Tips for Cleaning Your Car

With all the rain and snow we get this time of year, the outside of your car could probably use a good cleaning. Of course, you also track in mud and road de-icers on your shoes, so the interior might also need some attention. Whether you simply want your vehicle to look its best or you’re preparing to sell it, follow these tips for cleaning your car inside and out.

Start on the Inside

Begin by removing any rubbish or loose change littering the seats, cup holders and floor. Then, get to work deep-cleaning the interior of your car.

Brush and Vacuum the Upholstery and Carpet

Remove car floor mats and shake out the dirt. Next, scrub the carpet and upholstery with a stiff-bristled brush to help dislodge any embedded dirt and pebbles. Then, vacuum the entire car using a handheld vac or the brush and crevice hose attachments.

Wash the Seats

Apply your chosen car seat cleaning product and follow the directions to remove any stains or smells from the fabric. If you have vinyl or leather seats, apply a surface protector. Leave the car doors open to help speed up the drying process.

Clean the Carpet and Floor Mats

If you have rubber or plastic car floor mats, hose them down to remove stuck-on dirt. Then, scrub with soap and water on both sides. If you have carpet floor mats, clean them alongside the rest of your car’s carpeting.

Spray carpet cleaner on stains and scrub them with a stiff brush. To prevent mould growth, use as little liquid as possible, and allow the carpet to dry thoroughly before laying the car floor mats back down.

Clean the Door Interiors

Clean non-cloth portions of your car doors with a rag dipped in soapy water. Target cracks and crevices where dirt can collect with cotton swabs or an old toothbrush. Dry each door with a clean cloth before moving to the next one.

Clean the Dash and Trim

Dampen a rag with dashboard cleaner or soapy water. Use this to wipe down the steering wheel column, dashboard and centre console to remove dust and grime. Then, carefully remove build-up around knobs, buttons and seams with cotton swabs, an old toothbrush or a clean makeup brush. Dry all surfaces with a soft cloth and apply a surface protector to vinyl and leather trim.

Get that New Car Smell

If unwanted odours from fast food, pets and cigarettes linger after cleaning your car, try a single-use aerosol air freshener. Simply roll up the windows, turn on the air vents and activate the can. It takes 10 to 15 minutes for the product to disperse itself fully, after which your car should smell like new.

Wash the Outside of Your Car

Once the inside is clean, it’s time to wash the outside of your car. Start from the top and work your way down to let gravity do some of the work.

Clean the Body of Your Car

If your car is filthy, a pressure washer is the fastest way to cut through the grime. After hosing off your vehicle, you’ll want to scrub it by hand using a sponge and a bucket filled with soapy water. Be sure to use car shampoo, not dish soap, to prevent stripping any existing wax. Wash one small area at a time, changing out the water periodically to prevent dirt and sand from lodging in your sponge and scratching the paint.

Detail small areas around your headlights, taillights, door handles and side mirrors with small brushes. Continue spraying down cleaned areas so the car stays damp until you’re ready to dry it. Once you’re satisfied that the car’s exterior is clean, rub it down with a microfiber towel.

Polish and Wax Your Car

A machine polisher is the fastest, easiest way to eliminate grease, scratches and scrapes that can’t be removed with soap and water. Once all your hard work is done, protect it with car wax.

You don’t need to wax every time you wash your car, especially if you use wash-and-wax automotive shampoo. Still, most car detailing experts recommend waxing two to four times per year.

Use the amount of wax the instructions recommend. Applying more only increases the risk of trapping wax in the seams and fittings, which looks messy when it dries.

Clean the Wheels and Tyres

The wheels are often tough to clean because of their proximity to the road. To brighten your dulled alloys, first hose them down to remove stuck-on mud and gunk. Then, reach for a powerful wheel degreaser capable of breaking down iron particles, brake dust and road grime. Scrub with a stiff brush to leave your wheels sparkling clean. You can also brighten up your tyres with a high-gloss tyre protector, making the rubber appear factory-fresh for several weeks.

Wash the Windows Last

It can be difficult to get a streak-free shine on car windows because of their exposure to dirt, smoke, exhaust emissions and other pollution. Auto glass cleaner is a must to achieve the best results. Parking your car in the shade also helps prevent streaking.

Spray the windows and windscreen inside and out and wipe with a microfiber cloth. Be sure to roll down the windows a little to clean the top edge as well. And don’t forget to wipe your rear-view and side mirrors!

Shop Used Cars in Taunton

Are you cleaning your car thoroughly because you’re preparing to sell it? If so, you may be interested in upgrading to a quality used car from Westpark Direct, located just off Junction 26 of the M5. We get our used cars direct from the owner, meaning there are no auction fees or middlemen to take your money. There’s no better place to find wholesale prices on used cars in Taunton and Somerset! For more information about our great deals and financing options, feel free to contact us at 01823 795 437 today.