Many cleaning products contain toxic chemicals that can harm our health and take a toll on the environment. That’s true for the bleaches and cleansers we use in our homes, as well as the soaps that keep our vehicles spick and span.
Cars accumulate stubborn dirt and filth. For example, tree sap can mar a vehicle’s paint. Sap can get baked in by the sun, making it difficult to remove. And brake dust can coat your car’s wheels with an unsightly layer of unyielding grime.
Given how dirty cars can get, you might think only the harshest, strongest chemicals deliver effective results in keeping them clean, but that isn’t the case. It’s possible to create capable car-cleaning products at home using gentle, non-toxic ingredients that won’t damage your health or pollute the environment.
Below are four eco-friendly homemade solutions that can keep your car free of dirt and grime.
1. All-natural Window and Windshield Cleaner
You need to keep your car’s windows and windshields clear for proper visibility. The glass can become marred with dirt and dust, and water from sprinklers can leave stains.
It’s possible to quickly and effectively clean your car’s glass using a mixture of water and vinegar. Vinegar is an acid, and this allows it to cut through dirt and kill bacteria. Vinegar’s superior cleaning properties have made it a popular ingredient in homemade household cleaning products, and these qualities also allow it to easily clean the glass on your car.
To make this mix, pour equal parts water and vinegar into a spray bottle. Spray this mixture on your car’s glass, and use a towel to scrub away stubborn blemishes. Wipe away the residue, and you’ll be left with a streak-free finish.
One caveat to keep in mind is that vinegar can fade your car’s paint over time. When wiping this solution from your car’s glass, make sure the mixture doesn’t dribble onto the paint. If it does, use a towel to wipe it away.
2. Safe and Effective All-natural Tree-Sap Remover
If you’ve ever parked under a tree, you know tree sap can leave stains on your car’s paint that can be hard to remove. And scrubbing too aggressively to banish these stains can scratch your car’s paint.
Fortunately, there are products you can use to get rid of tree sap easily and effectively, and you’ve probably got them lying around your kitchen. Peanut butter and vegetable shortening both can be used to smooth tree sap from your car’s paint.
The fats and oils in peanut butter and vegetable shortening help lubricate and loosen dried-on tree sap. Apply either of these products to the affected area. Once you’ve let it sit for a minute or two, you’ll be able to quickly clear the tree sap with a towel or cloth. If this doesn’t completely remove the sap, repeat the process until the sap is gone.
Peanut butter and vegetable shortening also can be used to remove tar and bird droppings.
3. Non-toxic, Inexpensive Car Cleaner
Regular cleaning will keep your car’s sheet metal looking shiny and new. But you don’t have to spend lots of money on car cleaners with toxic chemicals to get the job done.
You can make a car cleaner that’s both powerful and non-toxic by combining baking soda, biodegradable dishwashing liquid and water. Start by pouring a quarter-cup of baking soda into a gallon-sized container, and then add a quarter-cup of biodegradable dishwashing liquid. Finish by pouring in enough water to almost completely fill the container. Shake to mix the ingredients. This will create a concentrate you can use to wash your car.
It will need to be diluted before you use it. Pour one cup of the concentrate into a two-gallon water pail. Then fill the pail with warm water and stir. Apply this mixture using a soft towel. Use the mixture and the towel to gently scrub away dirt, and rinse away the residue.
4. Powerful and Effective Eco-friendly Wheel Cleaner
Brake dust can accumulate on your car’s wheels over time, and it can be tricky to remove. Baking soda can help keep your car’s wheels free of brake dust.
In a bowl, mix three parts baking soda with one part water to create a moist paste. Apply this paste to your car’s wheels using a sponge. You also can use a toothbrush to apply the paste to hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. Use the paste, sponge and toothbrush to scrub away grime, then rinse with warm water. If some brake dust remains, repeat the process until the wheels are spotless.
Safe and Sound
You don’t have to compromise your health or harm the environment to keep your car clean.
By using the non-toxic household ingredients discussed above, you’ll be able to safely free your vehicle of dirt and grime.