dirty car interior
Regularly cleaning your car helps remove everyday contaminants from the car’s exterior and interior.
Car vacuum cleaners come in many designs and forms, the most common of which is the handheld car vacuum. Top 15 Best Car Vacuum Cleaners in 2018 cleaner.
Car vacuum cleaners come in many designs and forms, the most common of which is the handheld car vacuum. Top 15 Best Car Vacuum Cleaners in 2018 cleaner.

Whether you’re going to clean your car for the first time or you’ve been doing this for quite some time now, you can always benefit from a car cleaning checklist to ensure you have the right material and equipment and follow the appropriate steps to clean your car. Our car cleaning checklist will prepare you for your next car wash.

Short on Time – Here’s a Quick Summary

The checklist consists of many things that a summary needs to cover. Nevertheless, gather all the materials you need for a car wash, including microfiber cloths, car shampoo, window cleaner, vacuum, scrubbing brush with soft bristles, and more. Start by cleaning your interior step by step. Don’t miss anything. Once done cleaning the interior, head onto the car exterior. Could you give it a good wash from top to bottom?

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What You’ll Need

The table below contains materials you will need to clean your car’s exterior and interior.

Car Exterior Cleaning Material & EquipmentCar Interior Cleaning Material & Equipment
Microfiber cloths for dryingMicrofiber cloths for cleaning surfaces
Pressure washer or a garden hose for washingSurface cleaners to clean hard surfaces, such as dashboards, consoles, etc
HeadlightsGently rub the same window cleaner shampoo on the headlights and rinse thoroughly
Two buckets (one for clean & one for dirty water) and a spongeWindow or glass cleaner for windows and mirrors
Scrub to wipe on dirtVacuum to wipe out dirt and debris from inside
Car shampoo to wash the carLeather or fabric cleaner for seats
Brush with soft bristles to brush tiresCarpet cleaner or a mild shampoo to wash car mats
Glass cleaner or rubbing alcohol to clean windows, windshields, headlights, and mirrors.Disinfectant wipes or spray to disinfect surfaces
Car wax or car polish for detailingGather all the things mentioned in the table and head on to the cleaning process

Car Exterior Cleaning Checklist

It is essential to clean your car exterior, as not washing it for a long time will ruin its paint and affect the car’s natural shine. In addition, dirt and debris on the car tires impact their ability to move on the road smoothly.

Here, we have jotted down car exterior cleaning essentials you want to take advantage of.

Wash & Dry Each Exterior Part

The car exterior comprises several components, including all painted surfaces, glass components, trims and moldings, and wheels. While the process is simple, you must ensure you don’t miss any component, whether or not it has any dirt.

Car vacuum cleaners come in many designs and forms, the most common of which is the handheld car vacuum. Top 15 Best Car Vacuum Cleaners in 2018 cleaner.
Park your car in a shady area before washing it, as heat from the sun will dry the water quickly, leaving water spots.
Car vacuum cleaners come in many designs and forms, the most common of which is the handheld car vacuum. Top 15 Best Car Vacuum Cleaners in 2018 cleaner.

Follow these steps.

  • Use a pressure washer or a garden hose to thoroughly rinse your car and remove any loose grime, dirt, or other debris.
  • Make a solution of the car shampoo in a bucket, and take another bucket with clean water to wash your sponge.
  • Use the sponge to apply the soap mixture to your car. Start from the roof and end on the wheels. Rinse each section right after you apply the shampoo.
  • Rinse the vehicle and dry it using a microfiber cloth.

Clean & Dry the Glass

While washing the glass with the car shampoo will remove the dirt and any stains from the glass, you need to use a dedicated glass cleaner for extra detailing. Dry the glass using a microfiber cloth and spray a glass cleaner. Again rub the cloth on the glass for a clear finish. Do this for all glass materials on the exterior, including windshield, windows, and side mirrors.

Apply Wax on the Paint

Paint wax makes a protective layer on the car to protect the paint from dirt, debris, and harmful UV rays. Once the car has dried, apply car wax to the painted areas. Use good quality car wax or polish to seal and protect the paint and finish. Follow these steps to apply wax on the car’s exterior.

  • Apply the paint wax to a damp applicator pad.
  • Rub the pad on the exterior to apply wax.
  • Let it dry, and remove the wax with a microfiber cloth.
  • Do the process for the roof, trunk, hood, and quarter panels.

Don’t Miss the Wheels

Wheels are an integral component of your car, and cleaning them is equally important as other car parts. The tires can become dirty over time, and cleaning facilitates longevity and a smooth drive. First, clean the tires using a stiff-bristled brush to remove debris from the spokes and tire walls. Next, rinse the wheels, let them dry, and apply a wheel shine to the tires’ sidewalls to make them look as new.

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Car Interior Cleaning Checklist

Interior cleaning is as essential as cleaning the car exterior. However, most drivers need to pay more attention to the car’s internal cleanliness. Go through the car interior cleaning checklist to ensure you get all the steps right.

Vacuum Everything!

First, throw all the trash out of your car into a trash can. Next, vacuum everything from the seats to the floors to ensure no small particles remain in your car. A handheld vacuum will prove more beneficial in this regard.

Clean the Carpets & Floor Mats

Take out the carpets and floor mats and wash them using a carpet cleaner or a mild detergent. To wash them, follow these steps.

  • Rinse off all the first from the mats using a pressure washer or a garden hose.
  • Put some detergent or carpet cleaner on them and rub the mats using a scrub or a soft brush.
  • Rinse the mats again to wash off the shampoo and the remaining dirt.

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Don’t Miss the Seats

Car seats also get dirty, and sometimes they have stains on them – the coffee that fell off your hands and left a terrible stain on your seat. So first, remove those stains and clean the seats using a seat cleaner. Then, you can either use a stain remover or a homemade vinegar solution to rub off those stains.


  1. Mix 1 cup vinegar with a few drops of dish wash in 1 gallon of hot water.
  2. Dab the solution on the stains and use a gentle brush with soft bristles to remove the stains.
  3. Rub a damp microfiber cloth to rinse it.

Clean Those Hard Surfaces

Clean the hard surfaces in your car, including the dashboard, center console, cup holders, and steering wheel. Use a surface cleaner and a microfiber cloth to remove dirt and debris from these parts.

Windows & Doors

It would help if you also cleaned the windows and doors from the inside. For windows, use a glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth to clean them and remove any scratches or dirt that may be present on them. For door panels, use a surface cleaner to get rid of dirt and debris.

Don’t Forget to Disinfect

Lastly, remember to disinfect surfaces. With viruses prevailing in the atmosphere, disinfecting every surface has become of utmost importance. You can either use a disinfectant spray or wipes. But first, disinfect the surfaces, including the dashboard, console, steering wheel, and door handles.

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Cleaning your car may seem like a task, but once you have done these steps a few times, you’ll enjoy each time you clean your car. Please take advantage of our car cleaning checklist and ensure you don’t miss anything, as each step is equally important. First, clean your interior: clean each hard surface, car seat, and floor. Get rid of that odor using a gentle car perfume. End with cleaning the exterior: wash off each part from roof to wheel and apply paint wax for extra shine and detail.


You may need a handful of things to clean your car. For the exterior, you need a pressure washer or a garden hose, a wheel cleaner, a bucket and sponge, a scrub, car shampoo, paint wax, microfiber cloths, and glass cleaner. For the interior, you need a vacuum, microfiber cloth, window cleaner, surface cleaner, stain remover, and disinfectant.

To detail a car, start with detailing the interior. First, clean each interior section, and disinfect each surface. Then, move on to the exterior: wash it off with a soapy solution. Finally, dry the vehicle and apply paint wax for extra shine and detail.

Cleaning your car properly is the first step to making it shine like glass. The next step is to apply a paint wax or polish, as it helps remove scratches and restores fading paint while maintaining the shine of your vehicle.

Microfiber cloths or towels will not scratch your cars. However, extensive rubbing may scratch the car paint. Therefore, care is advised for cleaning your car using a microfiber cloth.

To deep clean, the windshield, remove any dirt or grime present on its glass using a microfiber cloth or rinse it off. Please take a good quality glass cleaner, spray it on the windshield, and use a microfiber cloth to wipe it. Continue wiping until no dirt remains on the windshield.