How to Keep Your Car Fresh and Clean - 9 DIY Car Detailing Tips

Ladies and gentlemen, at Fresh Emblem we don't want your car to smell fresh, we want your car to be fresh all over. 

Car detailing is more than just rinsing your car down with the garden hose or praying that the rain washes away all mud and dead bugs off your vehicle. Car detailing is an art.

Here are some car detailing tips from the professionals to get your car smelling as fresh as a daisy:

1. Declutter

Take a page out of Marie Kondo’s playbook and start by tidying and decluttering. If an item is garbage or doesn’t bring you joy... throw it in the bin. 

But if an item does bring you joy, then voila! You’ve found yourself some hidden treasure! Bring that newfound treasure into your home and put it in a place where you can cherish it until the end of time. 

Ta-da! Not only are you decluttering your car, but you’re also on the journey to reorganizing your life one step at a time.

2. Ready Your Cleaning Supplies

Now before beginning your deep car cleaning, check that you have all the necessary car cleaning supplies: 

    • Car wash soap or shampoo
    • Watersource/bucket of water
    • Hose or pressure washer for rinsing (if available)
    • Microfiber wash mitt or sponge
    • Tire/wheel brush
    • Glass cleaner
    • Microfiber towels for drying
    • Wax or sealant for paint protection and shine
    • Applicator pads for applying wax or polish


    • Vacuum cleaner (preferably with attachments)
    • Carpet cleaner
    • Interior brush or detailing brush set
    • Interior cleaner (specific to the material of your car's interior)
    • Plastic or vinyl protectant for interior surfaces
    • Glass cleaner
    • Air freshener (hanging, vent clips, sprays, or others based on preference)


      Remember, depending on your personal preferences, the condition of your car, and any specific requirements for your car. You do not need all these supplies. This is a detailed supply list that most car enthusiasts use to clean their cars like the pros.

      Having these supplies readily available will allow you to avoid having to stop mid-clean and “run to the store quick.” Proper supply preparation will ensure a smooth and efficient DIY car cleaning process.

      3. Time For Some Elbow Grease

      If you have a hose or a pressure washer, it's time to rinse the exterior of your car from top to bottom. Remove as much bird poop, bugs, and dirt as possible. (The better you rinse, the less likely you are to scratch your car’s paint when you use your microfiber wash mitt or sponge.)

      Next, dunk that microfiber wash mitt or sponge into your bucket of soapy water and start scrubbing off the rest of the dirt and grime off your exterior. On those sunny days, make sure to rinse off those suds frequently so the soap doesn’t bake on your car.

      Wheels are usually the dirtiest part of your car, so utilize the wheel brush to get in all the nooks and crannies where dirt loves to hide.

      Onto rinsing! A good rule of thumb is to soap one side then rise off the soap immediately so the soap doesn't bake onto the car.

      The secret to a shiny car? A little bit of patience and a lot of elbow grease with the soapy mitt/sponge and the drying towels.

       4. Dust Bunnies and Strains Be Gone

      Take the floor mats out of the car and make sure to rinse them very well and let them dry.

      Get rid of those dust bunnies, sand, and crumbs with the vacuum. Do your lungs a favour, and don’t rush the vacuuming. All that dirt can turn into dust, and if you’re driving every day, you don’t want to inhale that dust every day.

      Next, tackle those stains. (If you have kids, you know.) We know you’ve been dreading having to deal with them, but grab the correct interior cleaner for your vehicle’s interior, spray or rub it on. Let it sit and soak in. Then wipe down and watch the stains disappear. Alternatively, for fabric interiors that need deeper cleaning, use a carpet cleaner to power out those stains.

      Congratulations, you are now a stain magician… you can make stains disappear! 

      [BONUS TIP] If you have a lot of dog hair in the fabric of your car, sometimes no matter how much you vacuum that dog hair will still be stuck in there good. Grab a dog hair removal tool, and will stop you from pulling out your own hair in frustration!

      5. Find the Perfect Air Freshener

      Time for the fun.

      Find an air freshener that fits your personality. Throw out the disposable air freshener and upgrade to a rescentable wood car air freshener.

      Head over to and build your own rescentable air freshener kit. Pick a wood emblem design that’s your vibe, then choose one of the scents: Cool Ice, French Vanilla, or Maple.

      What do these wonderful scents smell like? Let me do my best to describe them with words...

      • Cool Ice is a nice fresh scent that lightens the mood in any setting. This is the perfect scent to guide you to a calm relaxing drive.
      • French Vanilla is a warm cozy scent that provides the perfect comfort for those cold fall days.
      • Maple… I’m not gonna lie. Maple smells delicious and will make you hungry for pancakes and maple syrup. 


      Once your new rescentable wood car air freshener arrives on your doorstep, scent it up by following the instruction card and hang it up on your rearview mirror and enjoy your beautiful, freshly scented car for approximately 4-6 weeks.

      6. DIY With Your Own Essential Oils

      If none of those scents tickle your fancy, order an unscented wood emblem and use your own essential oils!

      Every unscented wood emblem comes with instructions for how to scent up the emblem with your favourite essential oil.

      Or use a mixture of essential oils to create fun and easy-to-make homemade air freshener recipes. There are plenty of aromatherapy benefits from various essential oils like boosting your mood, reducing anxiety and pain, and relieving headaches.

      7. Shine On [You Crazy Diamond]  

      Time to put the finishing touches on the interior of your car and really make your car sparkle. 

      Use the streak-free glass cleaner on the inside of your windows to get all those dog prints and fingerprints off your windows. 

      [Pro tip:] If you are going to be doing some winter driving, create a solution in a spray bottle that consists of 1 part rubbing alcohol and 2 parts water on your windshield to not only remove some surprising dirt and grime but also prevent frosty windshields when the temperature drops below freezing.

      Next, use a plastic or vinyl protector product for interior surfaces to make your interior surfaces look great and last even longer.

      A clean dashboard is the perfect cherry on top to finish your car detailing experience chef’s masterpiece.

      8. Proper Maintenance - Keep Your Car Fresh, Forever!

      Regular car cleaning maintenance not only helps you preserve the fresh ambiance of a peaceful car but also allows you to catch small problems before they become big problems. 

      Create a maintenance schedule; ideally, aim to clean your car once a season (4 times per year). Not only will your passengers appreciate your incredibly fresh car, but it will also give you a sense of pride and responsibility for properly taking care of your vehicle.

      Remember, a fresh car = a happy car = a happy driver!

      9. The Joy of DIY Car Detailing

      Now that you’re finished detailing your vehicle inside and out... give yourself a pat on the back and reward yourself with a nice cold beverage.

      It's time to get out there and impress your wife and/or neighbours with your newfound car detailing skills! Whether it's a Sunday cruise night around your neighbourhood or driving to work, take some pride in your sparkling, clean car and enjoy every moment you drive it... until you hit that dread puddle and get to do it all again. 


      If you have any other pro car detailing tips, please share them in the comments below. We're just like you and our aim is to improve our skills by 1% every day!

      P.S. Want some visuals of a pro car detailer in action?

      Check out Aaron Wilton-Jones (@autocleandetailing on Instagram). Wow, his content is oddly satisfying (I'm not even getting sponsored to give him this shout-out). Aaron can transform any disaster vehicle into a fresh shiny car. 

      0 comment

      0 comment

      Leave a comment

      Your email address will not be published.

      Please note, comments must be approved before they are published