Remove Dashboard Dust And Grime
Use a duster to remove as much dust as possible from the dashboard and cotton swabs to get into small spaces around vents and knobs. After dusting, use a slightly damp microfiber cloth to remove any grime and fingerprints. Or, use a specialty wipe like Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant.
Rinse One Section At A Time
- Use your hose-attached brush to scrub and rinse the soap off each section after finishing the sponge work.
- Don’t wait too long after washing to rinse, because the soap and water will dry on the vehicle quickly and could leave spots behind.
- Repeat the wash and rinse pattern for all sections of the vehicle including the roof, windows, grill, head and taillights, fenders and wheels.
Everything You Need To Know About Car Cleaning
Each year, billions of dollars are spent on next level car cleaning services and gimmicky detailing supplies, and do you know what? A lot of it is either complete crap, or entirely unnecessary.
From weekly trips down to the scratch-inducing automatic car wash and infomercial-backed shampoo supplies, to paying professional detailers to make house calls, its all up for grabs, and by Zeus beard do we buy into it.
There are an endless array of reasons for buying into quick fix detailing solutions, or opting-out entirely by contracting a professional auto detailer. Maintaining a clean car is an expensive, time-consuming, and painstakingly tedious process, with cut corners typically resulting in subpar results, or worse yet, damaged surfaces.
But like any other routine automotive maintenance project, there are some steps that can be taken to reduce car cleaning mistakes, all while saving a sizable sum of time, money, energy, and expletives.
So if youre a do-it-yourself guy or gal, keep on scrolling, because we tossed everything you need to know about cleaning a cars exterior into todays bucket of suds.
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Vent Clip Air Fresheners
One of the best parts of getting your car detailed professionally is how great it smells afterward! Also, we know that scents say so much about an individual, right? What if I told you its possible to get that wonderful smell without having to spend so much on car detailing professional services? You can get that fresh smell with these air fresheners. After cleaning your car, all you need to do is attach the air fresheners onto the vents and wonderful scents will fill your ride.
Leather Seats Versus Fabric Seats
To prevent stains, clean up messes as soon as they occur. It is recommended that you clean your seats once a month. A windshield sun shade can help protect not only your seats, but also your steering wheel and dashboard. The seats are not the only item in the cars interior that needs routine cleaning. Below, you will find a few additional tips for the inside of your vehicle.
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Why Trust The Spruce
Theresa Holland is a freelance commerce writer specializing in home improvement, recreation, and lifestyle content. For this article, she interviewed Chad Zani, auto-detailing expert of Detail Garage for their product suggestions and insight into the importance of regularly cleaning your car. After compiling expert recommendations, Theresa considered a variety of cleaning solutions and tools, selecting those that stood out in terms of effectiveness, price, durability, versatility, and overall value. You can find more of her work on MyDomaine and Verywell Health.
Rain X Windshield Treatment
It is one thing to get the windows clean and another to ensure that they remain spotless, especially the windshield, and this tool guarantees the latter. Protect all your hard work cleaning the windows and windshield by using this windshield treatment that helps water bead and roll off taking dirt with it. The supply is an effective alternative whenever there is a need to prevent poor visibility of the windshield on a long-term basis.
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How To Wash A Car Properly
Washing a car is simple, but to do a great job of it there are a few things to bear in mind. This guide will run through how to get your car shiny and fresh in just a handful of steps.
What you need to wash a car
- A hose or pressure washer.
- Specialised car wash soap or wash wax.
- Car polish.
1. Spray the car down
Use a hose or a pressure washer to clean most of the dirt and grit off the outside.
2. Work from the top with soap
Apply your soap or wash wax at the top, moving downwards so dirt doesnt run into parts youve already cleaned.
3. Rinse as you go
Avoid soap marks by washing down the parts youve soaped before moving onto other areas.
4. Wipe the area down
Leaving a car to dry naturally can result in a streaky finish or watermarks so make sure to dry sections properly using a microfibre cloth or towel.
5. Clean between the doors
When everything else is dry, open the doors and boot and use a damp cloth to clean between the cracks.
6. Clean the wheels
Use a separate damp cloth, brush or sponge to wash the wheels down too.
7. Wax and polish
Once the car is clean, waxing the outside or using car polish will help it look even better. It has the added bonus of protecting the car for longer, meaning fewer washes in the future.
You could also use this opportunity to perform some basic car checks to save on maintenance time later.
Book your MOT, service or vehicle check quickly and easily with Smart Care.
What Do I Need To Wash My Car
So what can you use to wash your car? Heres a great list on what to use to clean your car with:
- A sponge or washing mitts made of sheepskin or microfiber is preferred. However, any old rag or towel is possible for cleaning and wiping away dirt.
- A microfiber towel or other dry towel for drying off your vehicle once youre finished painting.
- A strong brush or sponge for cleaning tires
- A bucket for your water. Have two buckets if possible, one for water and one for soapy water.
- A cleaner and finish for your wheels & tires.
- You might need a bug and tar remover for, particularly bad stains.
- A finishing wax or polish is optional for a protective shine.
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Preparing To Wash Your Car
How Often Do You Need To Wash Your Car
As a general rule of thumb, its important to wash your car at least every two weeks. Obsessives will do it every week, or sometimes more frequently. Additionally, irregular dirt such as road salt and bug guts require immediate attention to prevent paint or metal damage. Here are a number of common reasons to wash your car more often.
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What’s The Best Way To Wash My Car
After you’ve gathered your car washing supplies, it’s timeto get started on the wash. First, hose off your car to loosen all of the dirt.Next, move to the tires. We often recommend washing the wheels first, sincethey are the dirtiest. Once the tires are clean and shiny, we’ll start washingthe car. Start at the top, wash the roof of the vehicle, and then wash the restof the car section by section. Rinse every section as you wash it to avoid thesoap drying on the paint. Finally, after you clean a section, dry the area witha clean microfiber towel, and apply a layer of car wax to finish the job.
Exterior Car Wash: Using The Proper Materials And Techniques
As the seasons have just changed, it is just that more important to hand wash your vehicle to remove salt, grime, and elements of the road associated with the winter. Not washing the car properly can create swirl marks and scratches. In addition, not using the proper materials can damage the vehicles exterior, causing you to invest more time, energy, and money.
It is recommended that you clean your wheels and tires, first. If you wash and rinse your car first, then the water must sit on the cars surface as you clean four tires. While you are cleaning the tires, water spots could accumulate where you just washed. These spots are not very appealing, so it creates more work for you. Another reason for washing the wheels and tires before the body of the car is in case of splashes.
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Tip #: Cleaning Tools Needed
Its important to evaluate the condition of your before you wash it. This will help you to determine what types of cleaning supplies youll need while you wash your car.
Ideally, your cleaning tools/supplies should include:
- A hose with a variable nozzle
- A soft sponge and/or car wash mitt
- Car washing liquid
- Paper towels
- Window cleaner
Before applying anything to your car make sure to read whats in the product you plan to use. Not all car cleaning products are all-purpose and may cause damage to the paint, coat, or other finishes.
An older car may need a cleaning regimen with clays, waxes, and polishes to protect the paint whereas a newer car may have a robust clear coat thats still intact.
Car cleaning products are specifically designed to prevent any dislodged dirt and grime from scratching your cars paint as well as being gentle enough so that they dont remove your cars existing layer of paint.
Are Automatic Car Washes Safe On A Regular Basis
The easy answer to this question is no. If youve ever pulled up to one and seen the list of various warnings and fine print about not being responsible if your car is damaged, it can be easy to see why so many people opt to hand wash instead.
The simple fact is this: these automatic car washes are not designed for every make and model of vehicle. Theyre also unmanned and usually not maintained very well, which often leads to malfunctions and other issues.
Instead, take the time to wash your car the old-fashioned way to help eliminate problems, save your paint, and keep you from having to repair costly damage on your own.
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Armor All Protect And Clean Wipes
This double pack of wipes will clean and detail all the plastic/nonfabric areas of your car. The doors, handles, the dashboard, inside the glove compartment, etc. Then use the protectant wipes to protect those surfaces. These are quick and easy and give you a good bang for your buck! You can consider this to be the weapon against the harmful UV and oxidation it gets exposed to.
Chamois And Microfibre Towels
Once youve washed and rinsed off your vehicle, its drying time! In the past, a Chamois was the main item used to dry car paintwork, but over the last few years microfibre drying cloths have surpassed the Chamois, as they are easier to use and provide a better finish with less scratching. Buy a good quality microfibre with a high GSM count, as cheaper towels can leave scratches and marks on your paintwork.
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A Clean Car Is A Safe Car
Safe driving is really all about visibility. If you cant see, you cant drive properly. Clear windows are an important part of 360-degree visibility in your vehicle. Even if the middle of the windshield is cleared by the windshield wipers, thats not enough for safe driving. All windows, including the windshield, side, and rear windows, need to be completely clear of dirt and debris. Washing your car completely on a regular basis keeps dirt from building up and causing visibility problems.
Another way washing the car helps with safety is that it gives you an opportunity to go over the car with a fine-tooth comb. While youre scrubbing, you can check for loose wires, bulbs, license plate holders, and even peek under the hood to look for problems. Think of a car wash as an opportunity to get to know your vehicle a little bit better and check for safety issues.
It is recommended that you wash your car with a hose in your own driveway or in a bay at a car wash. Generally, it isnt a great idea to take a nice car through a mechanized car wash mainly because there could be small particles in the recycled water that could cause microscopic damage to the clear coat.
Car wash brushes can be harsh on a vehicles finish and dont really get to all the nooks and crannies of your car or truck. Make breaking out the soft cloths and buckets part of your regular maintenance routine, and youll benefit from more years of safe driving.
Wheel And Tire Cleaners
Why you need it:
Depending on how intricately designed your wheels are, cleaning them can be a real pain. Thats when a wheel and tire cleaner comes in handy. After a quick rinse on your wheels, you can simply spray the cleaner, wait a few minutes for it to do its job, and then rinse it off. If theres any stubborn dirt left over, it should be fairly easy to scrub off with your hand mitt and soap.
What to look for:
The most important factor when shopping for a wheel and tire cleaner is to make sure its safe to use on any finish. Modern wheels come in a variety of finishes, including chrome paint, so youll want to make sure the wheel cleaner isnt so harsh that it damages your wheel. Look for a wheel and tire cleaner thats environmentally friendly and is formulated to be acid free, non-toxic, and pH balanced.
Our recommendation for a wheel and tire cleaner comes from Car Guys. One of the most popular and highly-rated wheel and tire cleaners on Amazon, Car Guys product ticks all the boxes we look for. Its made in the U.S. and conforms to all safety regulations, specially formulated to be acid free, non-toxic, and pH balanced. It will clean wheels of all finishes, including alloy, aluminum, anodized, chrome, painted, polished, clear-coated, and even plasti-dipped.
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Tips On Caring For Your Car:
- Clean in and around all the nooks and crannies. Use a cloth to clean around the trimlines and radio buttons. You can use a paintbrush or foam brush to clean out the air vents.
- Get trash out from underneath the seats. Remove the floor mats, and shake them off. Move the seats up to remove trash and debris that could be hiding beneath them.
- Remove unnecessary items from the trunk. Take out any items that you do not need from your trunk. Not only will this make room for space when you need it, but it will save on gas mileage.
- Organize your belongings. There are multiple products that aid in car organization, such as visor organizers, dash caddies, trunk organizers, and seat organizers. By purchasing one of these products, you will keep items off of the floor.
Clean The Interior Windows And Mirror
Use a microfiber cloth and an ammonia-free commercial window cleaner in a spray bottle to remove the haze from interior windows. Make your own window cleaner by mixing a 1:1 solution of diluted dish soap and water, which is effective at removing dust, fingerprints, and other grime.
Lower the windows slightly and start at the top of the window and work down so you will catch any drips.
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