Should You Clean the Inside of Your Car With a Leaf Blower?

Experts say this yard tool can speed a cleanup, but it might not be the best solution

Clean car interior. Photo: iStock

Keeping the interior of your car clean is no easy task, especially if you have kids and pets. But not everyone has the time to give their ride a thorough interior detailing. To speed up the process, some folks have turned to using a leaf blower to quickly remove debris from their car’s interior. Is that a good idea?

“I was surprised to see how many people online recommend using a leaf blower to clean your interior, including some car detailing experts,” says Keith Barry, a Consumer Reports autos editor. “I could see it working in some cases, but remember, leaf blowers are blowing things around rather than picking them up. You could potentially be driving the dust deep into the crevices of your interior.”

Newer cars have sensitive electronics that small pieces of dirt could end up damaging. Additionally, dust and dirt could get lodged into instrument panels or air vents.

“I can see if you used a low setting to quickly get rid of some larger debris, such as kids tracking in a bunch of grass and leaves,” says Emily Thomas, Consumer Reports’ auto safety engineer. “However, I would still follow it up later with an actual vacuum that’s capable of sucking up dirt, gravel, and sand.”

Another thing to remember if you decide to try this method is to always use an electric leaf blower, says Barry. Using a gas-powered blower in an enclosed area such as a garage or even your car runs the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

So, yes, you could use a leaf blower, but CR’s experts think the better power tool is a vacuum.

This article has been adapted from an episode of Talking Cars.