Grime on its body, insects on your windshield, and dust littering your interior—cleaning involves a lot of work, and a lot of that work leaves room for simple tips that can make your cleaning quicker, easier, and better.
1. Use the right soap
We cannot stress the importance of using the right cleaning liquid enough! You might be tempted to just grab the nearest dishwashing soap, laundry detergent, or even oven degreaser, but the truth is that soaps not specifically designed for use on cars can damage your vehicle's exterior paint.
Auto stores sell car wash in half-gallon or gallon containers for around $20. Those $20 you spend every few months can go far in preserving the lifespan of your car's finish, saving you expensive repainting costs over the years.
2. Rinse plenty; Rinse often
Cleaning your car requires a lot of patience. Scrubbing faster means a faster job done, right?
It's actually not that simple. Every time you give your car a pass with the sponge, all that dirt and grime collects on the sponge's surface. All that grit can scratch your paint if you keep using the sponge without periodically rinsing it off.
Keep a bucket with clean water around just for that purpose. A quick dunk and scrub not only protects your car from accumulated grit, but also makes your job easier, as the sponge will go back to getting dirt off your car instead of just spreading it around.
3. Finish the finish
After all that effort spent cleaning, it would be a shame to let it go to waste.
Polishing and then waxing your car after you're done cleaning protects all your hard work from getting ruined by rain the very next day. Moreover, polishing is the logical next step after sponging and rinsing; leaving the job half-done means leaving all those micro-scratches and tiny surface flaws untouched.
Polishing and waxing could mean the difference between having a car covered in murky streaks and one with a nice, glossy sparkle.
4. Use the right tools for finishing
An important (and short) word about finishing: each job has the right tool for it. Buffing/polishing pad for polishing; an applicator pad and microfiber cloths for wiping it away. Using any old rag in your garage can leave scratches and waxy grime on your paint that will be harder to get rid of the second time around.
1. Get those nooks and crannies
Seems obvious, but there are a few areas that people don't consider when giving their interiors a good cleaning. Bringing a toothbrush (or better yet, a makeup brash or mini-duster) can help you clean spots that are often missed or overlooked.
For example, dust can get trapped in the area between your visor and the headliner, or in the cracks of your air vents. You might go through the effort of cleaning your car only for dust to spew all over the interior the next time you turn on your A/C.
2. Move your seats
Leaving your seats in the same place guarantees missing all that dirt and all those leaves that get trapped all around them. Shifting your seats forward and backward while you give the interior a pass with the vacuum lets you pick up any bits and pieces of junk that can fall between the seats, center console, and door panels.
Thoroughness aside, shifting the seats also gives you more room to clean. Squeezing in yourself and the vacuum hose becomes less of a hassle as a result.
3. Really get those nooks and crannies
Bring a screwdriver, because dirt gets everywhere, including under your armrests and in the cracks of your window. While it may be annoying to lift up all of your armrests and carefully clean out the cracks in your window seals, it's worth the effort.
All those oils from your arm resting on the door and all that dirt picked up by the rain accumulate over time; you might be surprised to find thick, greasy streaks sitting underneath your newly cleaned armrests.
4. Hit your car with a nice de-odorizing fragrance
Your cleaning might have lifted dust and other odorous materials into the air, leaving your car clean, but with a musty smell reminiscent of an attic that you need to get rid of.
However, don't just spray a ton of air freshener and call it a day. Like all other aspects of cleaning your car, it's worth taking your time. Give it a very light spray across the dashboard, armrests, and headliner—then run your A/C system for half an hour or so to circulate that fresh scent throughout the entire car.
The next time you ride it, it'll smell as clean as it looks.
All in all, the thing you should remember is patience. If you slow down to clean your car thoroughly and properly, you'll extend your vehicle's life and make your commutes crisp and pleasant.
Make cleaning a part of your regular maintenance. Swing by C&S Car Co. to change your air filter and give your A/C a tune-up, so all that dust you just cleaned out of your car stays out!