You spend a lot of time in your car and want it to look it’s best. At the same time, you want to do your part for the environment, and would rather not breathe chemical fumes during your commute. Can you make your car care greener without spending a lot of money? The answer is “yes.” Here are a few go-to green products that won’t empty your wallet.
1: Diaper Cloth
Small imperfections in the fancy, expensive microfiber and other synthetic cloths out there for your car can do more damage than good to your paint job. Re-usable cloth diapers are generally all cotton, biodegradable, soft, re-usable, and lint-free. I use them in all my household dusting and polishing. You can get them at baby stores for much less than the fancy microfiber car polishers, or go one step greener and get older ones from baby classifieds or swap meets. A little bleaching will make them good as new.
2. Castile Soap
Castile is a vegetable-based, biodegradable, liquid soap sold in most health food stores. Dr. Bronner’s is the most widely available. Use a quarter cup of unscented Castile soap in a bucket of warm water to save big bucks over commercial green car wash products. You can use this mixture for cleaning upholstery and carpets as well.
3. Reusable Cotton Tea Bags
Make a homemade air freshener for the car out of these thin, washable, cotton draw-string bags. Fill them with dried herbs, coffee beans (or grounds), or chopped pine needles for an all-natural air freshener that lasts a month or more. You can hang them from the rearview, tuck them in a seat pocket, or add a piece of velcro to attach them discretely under a seat.
4. Jojoba Oil
This oil is closer to a wax than an oil (although it is liquid at room temperature). It is an excellent polisher/protector for your dashboard and vinyl seats. After cleaning the vinyl with a damp cloth, use only a few drops of jojoba oil to polish, then wipe away all excess residue with a clean, dry cloth.
Distilled white vinegar is your go-to glass cleaner (add a few drops of Castile soap for tough jobs like nicotine residue). It will also de-fog the inside of your headlight covers, shine your metal and chrome, and clean the carpet and upholstery. Do not use vinegar on aluminum alloys.