Car interior being cleaned

Can I use household cleaners to clean my car?

Cleaning cars can be a long, laborious and often expensive process after you’ve got all of the necessary products, and yes, cars do use shampoo, and no, they don’t have hair. But what if you simply can’t justify buying all of those bottles and don’t want to take it to a third party to clean for you? Well, you could raid your cupboards for some of the cleaning equipment you’ll use when embarking on your annual(ish) spring clean.

If your car is in a state where no amount of cleaning is going to make things better, then perhaps it’s time to finally say goodbye. By using Scrap Car Comparison, you’re guaranteed to get the very best price no matter the condition of your car and we’ll even come and collect it for free with nationwide collectors operating across 99% of UK postcodes.

Car exterior being cleaned

Can you use household products to wash your car?

The short answer would be yes. There is, of course, some distinction to be made on what parts of the car you’re cleaning and what you’re using to give them a spruce up. The one thing you don’t want to be doing is damaging the upholstery or scratching the paintwork, but with a little thought and care, you might just be surprised at how much you could clean your car with some of the products sitting underneath your kitchen sink.

What household cleaners can be used to wash the inside of my car?

Some white vinegar and rubbing alcohol should help you clear up that grubby interior, particularly your seats. Now, washing the outside of your car is one thing, but to wash and clean the interior is obviously going to take a little more care. You’re not going to want to be throwing a bucket of water across your centre console, for a start.

If you’ve got stubborn grease stains on your upholstery, then get some cornflour and sprinkle that over the offending area. Let it dry and then vacuum it off – in fact, vacuuming in general is the first job on your list before using any other products. Other stains can be fought off with white vinegar and water, while grass stains will require a weak hydrogen peroxide – or alternatively you can use equal parts white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and warm water.

What household products can I use to clean the inside of my car?

White vinegar, some dish soap and warm water is all you need to get your car’s interior sparkling once again. You don’t need to spend a fortune in a high street motoring retailer (you know, the one that likes the colour orange…) on branded products when your home cleaners can do a good enough job. You might even find that a white vinegar and water solution may get stubborn grime out in a way that off-the-shelf products simply can’t.

Can I use a household all purpose cleaner in my car?

All purpose cleaner could be the answer if you’re looking to save some pennies when cleaning your car. It’s a known fact that more bespoke products will often come with a premium price, but quite often those catch-all products can actually provide a finish comparable to that of one marketed specifically for car interiors.  While you may need to be a little more cautious with your water rations as you would with those made especially for your car, just follow the instructions on the bottle and you shouldn’t be in danger of causing any damages. 

Can I use washing up liquid to clean my car?

In short – no! If you ever see someone filling up a bucket of water by the side of their car and squeezing some Fairy Liquid in, jump in and put a stop to that as soon as you can. By its nature, washing up liquid is designed to break down grease, so applying it to your car is going to begin to strip away any wax or paint sealant, and as a result could end up dulling the finish on your car. While it may seem unnecessary if you’re working to a budget, dedicated car shampoos are made with this in mind and will protect your paintwork while getting the perfect shine you’d expect. 

Can I use laundry detergent to wash a car?

Much like washing up liquid, you should avoid using laundry detergent to wash your car. In the same way that your dish soap could strip the sealant off your paintwork, laundry detergent could do similar levels of damage. 

Can I wash my car with hair shampoo?

Technically, yes, you can. But, as always, you should be wary of how you use the product if you decide to do so. Hair shampoos should not be used, on anything, for long amounts of time, so if you’re using it on your car, make sure you’re rinsing it off fairly quickly, rather than leaving it to soak in. Doing so could cause the same breakdown as you’d see if you used a harsher substance such as detergent and washing up liquid.

Can I use white vinegar to wash my car?

One of those amazing all-purpose hacks, white vinegar could be the answer if you’re scouring your home for options to clean your car with. You may be concerned about the acidity of the vinegar, but, providing it is suitably diluted, there won’t be anything to worry about. However, try to use it sparingly and only when there are particularly tricky patches of grime to get rid of.

Will cleaning my car with bleach damage it?

If your car is in good condition, then bleach shouldn’t pose too much of a threat, but if there are any signs of oxidisation – usually found on older vehicles – then this could cause a big issue. Most motoring paints today have a clear protective layer on them, so should make you safe from the notoriously harsh nature of bleach. If you’re not sure or a bit too nervous to try, then it may be best to err on the side of caution and stick to well known brands.
If you’ve tried to clean your car and done more damage than good, or maybe even the deepest of cleans will never get your car looking great again (you know that phrase about polishing…), then perhaps your best bet is going to be selling the entire thing for scrap or salvage. By using Scrap Car Comparison you’re guaranteed to get the very best price in the quickest way possible. Better yet, with our service stretching to 99% of all UK postcodes, we’ll even come and collect it absolutely free of charge.

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