How to Detail your Car

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We love our cars, we scrimp and save to get just the car we want.

But there are probably some of us who don’t enjoy cleaning or detailing the car. You should though, after all you spent your hard earned money to get your car.

You should think of your car as you do your face – you woudn’t let your face stay dirty – your car should be cared for as you care for your face – they get dirty quickly. They’re used in the hot sun, pounding rain and get covered in so much dirt and muck that it can make a car owner cry.

That’s why there have been times when I’ve given my car a quick spray down in the morning before work, just because I didn’t want it to be dirty. For some, removing ground-in cookies from the backseat and assorted muck and yuck from the windshield does not make for a pleasant afternoon.

Mrs. Clean can help you keep your car looking like it was almost new with these car detailing tips.

Use a Soap Specifically Made for Washing Cars

It’s important to know that you should never use liquid dish, hand or laundry soap to wash your car.

Dish, hand and laundry soaps contain detergents that will damage your car’s finish. The high alkalinity strips the shine quickly and allows the paint to start oxidizing before it’s time.

Cleaning the Interior of the Car

By cleaning the interior of the car first, you’ll reduce the chance of tracking more dirt and grit into the car. You’ll also reduce the risk of electric shock by not dragging the vacuum cord through puddles.

Vacuuming the Carpets

If you chauffeur the neighborhood kids to soccer practice, you’ll no doubt find enough food in the backseat to feed a family of four for a week. To avoid damage to the vacuum, prepare the interior as follows:

  • Take out the floor mats and beat them. Note: Be sure to close all of the car windows and doors before beating the mats to prevent the dirt from blowing back into the car.
  • Remove large objects such as toys, coins and pacifiers from the floor.
  • Start with a new or empty bag to reduce strain on the motor.
  • If your husband has a compressed air unit, carefully and easily blow debris from all the nooks and crannies before vacuuming.

Work your way from top to bottom, starting with the headrests and finishing with the floor. Be sure to use a hose attachment thin enough to get into tight areas such as between the seats and doors, the seat tracks (if the seats slide forward and backward) and the rear seats.

If you have hard-to-get-off dirt on carpets, use a stiff brush to loosen and try again.

Cleaning the Dashboard

Use a lint-free cloth or chamois and a car interior surface cleaner. You may also want to use a cleaner that protects against fading and discoloration caused by the sun. Test the cleaner on a small area of the dashboard to make sure it’s not too harsh before using it on the entire dash.

Washing the Windows

Use the same window cleaner that you use on your house windows. However, you’ll want to spray a clean cloth with the solution rather than spraying the window itself to avoid getting the cleaning solution on the dashboard or any other sensitive material.

Detailing the Exterior of the Car

Washing the exterior of your car on a regular basis is important for two reasons.

  1. A pre rinse before you start washing removes fine grit and dirt particles that can scratch the finish.
  2. Second, a clean car is a more aerodynamic car. Dirt causes drag, and drag reduces fuel efficiency. Washing your car’s exterior regularly is particularly important if you live and drive in a northern state where salt and sand are applied to the roads in winter.

Avoid Scratching the Paint and Pre-Wash

Paint scratches are the largest problem you’ll have with keeping your car looking great. If you can carefully avoid scratches to start with, you’ll be ahead of the game.

Pre-washing the car carefully to remove dirt and grime when you clean the exterior is a must because dirt, sand and grime that is rubbed around on the car’s finish (because the wash water is dirty) will scratch and dull the shine.

The number one rule for keeping the car’s paint job looking fresh and new – is everything that touches the car should be soft and clean. Clean towels, clean water, soft towels and no dirt and grit is the rule.

Keep the Car in a Covered Area

What this means is you should keep the car in the garage or under covered parking if it is at all possible. Hot sun, freezing temperatures, wind, rain and all of mother natures assaults can deteriorate a cars finish.

Wash, Wax and Seal

Keep the car clean to help avoid baked on dirt and grime. Waxing or sealing the the paint protects the paint from natures assaults and stops the paint from oxidizing resist chipping and keeps a nice high shine.

Wheels and Tires

To avoid aiding the natural deterioration of your car’s tires, don’t use a harsh detergent to clean them. Instead, use a cleaner made specifically for wheels and tires. Make sure the cleaner is formulated for the finish of your wheels. Usually a non-acid based cleaner.

  • Start by pre-rinsing the tires with water to remove excess dirt and grit.
  • Apply the tire cleaner and scrub the wheel with a wire wheel brush.
  • Rinse the tire with water and allow to dry thoroughly.
  • Repeat the process if grime still remains.

Washing your car by hand is the best way to keep your baby looking just the way you want and protected as well.

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