Car Washing and Interior Cleaning Basics


It makes sense to save some money, and also take care of your automobile by washing it yourself. Here are some tips on washing that will help keep your car cleaner and looking better, and even preserve the paint finish longer.

Choose a shady location to park your car before you get started with the washing process. Bright sunlight can dry the water too quickly, leaving water spots.

Grab a couple of plastic buckets (several gallons each) and a car-washing mitt. Mitts that are made for this purpose are often made of lambswool, and are super absorbent, long-lasting and will not scratch the surface of the automobile paint. They can be used on your vehicle either wet or dry, and are easily washed and dried themselves after use. Another useful tool is a soft-bristle brush made for use on cars. Smaller handled brushes are available to get the grime off wheels and hubcaps. Have some microfiber towels ready to go as well, for drying purposes.

Next, consider the detergent you will use. The easiest thing is to grab some dish washing liquid from your kitchen, but resist the urge to use this type of soap. It can actually do damage to the paint on your car. Instead, invest in liquid soap that is made specifically for use on automobiles. This type of product is pH balanced, and may contain enhancers or even a small amount of wax which will improve the final result of your labor. Make sure you don’t overuse the amount of soap you mix with water from your hose, and read the directions for the correct mixture. Use cool, rather than hot water, to avoid softening the existing coat of wax on your car.

You should spray down your car with the hose before using any soap on it. Starting at the top, rinse thoroughly, and then work on one area at a time with your mitt and soft bristle brushes, cleaning the dirt off your auto. Spray again and rinse, working in sections. This avoids letting the soap dry on your car. After you have finished this part of your project, rinse again and make sure there are no spots that you missed. Then use the microfiber towels to dry your car.

Tires and hubcaps should also be cleaned each time you wash your car. Degreaser is a product that breaks down grease and dirt particles that are ground into tires, and will be your best bet to get your tires really clean. Spray this on first and allow to sit for several minutes to dissolve the grime. After rinsing completely with a high-pressure nozzle on your hose, apply car-washing soap to a brush and use it to scrub the tire clean. Go over the hubcaps carefully as well, using a rag to get into all the nooks and crannies. Then rinse again and dry off.

Now that your car is looking great on the outside, don’t forget to get the interior clean as well. Go through your vehicle and clean out any trash and paper that may be present. Search under the seats for lost coins, jewelry, etc. Remove the mats, and vacuum them outside of the car. Then, using the proper attachments on your vacuum cleaner, go over the carpets and under the seats carefully, removing all the dirt, dust and accumulated debris that you can.

A soft brush attachment on your vacuum can be used to go over the dashboard and the seats. Leather seats can be scratched easily, and require a spray leather cleaner for best results. You may want to use a spray carpet cleaner on dirty rugs or upholstery to get them really clean. A soft, dry cloth can be used to go over all hard surfaces to get the last bit of dust and dirt. Spray some air freshener to keep stale smells out, and give a final touch.

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