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Vacuum Your Car with a Handheld Vac: Here's How

Here's the best way to clean your car with your handheld vac

Use your handheld vacuum to clean your car

Have you ever had a passenger in your car comment on the smell of your interior? If not, you either take great care of your car or you have nice friends. My mom is the one who keeps it real with me. Every time she is in my car she tells me it smells like moth balls. I don’t even know what that smells like, but it can’t be good. I get my car washed every so often, but they just do a quick run through with the vacuum and, according to my mother, the moth ball odor remains.

I decided to take matters into my own hands and give my car a total makeover. Especially in the summer, washing a car yourself can be tedious and exhausting. If you follow a system and get the right supplies, it doesn’t have to be too hard.

Vacuuming out the interior of your car is so much easier if you have a handheld vacuum. Handhelds have a lower power than upright or canister vacuums, but for a cleanup of your auto interior, they are super convenient and effective. Instead of wasting your money at a car wash, clean your car yourself! Follow these steps to get the best results when giving your car interior a makeover.

What you will need…

Of course you will need a handheld vacuum, preferably a cordless one with a rechargeable battery, to be the most efficient. Ideally, your handheld will come with a brush attachment. It’s okay if you don’t have one. You can use any kind of brush with stiff bristles, like a toothbrush. Have a trash bag nearby to toss any garbage that you find. If you have baking soda, this will help to eliminate any bad odors. Grab a damp towel and any polishing product that you might have to wipe down your dashboard with.

Step 1

Open all the doors to the car so that you can maneuver easily from one side of the car to another.

Step 2

Clear out any trash and toss in your garbage bag. If you find any misplaced belongings, recover them and set them aside. Don’t forget to clean out the trunk, as well.

Step 3

Remove all the floor mats, shake off any dirt or dust, and lay them outside. We will get to them later.

Step 4

Start vacuuming using your handheld. I find it best to vacuum in sections doing the front passenger side first— including the ceiling. If you come across a spill or stain, try to work it from the material using your brush attachment.

  • Vacuum up any loose particles from the area that you are working on.
  • Use your brush attachment to loosen trapped dirt in the same place that you just vacuumed.
  • Vacuum again to pick up the released dirt from brushing.
  • Don’t forget to move the seats forward and backward to clean underneath.
  • Move to your next section and repeat.

The attachment will also be very handy if you have had any pets that shed in your car. Their hair can get caught in the fibers of the seats and the vacuum won’t pick them up. Use the brush to loosen these and then go over it with the vacuum.

Step 5

Remove bad odors either on your seats or on the floor using the baking soda. Sprinkle on the area, let it sit for a few minutes, then vacuum.

Step 6

Use your handheld vacuum attachments to get in the creases of seats and dashboard cracks. No crumb left behind!

Step 7

Time to vacuum those floor mats that you set outside of the car. Use the baking soda if you wish, but make sure to vacuum both the front and backs of the mats.

Step 8

Don’t forget about your trunk! Vacuum the trunk using the same method as in step 4. Vacuum, brush, vacuum.

Step 9

Finish off your car wash by making the interior sparkle. Use your damp towel to wipe off any residue from all areas of the dashboard and doors. If you have a polishing product, you can use it now to give your dashboard a nice shine.

Using a handheld vacuum to clean out the interior of my car made it so much easier and I did a way better job than they do when I entrust my car to a generic car wash. Every time I wash my car myself, I gain a new appreciation for it. Hopefully, your car looks (and smells) as fresh as my car does. I am excited to see my mom’s reaction the next time she gets into my car.

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