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Eco-Automotive: Green Ways to Clean Your Car

Posted on July 6, 2017 by Matt Tomasino There have been 0 comments

If you drive a car on a regular basis you know the enormous amount of exterior onslaught it is exposed to everyday. From a variety of weather patterns to a whole host of environmental pollutants. After a month or so your four wheel lifeline can often look like it has been through the wringer. Add in the many activities you perform while in your car or by your passengers (especially little ones) such as eating and amassing trash and your interior can take a beating too.

Yet, when you attempt to clean up your act, the only choice is often synthetic, chemically heavy products that in the long run can do damage to the environment as well as create health sensitive issues. These green ways to clean your car enable natural choices that compete with mainstream cleaners but don’t include the toxic, off-gassing residue so many have hidden in them.

On the Inside

Before you clean the outside of your car, start with the inside. This is the most labor intensive area and incorporating non-toxic cleaning products is the best green way to clean your car.

Streak Free

Store bought window cleaners can leave undetectable streaks on your car windows, that is until the sun hits them and it looks like you never cleaned them in the first place. They also use caustic chemicals that could affect your health if breathed in.

Try this homemade recipe that works well at making your car windows the crystal clear experience you desire.

  • Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  • Add in a few teaspoons of corn starch which acts as a safe abrasive to lift off grime.
  • Sprinkle ten drops of an essential oil such as lemon, lavender, or mint to offset vinegar smell.
  • Spray and wipe with a recycled, lint-free cloth

Natural Odor Killer

Don’t spray deodorizers in your car which leave residue on your windows and seats and don’t buy rear view mirror hanging or air vent ones, they just end up in landfills.

Baking soda is an all around natural cleaner that can clear clogged pipes, whiten teeth and deodorize your car interior. Mix baking soda with any dried flower of your choice such as lavender, lemongrass, jasmine, rosemary, rose, juniper, or mint. Sprinkle on your car seats and floor letting it sit overnight. The baking soda will absorb odors and the dried flowers will bring a natural scent.

The next day, vacuum up and your car will smell fantastic for about a month leaving no toxic off-gassing or residue. If you can keep an open box of baking soda in your car without it falling over it will absorb future odors just like it does in your refrigerator.

Tough Stains

Whether you have food throwing toddlers or had a spill that stained your interior there are a few natural solutions you can apply before purchasing expensive, conventional cleaning products.

  • Toothpaste - Using an old, soft toothbrush and toothpaste you can remove mild stains on leather or vinyl seats. Start with a small amount to make sure any dyes won't be affected.
  • Vinegar and Water - Mix equal parts vinegar and water and spray on fabric stains. Let soak in then gently blot with a clean rag.

 On the Outside

Cleaning the outside of your car should consist of a few large buckets of warm water, rather than a continued running hose. This will conserve water and enable you to discard waste efficiently. Use a plant-based soap or natural all-purpose cleaner to prepare your soapy water for exterior cleaning. Reuse old cotton clothing to apply your natural cleaning solution (make sure buttons, etc, are removed). Then rinse off with clean water using rags to absorb rather than waste water by spraying down.

For tough exterior stains such as tar, gum or stubborn grime you can apply peanut butter or solid lard. Let sit and wipe off. Also, toothpaste works very well to clean headlights.

If you are unable to wash your own car, using a local car wash is actually environmentally friendly. According to, Ways2GoGreen,

“Most car wash facilities have drains installed that collect water runoff and treat it. This helps to minimize the damage caused by tar, exhaust and gasoline particles that accumulate on your car’s surface. Treating the water also helps neutralize the synthetic chemicals that may be in your cleaning products. Using the car wash instead of washing at home also greatly reduces water usage. Your average home car wash with the hose can use up to 100 gallons of water. At most, the car wash will utilize 50 gallons of water for the same (if not better) results.”


Think about your environment and your health when cleaning your car. Some simple, natural, often homemade solutions can easily be implemented to make your car washing experience a green way, rather than a wrong way.

This post was posted in Blog and Green Library, Eco Travel, Green Cleaning, Green Tips and DIY and was tagged with car wash, CONSERVES WATER, diy, HEALTH SENSITIVE, NON-TOXIC, RECYCLED-UPCYCLED


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