Give Your Car a Spring Cleaning

There’s nothing like having a car that looks and smells like new. With these five steps, your automobile can appear new-car clean in no time.

Step 1: Out with the old. Start by taking everything out of the car. Collect the candy wrappers, soda cans, old parking stubs, and other trash and throw it away. Then place your car staples, such as tissues and spare change, in a shopping bag or bin for now; you can return them to their proper places later.

Step 2: Dust the dashboard. Use a duster to brush away the dust and debris from air-conditioning vents, control buttons, cup holders, and crevices. Then wipe the dashboard and other non-leather surfaces with a sponge or paper towel. For really hard-to-reach places, try blowing out loose debris with a can of compressed air.

Step 3: Organize the glove box. Find out what treasures might be hiding in there by emptying it and wiping it out. Then carefully go through the contents to make sure things like your car registration and insurance cards are up to date. If you keep a flashlight in your glove box, check that it works.

Step 4: Vacuum. At this point, you’ve knocked a lot of debris loose and now is the best time to vacuum inside. Be sure to move the seats back and forth to capture all the dirt, and hit the trunk too. Then remove the mats, if you haven’t already, and vacuum them.

Step 5: Make the interior sparkle. To clean like a pro, you’ll need the right tools. Choose a multipurpose cleanser that includes a stain removerMix the cleaner with warm water in a bucket or plastic squirt bottle, and use it with a sponge to clean and brighten the upholstery, floor mats, dashboard, cup holders, and other places where stains have snuck in. (Tip: Cut up a sponge to smaller sizes that fit into the nooks and crannies.) Be sure to rinse well when done. For leather seats and trim, use leather cleaner instead, which will condition and beautify those surfaces.

The final touch? Go for a drive and enjoy the bright, fresh ride.

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