If your lease deal is ending, it might be time to grab the bucket and sponge and give your car a good old wash!

After all, if your car has more damage than the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA)’s fair wear and tear guidelines allow, you could be charged when you return your vehicle.

To help, we have rounded up six car cleaning hacks from TikTok and beyond, helping you get your car looking good and smelling fresh. Not only can these tips make your life easier, but they could also save you cash too - to the tune of almost £275! Read on to find out more…

Taking Precautions When Cleaning Your Car Can Save Almost £275

Although costs will vary depending on the state your car is in, we estimate that you could end up spending a staggering £310 putting right the issues caused by incorrect cleaning and maintenance!

And our research shows that spending just  £35.56 on upgrading how you maintain your car could save you a staggering £274.44 in the long run!

The £310 includes:

1. Full Valet - £90

A full valet covers inside and outside your car, cleaning all upholstery and carpets, windows, tyres and polish. Most people will opt for a full valet if their car hasn’t been cleaned in a while and there is a build-up of dirt.

2. Paint Repair - £135

While some light scratching is to be expected with general wear and tear, you may need to enlist professionals if your scratches are deeper or there are a lot of them.

3. Upholstery Repair - £85

If your seats or carpets become ripped or stained beyond cleaning, you may need to get the upholstery repaired or replaced to match.

By taking the right precautions, you can avoid having to pay for the above, keep your car well-maintained and reduce your chances of being charged when you return your car.

For some pointers on how to clean your lease car - and how not to do it - take a look at the tips below.

The table below shows roughly how mucH it costs to try each of the tips we’ve found. Keep in mind that you may already have some of these items at home, so you could potentially try them for less or even free!:

car cleaning hacks

1. Home Bargains’ 99p Car Air Freshener Hailed as Being a ‘Miracle-Product’ for Removing Smoke Smells from Cars

Shoppers are praising a 99p car air freshener from Home Bargains for removing smoke smells from cars. Jamie, 28 from Newcastle, explains how the Wickford & Co. tub air freshener successfully banished cigarette smells from his new car:

“I was really pleased with the second-hand car I bought until I realised it had a lingering smell of cigarette smoke inside. As a non-smoker, the smell was most noticeable when you first get into the car, but I could still smell it even when the windows had been open a while.

I bought Yankee Candle hanging and vent air fresheners, but the smell of smoke returned after a week or so. I thought the smell might be lingering in the fabrics, so I cleaned the upholstery of the full car, including carpets and seats. I even invested in a pricey ‘air freshener smoke bomb’ which, while it did temporarily freshen the car, didn’t last.

Running out of options, I spotted the Wickford & Co. air freshener tubs while shopping in Home Bargains. As they were only 99p, I decided to give the Sugar Dusted Cherry scent a go. I’ve now had the scented tub in my car (tucked in the centre console as it can’t be in direct sunlight) for almost a month and I can no longer smell smoke. I’d recommend it to anyone.”

We recommend not smoking in your lease car, as the odour can linger in the car’s upholstery.

2. Slime isn’t Just for Kids - Create a Homemade Putty for £7.50 and Get Crumbs Out of Crevices

Whether it’s from a slice of toast on your way to work or the kids’ snacks, crumbs can get everywhere in your car, including those hard-to-reach crevices in your car’s interior.

The answer, according to TikTok user blossom, is to create a homemade putty from shaving foam, glue, baking soda, water and contact solution. Push the putty into those hard-to-reach areas, such as in cupholders and around switches, and watch it gather dust, crumbs and hair with ease.

You’ll likely have some of the ingredients to create the putty around the house but if you did need to buy everything new, it will cost you around £7.50 based on our calculations.

3. A £1.20 Bucket Could Save You from a £135 Paint Repair Further Down the Line!

A bucket of soapy water and a sponge is all you need to clean a car, isn’t it? Wrong! According to TikToker n800mrg, you actually need two buckets to prevent damaging your car’s paintwork.

Fill one bucket with water and your car cleaning detergent, and fill the other with clean water only. Dip your sponge or cloth into the soapy water, wipe your car then rinse it in the bucket of clean water. That way, the dirt is released into the clean water bucket, so you won’t be rubbing it over your car again.

An extra bucket will cost you £1.20. Because grit and debris can damage the surface of your car, you could save in the long run. On average, a paint repair can cost £135, so it’s worth taking precautions now.

Another top tip from TikTokers is to wash your car in straight lines, NOT circular motions. If you do the latter, you could end up with swirls on your car when it’s dry and in direct sunlight.

car cleaning hacks 2

4. A £4.99 Pet Hair Remover Makes Removing Traces of Pets From Your Car Easier.

If you’ve been travelling with your pet, you’ll know that dog hairs can get EVERYWHERE. Where sticky tape and the vacuum cleaner fail, TikTok user pg.carvaleting recommends using a mini pet hair detailer. Rub the edges of the tool across your car’s upholstery and carpets to remove pet hair.

We’ve found a similar tool on Amazon for just £4.99; a small price to pay to save some serious time!

car cleaning hacks 3

5. TikTokers are Leaving Wax Melts in Their Cars this Summer, But an Expert Warns Against it - Use White Vinegar Instead!

Some TikTokers are using the summer heat to freshen up their car. They’re leaving wax melts in an open-top container in their car to melt in the summer sun. While it does release a fresh-smelling scent, we don’t recommend it. Will Bullen of Xcite Car Leasing commented:

“While using wax melts in the car seems like a quick win to make the most of a hot summer day, it can be incredibly dangerous and potentially cause more cleaning issues.

Many of the TiKTok videos we’ve seen have had the wax melt in a shallow, open-top container. As we’re dealing with hot wax here, there’s a very real possibility that the wax will spill either over your car or onto you as you drive, potentially burning you.

If the wax does spill onto your upholstery, it could leave behind an oily residue, even after it’s cleaned away. In short, don’t take the risk and invest in a quality car air freshener instead. It’ll do the job just as well!” 

As an alternative, TikTok user brightly.eco recommends leaving a cup of white vinegar in your car for a few hours. Afterwards, remove the cup from the car and air out your vehicle. The vinegar should have absorbed any unpleasant odours, leaving your car smelling fresh.

6. A Massage Gun Can Loosen Dirt Build-Up on Carpets

If you’ve already got a massage gun, you can use it to loosen a build-up of dirt on your car’s carpets. TikTok user mike_efras tried it out after already vacuuming a car and the amount of dirt released and ready to be vacuumed up is seriously impressive!

You can pick up a massage gun for around £20. As this is a little pricier than the other options we’ve mentioned, you may only want to give this one a go if you’ve got a serious build-up of dirt on your carpets.

TikTok is a great source of finding ways to do things differently. Many tips will leave you asking why you haven’t tried it sooner, while some are best avoided!

Proceed with caution before you try any of the car cleaning tips recommended on TikTok; after all, you don’t want to create any additional problems!

Why not take the stress out of looking after your lease car with a maintenance package? Covering tyres, MOTs, servicing and other maintenance work, this useful add-on means you only have to worry about keeping your car clean. Find out more in our guide to maintenance packages.

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