Tips To Effectively Clean Your Vehicle

Now more than ever, it’s important to keep your vehicle clean and disinfected in order to help protect your family and your peace of mind. If you typically you have car cleaning done as a service, here’s a good resource to help make sure your Lincoln is getting a thorough cleaning. Or, you can use it to help take on a deep-cleaning project at home and learn how to do it effectively.

Here’s a good list of supplies to get you started:

  • Car vacuum cleaner with brush and crevice attachments
  • Cotton swabs
  • Plastic and vinyl cleaner
  • Household soap
  • Cloth cleaner
  • Leather cleaner
  • Spot and stain remover
  • Microfiber or paper towels
  • Detailing spray
  • Bug and tar remover
  • Car wash
  • Clay bar
  • Wax and applicators
  • Ammonia-free glass cleaner
  • Wheel cleaner
  • Lambswool wash mitt
  • Polishing cloths
  • Nylon or natural bristle brush
  • Detail brush
  • Wash bucket
  • Water hose

Deep Cleaning

As with washing your hands, soap and water are your vehicle’s best defense against microbes that collect in high-traffic areas. Using household soaps on your vehicle’s most touched surfaces is a safe practice, but always read the product label before using on leather. To prevent damage, avoid scrubbing vigorously or using stiff bristle brushes. You should also avoid using cleaning wipes and sprays that contain a citrus fragrance (terpene hydrocarbon/d-limonene) and/or chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) cleaning agents. Also, all disinfectant products dispersed by an aerosol container are not recommended. Please keep in mind that damage to your vehicle as a result of using non-recommended products may void the warranty.

Pay extra attention to high-touch areas, including:

  • Steering wheel
  • Safety belts
  • Cupholders
  • Gear shift
  • Key fobs
  • Inside door handles
  • Center console
  • Armrests
  • Touchscreens
  • Audio controls
  • Start/stop button
  • Window/seat/mirror controls
  • Rearview mirror


Start with the carpet, seats, dash and package shelf or rear cargo areas. A vacuum attachment with a brush helps dislodge stubborn dirt; a narrow crevice attachment tool will help make cleaning hard-to-reach spots like under the seats less of a chore.

Seat Cleaning

For soft-touch seating surfaces, spread cloth cleaner with a sponge and let it sit. Once it’s dry, vacuum it up and remove any leftover cleaner with a clean towel.

For leather seating surfaces, remove stains and residue with the leather cleaner, a clean towel and light pressure. Be gentle because hard rubbing could remove the dye.

Interior Trim

Polish up your interior trim pieces with plastic and vinyl cleaner. Most cleaners have the added benefit of long-term protection once they dry. Apply with a clean towel to help remove dry particles and residue. Don’t forget the hard-to-reach areas like the instrument cluster, emblems, switches, air vents, audio system and dash. Your cotton swab can be helpful for these smaller-detail areas.

Washing the Exterior

Park your vehicle in the shade, then wash it with a bucket of car wash solution and a lambswool mitt. Again, focus on high-touch areas such as door handles, door edges and latches. Don’t forget the hood, rear hatch and trunk. Rinse with a garden hose from the top down. Dry with a microfiber towel, starting with the windows, then moving to the paint. Always dry in the shade and be sure it’s completely dry to help avoid the formation of water spots.

How Do I Prevent Paint Damage?

When a vehicle is left outside, it can be exposed to harmful factors of nature. Exterior weathering on your vehicle could damage the finish or potentially lead to costly repairs. If you can’t store your Lincoln in a garage, car covers rated for outdoor use are highly recommended.

If you are parking and storing your Lincoln for an extended time, refer to our tips in Maintaining Your Vehicle for Periods of Inactivity.