What Exactly Is Auto Detailing?
Detailing is more than just washing your car with soapy water and a towel or brushing the interior with Armor All and a vacuum; it’s focusing on and cleaning the tiny elements of your automobile to transform it from “clean” to “sparkling like new.”
Professional detailers can be found in almost every area, but if you enjoy taking the time to make your car shine, you can obtain the same results right in your own driveway. All you need is a bag of materials, as well as your time and attention. Some experts recommend devoting 4 to 8 hours to the task in order to complete it properly.
Tools for the Job
You’ll need the essential instruments and cleaning products before you start detailing. When it comes to the nitty gritty, you’ll need some extra specialized tools in addition to the standard vehicle-washing supplies (bucket, water, soap, sponges, car wax, chamois). While everyone’s tackle box of magic is different depending on their car and the level of detail they want to accomplish, here are a few ideas to get you started:
• Vacuum cleaner – should be suitable for both wet and dry surfaces and have a variety of attachments, preferably at least two for getting into tight spaces.
• A wide range of rags, including terry cloth towels and thin cotton rags for delicate surfaces.
• Brushes of various sizes, such as toothbrushes or paintbrushes
• Cotton swabs and Q-tips
• Spray bottles made of plastic
• Air from a can.
• Cleaner for upholstery.
• Carpet stain remover
• Cleaner that can be used for a variety of purposes.
• Protective coating (for vinyl and leather surfaces).
Detailing Your Car’s Interior
Start with the interior so you don’t ruin the freshly washed exterior while vacuuming and cleaning the interior. While the order of the procedures isn’t critical, here are some examples of what you should clean:
• Carpets: Vacuum them completely first, then use a stain remover and a brush to remove any stains. Allow for total drying of the carpets. Dilute the solution in a spray bottle with water for moderate stains. To avoid mildew, use as little moisture as possible. Clean the floor mats with a hard brush before laying them out to dry completely.
• Upholstery: Vacuum the seats, then use the same method to remove stains as you did with the carpets. With the car doors open, let the seats to dry fully.
• Door jambs: Open the automobile door and use a soapy solution to clean the metal and plastic pieces. Dry them completely with a rag before removing any difficult stains and spots with your smaller instruments (Q-tips or brushes).
• Door interiors: Use a soapy solution to clean the non-cloth areas of your door interiors. Concentrate on all of the small cracks and crevices where dirt and grime gather. Using a thick cloth, dry the entire region.
• Windows: To make the interior of your windows sparkle, use a glass cleaner or a soapy solution. At this time, don’t be concerned about the exterior. Dry completely, being careful not to leave any streaks.
• Remove dust and stains from the steering wheel column with a soapy solution. Allow it dry completely before applying a surface protectant to the entire surface.
• Dashboard: Instead of spraying water or cleaning solution on your dashboard, use your small-area tools to apply the cleaning solution to the tool, then clean around knobs and buttons with care. Everything should be completely dry.
• Center console: Using your detailing tools, thoroughly clean and degrease every seam and indentation in the console. Using a thick cloth, dry.
Here are a few pointers to make things go more smoothly:
• To get down into deeper nooks and dig out caked-on filth or dust, use a plastic knife coated with a thin towel.
• Use canned air to blast dust and debris out of hard-to-reach niches and crevices.
• Run masking or duct tape around your palm, sticky side out, to quickly remove pet hair off seats and carpeting. Brush all of the textile surfaces with your hand until they are hair-free.
• Use a strong detergent and water solution to remove oil and ground-in grime. Scrub vigorously with a stiff brush, then vacuum with a wet vac.
• Some experts argue that silicone-based protectants aren’t optimal since they leave a greasy layer on surfaces and leave a glossy finish. Protectants that have a matte texture, block UV rays, and are silicone-free are also available.
Taking Care of Your Car’s Exterior
Let’s begin with your wheels. Many auto supply stores provide solutions designed specifically for tire rubber, but you may also use the soapy solution you’ll be using for the rest of the car. Keep in mind that many home detergents can strip away any existing wax on your car’s surface, so it’s best to pick a car-washing solution that doesn’t contain detergent (check your local auto supply store for various brands). Remove stubborn mud and grime using a pressure hose, then use a hard brush to clean the metal portions of your tire.
To wash the rest of your car’s body, change the water and get a few clean rags. With plenty of water and the soapy solution, give your automobile a basic, thorough wash. Starting with the roof, wash tiny parts at a time, and don’t allow the surfaces dry out on their own. Continue to spray the cleaned areas with the hose until you’re ready to dry them on your own.
When your dirty cloth has accumulated too much dirt or sand, replace it with a new one. You don’t want the grime on the rag to harm your car’s finish.
For places that require more attention, such as the rims around your headlights and taillights, the indentations in door handles, and side mirrors, use smaller brushes and tools. Keep everything clean by rinsing it with clean water.
Dry the entire body of the automobile with a clean chamois or cotton cloth once it has been completely cleaned. Dry any water that has collected in cracks or window wells with your equipment. If you want to wax your car, now is the time. After your automobile has been waxed, you may see little spots of wax deposit or dust after it has dried completely. With a tiny brush, remove these.
The last thing you want to do is clean streaks and drips from the outside of the windshield and each glass. Newsprint shines like a dream and even works on mirrors.
While it may appear to be a lot of labor, detailing your automobile every few months is a smart idea. It will protect and maintain the health of your car’s surfaces and finishes, as well as extend the life of your vehicle. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy driving around in a clean, new car?
Detailing is More Than Just Washing