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Clear rubbish

Clear rubbish
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Before you pull out the vacuum and cleaning supplies, clear out all the obvious rubbish. Check everywhere thoroughly. There will likely be rubbish on the floor, under the seats and in the seat cracks. Toss out any wrappers, bottles, toys and other objects that your vacuum can’t handle.

Tackle floor mats

Tackle floor mats
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Pull the floor mats out of the vehicle and shake them out as much as possible. This will make vacuuming easier. Scrub them with soap and hot water or a foaming carpet cleaner and allow them to air dry completely before reinstalling them.

Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum

Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum
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Vacuum both front and back seats, the floor and, if necessary, the boot. Vacuum every area of the vehicle where you can get the nozzle, including under the pedals and along the side door panels.

Wipe away grime

Wipe away grime
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Now that the car is vacuumed, grab a soft cloth or cleaning wipes to wipe up all that dirt, sticky stuff and dust. You can also spray a small amount of car-specific cleaner over the console, steering wheel and the area between the seats to restore that new-car look.

Clean cup holders

Clean cup holders
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Cup holders can harbour grime – and the residue from sticky spilled drinks. Try using a cotton swab dipped in a little cleaning solution to reach those difficult areas.

Wipe windows

Wipe windows
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Spray a window cleaner solution on windows and wipe clean with a paper towel or microfibre cloth. You can also mix one cup of water, two tablespoons of vinegar and one cup or rubbing alcohol for an effective homemade window cleaner.

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Attack stains

Attack stains
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If there are stains on the seats or on the carpet (and we guarantee there will be, especially if you have kids!) try this homemade solution. In a spray bottle mix two cups of water, one cup of vinegar and about a tablespoon of dish soap. Spray on the stains and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then wipe clean with a wet cloth. If the stain persists, try a stain remover. Spot-test in an inconspicuous area to make sure the upholstery fabric is colourfast.

Remove pet hair

Remove pet hair
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If you have a dog, you know the pain of dealing with pet hair in the car. If the vacuum doesn’t remove all the fur, try using a rubber-dipped glove. Simply brush the hair away with your hand, and it sticks to the glove like magic! To protect your car’s interior from any future pet damage, try a waterproof seat protector.

Get into crevices

Get into crevices
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Grab a paint stirrer or two next time at you’re at the hardware store. Wrap an end with a microfibre cloth and use the stick to get into those hard-to-reach areas between the seats and around the centre console.

Freshen up

Freshen up
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Create a homemade car freshener with one cup of baking soda and five drops of your favourite essential oil. Place both the soda and oil in a sealable plastic bag or glass jar for 24 hours. Then shake it up, sprinkle on the car’s floor and let it sit for 20 minutes. When the time has passed, vacuum up the baking soda. The scent will linger, making your car smell fresh and clean!

This article first appeared on Reader’s Digest.