7 Household Hacks For Streak-Free Car Cleaning

< Back to blog

Perhaps the most satisfying part of owning a car is when you give it a really good clean, especially when it’s you that’s responsible for cleaning it. But one bugbear of motorists is figuring out how to keep a motor from streaking when giving it a much-deserved bath.

Now that summer is here and we’re able to travel more places, what better way to celebrate than giving your car a streak-free clean car to show off to envying motorists?

We’ve put together our seven top tips for cleaning your car this summer using items you’ll find around the home. Say goodbye to streaks with our easy household hacks.


Eben Lovatt, CEO of Moneyshake said: “In a recent study we found that 1 in 4 people admit to almost never cleaning their car. We decided to look at simple ways you can clean your car for less time and money by using household products already in your cupboards such as toothpaste and vinegar.”


Fed up with searching for the best deal? Moneyshake finds you the best car lease deals, simplifying your search for a brand-new vehicle.


Compare the best deals


1. Use vinegar and water instead of window cleaner

Inscription wash me on the dirty car window

Rather than splash out on expensive window cleaner products, a simple hack is to mix some vinegar and water together for your very own homemade solution.

You don’t need a lot (about one part vinegar to 10 parts warm water) and this should do the job. Apply it to your windows and windscreen then wipe the glass with either two rages or paper towel (we’ll explain this part next) until it’s streak-free and is squeaky clean.

This vinegar and water mix works well on other parts of the interior too, including the dashboard, doors and any wood, vinyl and plastic surfaces there are.


2. Wipe your windows with paper towels for a streak-free shine


When cleaning the glass, it’s important to use a couple of paper towels or rags to prevent it from streaking.

This works by one wiping the glass clean, while the second soaks up the remaining window cleaner solution so that you can wipe it completely clean.

Ever seen The Karate Kid? Think wax-on/wax-off motion and your windows should be clean and streak-free in no time!


3. Turn on the air con on while cleaning

Car air conditioner with illustration of cold air flow from it. Front view close up

Having the air conditioning turned on high while you clean and wipe the inside of your windows will pull the moisture out of the air. This should then help with keeping any excess water off the windows too which causes streaks.


4. Work on small sections at a time


One of the reasons why your car will streak when you clean is if you’re cleaning big sections at once. For example, if you clean the entire windscreen in one go, you probably won’t have time to clear all the cleaner residue with the second dry rag or paper towel.

Alternatively, if you do a window at a time and split the windscreen into multiple sections, you’ll find it easier to keep your car free of streaks.


5. Use laundry detergent to remove interior stains


Again, another household product that’s readily accessible by most is laundry detergent. You can use this as an alternative to pricier interior car cleaning products to get very good results.

Naturally, washing powder is designed to bring out deep stains which it can do with those inside your vehicle, such as mud.


6. Get a toothbrush for the crevices

Hand using a brush to clean car seat

Before you clean any surfaces inside your car, we recommend getting a toothbrush on the hard-to-reach crevices. For example, areas such as the centre console, dashboard, door bins , cupholders and cubbies will develop build-ups of grime if left.

Clean these areas first before the rest of the car and that way any stray bits that come into the car can be easily hoovered up.

Even if you clean your car every fortnight, there comes a time where every vehicle needs a good detailed tidying. A toothbrush is a perfect, low-cost item that is great at getting in places where you otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. Used alongside good detergent and hot water mix, you can save money detailing your car and make your car look brand-new.


7. Use toothpaste to restore your headlights


Headlights can go cloudy over time for a number of reasons, including:

  • Prolonged exposure to UV light. While headlight lenses come with a clear top coat to stop this from happening, eventually this wears off and sunlight can turn the hard plastic yellow.
  • Dirt and chemicals. A thin layer of dirt and chemicals can form on headlight lenses after several years, eventually dimming the beam.
  • Debris. Your headlights can be impacted a lot by debris such as gravel and road salt. If this is repeatedly getting kicked up at your headlights, they can experience wear and tear that gives them a cloudy appearance.
  • Water vapour. Headlights are made with a watertight seal, but wear and tear like that mentiond above can cause this to break. If this happens, condensation can then form inside the lens which you can’t wipe away. Water droplets can cause the light of light to scatter, impairing visibility.

Should your headlights become cloudy, you can remove stains from them caused by wear and tear using toothpaste. Here’s how:

  1. Take one light at a time and first wash the affected area with soap and water using a sponge or cloth.
  2. Allow this time to air dry then get a soft cloth and dampen with water, then add a smudge of toothpaste to it.
  3. Firmly rub your headlights in small circles, adding water and toothpaste as you need to – this part can take around five minutes per headlight.
  4. Once you’ve done this, rinse the remaining residue off with water and allow the lights time to air dry again.

For the latest car news and reviews, head over to the Moneyshake blog.