Easy how-tos for your vehicle

Caring for your car goes beyond the mechanical. Sure, it's important to conduct routine maintenance of coolant levels, engine belts, essential fluids (oil, brake, power steering and windshield washer), tire pressure and more. But keeping your car clean will prevent unsightly dirt and grime buildup, keep road soils from damaging auto finishes, and maintain the beauty of your upholstery, mats and carpeting.

Messes are bound to happen, so a quick-fix stain solution is important to have on hand. Not all messes are visible at a glance, however. Sludge is a gooey, black-colored byproduct of carbon and petroleum that builds up throughout an engine. It's a major contributor to engine problems, but a regular cleaning routine can help prolong your engine's health and longevity.

Take pride in your vehicle and care for your car to enjoy a longer, more beautiful life on the road, or command better resale value.

1. Engine

Maintaining a clean engine is an important, but often-overlooked step in car maintenance. A schedule of basic, inexpensive cleaning 1-2 times a year can help you recognize issues before they become problems, and prevent buildup of sludge within the engine.

With a clean engine you'll enjoy more efficient cooling, less wear on cables and belts, and you'll be able to spot any leaks, resulting in a better overall life for your vehicle. You should also check your county and state laws for public wash regulations, as well as your car owner's manual for additional cleaning tips.

How to clean an engine

2. Upholstery

Messes on your cloth or fabric car seats almost always happen while you're driving, so you don't have the chance to clean them up until later. Coffee spills, ice cream drips, dirt, and spots from long-forgotten potato chip grease quickly turn into set-in stains on your car seats.

Plus, upholstery stains are almost inevitable when you're carting kids around. Those mysterious spots linger on the back seats, only to be discovered when you remove the car seat, which doesn't happen often.

Even though it is recommended that you treat a stain as soon as it occurs, Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner does the hard work for you in removing stains that may have dried into your fabric upholstery.

How to clean car upholstery

3. Dashboard

Your dashboard is arguably the most important area of your car's interior to keep clean. You're always using it and touching the console buttons, looking at it to check your speed, for radio stations and driving directions, and you and your passengers are always facing it.

Whether it be annoying dust or sticky coffee splatters, Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner is perfect for cleaning the various areas on your dashboard. It's gentle enough to handle loose dust and dirt, but strong enough to wipe away leftover rings in the cup holders and smudgy oils from dirty hands.

How to clean a car dashboard

4. Carpet/Floor mats

It's bad enough that your auto carpet rarely sees anything but the bottoms of dirty shoes. Throw in forgotten pieces of candy and old chips, spilled soda and coffee, dried mud and dirt, and your floor mats and carpets take their fair share of beatings on a daily basis.

Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner can spot-clean stains or even work in a carpet cleaning machine to tackle those tough-to-clean areas. Plus, it's non-toxic and biodegradable – safer for the environment, your family, and your car.

How to clean car carpet/floor mats

5. Chrome

Chrome rims are a glamorous addition to any vehicle, but if they aren't properly maintained, chrome wheels can corrode at the bead and valve stem causing air leaks, develop pitting from corrosion, lose shine, and even peel away from the metal structure underneath.

Chrome is a very soft metal, which makes it easier for brake dust to penetrate and pit chrome wheels so easily. Brake dust is made of adhesive and carbon fibers that come off the brake pad and tiny metal shavings from the rotor. The intense heat and friction generated when braking makes this mixture highly corrosive. Since you're regularly braking when driving, brake dust is constantly being made.

Frequent cleaning with an appropriate cleaner is the only way to keep your wheels safe. Cleaning with soap and water isn't recommended, as certain soaps contain harsh chemicals like oxalic or hydrofluoric acid. Soaps and cleaners with these ingredients can permanently stain the chrome finish and cause spotting.

Simple Green All Wheel & Tire Cleaner delivers residue-free cleaning without caustic fumes. The non-corrosive, non-abrasive and non-flammable formula cuts through caked-on brake dust, grease, dirt and road grime on all wheel and tire types. The foaming spray clings to vertical surfaces and sinks into tight crevices to dissolve grease for a superior clean. The formula is also overspray safe, so it will not harm your car's paint or surrounding trim.

How to clean chrome

6. Aluminum Wheels

When properly cleaned and polished, aluminum wheels can shine with chrome-like beauty. Proper maintenance of your aluminum wheels is important, to avoid pitting and corrosion caused by accumulation of dirt and contaminants like brake dust. You can prevent this and keep your aluminum wheels looking great with frequent cleaning, using Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner.

Bare aluminum has a tendency to oxidize. Most aluminum wheels have a protective coating on top to prevent aluminum oxide. Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner won't harm this coating, so you can use it for both coated and bare aluminum wheels.

How to clean aluminum wheels

7. Vehicle wash

You care about the look of your vehicle, so only the best cleaning products will do for your car, truck, motorcycle, classic car, RV and more. Simple Green Wash & Wax is gentle enough for delicate car surfaces, yet tough enough to cut through dirt, grime, and bug residue for a clean, polished and protective shine. Home car care doesn't mean cutting corners.

Simple Green's biodegradable formula uses real carnauba wax for an added layer of protection on your car's paint job, to keep it looking great.

How to wash your vehicle

8. Windows

Your car windows and windshield can get downright gross, covered in everything from dead bugs and bird droppings to smudges from fingers, noses, pet snouts and more.

Cleaning the inside and outside of your windows and windshield on a bi-weekly basis prevents grimy buildup and film, as well as aiding your defroster clear foggy condensation. At an amazingly economic dilution, Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner easily clears the most heavy, unappetizing accumulations with an orally non-toxic formula that doesn't leave behind any harsh chemical residue like other glass cleaners.

How to wash your car windows and windshield

Find more great cleaning tips at SimpleGreen.com