Car Cleaning on a Budget

Even if you're on a budget, you can still keep your car clean without racking up a hefty detailing bill at your nearest car dealer in NYC. While dirt, dust, and road salt can make cleaning your car a rough job, if you try to clean it every few months, each cleaning session becomes easier and your car will also last longer. Here are some tips and tricks to car cleaning on a budget.

Interior Tasks

Cleaning your vehicle's interior may take longer than the exterior. Here are the main tasks you’ll need to focus on:

  • Vacuum and shampoo carpets and upholstery (including car mats)
  • Clean dash, console, and vents
  • Wash and protect vinyl, fabric, and leather surfaces
  • Clean crevices

1. Vacuum and shampoo: Before vacuuming, remove salt granules and other fine or sticky debris from carpeted areas with a brush. There are many auto carpet shampoos on the market, but you also can mix together an inexpensive version yourself with ingredients you already have on hand. Scrub the mixture (see recipe below) into your vehicle's carpet with a rag and watch the stains disappear.


  • 1 Tbsp dish soap
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Baking soda 


  1. Sprinkle baking soda on the stain then wait 10 minutes before vacuuming it up.
  2. Mix together the dish soap, vinegar, and water.
  3. With a clean cloth, start dabbing the mixture on the stain. Keep blotting until it's gone.

You also can use baking soda as an inexpensive carpet deodorizer. Sprinkle some on dry carpets and let it sit for a while before vacuuming again.

2. Wipe the interior: There are some interior detailing solutions on the market, but a mild dish soap and water also does wonders. Another alternative is a homemade solution of one part distilled vinegar to one part water.

3. Clean crevices: The toughest job when detailing a vehicle may be cleaning out the nooks and crannies. Here are some quick tips to help you find your “niche” for interior crevice cleaning on a budget:

  • Swipe air vents and other crevices with a small paintbrush.
  • A can of compressed air can also dislodge debris from hard-to-reach areas.
  • Cotton swabs work in tiny places such as air vents. 

Exterior Tasks 

Over time, the exterior of your car is assaulted by bugs, dirt, and road grime. Washing it regularly may seem like a chore, but it may lend years to your car's life span. Coin-operated self-wash options cost less than automatic car washes, so if you're renting a house or apartment without access to a water hose, this option may work best for you. For those who do have access, here are some tips to do-it-yourself exterior car cleaning.

  • Wash the exterior, including the tires.
  • Use a special clay to get all of the dirt and grime out of the paint job.
  • Wax the exterior. 

1. Wash: Wash your vehicle from bumper to bumper using soap and water. A few drops of liquid castile soap in water will do wonders. Dry your car thoroughly and polish.

Tires can be scrubbed with a soft brush and a paste made of baking soda and water. Smear the paste on the tires and scrub with a soft brush. Wash your car's wheels with a vinegar and water solution using a soft rag; however, you don't want to use vinegar on aluminum alloys.

2. Use clay: Use detailing clay, which is a product that removes grime and dirt from your paint job that water and soap can't. Detailing clay may save you from having to pay for a new paint job.

3. Wax: Use a bit of hair conditioner to wax your car. The lanolin in the conditioner will give your car shine while repelling water.

You can do a great detail job on your car yourself while on a budget. If you have money to splurge, visit your local car dealer in NYC and change your car from grimy to shiny today!


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