Leaves, Dirt, and Dust – How to Keep it Clean

What kinds of things can gunk up your car?

The Fall season is upon us, and while it brings us colorful leaves, delicious pumpkin treats, and fun holidays, it also brings us leaves, dirt, dust, and other grime that can become caked up on our cars. Although it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think of “car maintenance”, keeping a clean car from gunk and grime will help you avoid maintenance issues that these may cause. With any car maintenance, CarAdvise is a great tool for easily booking and saving money on all of your car appointments. Sign up and book with a shop near you!

Let’s take a look at the main culprits of outside debris and the problems they can cause. Then, we’ll tell you how to clean it all off.


Leaves can accumulate on and around your car either from trees above or from leaf debris already on the road. Leaves can clog up vents and slide down from the windshield underneath your hood. Buildup of leaves can cause mechanical issues and clog crucial areas of your car, especially underneath the hood and around your tires. It is important to clear leaves from your car as soon as you see them start to build up.


Just as dust is common in your home, dust is common in and around your car as well. Dust can stick to your car’s exterior very easily and, if not dealt with properly, can dull your car’s paint and natural shine. To avoid, be sure to wash your car regularly and consider applying car wax with a microfiber car cloth to keep the dust away.


There’s nothing that will turn a car from picture-perfect to eyesore more quickly than caked on dirt. The real annoyance comes from how stubborn dirt and mud can be to remove from your car. Leaving dirt caked on your car for too long can sometimes result in rust underneath and possible scratches upon (a very harsh) removal.

With all the different types of debris that will gunk up your car, it’s important to institute a regular cleaning regimen, especially for sticky substances. Here are the steps to keeping your car clean from all the nastiness we outlined above:

Step 1:  Inspect your vehicle

When it’s time to clean, be sure to look all around your vehicle to get an overview of what needs to be cleaned. Get a sense of where the messes are on your car and try to identify what substances they are. This will make for an easier and more complete cleaning process for you.

Step 2: Use a spray from your car cleaning kit

Car cleaning kits are magnificent tools for…. well, cleaning your car! In there you will find a number of different sprays or wipes you can use for your particular cleaning scenario. The most common one you’ll likely use is bug-and-tar remover – an excellent product for removing sticky messes. Spray on the affected area(s) of your car and let it soak for 5 minutes. For especially big messes, you can consider spraying the remover on before entering an automatic car wash to ensure that all the grime will be broken up and washed off.

Step 3: Use your microfiber car cloth

A microfiber car cloth comes standard in every car cleaning kit and you’ll also be able to purchase them separately at car hardware shops. Now that the spray from Step 2 has settled, apply pressure using the microfiber car cloth and start rubbing in a circular motion. This will start to get the grime and gunk off from the exterior of your vehicle. If you’re still having trouble removing the mess, try dabbing with the cloth for an especially stubborn mess.

Step 4: Wash your car

With your messes successfully removed, it’s time to wash your car to restore it to its original clean aesthetic. Enjoy your new shine!

That was our inside look on the different types of grime and debris that can infect your car and how to properly clean your car and get rid of them. With these minor annoyances out of the way, you can get back to enjoying what the wonderful Fall season has to offer!

Get expert advice, find shops, schedule, approve, & pay for any service.

Guaranteed to be lower than in-store retail price.

Transparent Pricing

Never overpay for car maintenance. Compare and select from discounted prices across 26,000+ trusted shops nationwide.


Ignite your auto knowledge. Gain invaluable insights into maintenance schedules, service clarity, and obtain expert advice.


Bypass the stress of negotiations. CarAdvise simplifies your car care journey for an effortless experience.

Peace of Mind

Rest easy knowing you're getting quality service at the right price, without any hidden costs or surprises.

Own A Repair Shop?