Snow, ice and salt can wreak havoc on a car’s exterior. If you want to protect your investment and still navigate slippery highways and streets, wait until the temperature is above freezing, and wash your car down with warm water and soap, Safelite says, adding baking soda to the wash mixture if you drive on salted roads. Pay close attention to the undercarriage and wheels, since they have the most exposure to moisture and muck. Finally, dry the car completely. Repeat the process every two to three weeks to protect against the formation of rust.
Cars can take a beating in the dead of winter. Dead leaves, slush, snow, ice and road salt can build up inside, making it constant battle to keep a car clean and comfortable. Inside, keep a trash bag, since the winter weather may keep you from hopping out whenever you see a convenient receptacle. Invest in a set of weatherproof floormats to keep the carpeting clean. Have a small box of wipes ready to clean the glass and plastic surfaces. Or garage your “nice” car in winter, suggests CarThrottle, instead using public transportation or buying a beater that can handle the snowy, sloppy weather.
Once your car is clean, you’ll want to keep it smelling fresh in a natural — and thrifty — way. Use essential oils to create an inexpensive, chemical-free air freshener, OneGoodThing suggests. Soak a clothespin in the essential oil of your choice (or put it inside a bag of fresh herbs such as mint or rosemary) and clip it to an air vent once it’s absorbed up the scent. Alternatively, you can make a Mason jar air freshener that fits in a cupholder, or craft a decorative felt-and-foam hanging air freshener that’s infused with a refreshing natural scent such as lemon, mint or lavender.
Need a few good car-cleaning “hacks?” Business Insider suggests using cola to remove dead bugs from your windshield, getting into hard-to-reach areas with a paint stick or screwdriver, and using the static of a blown-up balloon to pull pet hair off of upholstery. A can of compressed air is great for dusting out vents, and an old blanket can provide a handy (and washable) way to curtail messes from kids and pets. Finally, try lining your car’s cupholders with silicone baking cups, the article says, to prevent moisture, dirt and grime from building up inside them.
If you’re too lazy to clean your car on a regular basis but still hate the mess, Jalopnik says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. First, don’t eat in your car so that trash and stains never get the chance to build up inside. Don’t let kids inside your car, and if you must, be vigilant against the spills and trash they can bring. Waxing and garaging a vehicle reduces the need for exterior washes, and having a trash bag handy inside can keep detritus to a minimum. Finally, each time you exit the car, take something with you; whether it’s a piece of trash or something useful that shouldn’t be in the car anyway, it will help keep the car’s interior clean and clutter-free.