How to spring clean your car

A post-winter car clean can achieve everything from protecting the paintwork and resale value to saving fuel

Clean Lead Jpg

The weather’s improving and the footy season is long over. You’ve cleaned the house, swapped your winter and summer wardrobes, and tended to the garden – now it’s time to give your car some of the same much needed love.


  • Remove any litter that has gathered inside the car over the winter months. Also clean out the boot and only carry what you need. Carting around that sports bag and toolbox adds weight which makes you engine work a little harder and consume more fuel – every gram counts.
  • Vacuum the floor carpet, mats, parcel shelf and the boot floor. Also look for dried mud on rubber mats, the scuff plates, door jams, side of the dashboard and behind the front seats – especially if you have kids. You should be able to clean it off harder surfaces with some soapy water.
  • Clean seats by running the vacuum cleaner them over them first to suck grit out of the seams. If they’re cloth seats use a cleaner that’s suitable for that particular fabric, or concoct a homemade cleaner using a cup of vinegar and a few drops of dishwashing liquid mixed with about four litres of hot water. Scrub the fabric and remove the dirty suds with a cloth and repeat that process until it’s clean.
  • Clean vinyl seats the same way using a general purpose car interior surface cleaner that also protects the surface from UV rays during summer, which can otherwise fade and crack the seats. For leather upholstery, use an appropriate cleaner that also softens the leather and provides UV protection.
  • Wipe all other surfaces such as the dashboard, door sills and steering wheel and then apply some car interior cleaner such as Armor All to revitalise the surface and provide UV protection.


  • Flush or dig out leaves from the base of the windscreen, inside the bonnet and in the lip below the boot lid.
  • Wash the car all over to get rid of all that winter dirt and road grime including the windows and underside. If you’re doing it at home use the two bucket system, with one bucket containing the clean soapy water and another with just water to rinse out your sponge.
  • Give the tyres and wheels a scrub. Alloy wheels collect plenty of grime and brake dust over winter so use a wheel cleaner and apply it with a medium-sized paintbrush to get into all the little nooks before rinsing.
  • Once your car is clean, dry it off with a chamois or micro-fibre towel.
  • Spring is a great time to polish and wax your car, especially if the paintwork is looking a little dull.
  • Once your car is all clean, waxed and polished, use window cleaner on both sides of the glass. A good way to avoid streaks to is to wipe them with newspaper. This is also the perfect time to replace your windscreen wipers.
  • If your headlight lenses look a little cloudy try scrubbing them with toothpaste, which has a mild abrasive and acts like a polish. While you’re at it check all the light globes around the car.
  • Finally, use a plastic restorer product to rejuvenate the tyres and any fading black plastic or rubber areas such as bumpers and side strips.


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