Spring Car Cleaning: Prioritize These Tasks to Rejuvenate Your Ride

It’s been a long, long winter, but spring is here — or nearly here — across the country. The birds are chirping, the grass is greening and your car is disgusting — inside and out.

Spring cleaning the car is the No. 1 task on the to-do list, according to a survey.

Related: Video: How to Prevent Scratches, Swirls on a Black Car

Shop the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas near you

2018 Volkswagen Atlas 2.0T SE
61,271 mi.
$25,973 $759 price drop
Good Deal | $1,146 under
Home Delivery
Virtual Appointments
2018 Volkswagen Atlas 3.6L SE w/Technology
55,055 mi.
Great Deal | $4,836 under
Home Delivery
Virtual Appointments

So, who’s to blame for the state of our unkempt cars?’s survey found that 28 percent of respondents blame their messy car on the rain and snow, while 26 percent point fingers at food and drink. Wisely, 18 percent blame it on their kids. (I know I do.)

With spring upon us, it’s time to get a little dirty and clean up your car — a chore that 90 percent of survey respondents said they’d be doing themselves.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Scrub your tires first using a tire-cleaning spray and a firm brush.
  • Wash the body top to bottom with a carwash product and using the two-bucket method, one containing clean soapy water and the other rinse water.
  • Hose off the underbody.
  • Dry with a clean microfiber towel.
  • Wax to protect the paint and preserve that just-washed shine.

Now you’re ready to move on to the interior:

  • Remove clutter accumulated over the winter months that never made its way to the trashcan.
  • Use a mild interior cleaning spray and microfiber cloth on the dash, console and other surfaces.
  • Vacuum the seats, floormats, rugs and trunk.
  • Clean floormats, scrubbing rubber ones with soapy water and carpeted ones with carpet cleaner.

Sometimes, you need to call in the professionals — say, when your kids had a hot cocoa fight when you left them in the car alone for two whole minutes. If this (true) story sounds familiar, it’s time to spring for a professional detailing of your car. It’ll cost you, but a clean car is priceless.

More From’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Latest expert reviews