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Many people would protect their car with their lives. Even if you aren’t that intense, you still want it looking good. A clean car sends a message about what type of person you are.  Because we spend so much time in them however, they get dirty fast. Taking a car to a professional detailer can get expensive, and the cleanliness usually doesn’t last anyways. Fortunately there are some techniques that can keep your car looking, smelling and feeling fresh on a regular basis.

Vacuum

Vacuuming the car floors is pretty straightforward. Make sure to get under the seats and around the pedals. Remove the mats in both the back and front and give them a good shake. After you shake off the big items, vacuum them individually. If your vacuum has a soft brush attachment use this to clean the console and dashboard area. If you have leather seats, be aware that they are easily scratched so be careful around them. You will also want to wipe down the console area with a micro fiber towel to get the small stuff the vacuum missed.

Clean the Windows

In addition to making your car look old and uncared for, dirty windows can actually be quite dangerous. Streaks or spots can make it difficult to see. Paper towels or old rags are not your best option here. They can leave smears, lint, or other small particles behind. Head to your local store and pick up some lint-free micro fiber towels.

Cleaning Upholstery and Leather

This can get tricky, especially if your kid spilled something sticky on the backseat. For stains that water won’t fix you will likely need to but an upholstery cleaning agent. There are several on the market. If you don’t have any cleaner, regular laundry detergent and warm water can work as well. Spray the dirty area thoroughly with the cleaner. Rub the area until the stain is gone and follow it up by drying it with a clean cloth.

If you have leather seats you will have to use a different product. Different leather cleaning products leave different finishes, so test several out before you use it on the entire car. You may want to skip the steering wheel if the product leaves it slippery or sticky. Before you apply the cleaner, vacuum the seats with a soft brush attachment. Apply the cleaner directly to the towel and wipe the seats gently.

Touch Up the Paint

No matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to avoid little scratches and dings. They may happen when your kid opens the door too fast or when you accidentally grind on a curb. Regardless of whether it’s a big or small scratch, taking your car to a shop can cost a lot of money. To repaint an entire door or section of the car for example, you can expect to fork up around $400. Instead, look for bottles of touch up paint which usually cost no more than $5-10.

About the Author: David Glenn is a freelance writer who is currently involved with carpet cleaning in Corona, California. He specializes in DIY home improvement techniques and interior design consulting.