Eww! Your Car Is Filthy! Time for Spring Cleaning

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CARS.COM — Did you know that men are more than twice as likely as women to leave dirty diapers or doggie-doo bags in their cars overnight? If you answered yes … well, that’s kinda weird that you knew that. But according to a new study by quick-oil-change giant Jiffy Lube, women aren’t squeaky clean either where their cars are concerned.

Related: How to Keep Your Car Clean and Your Conscience Clear

The study, which surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. drivers, showed that the sexes can both be pretty disgusting at times, but female survey respondents proved to be less concerned overall with crud in their cars. While nearly a third of motorists admit to cleaning their cars only a few times a year — or less — women admit to such negligence at roughly double the rate as men. Still, men are the guiltier party when it comes to what Jiffy Lube calls the “ick factor,” with a 25 percent greater likelihood of leaving food in the car overnight.

Still, men report being 50 percent more likely to feel embarrassed if someone sees how filthy their car is, and 60 percent more likely to hide trash and other clutter (like those soiled Huggies?) in the glove box or trunk in a pinch. There is a better way, of course: Both women and men could both resolve to keep their cars cleaner — and a great way to start is a good, thorough spring cleaning for today’s vernal equinox, aka the first day of spring.

Jiffy Lube of Southern California offered these spring-cleaning tips:


  • Wash your tires first using a tire cleaner and a firm brush.
  • Wash the body from top to bottom using an automotive car-wash product, changing out the dirty water frequently.
  • Spray the underbody with a hose.
  • Use a soft, clean towel for drying.
  • Wax your car to protect the paint and give it a shine, first testing products on an inconspicuous area of the car.


  • Remove trash and clutter.
  • Use a mild cleaning spray and microfiber cloth to dust the dash and interior surfaces.
  • Vacuum the seats, floormats, rugs and trunk.
  • Use leather cleaner for leather upholstery, and consider applying a fabric guard to cloth upholstery.
  • Spray glass cleaner directly onto a cloth to clean windows.

You might also use the change of seasons to see if it’s time for an oil change or other regular maintenance updates such as tire rotation. But be sure to check your owner’s manual first, as the old 3,000-to-5,000-mile oil change is roughly twice as frequent as most newer cars likely require.



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Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers. Email Matt Schmitz

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