Freshening the interior.
Use a vacuum to remove debris and dirt from the seats, floor mats, rugs, and trunk. A rented steam cleaner works well for deep cleaning stains, but those can get expensive. Try a household spray-on carpet cleaner first. For leather trim, use a leather cleaner. Clean the inside of windows with glass cleaner, but spray directly onto your cloth to avoid streaking.
Restoring the exterior shine.
First, move into the shade. Never wash or wax a car in direct sunlight, or if the paint is hot to the touch. Bright sun can soften the paint and make it more susceptible to scratching. And don’t use dish detergent on your car. Use a dedicated car-wash soap designed for use on automotive paint. Fill a bucket with plenty of water, and apply the suds with a clean natural sponge or a lamb’s-wool mitt.
Spring is also a great time to check your windshield wipers for wear and tear after battling snow and ice. If they’re leaving streaks, it’s probably time for new blades. Tests have found that most blades are ready for replacement by just six months, but you can try extending their service life by wiping them with a cloth and glass cleaner before removing them.
Under the hood.
Clean engine parts with plain soap and water or with a commercial degreasing product, like Gunk. Be careful, though, not to get electrical connections wet. Be particularly attentive to keeping water away from the fuse box, cable junctions, and the large electrical connectors near the firewall.
If the battery terminals are growing white encrusted fuzz, clean the battery with a damp rag soaked with a solution of water and baking soda. Use a stiff toothbrush dipped in the baking-soda solution for the tough parts.
Giving your vehicle a good spring cleaning is a great way way to prepare yourself for those soon-to-come summer vacation trips.