With the typical cost of $150 for car detailing, more and more people are choosing to detail their cars on their own. Follow these 5 tips for a professional result in your own driveway.
1. Start by loosening debris.
The first step to cleaning the interior of your car is to loosen any dirt, dust, and debris that might be lingering. Use a can of compressed air to remove dirt from your dashboard, controls, cup holders, and around the door handles and locks. Don’t forget your air conditioning vents and ducts. Use an old toothbrush to scrape any tooth stains from these areas, then use a stiff bristle brush to loosen any dirt in the carpet. Then vacuum all of this loosened dirt before moving on to your next steps.
2. Treat your seats and carpet.
If you have stains on your floor or seats, use a spray on cleaner before you move on to the rest of your car. Once you’ve cleaned your exterior, come back inside to scrub the stains and wipe up the excess cleaner. For a highly rated cleaner for carpet and upholstery, try this one from Armor All. You can also find stain treatments that apply as a foam and dry to a powder that is vacuumed away.
3. Hand wash your exterior using a two bucket method.
Fill one wash bucket with soapy water and another with clean rinse water. As you wash, clean your sponge in the rinse water before dipping it in the soap bucket. This will allow most of the dirt to stay out of your soapy water solution, and prevent it from redepositing on your car. For a quick two in one, use a soap with wax included so your wash and wax is only one step. End the wash by cleaning your tires and wheels, which will be more covered in grime than the rest of your car.
4. Use a clay bar to remove excess contamination.
If your car has extra grime or contamination after the wash, you can use a clay bar to remove it easily. This is what the professional car detailers use, but you can do it at home with a little patience. Working on a small section at a time, spray with the preparation, then glide the clay from left to right over the section until there is no more contamination being picked up. For an in depth tutorial on this process click here.
5. Pay attention to your windows and headlights.
After washing your exterior, use glass cleaner to thoroughly clean the interior and exterior of the windows and windshield. Create a mix of 1/4 household ammonia and 1 quart of tap water to wash your windshield wipers. Dip a cloth in the mix and wipe the front and back of each wiper to reduce streaks. Keep your headlights bright by applying window cleaner and scrubbing for several minutes to remove any buildup. Repeat on the tail lights for a uniform look.
These tips will make your car look professionally cleaned in the comfort of your own driveway.