Our top tips for cleaning your car in winter

How to clean your car in the winter

With the cold weather well and truly here, the roads are being covered in salt and grit to combat the snow. Unfortunately, this can result in road salt damage to cars and if you don’t take proper care of your vehicle you could be facing rusty metal and ruined upholstery. Here are some top tips for keeping your car clean in winter and minimising the risk of any damage.

Exterior washing

Keeping a car’s exterior clean can be a challenge, not just because of bad weather. Problems you may face when you hand wash your car in winter include water and shampoo freezing on the vehicle’s surface and the road around you, or other cleaning products not performing properly.

In light of this, we recommend going for a quick spin before washing if possible, or at least leaving it running for a few minutes. This will help to heat up the body panels and increase the overall surface temperature, stopping water freezing. It’s also advisable to wash the car in the middle of the day when the outside temperature is slightly higher for the same reasons.

As for how to neutralise road salt on your car - a little baking soda added to the warm water in your bucket will do the trick, helping to dissolve any dried salt.

Thorough drying

Once you’ve washed and rinsed your car, it’s important to dry it thoroughly. Use a soft chamois leather to mop up water, taking care to dry around the inside of the doors and boot. Once dry, re-wax and seal using a warm rag, as this will help the wax adhere to the metal.

When it is too cold to wash your car by hand, you can use a waterless wash product or detailing spray instead. This should be used while your car in in the garage and should only be done after previous wash. Such products help to reduce the dirt that collects on the car.

Interior measures

To keep the interior from getting wet and gritty, it’s best to pop a towel over the carpet and place rubber car mats on top. Not only will this prevent unsightly stains from accumulating, it also stops salty water soaking through and corroding the car’s floor. This is particularly important on the driver’s side of the vehicle, as it’s the most used.

If your carpets have already seen some salt this year, it’s fairly simple to clean up. Make a half water and half white vinegar solution, spray the salty area with it and scrub gently with a brush. Then, place a dry towel over the area to absorb the salt and repeat.


Lastly, it’s important to ensure your servicing is up to date to avoid any unexpected issues with your car. Many dealerships offer a full wash and valet as part of the deal, so not only will it help to keep your vehicle running smoothly, it can also provide a head-start on keeping your car clean in winter.

For full servicing and winter health checks in MaidstoneandHarlow, contact Carwise Group today.