Top 7 Household Products to Clean Car Exterior

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Household Products to Clean Car Exterior

There will be a time your car gets dirty but there aren’t any car wash products around. What can you do? There are plenty of substitutes products around the house car owners can use. In this blog, you’ll find household products to clean car exterior and how to use them.

Advantages and Disadvantages of using household products to clean car exterior

Benefits of using household products to clean car exterior

  1. It is cheaper than buying car cleaning products
  2. You can use any chemicals you have in your kitchen to wash your car
  3. Use your favorite cologne or fragrance on the car
  4. Easily accessible and easy to store in your home

Drawbacks of household products to clean car exterior

You need to consider some things before using these products.

  1. They may damage your car paint or the wax layer
  2. It may not get rid of all the dirt, especially when you use a detergent to wash your car.
  3. It is not very powerful in removing tough stains and organic matters like tree sap or bird droppings.
  4. It may end up making your hands dry and rough.
  5. You may not be fully satisfied with the outcome if you don’t have any knowledge on the proper use and application of these products.
  6. It may not be as effective as using a car wash product specially formulated for cleaning a car’s exterior.

Household products to clean car exterior

When taking into consideration of the pros and cons of household products to wash car exterior, it’s advisable that you don’t apply them too often to your car. Here are some common around-the-house items you can use.

#1 For general cleaning


The acetic acid in the vinegar is great for removing dirt and grime. It also has antiseptic properties that will kill any bacteria. Mix it with water together with light detergent and use a sponge to scrub your car’s exterior from top to bottom.

To use vinegar, you need to dilute it with water. The proper ratio is 3 water with vinegar. Mix it together and then use a sponge or cloth to clean your car. Vinegar can be used to remove mold as well.

Laundry detergent

As for simple cleaning, laundry detergent can do the trick. However, it may not be as effective in applying pressure as a car wash product. Mix one part of laundry detergent with two to three parts water and wash your car’s exterior with this mixture using a sponge or cloth.

The soap won’t leave any residue on your car’s exterior but you have to rinse it off using regular water immediately.


Hair shampoos or hand wash soaps can be used to wash car exterior as they are able to remove grime and dirt. You may use mild colors of shampoos. The best ones are the ones that contain conditioners, which will leave behind a shiny and moisturized finish.

Like laundry detergents, shampoos shouldn’t sit too long on car paint. You need to wash them off quickly as they can be harsh on car paint.

Baking soda

Baking soda is also a good product for general cleaning which can get rid of dirt and grime. However, it can’t get rid of stains.

Mix one part of baking soda with three parts water (not too much) and scrub your car’s exterior using a sufficient amount of water and a sponge or cloth. Don’t leave it on the car to dry as it will completely change its color over time.

#2 For dirty wheels: Use dishwashing soap

Dishwashing soap is great for removing stubborn dirt from your wheels, especially those made of alloy. You can also use dishwashing soap for the other parts of your car’s exterior if you wish to. Mix dishwashing soap with water little by little while you’re scrubbing your wheels. The resulting mixture is of diluted soap and water that will make the car’s surface cleaner.

#3 For windshield and windows: Use rubbing alcohol

It’s best to use rubbing alcohol to clean your car’s windshield and windows. This substance can remove dirt and road grime perfectly. It is also the ideal choice to remove insects, smudges and bird droppings from the glass.

Use rubbing alcohol by applying a soft cloth on it and then clean your vehicle’s window.
Note: Don’t let the rubbing alcohol contact with car paint as it can cause damage.

#4 For headlights: Use toothpaste

If you wish to clean your headlights and bulbs, use your old toothpaste. Make sure you mix it in some warm water so that the toothpaste can dissolve completely and clean the necessary parts of your car. Or you can just apply it to a clean cloth and rub. Using toothpaste can make the headlights shine again.

How to wash the car using household products

There are steps you should follow in order to not damage your car paint when washing.

1. Wet the car

The first step is to wet the car. Make sure you cover all the surfaces with water. A pressure washer can do this well. However, you don’t need to buy one. You can use a garden hose to wash your entire car.

2. Apply the car product

The next step is applying the household product. Mix household products with water (in a right ratio) and stir. Remember different products can be used for different purposes. For example, vinegar is best when applied on your car’s painted surfaces whereas shampoos are designed for removing dirt from them.

3. Wash the car

You should wash the car in a small area, rinse it off and move to the next area. By doing this, you will make sure that the solution does not sit too long on the car paint.

4. Dry the car

After you’ve washed, you need to dry your car so that it will not get damaged by wetness. You can use a premium chamois or towel to do this. Just make sure that the towel or chamois does not contain lint and other particles as these will scratch your car paint with time due to abrasion and friction.


You should know that households products will clean your car’s exterior but you need to use them with care. Before using these products, you need to check the ingredients of them so that no damage will be done to your car paint.