Looking for ways to make your car cleaner? We’ve found 15 unexpected tricks, tips, and hacks keeping your car clean, fresh, and neat regardless of the season!

Whether you are the crazy busy parent whose slightly embarrassed to open the car too wide in the pickup line at school, or you are the guy who feels like he simply lives out of his car with the dust, used tissues, or stained floor mats, we’ve got you covered! Your glove compartment is a mess, the dashboard is filled with car clutter, the seat cover is stained, and the list goes on.

Take heart, car folks. Here are some great ways to make your car cleaner, and we think they’ll love them so much, they may help you keep it clean!

Whether you are trying to sell your car, or just give it a new car feel, these tricks, tips and DIY ideas will help you make your car cleaner and look like you just drove it off the lot.

Keeping Your Car Clean in Simple Ways

1. Wash Smarter, Not Harder

Hate scrubbing your car floor mats/ carpets?  Let’s face it, they tend to get the brunt of the junk leftover from our kids trampling all over our cars. But for this hack, you don’t need a carpet cleaner Next time your mats need a good cleaning, try this! Take them out and give them a good shake or quick vacuum, then put them in the dishwasher! That’s right. Instead of spending an hour scrubbing them down, toss them in and let the dishwasher do the dirty work. Meanwhile, you can work or cleaning our the rest of your car.

Clean your non fabric floor mats by simply sticking them in your dishwasher.

via One Crazy House

2. Make the Car Cleaner with Cupcake Liners

Ok, why have I never thought of this until now? Clean out your cupholders, and then insert silicone cupcake liners inside to keep them clean once and for all. It will catch spills, dirt, crumbs, and anything in your car’s interior stuff. The cupcake liners (affiliate) are not only removable but way easier to wash because they’re rubber. Pop them in the dishwasher if you need them, but honestly, this trick makes it so easy mainly because all they take to clean them is a simple wiping.

BONUS TIP: Want to get those cup holders spotless before you try the liner idea above? Slip a sock over a travel mug or old coffee cup, spray a little all-purpose cleaner on the sock and slide the cup into the cup holder. Rotate the sock-covered cup left to rights until all the gunk and grime wipes clean. You’re welcome.

Slip a plastic cupcake liner in your cup holder and never have to scrub out the gunk from your cup holders again. Simply pull the liners out, wash then and put them back.

via Kids Activities Blog

3. Genius Travel Tissue Hack

Speaking of old coffee cups…who else can never find a realistic place in their car for those huge, rectangular, awkward shaped tissue boxes? It can’t just be me. Toss the cumbersome classic tissue box and try this clever idea instead. Put tissues in a to-go cup so they’ll sit neatly in your cup holder. You can stick tissues in the back for your kids to easily reach. You may want to put an empty cup in the other cup holder for used tissues, or they double great as emergency cups for those not-so-pleasant times for those of us that get car sick. Brilliant!

If you are tired of misplacing your tissue box in your car simply grab a coffee to-go cup and stick the tissues into it with the easily pulled out through the sip hole in the lid.

via Curbly

4. Wash, Condition, Shine, Repeat!

Ok, so I don’t really think about my car while I’m washing my hair, but after reading this unique car cleaning tip, maybe I should. For a super shiny car without waxing and buffing, apply a hair conditioner after washing. Yes, the same stuff you put on your hair after you wash it. Don’t worry; you’ll be rinsing it back off! And hey, it will probably smell pretty good too.

To make your car super shiny and give it a fresh look, wash it, then rub it down with hair conditioner. Rinse off to have a shiny new car look.

via Pop Sugar

5. Brush the Car Cleaner

Do you know all those little paintbrushes that come with your kids’ watercolor sets? Those little buggers come in handy for all kinds of things. One great way is to use them to clean your car. Use those little paintbrushes to brush out the air vents in your car. Their little bristles are great for getting in all the hard nooks and crannies. No more dust!

Keep those little watercolor paintbrushes from your kids paint set to use as a dust cleaner for your car vents.

via Family Handyman

6. Car Clean with a Sponge

If you don’t have a brush around a foam brush does a great job, too! These are great for areas you may need to scrub a little harder but don’t want to damage your interior. Cleaning products absorb well into these if you need a little extra cleaning help.

Use a painting sponge to clean all those nooks and crannies of your car.

via The Krazy Coupon Lady

7. Interior Car Cleaner Hack

You go to grab your favorite dash cleaner when you realize the bottle is empty. You forgot to pick up more. No worries, simply make a quick trip to your kitchen. Add a little vegetable oil to a coffee filter to clean the dust off your dash. Easy and affordable. We like it!

You can use olive oil and a coffee filter for a simple way to wipe down your car interior to make it look shiny and dust free.

via Lifehacker

8. Nifty Car Bumper Bug-Be-Gone

When was the last time you actually looked at your front bumper? Does yours look like a bug graveyard too? Did you know you can use a wet dryer sheet to get those sticky bug guts off your bumper? (More dryer sheet hacks here.) That’s right, dryer sheets. Even better yet, you don’t have to use fresh dryer sheets, used ones will work just fine. So not only are you getting your car clean, you are recycling as well. Look at you!

Use a dryer sheet to rub off all those bugs stuck to your car bumper.

via Solo Travel Girl

9. Make Your Headlights Shine

Do you have dull, dingy headlights? Well, toothpaste isn’t just for your teeth anymore. You can brighten up those dull headlight covers with a simple brushing. Think of those headlights as really big teeth. Grab an old brush and a tube of toothpaste and start rubbing in large circular motions. Simply wipe with a clean paper towel when finished. No need to floss.

Keep your headlights cleaner with toothpaste and a paper towel or toothbrush to softly clean your headlights.via Living Well Mom

10. Try This Trash Tip

Tired of constantly picking up the trash off your car floor? Or, maybe you have a trash bag, but it always seems to get knocked over. Well, put a cereal canister lined with a grocery bag in your car to use as a trash can. This works especially well for traveling on long trips, when you may have cramped space. It also makes it a breeze to empty, just tie off the bag and toss it. This idea works in the front or in the backseat for the kids, too.

ROAD TRIP TIP: If you have little kids, get them excited to put their trash where it goes by offering a treat if all the trash is in the new bag and not on the floor at your next stop.

Keep the car cleaner with no more spilled trash all over the floor of the car. Simply stick a plastic bag into a tall cereal tupperware container with a flip lid.

via One Good Thing by Jillee

11. Make Your Own Car Mat Cleaner

Sometimes the best cleaners are homemade. This blogger got her cloth floor mats unbelievably clean with her own homemade cleaner. Go from nasty and dull to new car look, just like that!

Nothing makes your car cleaner looking than floor mats. Use this awesome homemake carpet cleaner to transform your grungy and stained car mat into a fresh, clean, new looking one. via All Things Thrifty

12. Smell Fresh and Cleaner

It’s sad when that new car smell finally fades and the all too familiar smells of kids, pets, and fast food starts to creep into the car. Want to keep your car smelling pleasant and inviting? After you clean your car, help it stay fresh with this essential oil trick. You only need a few drops, and it will last for ages! This is a great way to ensure you get a car freshener smell you actually like, and you can switch it up whenever you like.

BONUS TIP: If you have someone who suffers from car sickness traveling with you, add peppermint oil to your homemade oil freshener to help fight nausea.

You can make your car cleaner by smelling better if you glue small cotton balls to a clothes pin and add essential oils to the cotton balls to keep the car smelling great when you clip the clothes pin to the air vent.

via One Crazy House

13. Unexpected Fur Fighting Hack

Dog moms of the world REJOICE! Any of us who have spent hours vacuuming and lint rolling our back seats because we love our fur babies too much to leave them home; this genius hack is for you. Get pet fur out of your car seats with a squeegee. (Read more squeegee cleaning tips!) Seriously, where has this hack been my entire pet parent life?

Keep your car cleaner by using a squeegee and a water bottle

via CareaBearaSara’s Randomness

14. Way Crazy Car Window Cleaning Tip

Every time I go to wipe off that darn smudge that has been bothering me for weeks on my windshield, it only seems to smear and grow bigger instead of actually cleaning the problem. Can you relate? Try this! Clean your car windows with your steam cleaner! That’s much easier than wiping them down with Windex and cloths.

Use your steam cleaner to clean your windshield instead of a rag.
Clean Car Windows with Your Team Cleaner from Adventures of Mel

via Adventures of Mel

15. Clever Car Caddy Tip

I don’t know about you, but I have a heard of kids in my car at any given time. Each kid comes with an array of snacks, toys, games, gear, and any other given treasure they may haul into the car with them. And, as any mom knows, all that STUFF usually ends up all over the floor. With all the chaos of kids and everyday living, our cars can get cluttered and messy pretty fast, leaving it almost impossible to find what we are actually looking for in there when we need it. Try out this car caddy tip to cut down on clutter and as a little organization to your space. These are great because each kid can have their own if needed. You can use these for everything from snacks to extra diapers and doggy bags (if you only have fur children).

This great way to keep your car cleaner by using a handled plastic school organizer inside the car to keep everything from tissues to games in one place.

via Nifty on Buzzfeed

There you have it, 15 of our favorite car cleaning tips. We not only loved how different some of these hacks were, but also how affordable. Most of these tools can be picked up at your local Dollar Store for cheap.

A few unique car cleaning tools to add to your shopping list:

  • Toothpaste
  • Dryer Sheets
  • Olive Oil
  • Squeegee
  • Squirt Bottle
  • Clothes Pins
  • Paint Sponge
  • Cupcake Liners
  • Cotton Balls
  • Essential Oil
  • Hair Conditioner

Now that you have some motivation, got get to cleaning out that car. Which one will you try out first? If you loved these tips and are craving even MORE ways to get your car looking good, we have more ideas below to help you out!

Try These Clever Ways to Keep Your Car Even Cleaner:

Collage of clever tips to make your car cleaner using coffee filters, cupcake liners, dryer sheets and the dishwaseher.

Which of these car cleaning hacks is your favorite?

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