Warmer weather seems to finally have arrived throughout much of the United States, and that leaves many people thinking about giving their cars a thorough spring cleaning to get rid of road salt, dust and a winter's worth of dirt.

Follow these steps to get your car clean and keep things green!

1. Skip the car wash. When your car just needs a quick touch-up, a car wash is the greener choice, as automatic washes use roughly half the water that hand-washing does; however, car washes aren't recommended for very dirty cars.

2. Park your car in a grassy spot. If you wash on pavement, the dirty water that runs off your car could end up in the sewer system and ultimately the water supply.

3. Use two buckets of water for your cleaning. Fill one with a biodegradable, nontoxic soap and keep the other filled with plain water for rinsing.

4. Start washing from the top down using a natural sponge like the large Twist Naked Sponge. Clean the tires and rocker panels last.

5. Use your plain, clean water to wash the entire car again using a second natural sponge.

6. Rinse the entire car once with the hose all over.

7. Use a microfiber cloth like the e-Cloth General Purpose Cloth to dry your car.

8. Wash the windows using a biodegradable, nontoxic glass cleaner or a glass cleaning microfiber cloth.

9. Clean the dashboards with a biodegradable, nontoxic multi-purpose cleaner or a green cleaning cloth. We recommend the e-Cloth Auto Care Kit, which includes supplies for the dashboards and the windows. You can also use a scrub brush like the Full Circle Lean and Mean Scrub Brush to clean messy areas like the vents.

10. Vacuum or steam clean the interior of your car. The Vapamore MR-50 is ideal for auto interiors because it’s lightweight and works both as a vacuum and a steam cleaner.

11. If you wish to wax, skip the commercial products, which often contain petroleum. You can make your own by combining:

1 cup linseed oil

4 tbs. carnauba wax

2 tbs. beeswax

1/2 cup vinegar

Heat the ingredients on the stove at medium-low temperature until they have all melted together. A microfiber cloth like the e-Cloth General Purpose Cloth is best for applying the wax. Make sure to wax in a shady spot to prevent it from hardening. Once you've applied the wax, buff it with a clean cloth for a perfect finish.

When done correctly, a thorough green spring cleaning of your car will take a few hours, but the results are well worth the time invested. Do you have any green car cleaning tips? Share them in the "Comments" section!

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