How to clean a car: best cleaning techniques for getting rid of germs from your car

With good hygiene and staying healthy at the top of everyone’s agenda right now, make sure you’re not forgetting about keeping your car clean, as well as your home

These are the top tips from Toyota and Attila Dobos, Operations Director at LeasePlan UK, to help you clean your car thoroughly.

Protect yourself first

Before you even begin cleaning your car, you need to make sure that you’re totally protected.

This is how to keep your car clean and germ free (Photo: Shutterstock)

Crack out some high quality rubber gloves and a face mask, if you can, as there will be a lot of dirt particles floating around the air when you get started. Opt for clothing that gives you full coverage as well, so a pair of jeans and a long sleeved top would be better than a vest top and a pair of shorts.

Clean the car as you normally would

Start off by cleaning your car in a regular manner. Target all the obviously dirty and messy areas first, as this will allow you to get into the finer details of cleaning more easily.

Pull out the floor mats and dust them, vacuum the seats and all the corners and anything else you would normally do.

Give it a soak

You’re going to need a large tub of water for this step. Add some detergent or liquid soap and mix well.

Take out all the carpets and floor mats and give them a good soaking in the bucket, as well as any other removable fabrics. You should submerge them for at least 30 minutes before letting them air dry.


Get out a separate bucket of water and soap and give the car a good scrub, focusing on areas like your seats, door panels and armrests, and, of course, all the corners as well.

The specific areas to clean

These are the 40 areas that Toyota has identified that you need to clean thoroughly:

Exterior door handles

Frame of door and roof

Interior door release

Window switches

Interior door handle

Door pocket


Seatbelt clips

Seat adjust buttons

Steering wheel


Control stalks

Driver air vents


Power button

Gear shift

Multimedia screen

Central air vents

Heating controls


Log book

Central storage compartment


Rear-view mirror

Interior lights

Grab handle


Head rests

Seat pockets

Rear central tab

Fuel cap

Wheel valves

Boot lid

Parcel shelf

Boot floor tab

Boot close button

Bonnet lid

Washer cap


Oil cap

Don’t forget the exterior

Cleaning your car isn’t just about the inside, but the outside as well.

A soap wash will ensure that the surfaces are clean, but make sure to be generous with commonly touched areas, such as door handles, mirrors and the boot.

After cleaning

Now that you’re done, make sure to properly dispose of any unclean materials immediately, like emptying the vacuum you used and washing out any of the buckets that were used for cleaning as well.

You should also stick the clothes you were wearing in the washing machine straight away, and hop in the shower, too.