There is nothing nicer than driving around in a freshly cleaned car. While you may not be able to get that new car smell back, you can get the clean look it had when you first got it. Getting rid of the dust and grime both inside and out makes travel a pleasure. If you want to save some money and make sure the cleaning is done right, you can easily create DIY car wash soap. These DIY car soap recipes car with make sure your vehicle looks spic and span without breaking the bank!
Creating your Car Wash Solution
Commercial soaps and dish soaps can be harmful to the exterior of your car. Making your own wash solution can help avoid any damage and save you money as well. Here are some tips to make sure your car sparkles both inside and out.
1. Homemade Car Soap
Before you wash your car with any type of cleaning product, make sure all the ingredients are vehicle-friendly, both inside and out. Some cars need a specific solution and polish on the outside while some vehicles have a clear coat and do not. Either way, it is best to make sure whatever you are using is car-friendly so you don’t damage the exterior in any way. Try this recipe for a good, clean car care finish:
DIY Soap Formula
- 1 cup of baby shampoo (or very mild soap)
- 1 pail of warm water
- 1 to 2 pails of cold water
2. Homemade Window Cleaner
Along with homemade car soap, you can make a solution to clean your car windows, including the windshield and wiper blades. To do this, use something that is slightly acidic because the pH works on most dirt and grime.
DIY Window Cleaner
- ¼ cup of vinegar
- 2 cups of distilled water
- ½ tsp dish soap (liquid)
- 1 big spray bottle
- Paper towels or a microfiber cloth
Put the distilled water and vinegar into the spray bottle. Shake and then add the dish soap. Shake again. Once the mixture is ready, spray the interior and exterior of the windows. Use either the paper towels or a microfiber towel to wipe them off. Spray the wiper blades as well and wipe them to stop dirt from spreading when you turn them on. If you keep the sprayer handy, you can give the windows and blades a quick wipe at any time rather than just doing it on wash day.
3. Getting the Tough Stuff Off Your Car
If you park your car outside, it’s not unusual for it to have tree sap or bird droppings on it. You may also get tar on it as well if you have traveled on newly paved roads. If any of these things end up on your car, try to clean them as soon as possible as they can damage the exterior paint. Use the following for bird droppings, sap, and tar:
- 1 pail of water with homemade car wash solution
- 1 pail of water
- 1 cup of mild dish wash detergent
- 2 tbsp of baking soda
Mix the dish soap and baking soda in the pail of water. Make sure they are mixed well. Pour the mix over the splatters and sticky spots. Let it soak for a few minutes to soften whatever dirt is on the car. Once they have soaked, then you can rinse. If you have areas that are really caked on, you may need to rub a little with a soft rag to loosen it. Don’t be concerned that you are using dish soap as the baking soda neutralizes the strength of the soap making it less acidic so it won’t hurt the paint. Once you have completed these steps, use your car wash solution for proper cleaning. Wash the car a section at a time so the soap does not dry on the paint.
4. Car Carpet and Mat Cleaner
The car carpet and mats can be the dirtiest thing in your car. Drinks, food, mud, and dirt all collect as we get in and out. Winter makes it much worse. You do not need to buy expensive cleaners. Use the following:
Car Carpet Cleaner
- 1 Cup of vinegar
- 2 Tbsp of liquid fabric softener
- 2 Tbsp of baking soda
- 1 spray bottle
- 1 cup of hot water
- ½ tsp of Dawn dish soap
- 10-15 drops of essential oil (your type of choice)
Mix all the ingredients in the spray bottle and shake to mix well. Spray the solution on the carpet and the mats. Let it sit for a few minutes so it can soak in. This removes stains and makes the car smell great. Vacuum and you interior will look as good as new. The mats can be removed and soaked in a basin with the same mix. The mix can also be used on cloth car seats and indoor couches as well.
5. Mud and Off-Roading
If you take your vehicle off-roading or just happened to hit a bad bit of driving, you might need a solution that works a little harder than the usual car wash soap. This mix works for RV’s as well.
Heavy Duty Cleaner
- 1 pail warm water
- 12 tbsp laundry soap
- 1 cup mild dishwashing soap
- 1 cup baking soda
Mix all the ingredients together and you are ready to go. Hose the vehicle down first to get off some of the mud and then wash with a soft cloth or brush. Rinse the washed areas with clean water. Make sure to dry with a soft cloth so you don’t scratch the paint.
Now that you’ve washed your vehicle, protect the paint with some spray wax or paste wax. And if you live in a water-restricted state, consider getting some waterless car wash so you can keep the paint shining year round!