Keeping a vehicle clean is an important part of maintaining its value. When it comes to cleaning a car, the methods you use will make all the difference in how it looks and how well its features are protected. Here are some things you need to know, in order to clean your car like a professional.
Washing the Exterior
When washing a car, many people use dishwashing liquid to produce soapy suds. While this can be is effective at removing dirt and grime, it also has properties that can strip precious oils from your car’s paint. In time, this can cause your finish to look duller than it should. Rather than dishwashing soap, use a car wash liquid purchased from an auto parts store. It may cost a little more, but will provide better protection for your car’s paint in the longer term.
Fill one bucket with a few ounces of cleaning solution mixed with cool water. Use another bucket of clear water as a rinse. Begin by prewashing your vehicle with a garden hose in a cool, shaded area to prevent staining. Next, use a soft sponge or car wash mitt to gently wipe away dirt and grime from the exterior surface. Follow this with a quick rinse using the bucket of clear water, and then rinse any remaining residue away with the hose.
Work on one section at a time, beginning with the roof and working your way down. Next, wash the bonnet, boot, top section of each door, and rocker panels in that order. This ensures that dirt from the top is moved downward to prevent areas you have already cleaned from getting dirty again.
Even after a thorough washing, your vehicle may still have fine particles embedded in its paint. A clay barring kit, which can be purchased at an auto supply store, can be very effective at removing this grit. A typical kit contains a lubricating spray and several small pieces of clay-like material. After spraying the lubricant, press the clay against your car’s surface until all embedded matter has been removed. Follow this with another rinse to get rid of any clay residue.
The synthetic materials used inside cars these days can be particularly sensitive to certain types of cleaners. As such, you shouldn’t assume that what works on one car will be effective on another. Read your owner’s manual to see what, if any, particular cleaners are recommended. If you are not sure, you should test a cleaner in an inconspicuous area first to make sure it does not damage interior surfaces.
Armor All is generally not recommended, as it actually tends to attract dust. Instead, most interior surfaces can easily be cleaned simply by wiping them with a damp cloth. If that doesn’t do the trick, a mild all-purpose cleaner diluted in water should make interior surfaces sparkling clean.
When cleaning your car’s seat belts, use a mild laundry soap diluted in water. Scrub lightly with a soft-bristled toothbrush and rinse lightly with a damp sponge.
Use a solution of vinegar and water to clean your car’s windows inside and out. Not only will this produce streak-free windows, but it will also help get rid of any lingering odours that are inside your car. After cleaning your windows, buff them lightly with a lint-free cotton towel to give them a nice shine.
Vacuuming Upholstery and Carpet
Vacuum your vehicle’s seats before moving down to the floor. According to the Burns Motor Company, it is best to use a paintbrush to get into crevices where your vacuum cleaner’s nozzle won’t reach. You can also reverse the vacuum so that it blows air out in order to move debris to a location where it’s easier to access.
Removing debris from floor mats can be somewhat trickier, in which case a stiff-bristled scrub brush can be very effective. Rub the scrub brush vigorously over the mat’s surface, taking care not to rub too hard and damage its fibres. Once you have loosened all the dirt, you can then vacuum it away. If you have chewing gum or other hardened material, use a product designed to remove it and then scrape it away with a putty knife.
Cleaning your car thoroughly takes time and attention to detail if you are to do it properly. By following these tips, you’ll have your car looking great, whatever its age or condition may be.
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