What’s Your Favorite Car Cleaning Hack?

With more reason than ever to keep your ride clean and sanitary, it's time to talk about the best way to do exactly that.

If accidentally stripping the finish from an expensive leather Momo steering wheel with window cleaner taught me anything, it’s that there is definitely a wrong way to clean a car. Now, with the escalating coronavirus pandemic ushering public cleanliness and the transmission of germs back in the public eye, it feels like the right time to clear up the cleaning quandary once and for all by asking The Drive‘s readers: What are your favorite car cleaning hacks?

A new favorite of ours is isopropyl alcohol, an old standby for many because it can clean everything from dust to grease from a surface before evaporating on its own without leaving streaks. An added bonus of using this type of alcohol as a cleanser is that in concentrations over 60 percent, it can kill 99 percent or more of a surface’s bacteria and viruses—it even helps fight against this season’s much-feared COVID-19. (The fact that you can turn isopropyl alcohol into hand sanitizer with simple DIY recipes is only a bonus.)

We’re curious about more than how to clean an interior though, and because alcohol is relatively costly, it’d be an expensive way to strip bugs and grime from a car’s paint. That’s what clay bars, microfiber cloths, and waxes are supposed to be for, but setting yourself up with a full detailing kit can be costly. Remember, we’re looking for hacks, not ways to empty our bank accounts. So, if anyone knows a way to detail a car using only Silly Putty and shaving cream, we’re dying to hear how it’s done.

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