Whether you’re driving your mother-in-law to lunch or picking up a date for senior prom, nothing says “I’m a real adult” like a clean car. From how to clean car seats to interior detailing, here are some tips to keep your whip looking freaky fresh.
Regular car washes can help keep your car’s paint job looking fresh. While it is common to use dishwashing soap, this is not the best practice because the soap can strip the paint of its natural oils. This can shorten the lifespan of the paint. It is recommended that you use a car washing soap and soft mitt for the wash and wash your car in a shaded area. Use two buckets for the wash, one bucket of soap, and one of warm water to rinse the mitt off in between scrubs. Having a second bucket full of warm water helps to remove dirt and grit from the mitt that can scratch your car’s paint. Scrub in long strokes and have plenty of water handy. Dry your car right away with a Chamois cloth, to prevent water spots.
With regard to interior detailing, you should have a few tools on hand that you can find anywhere in your household; a paintbrush and toothbrush. You can use these to clean dust out of tight corners. While you are brushing vents or thresholds, keep your vacuum handy to suck up the dirt and dust you are stirring up.
For the inevitable dirt on mats and carpets, you can use a tougher brush and vacuum. Hold the vacuum right behind the brush, to suck up any dirt that comes up. Be careful with the brush and try not to put too much force into scrubbing as many mats can fray or damage easily. For any gum or wax residue, applying an ice pack will cause the unwanted material to separate from the mat much better than just scraping.
What to Focus On
The dirtiest spots of your car’s interior are wherever you touch the most. Spots such as the steering wheel, shifter, seat belts, and cup holders will tend to hold onto the most bacteria. After finding these spots, spend a few extra minutes cleaning them.
To clean a seatbelt, you can use a diluted mild laundry soap to get the dirt off but also to avoid damaging the fabric of the belt.
Cleaning Your Windshield
To clean your windshield and any other auto glass, any standard glass cleaner will do just fine. After you have washed each window, buff from the inside with a cotton towel. This will help prevent streaks or scratches.
Cleaning Your Dashboard
Your dashboard can be cleaned with hot water and a cloth. If there are any stains on the dashboard, you can use a diluted cleaner to get the stains out and keep your car smelling fresh.
Cleaning Cloth Car Seats
Cloth car seats can sometimes feel like a magnet for dirt, stains, and food bits. Thankfully, cleaning them is a very easy task. Start by first vacuuming the area, to remove any surface bits of food or dirt. Next create a cleaning mixture with two cups of water, two tablespoons of dish soap, and two tablespoons of washing soda. Using a scrubbing brush, moisten the bristles with the mixture gently scrub the surfaces in a circular motion. You do not want to soak the fabric, but just dampen it in order to exfoliate any stains and dirt. Using a towel wipe away any excess moisture and then allow it to air dry. After fully drying, give your seats another vacuuming.
Remember to use all mild cleaners when cleaning the interior and exterior of your car. Harsh cleaners can be harmful to certain finishes in your car. Now that your car is clean from the interior to the exterior, it is time to enjoy your time driving it!