Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How to Clean Your Car Cover

dirty car cover

A car cover can be a very handy tool for keeping the exterior of your car protected and clean. By using a car cover, you are protecting your vehicle from leaves, sap, dust, bird droppings, and all sorts of other debris that can impact the aesthetic of your car.

Of course, if your car cover is protecting your car from these things, it means that the cover itself is susceptible to getting dirty. When you notice the cover getting dirty, there are ways to properly clean it. Washing a dirty car cover makes your car look much nicer when under the cover, and also increases the life of the cover.

Method 1 of 2: Washing your car cover by hand

Materials Needed

  • Bucket
  • Car cover
  • Hose
  • Laundry line (or another place to hang dry)
  • Mild liquid detergent
  • Water

car covered entirely by car

Step 1: Place the cover on your car. Install the cover onto the car, and ensure that the entire cover is exposed.

  • Pull the cover over the car relatively tight. This will make it more effective when you are cleaning.

hose spraying down car cover

Step 2: Spray the car cover with cold water. Use a hose to spray cold water over the entire car cover, making sure that the whole cover gets wet.

  • Be sure to use the water carefully and gently, so you don’t cause any damage or ripping to the car cover.

  • Tip: If you have a garden hose spray nozzle on your hose, use it on the shower setting for a gentle but effective spray.

Step 3: Make a diluted detergent solution. Add some mild liquid detergent to a bucket of cold, clean water, to create a simple cleaning solution.

person scrubbing car cover

Step 4: Wash the cover with a sponge and the detergent solution. Dunk the sponge in the detergent solution, and then gently scrub the entire car cover.

  • Immerse the sponge in the cleaning solution any time it gets dry to ensure that the entire cover gets properly washed.

  • Tip: You can buy a large, soft sponge at a hardware store to make this job extra easy. However, if you don’t purchase a large sponge, you can just use a soft household kitchen sponge.

Step 5: Invert the car cover and repeat. If you would like to clean the inside of the car cover, simply take the cover off the car, turn it inside out, place it back on the car, and repeat the washing process.

If you don’t want to wash the inside of the cover, just skip this step.

  • Warning: If the inside of your car cover is lined with a soft fleece fabric, then avoid washing it, and only clean the outside of the car cover.

car cover hanging up on a laundry line

Step 6: Air dry. After you are done cleaning your car cover, let it air dry for at least six hours.

  • If you have a laundry line, simply dry the car cover as you would a sheet. You can also drape it over railing or porch, or stretch it out across a deck.

Method 2 of 2: Using a commercial washer for your car cover

Materials Needed

  • Commercial washer
  • Laundry line (or another place to hang dry)
  • Mild liquid detergent

Step 1: Place the car cover in a large, commercial washer. A commercial washer is powerful enough that it will help remove tough substances, like tree sap.

Step 2: Use cold water and mild soap to wash the car cover. To keep the cover in excellent condition, use a mild soap and cold water setting in the commercial washing machine.

  • This will thoroughly clean the car cover without damaging it.

  • Make sure that the detergent your are using is appropriate for the washer.

  • Tip: If the washer has different settings to choose from, you should choose the “delicates” option.

Step 3: Rinse the car cover multiple times. For optimal results, use the commercial washer’s rinse cycle multiple times when washing the car cover.

Step 4: Air dry. After washing the car cover in the commercial washer, air dry it for at least six hours, at which point it will be clean and ready to be used again.

Either one of these methods will keep your car cover clean and looking great. Taking care of you car cover will also increase its lifespan, so that you won’t need to buy a new one anytime soon!

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...

Related questions

Q: How do I check the washer fluid?

Your washer fluid will periodically need to be replenished. As such, you should periodically check the fluid levels in the washer tank. To do so, follow these steps: 1. Open the hood. 2. Locate the washer fluid reservoir. 3. Make...

Q: Not getting smooth shifts anymore but the transmission works

Sounds like you may have a problem with corrosion in the transmission control module, shift module, or in some of the engine sensors. Reading the engine codes would lead to a more specific diagnosis, but checking for corrosion on any...

Q: Car shuts off sporadically

There are numerous potential causes for your problem. One common issue with Volvos such as yours, is a faulty Electronic Throttle Module (ETM). It sounds like you had it cleaned, but it may need to be completely replaced. Using inputs...