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Clean Your Car the Green Way!

We talk a lot about green house cleaning on this blog. It makes sense, since we are Asheville’s top source for environmentally friendly home cleaning services! We’ve written about green ways to keep your kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, and even your home electronics clean and organized. But there’s one topic we’ve never covered: green ways to clean your car.

It’s not technically part of your house, but your car is, for all intents and purposes, an extension of your home. You rely on it to get you, your family, and your stuff where you need to go, and you probably occupy it every day for at least an hour or two. You pack your groceries into it, you put your gym bag on the floor, and if you have kids, they probably eat French fries in the back seat. Sometimes.

With all that activity taking place in your vehicle, it can get pretty messy. It might even get dirty and smelly. And so of course, you clean it periodically. But are you treating your car with the same care as you do your living spaces when it comes to cleaning? There aren’t many green cleaning products on the market that are specifically made for use in or on automobiles, but it’s just as important to clean your car with non-toxic, environmentally friendly substances as it is your house. Maybe even more important, since everyone in the family spends time there in close quarters.

So here is a brief guide to cleaning your car the green way. You can get your car sparkling clean on the outside and spotlessly fresh on the inside without resorting to toxic chemicals that can harm your health and the environment!


Use a mixture of white vinegar and water to clean your windshield and windows on the inside of the car. Mix equal parts in a spray bottle, and if you want, add a little cornstarch, which will scrub off grime without leaving a residue. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to mask the vinegar smell. (If you don’t add essential oils, the vinegar smell will still go away in a couple of hours if you leave the car doors open to allow air circulation.) Spray the solution on the glass surfaces and wait thirty seconds or so before wiping them with a lint-free cloth in a circular motion. This should give you a streak-free clean.

Upholstery and Floors

First, vacuum the floors and upholstery thoroughly. If you have any stains on your fabric upholstery or floor mats, you can tackle them with the same vinegar-and-water solution that you used on the glass surfaces. On leather or vinyl surfaces, toothpaste is a good stain remover.

Vinyl and Plastic Surfaces

Again with the vinegar-and-water mixture? I know, it’s kind of redundant, but vinegar is such a great, green cleaning solution, and it works on so many different types of surfaces. For your dashboard, console, cup holders, etc., use the vinegar spray, but this time instead of spraying it directly on the surface, spray it onto a cloth and then wipe down the surface. This will prevent moisture from seeping into nooks and crannies.


You have a couple of options when it comes to green solutions for odor control in your car. One is to make your own scented air freshener, using just water and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. You can spray it on the floors and upholstery while you’re cleaning the car, or you can just keep a bottle in the car for regular use. Another method is to sprinkle baking soda on the seats and floor, leave it overnight, and vacuum it up in the morning. The baking soda will absorb any unpleasant odors.


Here’s the fun part. Fill up a few buckets (four ought to do it for a sedan) with warm, soapy water. Use a plant-based soap with no bleach, no harsh additives, and no added enzymes. Apply the soapy water with a sponge made for washing cars, or you can use an old t-shirt. Just make sure that whatever you use is non-abrasive. Get all soapy and wet (don’t forget to get the car soapy and wet, too), and then empty your buckets, fill them again with clear water, and rinse!


Toothpaste works great for cleaning dirty, cloudy headlight surfaces. And if you have an old toothbrush lying around, that will make a great abrasive tool to get dirt and gunk and dead insects off the headlights. (Just don’t use the toothbrush on any painted surfaces!)

And that’s it! We hope you found this guide helpful for cleaning your car the green way. We don’t clean cars, but we do clean houses! If you’re looking for a highly efficient, green house cleaning service in the Asheville NC area, drop us a line or give us a call at 828.505.7320.

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