When it comes to getting your car looking new again, detailing can go a long way. Sure, regular car washes and car exterior protection can make the outside of your car look fresh and new but they don’t do much for the inside. If you want a more thorough cleanup, inside and out, you should consider detailing your car.
The very process of detailing your car might seem a daunting task but if you’re so keen on saving a few hundred dollars, DIY car detailing is always an option.
Below is a quick car detailing DIY guide that you can follow without going to a professional auto detailer.
1. Focus on the Interior First
If you plan to spend the day cleaning your car inside and out, you’ll want to with the interior because it can dry first as you’re cleaning the exterior. Plus, the bigger jobs are found inside your vehicle. First, vacuum the interior and carpets, preferably with a crevice tool for a thorough clean. Pay attention to the seats, under them, around the seat mounting brackets, and inside the footwells.
For the carpet, a good stiff scrub brush and a vacuum should get the job done. Vacuum the carpet surface first and work on the stains second. For light stains, you can use Windex with light sprays, make sure that you don’t saturate. Re-vacuum if necessary. For tougher stains, you can use the Mothers 05424 Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner.
For the seats, use the same approach as cleaning the carpet – but gently. Popular products for cleaning vinyl seats are 3M Marine Vinyl Cleaner. For leather seats, the CarGuys Super Cleaner is highly rated. Just a word of caution: always read the label before using any of these products.
2. Cleaning the Windshields
You may use any glass cleaner that you can find in the store but for less messy results, a foaming type is recommended. When you’re cleaning the glass on both sides, wipe in a horizontal direction on one side, then vertical on the other side. This technique helps you see the smears and know which side needs a touch-up.
If you’re using ceramic coating protection for your windshields, make sure you use a pH neutral soap and shampoo as this helps remove the contaminants that set in the glass. Then, for general maintenance, you can top off the coating with a silica spray.
3. Use a Chamois or Microfiber Towel
One of the best car detailing tips is to invest in a Shammy towel for a car or a pack of microfiber cleaning cloths for drying your car. Sure, you can use the standard cotton towel but a chamois or microfiber towel does a much better job of absorbing water. With a cotton towel, you’ll likely leave swirls or streaks after wiping. That doesn’t happen with a microfiber towel or Shammy.
Furthermore, a microfiber towel is great for drying the paint and glass windows, too. If you have installed clear bra kits, a microfiber cloth makes cleanup a lot easier and safer for the paint protection film.
4. Tire Cleaning
Exterior cleaning usually starts with the tires. For tire cleaning, the go-to products are usually the Eagle One E300890900 Cleaner and Meguiar’s G180132SP 32 oz. Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner. Both tire cleaning products are acid-free and pH balanced, making them safe for all-wheel finishes. Just a heads up: these products have a strong smell, so we recommend you clean your tires outdoors and wear gloves.
On top of cleaning the wheels and tire sidewalls, make sure to pay attention to the wheel wells, too. Simply hose the interior of the wells and use a scrubbing brush for the area. This is an often overlooked area and is known for nasty dirt buildup.
5. Save Waxing for Last
Waxing is a great way to add another layer of protection for the paint. Many people like to use quick car wax spray bottles that you can just spray and wipe. Some popular products to consider are CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant and Turtle Wax T-477R ICE Spray Wax. However, for longer-lasting protection and shine, use a traditional Carnuba wax.
Before you apply the wax, it’s always a good idea to polish your car to remove any contaminants, residues, and imperfections on the paint.
How Often Should I Detail My Car?
One of the most essential detailing tips is the frequency of the job. Whether you go to a professional or DIY, most experts recommend that your car gets detailed every 4-6 months – that’s 2-3 times a year. However, depending on the type of vehicle you drive and your needs, you might want to detail your car more frequently. For car detailing help or questions, feel free to reach out to the experts at Modern Imaging.