Add 60 ml household ammonia to a 1-liter water, pour it into a plastic bottle with a watertight cap and keep it in your car for washing the windscreen and windows. As soon as your windscreen begins to get dirty, take out the solution and apply it with a sponge; then dry the windscreen with a soft cloth or paper towels.
7. Leave it to vodka!
When your windshield-washer reservoir needs filling, raid the liquor cabinet to make your own washing fluid. In a screw-top gallon jug, mix 3 cups vodka (the cheapest you can find) with 4 cups water and 2 teaspoons liquid dishwashing detergent. Screw on the cap and shake well, then pour as much fluid as needed into the reservoir.
8. Ran out of Windshield Washing Fluid?
If the reservoir if empty (and doesn’t it always seem to be?), use an unlikely substitute to clean your windshield: feminine hygiene maxi-pads, a box of which you could stash in the trunk. Hold a pad on the sticky side and rub the windshield vigorously. The glass will really shine once you’ve wiped it to the max.
9. Clean your Blades
Have you pay attention to your wiper blades lately? If not, you may want to check it today. If it becomes dirty, instead of cleaning your glass, they will streak it. Here’s an easy fix. Make a solution of a 1/4 cup household ammonia to a 1-liter cold water. Gently lift the blades, and wipe both sides with a soft cloth or paper towel soaked in the solution. Make sure to dry them first with a cloth before lowering them.
10. Shine those car lights
Keep your headlights polished (and yourself, safe) by applying window cleaner and rubbing vigorously with an old pair of pantyhose.
11. Leave it to the oil.
In many rural areas, so-called oil roads (some unpaved, others semi-paved) are sprayed with oil to control blowing sand and dust. If you find yourself driving along one of these back roads, your windshield may end up coated with oily grime. To cut through the muck, sprinkle cream of tartar over the windshield, and then wipe the glass down with soapy water, rinse well, and dry.