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Car maintenance doesn’t have to be expensive. Did you know you can use everyday items around your house to clean your car? Now you can save time and money when you wash or detail your ride.

Before getting started, perform a test spot when trying a new product. Remember it’s best to take precautions to avoid an expensive mistake. Older and luxury cars usually have delicate surfaces, so be cautious.

1. Toothpaste

cleaning car, car cleaner, toothpaste
Colgate toothpaste | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

You can use toothpaste for headlight restoration and paint scratch removal.

For headlight restoration, apply the toothpaste to a microfiber towel and wipe in a circular motion. Once complete, you’ll want to apply a layer of wax to the headlights to prevent UV damage. It’s best to use the most abrasive toothpaste for this task.

Need to remove paint scratches? Grab a lightly or moderately abrasive toothpaste. Again, apply the paste to a microfiber cloth and gently wipe the spot in a circular motion. Over time, you should notice the scratch disappear.

2. Baby wash

car cleaning, car cleaner, baby wash
Johnson’s baby wash | Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Baby wash is milder than dish soap, making it a gentle car-washing solution. Plus, it won’t remove anything that’s protecting your car’s paint.

To start, mix one ounce of baby wash per gallon of water. You can also use pet shampoo if you don’t have any baby wash on hand.

3. Pumice stone

Let’s talk about cleaning hacks for your interior. You can use a pumice stone to remove pet hair from carpeting, floor mats, and upholstery.

First, remove as much of the pet fur by vacuuming. Next, swipe the pumice stone in one direction and then the opposite direction to loosen the remaining hair. Now, you’ll be able to vacuum up the excess with no issue. 

4. Ice cubes

You probably have ice cubes in your freezer right now. They’re an inexpensive way to remove gum from your vehicle’s interior. When you freeze the gum, you can remove it in big pieces. 

If any pieces linger, you can vacuum them up or scrub them with a toothbrush or small brush. It’s that easy. 

5. Hair dryer

Use a hair dryer to remove stubborn stickers from your vehicle’s glass or paint. Heating the sticker before removing it will make the job easy.

Because heat softens the adhesive, you should be able to remove the sticker in large pieces. And if there’s any leftover glue behind, apply some isopropyl alcohol on a cotton ball to the paint or glass. 

6. Massage gun

Did you know a massage gun is a perfect solution for sand removal? The high RPM of the massage gun will jolt sand to the carpet’s surface, Kelley Blue Book explains. Then you can easily vacuum it away.

But be sure to vacuum up excessive sand before you use the massage gun. That way, there will be less sand that scatters to other areas of the car. 

7. Wet/dry vac

If you have a shop vac, you can use it as a hot-water extractor to clean your car’s upholstery and carpeting, KBB advises.

Fill a bucket with hot water and dip a nylon bristle brush into it. From there, scrub the upholstery with a wet brush to clean the material. You can also flush it with white vinegar or dish soap before using the shop vac to suck up the water and dirt.

8. Cheesecloth

You can use cheesecloth to remove baked-on bugs from your vehicle’s exterior. The cloth will trap them and prevent them from smearing across your paint.

First, pretreat the bugs with a soapy mixture; then remove them with the cheesecloth. It’s best to use straight-line movements and light pressure. Repeat the process as many times as needed. 

What is the best way to clean your car?

Several DIY hacks can clean your car best. You can use cheesecloth, microfiber cloths, and even baby wash on the exterior. For the inside, try the pumice stone or ice cube trick. Everyday household items are convenient and cost-effective alternatives to expensive car cleaners and accessories.


A Beginner’s Guide to Washing and Detailing Their Car at Home