Will a Leaf Blower Help Clean Your Car’s Interior? Consumer Reports Tried It Out

It's an odd thing to do, and noisy to boot, but they did it for the consumers.

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When cleaning out a car's interior, it's typical to use a vacuum cleaner—either your own, or the big one down at the carwash. A leaf blower isn't exactly the first tool that comes to mind, but a new article from Consumer Reports explores the alien concept.

Apparently, the idea behind using a leaf blower is one of speed. For a large buildup of lightweight detritus, such as candy wrappers or leaves, a leafblower might be a quick way to clear out the rubbish. This is particularly relevant as smaller vacuum cleaners can clog sometimes when dealing with such debris. 

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A more conventional method.

However, Keith Barry, auto editor for Consumer Reports, notes that it's a technique with a few drawbacks. “I could see it working in some cases," Barry states, "but remember, leaf blowers are blowing things around rather than picking them up.” Leaf blowers are indeed liable to blast tiny bits of dirt and sand into the air. It's a great way to clog up switches and buttons, and generally spread a fine mist of ick all over the interior. 

Thus, on balance, it seems to be a context-dependent cleaning shortcut. If you left your Miata outside with the top down in the fall, then yes, a leaf blower could work wonders. Desert sand from Baja filling up the footwell of your Ford Raptor? You're probably better off sucking that up with a vacuum.

Of course, blower vacs do exist, which are basically a leaf blower you can also flip into a suction mode. These could be a great solution for quickly vacuuming out a car, with the larger inlet nozzle being less likely to get blocked by receipts, parking tickets, or similar trash. It bears noting that if you do use a leaf blower or blower vac, you'll want to make sure it's an electric model if you're working in a confined space. Gas-fueled models can create a harmful carbon monoxide build-up if used in a confined space. 

Overall, though, it seems like it's very much an edge case sort of thing. However, if you're a diehard blowerhead, as they're called, sound off in the comments about why it's the ultimate way to clean your car's interior.

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