How I Clean My Car: Clean With Me Follow Along Routine

My friends, I’ve heard your cries for a car cleaning video, and finally, here it is! As with any cleaning task, it’s important to have a strategy, which is why I cleaned the cars in three waves (duh!). Wave one was tidy and organize – this basically means getting all of the junk out of the car – garbage, general schmutz,, old cups, and even stuff you actually use, like cup holders (did you know, you can place those on the top rack of the dishwasher if they are removable?!), owner’s manuals, umbrellas, phone chargers, etc. Make sure to fish under the seats and catch all of those bonus articles. You may just find that rotting apple core or shrunken french fry that’s been stinking up your car. Pop the garbage and the ‘keep’ items off to the side. Use this opportunity to remove mats as well, and if they are carpeted and smelly, sprinkle them with baking soda and let them sit out while you complete the cleaning.

Wave two starts at the top and works down to the bottom, just like we do in other spaces. I sprayed glass surfaces with glass cleaner and used a flat weave microfiber cloth to buff out streaks and hazy/greasy spots. Any plastic surfaces I cleaned with all-purpose cleaner and a general purpose microfiber cloth. I brushed dust out of vents with old paintbrushes, and got hard-to-reach debris out with an old cleaning toothbrush. This is an invaluable tool for car cleaning! Brush everything onto the floor, you’ll vacuum that up later. I have leather seats, so I cleaned them with Leather CPR (link below), and a soft sponge. If you have upholstery, spot clean any stains, and if the seats really need help consider steam cleaning them. If they smell, sprinkle them with baking soda and vacuum up in wave three. My pattern of work was sunroof, windshield, side door, dashboard and centre console, seat, other side door and seat, move to the back seat and clean that out, and finish up with the trunk. Repeat this pattern for vacuuming in wave three.

Wave three consists of vacuuming, of course! I have my vacuum linked below in case you’re interested. I vacuumed using the various attachments (whatever fitted, actually), and did my best. I have always found cars to be somewhat challenging to vacuum, so I didn’t get all perfectionist about it. Make sure you vacuum the trunk as well, and any baking soda on upholstery or floor mats. When replacing floor mats, give them a good shake before replacing so as to not bring debris into the car.

And there you go, the long awaited car cleaning video. Now that it’s done, go an clean your car and share your before and after shots with me on Snap or Instagram – or hey, even Facebook!

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. I just purchased method glass cleaner. I have found that it leaves a film after cleaning.
    What to do?

  2. Quick little tip to give your car ‘the detailed’ look…after you’ve cleaned the windows, roll them down just a bit and wipe the edge part that’s up inside the window frame. Small task with big results!

  3. We have a really serious problem right now. How do you get melted chocolate out of a brand new car that has heated seats? I suggested a hot iron and wax paper. Someone else suggested hot iron and old towel. Any ideas? Especially those tried and true.


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