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How to Clean Your Car with "Green" Products You Already Have at Home

As many of us prepare to embark on spring vacation- possibly for the first time in years, due to the pandemic- it has become evident that our cars are just as much in need of a good spring cleaning as our homes!

Although a quick drive through the car wash may be a tempting quick solution, the majority of car washes unfortunately use toxic chemicals that instantly contaminate our waterways, harming aquatic life. Luckily, many simple organic products that you may already use to clean your home are perfect for cleaning your car as well, both inside and out.

Vinegar is a wonderful solution for keeping the inside of your car spotless and disinfected. To remove any stains on upholstery, combine one part vinegar with two parts water, and spray the spot thoroughly. Dab gently with a cloth until the stain has lifted. If the stain you are dealing with is a grease stain, you may instead try cornstarch. Sprinkle the affected area, and let sit for 15-30 minutes before vacuuming.

Vinegar is also perfect for cleaning your car's windows and windshield. It can be sprayed directly onto the glass, and using old newspapers to wipe the windows is a great tip to ensure a streak-free shine. This trick can also help prevent ice from forming on your windshield, in case of an unexpected spring frost.

Baking soda is another safe, easy household cleaning item that will help make your car spotless and odor-free. Sprinkle baking soda liberally on your car mats, and let sit before vacuuming in order to alleviate any bad smells that may be lingering. Another great way to use baking soda in your car is for cleaning seat belts. This is one area of our car we may not think to clean, but you will be surprised at how much dirt your seatbelt can accumulate! Simply make a paste of baking soda and water, scrub gently, rinse, and air dry. Since baking soda makes a less abrasive cleaner, it will not damage the integrity of the fabric.

Have you noticed your headlights becoming dull and clouded-over? It may sound odd, but toothpaste is a wonderful solution to brighten them up! If you are in need of some extra scrubbing power, sprinkle in some baking soda and scrub gently with an old toothbrush. We also recommend using a mixture of equal parts vinegar, water, and rubbing alcohol on your hub caps if you're looking to go the extra mile for that shine!

Finally, it's important from an environmental standpoint to keep in mind the amount of water you are consuming while washing the outside of your car. While using your favorite organic dish soap, only use as much as truly required, and always remember to turn the water off when it is not in use. Washing your car over gravel or grass is also preferable to washing it in the driveway, due to the fact that the dirty water will filter through the soil rather than going directly down the storm drain.

Happy cleaning, and safe travels to those of you enjoying a spring vacation this year!

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