Steps to Pro-Quality Interior Car Detailing

The kids are always dropping cereal between the seats, you’re forever parking next to mud puddles, and you’ve spilled coffee on your dashboard more than once. Cars often suffer from the little inconveniences life deals us, but these interior car detailing steps will erase the evidence of those mishaps.

1. Vacuum the Carpets

Your vacuum cleaner is your most valuable tool when it comes to detailing your car. Pull it out onto the driveway and use the brush extension to suck up all those dirt particles, food crumbs, and other debris. For stubborn spots and hard-to-reach crannies, a can of compressed air is also a great asset.

2. Scrub the Upholstery

Foam cleaner is the most efficient way to pull the stains from your car’s upholstery. Rub the cleaner into the fabric with the brush attachment or a separate stiff brush. Use a thick towel to pull out as much moisture as possible so it doesn’t invite mold or mildew into your car.

3. Clean Buttons and Steering Wheel

Dust is the biggest enemy inside a car, especially when it comes to the numerous buttons and knobs on the dashboard and steering wheel. Blow compressed air into these spaces to dislodge dust, then wipe it all down with a soft cloth and a mild cleaning agent.

4. Scrub Floor Mats

Pull all the mats out of the car and scrub them with dish detergent or another cleaner and a stiff brush. Rinse them down with the garden hose, then allow them to dry before you replace them. A non-slip agent helps prevent accidents behind the wheel, as well.

5. Brush Out Vents

The vents that dispense hot and cold air often become clogged with dust and debris. Use narrow brushes to dust out those vents and prevent dust from recirculating. This also works with the compartments in your glove box and center storage console.

6. Wipe Down

A bottle of glass cleaner and a soft, microfibre cloth are all you need to restore the shine in your car’s windows. Apply Armor-All or a similar product to all the smooth surfaces, then use the vacuum cleaner for a final spot-clean on the upholstery and floorboards.

Interior car detailing might take time, but it also makes driving far more pleasant. For extreme cases, consider professional detailing the first time so you won’t feel overwhelmed.

Engine Detailing Tips for Beginners

If you’ve ever popped the hood on your vehicle, you’ve probably noticed that it’s a mess. Dirt and dust build up over the years, often sealed to exposed surfaces by layers of grease. Engine detailing is the only way to eliminate all those contaminants, and it isn’t as difficult as you might think.

Cover Sensitive Parts

Water isn’t dangerous for most of your vehicle’s engine bay, but it can damage a few key parts. Grab a box of Saran wrap and a roll of masking tape before you begin. Use the plastic wrap to cover any vulnerable car parts that you don’t want to get wet. These might include:

  • Vehicle Alternator
  • Alarm System Housing
  • Exposed Electrical Plugs and Cords
  • Air Control Valves and Intake System

Use your vehicle’s manual to find all these components (as well as any others specific to your car’s make and model). If you’re nervous about this step, consult with a mechanic before you attempt engine detailing the first time.

Start Safe

Always begin detailing a vehicle engine with a cold engine. Use a soft stream of water from your garden hose to cool down the engine bay so you can work safely. Avoid pressure washers or other high-pressure devices because you can crack or chip delicate engine parts. Heavy streams might also dislodge the wrappings you’ve secured around sensitive areas.

Degrease the Engine Compartment

A heavy-duty degreasing agent is the most important tool in your arsenal. Use it to eliminate grease from all exposed areas of your engine bay, paying special attention to fluid holders and all hoses and tubes. After you’ve applied degreaser, use the garden hose to spray off the film.

For hard-to-reach areas, choose a detailing brush with nylon or microfibre bristles. This will allow you to reach into areas where your hand won’t fit, and will also work the cleaning agent into stubborn stains. Use microfibre towels to dry all the engine components after you’ve cleaned them.

Polish or Seal the Job

After you’ve cleaned the engine, use a sealant or protectant to seal out future contaminants and add a touch of shine to the finished product. Choose a paint sealant for surfaces coated in paint and a plastic or rubber sealant for everything else (such as the hoses).

Caring For Your Car – Exterior Car Detailing Steps

If a neighbor scrawls the words “Wash Me” in the dust on your car’s windshield—or if there’s enough dust to do it yourself—it’s time to take action. Exterior car detailing isn’t a complicated process, but it does take a little time. Carve out an afternoon next weekend and get to work!

1. Scrub the Tires

A non-acid based tire cleaner will strip the grease and grime off the rubber as well as your rims without inflicting any damage. Spray the cleaner or degreaser on the wheels, then let it soak in for a minute while you grab a stiff tire brush. Scrub all surfaces of the tire and rim, then spray off the residue with a garden hose.

2. Remove Excess Tire Grime with a Pressure Washer

Pressure washers produce too heavy a stream for most of your car’s exterior, but it won’t damage your tires if you leave it on the lowest setting. Stubborn grease and grime will usually come off if the surface has been soaked in a cleaner for a minute or two. A second scrubbing with the tire brush might become necessary in extreme cases.

3. Wash the Paint in Sections

Grab a large pail and a bottle of a car wash. Use medium-warm water to create a sudsy liquid in the bucket, then dunk a soft sponge into the mixture. Clean the exterior of your car in small sections, pausing to rinse off the soap every three or four minutes. This prevents soap from drying on the paint and causing pits.

Avoid dish detergent or any other cleaner not meant specifically for cars. Dish soap contains chemicals that cause auto paint to oxidize faster, which might leave your vehicle with streaks or patches of missing paint. Air-drying your vehicle will result in soap spots. To avoid this, grab a soft towel or chamois and rub all visible paint until it’s dry.

4. Clean the Windows

Make sure the glass cleaner you choose doesn’t include ammonia or vinegar. These substances will degrade the film used on tinted windows. You might check your local auto parts store for a compatible cleaner that won’t inflict any damage on your windows.

Now you can sit back and admire your hard work. As a bonus, you won’t have to worry about any more embarrassing “notes” from your neighbors.