How To Clean Your Street Legal Golf Cart

How To Clean Your Street Legal Golf Cart

A golf cart is more than just a mode of transportation on the green or the neighborhood; it’s a statement of style, a testament to comfort, and a reflection of its owner’s care. Just as with any prized possession, maintaining its pristine condition is paramount.


Regular cleaning not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your golf cart but also safeguards it from potential damage caused by dirt, sand, grime, and the elements.


In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to ensure your street legal golf cart remains in tip-top shape, radiating its charm on and off the course or road.


Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just a neighborhood cruiser, these cleaning tips will elevate your maintenance game, ensuring your cart looks as splendid as the day you first laid eyes on it.


1. Preparation

Before diving into the cleaning process, setting the stage correctly can make all the difference. Proper preparation not only ensures an efficient cleaning routine but also protects your golf cart from potential harm.


Location Matters

Begin by choosing a shaded location for your cleaning session. Direct sunlight can cause the soap to dry too quickly, leading to unsightly soap spots on your cart’s finish. The shade provides a cooler environment, allowing you ample time to scrub and rinse without the rush against evaporating soap.


Begin by choosing a shaded location for your cleaning session. Direct sunlight can cause the soap to dry too quickly, leading to unsightly soap spots on your cart’s finish. The shade provides a cooler environment, allowing you ample time to scrub and rinse without the rush against evaporating soap.


Gather Your Arsenal

A successful cleaning session is as good as the tools you have. Assemble all the necessary cleaning supplies beforehand to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted process.

Here’s a checklist to get you started

With your location set and tools at the ready, you’re now primed to give your golf cart the thorough cleaning it deserves!

2. Get Your Cart Ready

Before immersing yourself in the cleaning process, it’s essential to prep your golf cart. This step is all about ensuring the safety of your belongings and the cart’s electronic components.


Start by removing any personal items from the cart. This includes golf clubs, scorecards, umbrellas, owners manuals, registrations, and any other equipment you might have stored. It’s easy to overlook small items, so take a moment to check all compartments, nooks, and crannies. Not only does this protect your belongings from potential water damage, but it also ensures you have unobstructed access to all areas of the cart during cleaning.

Electronics First

Golf carts, especially modern ones, come equipped with various electronic components like GPS systems, radio consoles, and charging ports. Ensure all such devices are either removed or adequately covered to prevent any water damage. 

Safety Switch

Before you begin the washing process, make sure the golf cart is turned off. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s a crucial step. Turning off the cart ensures that there’s no risk of short-circuiting any electrical components during the cleaning process. If your cart has a key ignition, remove the key. 


With these preparatory steps completed, your golf cart is now in the perfect state to undergo a thorough and safe cleaning. Let’s dive into the process!

3. Cleaning the Interior

The interior of your golf cart is where you and your passengers spend the most time. It’s also the place where dirt, dust, and debris tend to accumulate, especially after a long day on the beach. Giving the interior the attention it deserves ensures a comfortable and clean ride every time.

Initial Clean-Up

Before introducing any liquids, it’s a good idea to get rid of loose dirt and debris. Depending on your preference and the tools at hand, you can use a handbroom to sweep out the larger debris, a vacuum for a more thorough clean, or even a leaf blower to quickly and effectively remove loose dirt. This step ensures that when you start the wet cleaning process, you’re not turning dust into mud.

Soap and Scrub

With the loose dirt out of the way, it’s time to tackle the stubborn grime. Prepare a mild soapy mixture using dish soap and water. Using a soft cloth or sponge, gently scrub all the plastic parts of the cart’s interior. This includes the dashboard, steering wheel, seat bases, and any storage compartments. The soapy mixture will help break down any sticky residues or stubborn dirt spots.

Rinse and Repeat

Once you’ve scrubbed every surface, it’s essential to remove the soapy residues. Using a clean, damp cloth, wipe down all the areas you’ve cleaned. This step ensures that no soap residues are left behind, which can attract more dirt in the future.


With the interior sparkling clean, you’ll not only enjoy a more pleasant ride but also ensure the longevity of the cart’s internal components.

4. Cleaning the Exterior

The exterior of your golf cart is its first impression, reflecting its overall care and maintenance. Regularly cleaning the exterior not only enhances its appearance but also protects the paint and finish from potential damage caused by accumulated dirt and grime.

Start with a Rinse

Before introducing any soap, give your golf cart a thorough rinse using a hose. This initial rinse helps in loosening and washing away any superficial dirt, dust, and debris. Ensure you cover all areas, from the roof to the wheel wells, ensuring that the surface is ready for a deeper clean.

Lather Up

With the loose dirt out of the way, it’s time to get soapy. Prepare a bucket with a mixture of mild dish soap and water. Dip a soft sponge or cleaning mitt into the soapy mixture and gently scrub the cart’s exterior. Use circular motions and ensure you cover every inch, from the body panels to the undercarriage. The soapy water will break down any stubborn dirt, bird droppings, or other residues that might be clinging to the cart’s surface.

Final Rinse and Dry

Once you’ve scrubbed the entire cart, give it another thorough rinse to wash away the soap. It’s essential to ensure that no soapy residues remain as they can leave spots or affect the cart’s finish. After rinsing, immediately dry the cart using microfiber towels. These towels are super absorbent and gentle on the surface, ensuring a streak-free finish. Drying the cart promptly prevents water spots and gives the cart a polished, gleaming look.


With the exterior shining bright, your golf cart will not only be the envy of the neighborhood but also enjoy a prolonged lifespan free from the corrosive effects of dirt and grime.

5. Special Care for Windshield

The windshield of your golf cart plays a crucial role in providing visibility and protection against the elements. However, it’s also one of the most delicate parts, susceptible to scratches and damage if not cleaned correctly.


Here’s how to ensure it remains clear and scratch-free:

Steer Clear of Common Cleaners

While it might be tempting to reach for regular glass cleaners or paper towels, it’s essential to avoid them when cleaning your golf cart’s windshield. Most golf cart windshields are made of materials like polycarbonate or acrylic, which can easily scratch. Glass cleaners, especially those with ammonia, can also cause clouding or damage to these materials over time.

Gentle Cleaning Approach

Instead of commercial glass cleaners, opt for a mild soapy water solution. Dip a soft microfiber cloth into the mixture and gently wipe the windshield in circular motions. The microfiber cloth is gentle on the surface, ensuring no scratches, while the soapy water effectively breaks down dirt, bugs, and other residues.

Rinse and Dry

After cleaning with the soapy mixture, give the windshield a gentle rinse with clean water. Immediately dry it using a fresh microfiber cloth, ensuring a streak-free finish. Quick drying also prevents water spots, ensuring maximum visibility.


By giving your windshield this special attention, you’ll ensure a clear view on every ride, all while preserving its pristine condition for years to come.

6. Cleaning Aluminum Parts

Aluminum components, often found in the wheels, trim, and other decorative parts of your golf cart, add a touch of elegance and shine. However, over time, these parts can become tarnished or dulled due to exposure to the elements. Proper cleaning and maintenance can restore their luster and protect them from corrosion.

Choose the Right Cleaner

Not all cleaners are suitable for aluminum. Using the wrong product can lead to staining or even corrosion. Opt for a dedicated aluminum cleaner, which is specially formulated to gently yet effectively remove dirt, grime, and oxidation from aluminum surfaces. Apply the cleaner as directed, usually by spraying or applying with a soft cloth, and gently scrubbing the surface.

Rinse with Care

After cleaning, it’s essential to rinse off the cleaner thoroughly. Any residues left behind can attract dirt or cause discoloration. Use clean water to rinse the aluminum parts, ensuring that no traces of the cleaner remain.

Polish for Perfection

For that extra gleam and protection, consider applying an aluminum polish after cleaning. Not only does this give the aluminum parts a mirror-like finish, but it also provides a protective layer against dirt, moisture, and oxidation. Apply the polish as per the manufacturer’s instructions, usually by rubbing it in with a soft cloth and then buffing to a high shine.


By giving your aluminum parts this special attention, you’ll ensure they remain a standout feature of your golf cart, gleaming brilliantly ride after ride.

7. Addressing Mold and Mildew on Seats:

If the seats of your golf cart, are made of vinyl or similar materials which are prone to moisture retention, especially after a rainy day or morning dew. This moisture can lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which not only looks unsightly but can also produce a musty odor and degrade the material over time. Addressing this issue promptly ensures the longevity and comfort of your seats.

Choosing the Right Solution

For mild cases of mold and mildew, a bleach-water solution can be effective. Mix one part bleach to four parts water in a spray bottle. For more stubborn growth or for those who prefer specialized products, consider using a commercial mold and mildew remover available at most automotive or home improvement stores.


Spray the chosen solution generously onto the affected areas, ensuring good coverage. Allow it to sit for a few minutes to break down the mold and mildew. Using a soft brush, gently scrub the seats, paying special attention to seams and crevices where mold and mildew tend to accumulate.

Rinse and Dry

After treating the seats, it’s essential to rinse off the cleaning solution thoroughly. Using a clean, wet rag, wipe down the seats to remove any residues. It’s crucial to dry the seats completely after cleaning to prevent the recurrence of mold and mildew. Consider parking your golf cart in a sunny spot or using a fan to speed up the drying process.


Regularly checking and cleaning your seats, especially after exposure to moisture, will ensure they remain comfortable, odor-free, and in top condition for many rides to come.

8. Lead Acid Battery Maintenance

On an electric golf cart, the battery is the heart of your golf cart, providing the power needed for those smooth rides across the course to the beach. However, over time, battery terminals can accumulate corrosion, which can impede the flow of electricity and reduce the efficiency of your cart. Regular maintenance ensures optimal performance and extends the battery’s lifespan.

Mix Together a Solution of Baking Soda and Water

Corrosion on battery terminals often appears as a white or bluish powdery substance. A simple yet effective remedy to combat this is a mixture of baking soda and water. Combine about a tablespoon of baking soda with a cup of water, stirring until you have a consistent paste.

Cleaning the Terminals

Before starting, ensure the golf cart is turned off and, if possible, disconnect the battery for added safety. Apply the baking soda and water mixture to the corroded terminals using a brush (an old toothbrush works well). Gently scrub the terminals, ensuring the removal of all corrosion. The baking soda mixture will neutralize the acid, effectively cleaning the terminals.

Rinse and Protect

After cleaning, it’s essential to rinse off the baking soda mixture to prevent any residues. Using a clean cloth dampened with water, wipe the terminals thoroughly. Be cautious during this step to avoid getting water on other electrical components. Once the terminals are clean and dry, consider applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly or a specialized terminal protector. This acts as a barrier, preventing future corrosion.


Regular battery maintenance not only ensures a consistent power supply but also prolongs the overall life of your golf cart’s battery, ensuring many more rides.

The Bottom Line

In the world of golf carts, appearances matter, but so does functionality. A clean golf cart isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s a testament to the care and attention given to its upkeep. Regular cleaning goes beyond the surface shine; it delves into the preservation of each component, ensuring that every ride is as smooth as the first.

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