How to clean a car – the 8 eco-friendly household items you can use

TikTok user shows off baking soda hack for cleaning headlights

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If your car is in need of some TLC, you don’t need to use harmful cleaning products. We are in an age of overusing these chemicals and TikTok videos promote constant use of these products in trending videos. Not only can combinations of cleaners be bad for our homes and cars, but they’re also bad for our health due to toxic fumes and the environment. When you clean your car, the water that runs off carries the chemicals with it into rivers, streams and groundwater. chatted to Goodbye Car to find out the eight eco-friendly products you can use to clean your car.

White vinegar

White vinegar is known for being a versatile, multipurpose cleaner that is cheap and eco friendly.

You can also use it for cleaning the exterior and interior of your car.

The experts at Goodbye Car said: “While white vinegar is acidic, when diluted it won’t damage your car paint – just avoid using it regularly and only when there is dirt that just won’t budge.

“Avoid spraying it directly onto your car without it being mixed with water.

“It’s also great at removing bumper stickers, smells, and chewing gum from your carpeting.

“As a general rule of thumb, for what is known as a sour rinse, you should mix three parts water with one part white vinegar, and use it sparingly.

“This mixture will be useful in removing stubborn dirt and grease that ordinary car soap cannot.

“A mixture of 60ml olive oil and 120ml white vinegar can also be used for leather upholstery.

“Shake your mixture thoroughly and use a clean cloth to wipe it down.”

Coconut oil

When you’ve cleaned your leather upholstery, you can condition it and make it shine with coconut oil.

The team at Goodbye Car said: “You only need a small amount that can be worked into the material with a clean dry cloth. Plus, your car will smell great.

“This can also protect it from cracking and restore its eye-catching shine.”

Corn starch

A food ingredient usually used to thicken sauces and soups, corn starch is a cleaning miracle and can be used to clean your car in a number of ways.

The experts at Goodbye Car said: “Clean your car windows with a mixture of 120g cornstarch and one litre of water and then dry with the newspaper.

“Corn starch can deodorise smells too when sprinkled and left to work its magic for about half an hour.

“Corn starch is also good for removing excess car polish and wax.

“The last thing you need after giving your car a good polish is product residue – this will attract dirt more than it did before. This buff can also help remove swirl marks on black cars.”


Toothpaste can be applied to make our headlights squeaky clean and shiny.

Goodbye Car said: “When headlights start to get foggy, remove all the excess dirt and grime with warm soapy water and a cloth, then apply any cheap toothpaste and rub.

“Just try to avoid getting it on your car’s paintwork – you can apply tape to cordon off the headlight.”

Rubbing alcohol

You don’t need to buy expensive stain remover to clean your seats, just use rubbing alcohol.

Goodbye Car’s advice reads: “Dab the offending stain with a dye-free cloth. Remember, don’t rub, just dab.”

If you’ve run out of de-icer or are looking for cheaper alternatives, spraying a mixture of 60ml alcohol to 1L water to your windshield in winter should help melt the ice away too.

The experts said: “You can also use equal parts rubbing alcohol and water to clean hard surfaces of the interior of your car.”

Baking soda

Baking soda is one of the handiest kitchen staples for baking and cleaning.

As well as being used for cooking and teeth whitening, baking soda can be used for car cleaning.

The team said: “Dusty ashtrays filled with crumbs and hairs can be an unsightly aesthetic.

“They can also be a nightmare to remove with just a wipe down.

“After vacuuming to remove excess dirt, apply a mixture of baking soda and water, let it sit for half an hour, and scrub with a toothbrush.”

Peanut butter

Peanut butter is an excellent product for removing tree sap.

The Goodbye Car experts said: “Tree sap is sticky and can generally be a nuisance – it can stay on your clothes forever and even take days to wash off skin.

“Spread the peanut butter over the affected area and try to warm the area – we recommend using smooth rather than chunky peanut butter to avoid scratches!

“You can also use mayonnaise and hand sanitiser too if you have these lying around.”

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