5 Tips To Keep Your Rental Car Clean

5 Tips To Keep Your Rental Car Clean

Last Updated on March 1, 2023

How clean your rental car should be upon return? Do you have to clean it yourself? These are some of the most common questions people ask when hiring a rental vehicle. While the rules and conditions may vary depending on the rental company, there are a few general tips that will help you keep your rental car clean and avoid unexpected charges and extra fees.

Tip 1: A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words


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As a rule of thumb, you have to return the car in the same condition you received it. To stay on the safe side, take a few pictures of the car’s exterior and interior before you sign the contract. Repeat the process before you return it, especially if you are using a key drop. Pay attention to the trunk area, the car’s upholstery and the space under the pedals.

Tip 2: Read the Contract Thoroughly

While many car rental companies don’t include their cleaning policy in the contract itself, some do. Look for the fine print. Your contract might also refer to a larger, more complex document that details all the cleaning standards and fees. Most companies have them posted on their websites. You can also ask the manager for a print copy.

Tip 3: Make Sure You Follow the Rules

Smoking and transporting pets are usually not allowed in a rental car. Learn about the company’s policy before you decide to take your companion animal on a joy ride. Even if you are allowed to take a pet, make sure that it stays in a crate or a carrier. Rental companies usually levy a hefty fee if they have to clean up your pet’s fur or other mess. Cleaning the car yourself before returning it is a cheaper option.

If you are a smoker, never light a cigarette while you stay inside a car. Park it, and have a smoke outside or within a designated smoking area. Make sure to check the local laws before you decide to take a puff. For example, the UAE allows smoking in the street and in a few other public places. However, smoking in public in the presence of a minor or during the holy month of Ramadan is prohibited.

If the car smells of tobacco or is covered in pet fur while you pick it from the rental company, contact the manager immediately.

Tip 4: Pay Attention To Parking

If you have to park your rental car overnight, use indoor parking. If that’s not an option, avoid leaving the vehicle under the trees for longer periods. Tree sap and bird droppings are hard to get off the car without damaging the paint. A simple wash job might not be sufficient in this case.

Avoid parking next to a beach if you can. Sand can be notoriously hard to clean since it tends to get into every car crevice. If you have sand, bread crumbs, or other small particles of matter littering the interior of your vehicle, get vacuuming done before returning the car to the rental company.

Avoid roads and parking spaces that have been tarred recently. Getting tar off the car’s body is a complicated process that will require additional time and expenses.

Tip 5: Hire a Car From a Reputable Company

If you want to avoid hidden cleaning fees, hire a car from a rental company that values its reputation. For example, Paddock Rent A Car offers its customers in Dubai a clear and comprehensive cleaning policy. A reputable company performs a deep cleaning after every rental, and sanitizes the car to conform with COVID-19 requirements.


While cleaning a rental car upon returning is not mandatory, make sure to return it in the same condition you drove it off the company’s lot. Avoid smoking, carrying pets, parking under the trees for a long time, and spilling drinks on the upholstery. Make sure to take your trash out before returning the car. It’s also recommended to check the contract and take a few photos of the vehicle before you rent or return it.

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About Maria Kennedy

Maria Kennedy is the managing editor at Travel for Food Hub. Maria is on a full-tilt mission to share local food and travel inspiration. When she is not writing about food and travel, startups or social media, she is enjoying her time with her boys in sunny Spain.

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