3 Steps to a Clean Car, Post-Road Trip

3 Steps to a Clean Car, Post-Road Trip

As great as road trips are, the work doesn’t end the second you pull back in the driveway. You need to unpack the car, and your suitcase, eventually get the laundry started, and then figure out what’s for dinner, because of course you cleaned out the fridge before you left. The last thing you’re thinking about is getting back in the car, let alone cleaning it. Luckily, post-road trip cleaning can be done in three quick steps, so you can focus on recounting all of the memories you made on the trip, not the mess. We covered all the benefits of cleaning before your road trip in an earlier post, but now that that summer road trip has come to an end, it’s time to talk about the benefits of cleaning your car after the trip.

1. Vacuum

Just like when you’re deep cleaning your carpet, the first step to deep cleaning your car is vacuuming all the dry dirt and debris. But before you get out the vacuum pick up any larger trash that accumulated on your trip, like fast food wrappers under the seats, lost french fries and receipts from all those snack stops at the gas station. Next, it’s time to grab your vacuum and its helpful attachments. Our favorite vacuum for cleaning cars is Garage Pro® Wet/Dry Vac because it conveniently hangs on the wall and can reach all the nooks and crannies of the car with its 30-foot hose and seven car detailing attachments. However, any of our handheld vacuums or upright vacuum cleaners with above floor cleaning capabilities or a crevice tool are great for this step, too.

2. Pretreat

Once the dry debris is all sucked up, it’s time to search out and target those stains in your car. Common road trip stains include coffee spills, ice cream that quickly found its way to the car mat, dried mud, and juice spots on the seats. All those stains, and more, are no match for our strong stain remover sprays, like INSTAclean Home Auto & Laundry Pre-Treat We always keep a bottle of INSTAclean spray in our car detailing kit because it’s so effective. This formula removes stains in just 30 seconds – and it doesn’t stop there, it can handle tough odors, too. We all know a car can get pretty smelly during a road trip, especially in the summer heat.

3. Deep Clean

If you used INSTAclean stain remover to handle your stain pretreating, chances are most of the stains are already gone! But, a good deep clean never hurt anyone. In your third and final step, give your car interior a nice onceover with a portable carpet cleaner. This step helps you get your car back to that “just rolled off the lot” condition, and it’s so easy to do. We like to use SpotClean Pro, our most powerful portable carpet cleaner. Road trips are no match for this machine. Its six- and three-inch stain tools scrub stains away from all those hard-to-reach spaces in your car, and if you feel like going above and beyond, this machine makes quick work of cleaning those car mats that constantly get trampled on.

And just like that, in three easy steps, your car will look and smell so clean you won’t even be able to tell you spent hours driving in it all summer. Now that you see how quickly you can tackle the cleaning, hopefully it's just the motivation you need to keep it clean for the next road trip, even if it's only down a few blocks to pick up your first-night-home-post-vacation-takeout-dinner. 

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