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How to Keep Your Car Clean

Treat your car or truck to a good, thorough cleaning this spring. Follow these easy steps to help it look (and smell) great again!

Spring Cleaning | CarMax

The winter months can be harsh on your vehicle; it collects a lot of ‘lived-in’ mess from your winter travels, plus it gets covered with all that built-up exterior grime. Get a head start on cleaning up your car for spring using these tips!

  1. Your car cleaning kit needs more than just soap and water. To give your car or truck the best cleaning, include a full set of car cleaning supplies, which includes interior detailing wipes, dashboard shine wipes, carpet cleaner, and a squeegee for your windows. If you have the time and the ability, wash it yourself. It’s the best way to notice and be mindful about little things that need your attention now and down the road.
  2. Don’t skimp on the soap. Use a non-abrasive soap — the gentler the better. Stick to a car wash soap that’s made for just one purpose: cleaning cars. It’s formulated to minimize scratches and give your paint job the shiniest possible finish.
  3. Wipe out water marks. Customers ask us about the best drying towel for a car; it might just be a chamois, a soft piece of leather (very soft cloth is also referred to as a chamois) that’s great for drying windows and clean bodywork. It’s key to wring out all the moisture you can as you go. A chamois works best — and leaves the fewest watermarks — when it’s just barely damp.
  4. Neaten up those nooks & crannies. A soft paint brush lightly sprayed with cleaner works for dusty dashboards and dirty ductwork. Include cotton swabs in your car detailing essentials kit for when you need to get into those really tight spaces (it’s what the detailing pros use).
  5. Help it smell swell again. After a long winter with the windows rolled up, your car’s interior might feel a little extra “lived in.” Remove all the trash, including food wrappers. Place an open container of coffee grounds or baking soda in your car overnight (windows up) as a natural deodorizer. And, our CarMax detailers have an interior-cleaning secret: pull out your car’s seat belts all the way and wipe them down with interior-friendly cleaner. It makes a noticeable difference!
  6. Swap out your winter tires. Not only might the knobbier tires lower your mpg — they could also kick up more dirt and debris — which means more washing and cleaning.
  7. Protect your interior, and your pets. You love to travel with your pets, but you want to protect your like-new interior. Score yourself a hammock-style seat cover for the back seat or third-row seat. This and other organizing gift ideas can also help you keep your car clean.
  8. Leave all those leaves behind. Spring is the perfect time to brush out or vacuum out all those leaves and debris from under your hood and from your roof crevices. They can build up and block air intakes, which can hamper your cars performance, and they can stop up the drain holes in your sunroof gutters (standing water has a way of finding its way into your interior).
  9. Stay out of the sun and keep your paint shiny. Make car cleaning easier in the months to come by washing it regularly, and parking it out of direct sunlight when possible. Doing this will help keep your car’s paint job looking great.
  10. Don’t forget about washing your undercarriage. All that wintertime roadway salt melts snow and ice so you don’t slip and slide. But it can also create a long-term problem for the underside of your car or truck — over time, it could accelerate rust. Once the snows are over, visit your local car wash and splurge on the extra underside hose-off. This will give everything underneath a good soak and rinse.

Want more car care tips and tricks? Just click here!

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