Are You Using a Leaf Blower to Clean Your Car?

For some, cleaning their car is an act of love and can even be meditative. However, for some others, cleaning a car is simply a chore they want to be done as quickly and easily as possible. Apparently, many internet people are using leaf blowers to blow out the car’s interior in a flash instead of slowly vacuuming. But, is it a good idea to use a leaf blower to clean your car? As always, Consumer Reports has some thoughts about the subject of cleaning cars.

two people using leaf blowers to clear dead leaves and not to clean their cars
Cleaning autumn leaves with leaf blowers | Hauke-Christian Dittrich/picture alliance via Getty Images

 Consumer Reports says that maybe a leaf blower isn’t the best way to clean your car

Of course, washing your car and cleaning the interior of your car are two very different things. Washing the exterior is used to show off sexy people in movie montages. No movie has used someone vacuuming between seats to show off the love interest. Although, maybe they would if the love interest were wielding a leaf blower. 

The truth is, cleaning the interior of a car can be a pain. There are numerous hard-to-reach places and tiny bits of dust and crumbs that crawl their way into tiny nooks. Not to mention, you have to deal with sensitive electronics. 

Some experts have taken to ditching the vacuums rags and have gone full Tim the “Tool Man” Taylor and employed the use of horsepower. The problem is this kicks dirt and dust around as opposed to picking it up, and that may be a problem in some cars. 

What’s wrong with using a leaf blower?

“I was surprised to see how many people online recommend using a leaf blower to clean your interior, including some car detailing experts,” says Keith Barry, a Consumer Reports autos editor. “I could see it working in some cases, but remember, leaf blowers are blowing things around rather than picking them up. You could potentially be driving the dust deep into the crevices of your interior.”

Obviously, for older cars with less interior electronics and sensitive surfaces, this leaf blower method is probably a pretty good idea. It’s fast, efficient, and easy. However, all that dust flying around in a new car is not ideal. For new cars, a vacuum and spray cleaner is definitely the better choice. 

“I can see if you used a low setting to quickly get rid of some larger debris, such as kids tracking in a bunch of grass and leaves,” says Emily Thomas, Consumer Reports’ auto safety engineer. “However, I would still follow it up later with an actual vacuum that’s capable of sucking up dirt, gravel, and sand.”

What is the best way to clean your car’s interior? 

2021 Land Rover Defender review of the driver's view of the interior
2021 Land Rover Defender 90 Interior | Land Rover

Unfortunately for all those who hate cleaning their cars, the only right way to clean your car is the slow way. A good first step is to get in there with a strong vacuum cleaner and get all the large debris from the carpet and surfaces. Once the car is clear of all loose dirt and debris, you use whatever appropriate cleaners for the specific surfaces you need cleaning (i.e., screen cleaners, carpet spray, or leather conditioners). 

Another fun little trick is to use silly putty in the tough areas like vents, between knobs, and another hard-to-reach surface. Putty will pick up dust and tiny debris that a rag might miss or even leave behind. 

*Remember, when cleaning your car, always use microfiber rags instead of paper products. Most paper products will leave behind tiny fibers and lint that can undo all your hard work. 

RELATED: Quick Tips To Sanitize Inside Your Car