Preparing for a car wash is almost as important as the wash itself. Problem is, proper pre-wash knowledge is poorly laid out for beginners (until now). You’ve got hundreds of car care products to chose from, relentless internet rants over proper/improper technique.
Park Your Car In A Shaded Area
The first step that you need to take in order to clean your car successfully is to park the vehicle in a relatively shaded area. The body of any car can get quite hot if it is left exposed to the sun’s rays for a long span of time. You would want the vehicle to cool down considerably before you start cleaning it as the heat can speed up the drying time of water and soap, thus leaving water and soap stains all over your car. The average time taken for a car to cool down is twenty to thirty minutes.
Gather Your Supplies
Once your car has cooled down, you need to gather supplies in order to clean the interiors as well as the exteriors of the vehicle. Some of the supplies that you will require include rags, paper towels, a carpet cleaner, upholstery foam cleanser, glass cleaner, trash bag and a vacuum. You will also require some car wax, soft terry towels, a tire cleaner, a rag or cloth, a lamb’s wool washing mitt, a natural soft sponge, a car cleanser and two buckets.
Fill Buckets With Water
Thereafter you need to fill both the buckets with cold water, one which shall be used for rinsing the cloth and the other for sudzing it. One bucket needs to be filled with a specifically formulated car cleaning solution. It is important to remember to avoid using hand soap or dish washing detergent for cleaning a car. Such harsh household cleaners can end up stripping off the car wax entirely.
WASHING THE BODY OF THE CAR
Cleaning your car efficiently saves you time and effort and ensures that the vehicle’s body comes out looking great. If you clean haphazardly, the task takes much longer, and you run the risk of scratching the finish, streaking the surface, and leaving the body vulnerable to rust.
Hose Off The Car To Loosen And Soften The Dirt
Rinsing your car is something that you should always do with a hose. The entire surface area of the vehicle needs to be rinsed very thoroughly before you apply soap over it. You need to ensure that all debris and loose dirt get removed to avoid scratching the car. Debris such as twigs and leaves need to be removed with hands in order to get these firmly out of the way. The hose also needs to be set on very high pressure if this is to successfully rinse of grime, debris and dust from the exterior of your car. However, the pressure should not be high enough to remove the car paint or car wax.
Wash The Car Section By Section, Starting At The Top
A top down approach needs to be adopted when cleaning the body of the car. Each section of the body of the car needs to be worked on one at a time. Every section needs to be rinsed off completely with water once you have cleaned the exterior of the car well enough with soap. In doing so, you will be able to keep the soap from easily drying onto the car.
Wash Your Car Using A Large Wash Mitt
The lamb’s wool mitt or the sponge needs to be lathered well with soap and scrubbed over the car using an up and down movement. You need to avoid cleaning the car in circular motion as this could cause some swirl marks to set on it.
Keep The Wash Mitt or Sponge Clean
The sponge that is used to clean the body of the car needs to be rinsed often enough. You need to rinse it in the bucket that contains plain water every time after using the sponge to apply soap over a specific section of the car’s body. In case this sponge slips out of your hand and falls onto the ground, you should rinse it immediately or else the debris that settles over the sponge could end up scratching your car.
Rinse Each Section After You’ve Washed It
You cannot leave the body of your car to be air dried as this could cause streaking and water marks. Instead, natural or synthetic chamois or a soft terry towel must be used to dry it. You could consider blotting the water instead of wiping it off in order to dry up your car quickly and easily.
CLEANING THE TIRES OF YOUR CAR
Cleaning Your Tires While Washing Your Car – Spray tire cleaner onto your tires and follow the directions regarding how long to leave it on. Car wash soap is designed to clean and protect paint and clear coat, not rubber, so it can leave a film over your tires or prevent them from shining.
Use A Cleaner Designed For Tires
Fill two buckets with cold or lukewarm water and mix a cleaning solution into one of these buckets. You need to make sure that the cleaner which you use is one that can be safely applied over the surface of car wheels. Dish washing detergent and caustic cleaners that contain a high concentration of acid need to be strictly avoided as these can easily ruin the finish of the car wheels. One of these two buckets is to be used for cleaning the sponge while the other is to be used for the purpose of rinsing the car wheels.
Allow The Cleaner To Sit For A Minute
A soft sponge needs to be soaked into the cleaning solution for a few minutes after which you can start cleaning one wheel of the car at a time.
Use A Stiff Brush To Clean Tires
You can use a soft bristled toothbrush when cleaning small crevices. If the wheels of your car happen to be very dirty, you can consider using a de-greaser first in order to free the wheels from grease and grime and to then start cleaning these.
Rinse The Tires
Once the car wheels have been cleaned, these need to be rinsed very thoroughly with water till all the debris and dirt have been successfully removed. Thereafter the wheels can be dried using a soft cloth.
CLEANING THE CAR ENGINE
A clean engine bay can make it easier to conduct repairs or maintenance. If it’s been a long time since you cleaned your engine, it may take a bit of time to allow the degreaser to soak through the grime, and a bit of elbow grease to brush off deposits of oil. Cleaning the engine regularly will prevent rust from developing.
Apply Engine Degreaser
The car engine is usually filled with grease upon regular use, so it would be worthwhile to apply a de-greaser over the engine first before you begin to clean it. When you apply the de-greaser over different parts of the car engine you need to make sure avoid getting grease over the painted components of the engine as the paint could come off very easily upon doing so.
Use A Stiff Bristled Brush To Scrub Stuck On Grime
The de-greaser should be allowed to remain over the car engine for a few minutes before you start cleaning it. The stuck on grime over the car engine can be successfully cleaned using a soft bristled brush.
Rinse The Engine With A Regular Hose
Rinse off the engine using a regular hose and wash it very thoroughly indeed so that no grease, dirt or grime remains on it.
CLEANING THE INTERIOR
Most people spend a significant amount of time in their vehicles. If you are one of those that live in your car and, especially those with kids, you know how dirty your car can get. Follow along as we show how to clean common automotive fabrics and stains.
Remove Large Pieces of Trash
In order to successfully clean the interiors of your car the first step which you need to take is to de-clutter it. Remove all extraneous items including valuables which could come in the way of the cleaning process such as magazines, books, children’s toys and gym bags. This could also be opportunity for you to organize things which would otherwise have remained behind in your vehicle for a long time to come.
All recyclable items like cardboard and paper items, water bottles etc need to be taken out and kept inside of a recycling container. If it is in your driveway that you are cleaning your car, you could bring the recycling container over to your vehicle quite easy so that all recyclable items can be easily thrown into it. You can take these out of your car and put them into the recycling container directly.
Use Car Wipes To Sanitize The Dashboard And Console
The central console of the car is an area that you need to wipe down with a moistened rag in order to be able to clean it thoroughly. The rag should be moistened with any glass or household cleaner and wiped over the clean areas first after which you can use this to wipe over the dirtiest parts of the central console. The inside door pockets and the gear shifts should also be well wiped with such a rag. You could also use car cleaning wipes in the place of a moistened rag. You should make it a point to use clean cloth only when cleaning out the central console or you will simply end up distributing the grime and dirt all over again. Grime in areas that are otherwise quite hard to reach such as any detailing on a steering wheel, can be wiped away using cotton buds. You can wipe off the dust in the cup holders using a cleaning wipe or a rag too.
You need to clean the buttons on the car’s dashboard with a damp rag first and dry this off later with a clean rag. You may also use what is termed as a flathead screwdriver in order to clean the grime and the dust that can accumulate in the areas around the buttons on the dashboard.
Once this is done use a soft bristled and old toothbrush to clean out some of the tough parts such as leather grain in the console and the interior doors. The brush should be used in a circular motion if you want to get rid of the dirt successfully.
Clean The Windows With A Glass Cleaner
The windows of the car can be scrubbed using microfiber towels. Use this towel in a circular motion in order to clean the inside of the windows, the windshield, the rear window and also the side windows. Special attention must be paid to the edges and corners of the car windows as these are easily prone to the accumulation of dust. If necessary you can apply the buff and the cleaner for a second time.
Remove The Floor Mats
The floor mats of the car need to be cleaned using a vacuum cleaner. Prior to vacuuming, you should remove the floor mats and dust these out in order to remove the grime that could lie underneath them. If you use plastic floor mats in your car, you can hose these down with the help of a garden hose and then allow them to dry. If you use carpet mats then these need to be taken out of the car vacuumed or vacuumed inside the car itself.
Vacuum The Car Seats
When vacuuming the seats and the upholstery, you should begin by vacuuming the ceiling of the car and then gradually make your way down to the car floor. Appropriate nozzles ought to be used for the many different surfaces of the car. You will have to use the upholstery nozzle in order to vacuum the upholstery, the headliner and the seats in the vehicle. The crevice tool may be used to clean the crevices in the car seats as well as in the seat pockets. When cleaning vinyl and hard plastic you should make use of a dusting brush while the carpet on the car floor can be well cleaned using a floor brush.
The leather seats of the car need to be cleaned and conditioned or else these are likely to dry out. An appropriate cleaner such as a saddle soap and a soft brush are what you could best use in order to clean out the leather seats. If the seats are worn out or cracked then you may just have to replace them.
Use A Carpet Cleaner To Clean Carpet Stains
There are approved cleaners that you can use such as a carpet cleaner in order to clean the upholstery in your car quite efficiently. Avoid using any window cleaner though on the upholstered fabric car seats.
Remove Tough Stains From Seats
You can remove tough stains on your car seats that may have been caused due to candy, crayons, chocolate or other products leading to undesirable car seat stains with the help of a clean rag and a stain remover.
Finally, the car seats should be well aired out and an air freshener should be installed in order to make the interiors of the car smell good. If smoking is a habit of yours, then using a specialized air freshener can help in removing the smoke odours in the car.
DRYING AND WAXING THE CAR
Drying and waxing are the most basic maintenance tasks for a car owner. But doing it right—without hazy paint, dull headlights and crud in the cracks—takes expertise. Make the finish on the exterior and interior last as long as the mechanicals with these pro cleaning tips.
Cut A Clay Bar Into Three Or Four Equal Sections
Procure a clay bar and cut this into as many as three to four sections. Then flatten one of these three or four pieces so that your fingers could use this piece in place. The spray some clay lube over a certain section of the car and slide this piece of flattened clay over the lubricated section in an up and down manner or back and forth but never in circular motion. Once the clay starts to glide easily over this section, you can move onto a different section of the car. Ensure that it is only the clean parts of this flattened clay that are used over the new and different sections of the car. The purpose of using such clay bars is to remove all the microscopic dirt that is present in the body of the car so as to avoid any scratching from taking place when the waxing process is on.
Squeeze A Quarter-Sized Amount Of Polish Onto Your Pad
Apply some polish over the pad and spread the wax over the body of the car in an up and down movement. Do not apply wax over the trim or over the car windows and use gentle pressure at the time of wax application so as to get an even and smooth coat. Thin layers of wax ought to be applied rather than thick layers. In fact it is a far better idea to apply numerous thin layers than to apply one thick layer of wax.
Use A Microfiber-Buffing Towel To Buff The Wax
A micro-buffing towel is what you are going to have to use in order to buff the car wax. You should opt for the use of a high quality towel in order to prevent scratching of any sort. The wax needs to be allowed to dry completely before buffing it.
PREVENTING FUTURE MESSES
Keeping your vehicle clean requires a lot of effort, however a strict discipline to keep check on the below mentioned pointers can certainly help you avoid getting it messy for longer times. ‘Cure is better than care’ this idiom stands testimony to keep your Car Spick and Span.
Get Car Seat Covers
A great way to keep your vehicle from becoming dirty too easily is to use car seat covers. These are widely available for sale online as well as in physical stores and can prevent the accumulation of dust, grime and dirt particles on your car seats quite successfully. Car seat covers are available in a number of different sizes and colors. These are not too expensive either and can be procured for fairly moderate prices from stores online.
Apply A Stain Repellent To Your Upholstery
Using a stain repellent for the upholstery in your car can go a long way in keeping this from getting smeared too easily. You can buy a high quality stain repellent from any store in your locality that deals in car related products. You can also buy this online at any time of the day, and year.
Clean Spills And Messes Immediately
You should also make it a point to clean up messes as soon as these occur limit the number of food and drinks that can be taken sitting inside the car.
Keep Your Car Tidy
The car should be kept neat and tidy at all times and you should vacuum it every now and then in order keep the interiors of the vehicle well cleaned and free of dust.
Vacuuming should ideally be done twice in a month if not more frequently, for best results.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CAR CLEANING?
Keeping your car clean not only keeps it looking good and new, but lengthens its life as well. Dust, dirt, sand and salt particles stick to your car and can ruin your car’s paint finish. They are culprits for rust and corrosion especially salt, which can hasten the process up to ten times more than normal.
Gives The Car A Brand New Appearance & Ensures Proper And Effective Functioning of The Vehicle
When you clean your car on a regular basis, you get to make it look as good as new. By washing your car daily both its interiors as well as its exterior, and removing any dust particles that might have settled on it, you give your car quite a glitzy appearance and make it appear as if you have just brought it home from the showroom. Dirt can be quite damaging for the adequate functioning of your vehicle so the more frequently you remove the dirt from your car, the better condition you get to keep it in.
Reduces Maintenance & Repair Costs
Maintenance costs can be greatly reduced if you clean your car daily. Getting a vehicle cleaned and regularly maintained by a car cleaning professional can cost a lot of money. So when you take the initiative of cleaning your car on your own and that too quite frequently you save an exorbitant sum of money which you would have had to shell out to a professional car cleaner for keeping your car in good condition. By cleaning your car everyday you also keep it from incurring wear and tear too easily and can thus save plenty of money on repair costs as well.
Gives The Car Exterior A Beautiful Look & Enhances Fuel Efficiency
You can ensure a shining and resplendent exterior finish for your car when you have it cleaned every day. Vehicle life can also be greatly enhanced by regular cleaning. The more you keep the vehicle free from dust and dirt particles the less damaged are its internal components likely to be, as a result of which the car is certain to be able to run on the road for a considerable number of years before you need to get a new one in its place. A clean car is also likely to consume lesser fuel than what a dirt ridden car would.
Increases Car Value & Makes Driving Easy
Additionally cleaning the debris and dirt in your dashboard can increase the value of your car and make driving a lot easier for you than what it would otherwise be. You will be able to see the road ahead of you much more clearly if your dashboard is clean and dust free.
Thus, keeping your vehicle clean is something that you can do quite easily if you are vigilant enough and take care to wash, polish and vacuum your car every once in awhile. The older the vehicle gets, the more attention and care it is going to require so you need to keep it under close surveillance and carry out an intensive cleaning process as often as you can to ensure that the car functions well enough for a long time to come.