The ULTIMATE Spring-Cleaning Guide for Your Car!

Spring is almost here! This means a new season, a fresh chapter, and a chance for us all to spend some time outside in the shade or sunshine, cleaning out our cars.

(And if you’re anything like us, they really could use some attention.)

So, get ready to take it to the next level and give your car the attention it deserves, inside and out, with this helpful guide we made just for you! 😊

Clean It Out

First things first. Open your doors and pull everything out of your car. That means the spare change, old wrappers, road maps, floor mats, registration cards, months-old air fresheners, years-old oil change reminders, and all the rest.

Set everything you’ll still need aside and trash the rest. Trust us. It’ll feel great when you’re finished.

Vacuum Each Crack and Crevice

Now that you’ve got everything necessary out of the way, you can use your house vacuum, a shop vac, or visit your local Tommy’s Express to vacuum out your entire car and all the crumbs, dirt, leaves, and stale french-fries hiding inside it.

Don’t forget to move your chairs forward or backward to get underneath, and don’t neglect those little gaps around the seat belt anchors in the back.

Clean Carpeting, Seats, and Other Soft Surfaces

If you have stains or crusty soils on your car’s carpeting, seats, or other upholstery that the vacuum can’t get out, you’ll need to clean them off by hand using a soft wet rag with a tiny drop of dish soap if needed.

With some scrubbing, you should be able to spot clean most upholstery, vinyl, or leather easily. And a quick pass or scrub over all your other upholstered surfaces can help pull out dust and light odors that may have built up over the long winter.

Quick Tips:

  • Have you got your paper towels ready? Great! Now put them away. Paper towels can leave crumbles and bits of lint behind as they wear down, so find some towels or old rags instead.
  • Don’t use bleach or peroxide, even diluted.
  • If your seats are upholstered, and some stains still won’t come out, you can use a steam cleaner for extra cleaning power.
  • Saddle soap, leather cleaners, and leather conditioners are your best option for properly cleaning and maintaining high-quality genuine leather surfaces.
  • Don’t use too much water! Soaking your seats will leave your car smelling musty if they can’t dry out.
  • If you have rips or tears in your vinyl or leather surfaces, you can buy color-matched, patterned adhesive patches to cover over the damage and give your car a fun bit of character too.

Dashboard and Hard Surfaces

When it comes to hard surfaces, 50% isopropyl alcohol solutions are safe and effective for cleaning. Use a microfiber cloth for the flat stretches and an old toothbrush or paintbrush for detail cleaning to really get in and deal with all those little cracks and corners.

Glass and Mirrors

You’ll want to carefully clean the inside and outside of your windows, the glass over your indicators, and your rearview and side-view mirrors.

For these surfaces, use one chamois to apply a glass cleaning compound and a second dry chamois to wipe the surfaces clean without leaving streaks or residue. Just try to keep the glass cleaner off any non-glass surfaces while you work.

Digital Screens

DO NOT use glass cleaners on any electronic screens on your dashboard or in the passenger area, as they can be damaging. Instead, use another microfiber cloth and some isopropyl alcohol or a screen cleaner compound to remove dust, grime, and fingerprints.

Freshen Up Your Air!

An air freshener is the perfect final touch after a good interior detailing. That’s why we include 2 in each of our $5 detailing kits, along with a microfiber cloth, and ready-to-use surface and glass cleaning towels.

Check for Cracks and Chips

Paint chips can rust out, and cracks in your glass can grow and spread. Fortunately, you can fix both of these common issues with simple DIY kits or schedule a visit with your local automotive repair service.

Clean Your Car’s Exterior at Tommy’s Express!

Sure, you can pull your car onto the grass (to keep soap suds out of your local storm drain), buy some (vehicle-safe!) soaps and brushes, learn the two-bucket cleaning technique (to prevent scratching), and invest in vehicle wax and tire shine while you’re at it.

Or, if you don’t like water spots and you have other plans this weekend, you can take just a few minutes and visit your local Tommy’s Express for a top-to-bottom wash that’s convenient, safe, and incredibly affordable—especially with a WORKS level TommyClub subscription, available on-demand with the Tommy’s Express app.

We guarantee your car will look and feel better than ever—clean, shiny, dry, and ready for whatever springtime adventures are waiting for you!