10 cheap ways to detail your car like a pro

Bringing your car to a detailing shop can be quite expensive given the additional cost of labor. Aside from that, the shop will also use its own cleaning materials which do add up to the charge. You are paying for the convenience of having them do the work for you, but there are ways you can detail your car without breaking your wallet. 

Aside from saving up some money, taking care of your car the DIY way should also help you learn the basics and some resourceful ways on how you can make your ride look spick spam. In fact, we were able to come up with 10 cheap ways on how you can detail your car like a pro. Gladly, the following tips and tricks are applicable at home. 

Dishwashing liquid as car shampoo

There are a lot of alternatives to car shampoos, and one of the top alternatives includes dishwashing soap. You can use it especially if you need to get rid of grease, oil stains, and smears on your car. Remember to combine the dishwashing soap with a lot of water to get the lather and to dilute the concentrate. 

Do note, however, that the dishwashing soap will strip away a good amount of contaminants on your car’s paint, which includes any sealant or wax. It’s good to use if you do plan on applying wax afterward. 

Vinegar for cleaning watermarks

There are actually some household items you can use to clean your car, one of which includes vinegar. Notably, its acidity will help in softening the minerals in hard water, therefore making the removal of water spots easier. You’ll just have to combine 50% water and 50% vinegar and then mix, then take a plastic spray bottle and pour the mixture into it.

Spray the homemade solution in the affected areas and use a towel to rub the mixture and break down the mineral deposits of water spots. After doing so, rinse your car’s window with water and then buff it using a clean and dry cloth.

toothpaste as scratch remover

Instead of buying a scratch remover at an auto shop, or if you’re fresh out, you can use toothpaste as a substitute. Use a standard toothpaste instead of the gel type, as it has a minor grit to it which buffs out minor or clear coat scratches. Just make sure that you’re going to apply the toothpaste using a microfiber cloth. After rubbing it in a circular motion a few times, the light scratch should disappear already.

Here are two life hacks you must try. If you have a coffee filter at home, you can actually use it to easily clean the dashboard. The reason behind this is because the materials used in coffee filters help to clean up dirt fast and wipe it away. 

WD40 for cleaning wheels

Instead of using some expensive brake cleaner, why not try using the good-old WD40 solution. Spray the WD40 on your microfiber cloth, then rub it on the wheels, try not to touch the brakes and tires. Afterward, use a new microfiber cloth to wipe away the solution. Lastly, soak the wheels with water and then use your preferred cleaner. It removes road grime, tar, and dirt, much easier than regular car shampoo. 

Paintbrush for air vents

Your car’s air conditioning vents are often invaded by dust. In order to effectively clean its tight holes, you must use a foam craft paintbrush and get inside the vents to wipe off the dust and grime. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, it’s affordable, plus, you can also buy it at any hardware store. 

Car cup holder hack

Your car’s cup holders are also prone to dust and grime, it even gets dirty pretty quickly. With that said, here’s a clever way on how you can clean it in a simple and less hassle way. You’ll be needing two things, a cup that’ll fit the holder and an old sock. Spray the sock with a cleaning solution then insert the cup and twist it until the cup holder is clean, simple as that.

Like most homeowners, they use glass cleaner to clean their carpets, and the same principle also applies with cars. A glass cleaner is actually capable of removing carpet stains. This is perfect especially for those cars that have beige carpeting which is more prone to dirt and other stains. Just spray the solution and rub it carefully with a soft brush. Then gently rinse it off with a small amount of water and let it dry. 

Home made car air freshener

Frankly, car air fresheners are not that expensive at all, though you can make one at home. You’ll just be needing some essential oil and a wooden clothespin. It’s simple, just apply a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the clothespin, then clip it to your vents. 


Now, if you’re bothered by some bad smell inside your car, then you can actually fight it with coal. Commonly used by many for grilling, Coal is also good in absorbing odors. Just put a pile of coal into a container with holes in it and place it inside the vehicle while parked. Perhaps, by the time you open it, the bad odor might have become milder or better yet, gone.

engine wash

We’d agree that engine wash is better done at your trusted car shop though it is doable at home provided that you have the right knowledge of the engine bay. It’s because some of your car’s mechanical components are not allowed to be soaked in water. You can take some of that dishwashing liquid solution and use that on the engine bay. 

So if you have the extra time and know the proper procedure, then go ahead, but if you’re unsure with your actions, then it’s better to just bring your car to your trusted shop and have its engine detailed there instead. It’s either you save money from engine detailing service or from any possible repairs that might happen in case you do anything wrong to your engine bay.

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