The Most Efficient Way to Spring Clean Your Car

 This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Short on time, but still want a car that sparkles? You can Spring Clean your car in less than 15 minutes and improve the look right away.

How many times does your vehicle look like the neighborhood trash-mobile? OK, it might not be that bad, but still….cars collect clutter!

Every Spring and Fall, I deem it my bi-annual, clean-out-the-car marathon. A good cleaning takes me about an hour, but even if you don’t have that much time to give, you can still totally Spring Clean your car in less than 15 minutes and improve the look right away.

Although a clean car is super nice to ride in and drive, it’s so much more than a state of tidiness. A clean, well-taken care of car can really save you a lot of money, and here’s how to do it during the busiest of schedules! <– {Click to Tweet}

If You Only Have 5 Minutes

I honestly think the biggest difference between a clean car and one that’s not, is the clutter and garbage filling up every single nook, cranny, and cup holder crevice.

Grab a disposable grocery bag, and quickly make your way through the car, grabbing candy bar wrappers, papers you don’t need anymore, and those random half-filled water bottles that always end up in the back seat. Empty out the bag, and place a new one inside to catch future trash.

Spring Clean Your Car | Creative Savings

If You Have 15 Minutes

De-trash the car, then shake out each of your car mats to get rid of all dirt and dust particles that are stuck within the fibers. Take a clean cloth {I just use old cut-up T-shirts} and wipe away dusty dashboards. Don’t forget to dust the rest of the interior that is not fabric based – console, inside of doors, etc.

Whatever you do, do not spray the dashboard or surrounding areas with regular cleaner as you don’t want the material to crack and dry out. Only use a cleaner that has been verified as safe for this purpose, such as Armor All.

Spring Clean Your Car | Creative Savings

If You Have 30 Minutes

Go the extra step and take your car in for a good car wash that includes the undercarriage of your car, just so it gets the muck and grime off your vehicle. If you live up North, this especially important because salt from the roads can cause the underside to rust. But Southerners are not exempt either! Just one trip to the beach can cause the exact same issue.

Also take the time to vacuum out the interior using a hose attachment from home, or use the facilities at the car wash. Some of them have vacuum stations that you can use for free!

Spring Clean Your Car | Creative Savings

If You Have 60 Minutes

Do all of the above, plus wash your seat fabric with this 3-ingredient DIY Car Upholstery Cleaner that gets even the toughest stains out. The difference is pretty incredible and your car will smell so fresh and clean. Just make sure you’re not going anywhere for a few hours so the inside can have time to dry.

Spring Clean Your Car | Creative Savings

Bonus: If you’re feeling really motivated, work on clearing out and sorting through your glove box. I have a pretty detailed post on Organizing Junkie about how to do this in 4 simple steps, plus what you should really be keeping in your glove box!

Vehicles are one of the biggest money-sucks and worst investments ever, but let’s face it…it’s really hard to live without one! That’s why we need to focus on maintaining a clean car and keeping it in the best shape possible. 

Come trade-in or re-sell time, you will be glad you kept it so nice!

How often do you clean out the car?

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readersRead my full disclosure policy here.

Was this post helpful? Please consider sharing the love!


  1. I do a lot of these while I’m pumping gas or stuck in traffic. πŸ˜‰ I keep a dust cloth in my car and wipe my dash whenever I have a spare second. Also, even shaking out your floor mats can make a big difference!

    1. That’s a great idea! Keeps your mind occupied so you don’t get too frustrated with the traffic. I’ll just have to make sure that I keep my eyes up so that I don’t end up with some angry drivers behind me who don’t care as much about my squeaky clean console.

  2. I like the way you divide the time that somebody can have the free-time for doing the cleaning for their car. It’s really helpful. Thanks Kalyn Brooke for sharing these tips!

  3. Brilliant ideas! My car is a mess all the time! I have two boys and on the back seat you can find toys, food leftovers and all kinds of other stuff. I barely have time to clean it but this should change! I feel uncomfortable when other people get in the car. I will do this with the plastic bag few times per day, I could also wipe around… once a week may be even a good car wash πŸ™‚ Thank you for the cleaning tips!

    1. I know that exact feeling — anytime I give someone a ride, suddenly all the crumbs seem a lot bigger and messier than they were before! πŸ™‚

  4. Just one thing. ArmorAll is a terrible product. Over time it will cause vinyl and leather to crack. We have a mobile auto detailing business and we use many natural products on the cars. Lanolin with mink oil or hemp oil works well

  5. I look forward to cleaning out the car in the spring (after the frigid temps disappear!) and the fall (when it finally cools down!)

    Still snow on the ground so in a few weeks, our saturday afternoon will be used to clean out the cars. Luckily one is new to us so there isn’t a deep clean needed. πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *