A few weeks ago we posted a blog to get your car ready for Spring! One of the most important details for getting your car ready is a thorough wash and vacuum of you car to wash away all of those winter blues (see potholes, snow, cold)! For the DIY’ers out there, scrub buckets, wax, and towels are normally already on hand. If you want to get serious with you car (you do #sheCANic) you will need a heavy duty cleaning or a DETAIL!
The very process of detailing your car yourself may seem too big to handle. However some of us don’t have the luxury of a $200 detail. Other of us just love to make things clean. Which ever you are, I’m here to share a ton of great tips, techniques, and affordable products to tackle all the ins and outs of your ride. When we show love to our rides, they love us back. So go ahead and get down and dirty with the follow tips!
When it comes to carpets, you’ll need a good stiff scrub brush, and a vacuum of some sort. Vacuum first and then address stains. I’ve used plain blue Windex for light stains on my carpet. Lightly spray the stain; you don’t want to saturate the carpet. Scrub in a circular motion, blot with a clean dry towel, and then re-vacuum. If it’s a stubborn stain, or if you have a larger area to do, consider Mothers 05424 Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner. Again, spray lightly, scrub well, blot and vacuum. Repeat this process for the floor mats too.
Next, let’s clean your windshield. Any basic glass cleaner is fine, but foaming ones make less mess. Quick Tip! When cleaning glass on two sides, wipe in a horizontal direction on one side, and a vertical direction on the other side. This way, if you see smears, you’ll know which side of the glass needs a touch up. When the glass is clean, the dash is next. You’ll want to spray your cleaning product on the towel, not directly on the dash. A decent product for dash boards and other plastic/vinyl trim is Meguires G13616 Quik Interior Detailer Cleaner. This product also offers UV protection.
OK, have a seat. Do these last, because you would be sitting on them while cleaning the rest of your interior. If you have cloth seats, you would be cleaning them the same way you would your carpet, but more gently.
If you have vinyl seats, there are a lot of products out there to choose from. 3M Marine Vinyl Cleaner and Restorer 09029 got great ratings from customers and the fresh lemon scent was apparently a big hit. If you’ve got leather seats, you’ve got options too. The top 3 products for leather seats are Dodo Juice Supernatural Leather cleaner, Turtle Wax Leather Cleaner and Conditioner, and Wonder Wheels Leather Clean and Feed.
Even if you don’t buy these products, read the labels. Don’t use vinyl cleaner on leather. Avoid petroleum based solvents, or ones with silicon. They leave a greasy finish that can transfer onto your clothing. And always check for UV protection. If you need to scrub your seats, be sure to use a soft bristled brush. Apply your leather or vinyl products once every season, or twice a season for the more frequently used seats, or the ones that get the most sun. Think of it as sun block!
Well, now that your ride is feeling pretty on the inside, let’s get her nails done. I mean TIRES! Now there are so many tire/wheel/hubcap cleaning products available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right products. No problem, we’re gonna go over that. Top Rated, we’ll start there. Eagle One, Maguires, and Mothers are products that Consumer Reports have tested and given the thumbs up.
Heads up, these products smell and should be used outdoors, and wear gloves to, you know, protect your manicure. Make sure your wheels are cool. If they are hot from just being driven, your cleaning solutions may dry or sizzle. If you have hubcaps, take them off to clean them. Use a soft scrub brush for the tough spots. Be sure to rinse your wheels thoroughly after cleaning. If you already have some wheel cleaner lying around, read the label to see if it’s low acid or no acid based cleaner. Some of the harsher chemicals may cause pitting or peeling. If you plan on using a tire dressing, to get that slick wet look, use an applicator, like a sponge, and use very sparingly. These products can cause dry cracks along your tires sidewall, and using too much can sling the excess onto your fenders.
Before you bust out the bucket, take a damp cloth and wipe down your door jams and the inner edges of your door frames. And use your shop vac or vacuum to get the loose tree debris from around your wiper and roof racks before getting wet. Trust me! When it comes to your paint, use dedicated automotive car soap. You’ll need a large bucket, garden hose and large soft sponge. If, while cleaning, you should drop the sponge on the ground, pick it up right away, and rinse it very well. Small particles can get stuck in the sponge, and cause tiny scratches in your paints surface. Once you’re satisfied with your handy work. Be sure to dry your paint completely with a clean, soft terry towel. If you get waxed in the spring, so should your ride! Two coats of wax will do.
Again, make sure your vehicle is cool, or not sitting in direct sunlight. If the paint is too hot, you’ll have to rub even harder to get the wax off. Maguires and Mothers brand waxes are the most popular, and widely available. Pretty much any automotive store will carry these brands. The liquid waxes fared just as good as the paste waxes. And don’t be fooled by the high priced brands. The cheaper ones hold up just as good when applied correctly, and seasonally as recommended. And SheCanics, you’ll get quite the upper body work out waxing on and waxing off. And ladies, if you have a convertible top, guess what???? They make special cleaners for them too! But do your research to see which brands are available at a store near you.
After you’ve cleaned and waxed, do the outside of your windows. You do this part last to handle any water spots left over from washing, or smudges from your epic waxing job. I have seen detailers at the dealership use black and white newspaper to polish up the windows. Just a neat trick to try if you’ve got some lying around. If you plan on applying Rain X, or a similar product, you’ll want to be sure your windshield is squeaky clean. And wipe your wiper blades with a clean damp cloth when you’re done. Keep in mind that for every cleaning step, use separate cleaning supplies, so you don’t cross contaminate your products. And clean them out well afterwards, and store them carefully. You don’t need to purchase the most expensive products, just be sure to purchase the right product and use as directed. Since you’ll get multiple uses out of the products, you can save money for your own makeover.
Have fun and good luck #sheCANics! Let’s have a great summer!