5 Car Cleaning Tips that will Make Your Car Look Brand New

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rsz rug 5 car cleaning tips

Jul 7, 2020

5 Car Cleaning Tips that will Make Your Car Look Brand New

If you've got a car, chances are you know how quickly it can go from clean and tidy to an absolute bombshell - especially if the kids have anything to do with it! Stains, marks, crumbs, pet hair and unusual smells can quickly take over if you don't stay on top of it.

Luckily, there are a few quick tricks and tips that help you to transform your car into a spic and span ride that looks as good as new. Check them out below and let us know how you go in the comments.

1.  How to get crumbs out of the nooks and crannies

If you're guilty of snacking while driving or passing treats to the kids in the backseat, you'll be no stranger to the amount of crumbs that can accumulate in the small gaps of your car interior (e.g. the folds in your seats). To lift these crumbs out of hard-to-reach places (even when they're dry and hardened) simply follow these steps:

What you need:

  • A toothbrush
  • A screwdriver
  • A vacuum cleaner or dust buster


This one's pretty simple. If the crumbs are recent and loose, use the toothbrush as a miniature dustpan brush to sweep the crumbs out from the fold or noon they're stuck in. If the crumbs are really stuck and have hardened after being left their for a while, grab a screw driver and use the head to scrape and leverage the crumbs from where they're stuck. Followup behind with a vacuum cleaner head to get ride of the loosened crumbs,

2.  How to get your car's floor mats fresh and clean

If you have pets, live rural or simply use your car often, over time your floor mats are going to pick up a lot of dust, mud stains and wear-down. The usual way people approach cleaning their car mats, is to take them out, shake them off and give them a vacuum - but it's not the most efficient way to get them looking fresh and clean.

What you need:


Start by taking your mats out of the car and giving them a quick vacuum, and then get your Rug Doctor Machine and Hand Tool ready to use (you can watch this video on how to correctly use the Rug Doctor Hand Tool attachment, here). To remove any lingering smells caused by pets, smoking or winter dampness use the Rug Doctor Odour Remover with the Rug Doctor Upholstery Cleaner solution in the machine. 

Take your mats out of the car and place them on the concrete ground to make them easier to reach and clean with the Rug Doctor Machine and Hand Tool.

3.  How to deep clean hard-to-reach car air vents

Have you ever turned on your car AC after a few weeks of not using it and been greeted with an onslaught of pesky dust particles? It's easy for dirt, dust, organic material, dead skin cells to get stuck in your ventilation system, and really tough to clean in between those hard to reach spots. If you're noticing also that you have a bad smell coming from your AC, check out our recent blog on how to fix that, but otherwise - here's how to remove the surface dust a vacuum won't get to.

What you need:

  • A lemon
  • A sponge paintbrush


Start by creating a home-made solution of warm water and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Dip your sponge paintbrush head into your solution, and press the brush between your ventilation slats to remove dust particles. The lemon solution should pick up all the bits and pieces and the shape of the sponge will mould perfectly between the slats. We'd recommend finishing by wiping the slats down with a microfiber cloth once you're done. 

4.  How to give your dashboard that new car shine

Whenever you wipe down your dashboard with a regular spray and wipe and leave it to dry, you'll notice that it'll dry streaky and probably won't stay as shiny as when it's wet. This is a really simple trick to get rid of the streaks and give your dashboard (and other hard interior) a beautiful shiny coat.

What you need:

  • Vinyl and trim dashboard polish
  • A microfiber cloth


All you need is a small dab of your chosen dashboard polish on a clean microfiber cloth (there are a bunch of great vinyl polishes available for around the $10 mark at places like Bunnings and Mitre 10). Then, go over the dashboard following the product instructions and your surfaces will be sparkly in no time. We'd recommend spot-testing your chosen vinyl polish on a small patch of your dashboard to make sure it reacts well first.

5.  How to clean the cup holders in your car

It can be really tricky to get into the cylinder-shaped cup holders of your car and remove the residue at the bottom. Fortunately, there are two helpful tricks to help with this predicament. Firstly, if your car cup holders are removable you should be able to save yourself the trouble and pop them straight in the dishwasher (just remember to turn off the dry cycle to they don't melt). If they're not removable, here's what to do.

What you need:

  • A cup
  • A sock


Make sure your cup is perfectly fitted to your cup holder as possible, and pull an old sock you don't use anymore over the bottom of the cup. Soak the sock that's now on your cup in a surface cleaning product, and put the cup and sock into your cup holder. Now, all you have to do is twist and the bottom of the sock will pick up any gunge at the bottom of your cup holder. Easy!

Want more helpful tips and trick for your home? 

If you're finding the dust and dirt is making its way from your car to your house, grab a personalised cleaning guide and access helpful cleaning hacks so you can deep clean your home too! It's FREE, and you can grab personally tailored your copy to keep below.


Gina Gibbs

Author: Gina Gibbs

Gina is the Business Manager at Rug Doctor NZ. With over 20 years at Rug Doctor, she's dedicated to helping New Zealanders keep their homes clean and healthy. Outside of work, Gina enjoys hiking, reading, and enjoying Vietnamese and Asian fusion cuisine. Oh, and let's not forget her expertise in cleaning up after everyone, especially her two kids!