All in the Details: Ten Tips for Cleaning Your Car Like a Pro

clean-carClean and detail your car for a fraction of what the professionals charge. With these tips and some TLC, make your vehicle sparkle and shine.

For the exterior:

1. Wash your car in a shaded area. If the car’s surface is too hot, the soap will dry out and leave a stain, requiring another wash.

2. Wash one section at a time, starting from the roof and working your way down to the lower parts. (If you do the lower sections first, you’ll wash dirt from the top of the car back onto these parts.)

3. Always rinse the car-wash mitt with clean water before re-applying soap. Make this a habit as it helps remove small debris stuck to the mitt that can scratch your car.

4. Polishing can be done by hand or with an orbital polisher – either way, use the polish sparingly. Then apply wax, which locks in the shine and helps protect the finish, in the same manner.

For the interior:
5. To remove dirt, use an all-purpose cleaner diluted with water. Old toothbrushes are the best tools for accessing grimy crevices and corners.

6. Test specialised cleaning products on small, out-of-the-way places, as some cleaners can stain a car’s interior components.

7. With a stiff brush, gently brush the carpets and run a vacuum cleaner right behind it. This works well in removing debris.

8. The dashboard and vehicle panels should be wiped with a dampened cloth with water. Be careful with the transparent plastic on your car’s instrument cluster, as it may scratch easily.

9. Devote extra time and care when wiping the dirtiest spots, namely, the steering wheel, gear shift knob, and driver’s side seat belt and door panel.

10. Eliminate odours by applying a 20:1 water-to-vinegar concentration, and scrubbing thoroughly.