Your vehicle of choice is always there for your urban needs. Whether you use it to go to work, do some shopping, or just move around the city, a car is one of modern life’s necessities, comforts, or both! As such, it is in your best interest to keep it in top shape. From making sure that your oil is changed on time, to calibrating your ADAS sensors, there are a few very important pointers to keep in mind.
After the specialized procedures have been taken care of though, there’s also the option of going for a car wash at home. Now that the fall season has recently ended, and there’s less dust and pollen in the air, it’s our advice to get it off your car too! You could of course take it to a specifically designed place, but we assure you that it’s not a complicated process to do it yourself. Moreover, you can take care of things exactly like you want to this way, and there’s no need to wait around a cleaning shop. However, if you live in a region prone to freezing weather, take extra care when splashing your automobile with water. If it’s 32 ºF or under where the car is parked, you’ll just cause yourself headaches. So, let’s get right into how to clean a car.
Steps To Clean Up The Interior
Start from the inside out, at the top of the vehicle and gradually move downwards — go for the auto glass, then the doors, your dashboard & glove compartment, the vents, and finish with the floor. If you have allergies, you might not be in for the best experience when cleaning your vents (as a lot of nastiness can build up in there), but you’ll feel much better behind the wheel once it’s done. That being said, you definitely need to clean your air filter too from time to time, but leave that to professionals if you’re not savvy. Leaving the floor last is essential, as it’ll just get dirtier while you handle the other parts of the car.
Deep Clean Car Seats
Giving your seats a brand-new feeling will require a bit of effort, but you’ll be glad for it in the end. Upholstery can gather a whole range of nastiness over time, such as various stains or pet hair, so it’s important you follow certain steps for a proper removal.
Firstly, you’ll want your vacuum nearby. If possible, use a standard vacuum, as it’s more effective than a handheld one. Make sure to get into the seams of the seats, and use your fingers to separate them and stick the vacuum’s nozzle in. This is how to get dog hair out of car seats (or other type of pet hair as well; a sticky roller is also a good option), and it readies the upholstery for the next step as well. If the vacuum or sticky roller didn’t do the trick for the pet hair, you can also try duct taping the area to pull out the hairs. Be advised though that this may leave marks on your seats. Instead, just rub your gloved hand over the affected area first, while the seats are wet (see next step).
Secondly, spray some cleaning solution on the seats. Go for your favorite store bought brand, or just make your own. Here are a couple of options:
- A cup of white vinegar + a tiny bit of dish soap + a gallon of hot water;
- Club soda — yep, club soda.
Use only around 4 sprays per area, as overdoing it can lead to unpleasant smells and mold under the cloth. Start brushing just after you sprayed, and work areas step by step. Avoid carpet brushes, as they can deteriorate the seats. Finally for this stage, pick up a clean, damp, microfiber towel and wipe away both the grime and the cleaning solution.
Thirdly, vacuum the seats again, but only if they’re still wet. This will get the dampness out, and help avoid potential mold.
If you have leather seats, you can go for plain soap (or dish soap) and water, or a special leather cleaning solution. If you really want to deep clean car seats, you can use a brush for leather too, but use only soft-bristled brushes, or you’ll damage them. Otherwise, go straight for the microfiber towel.
The Carpet And Those Hard To Reach Places
To reach those hard to get to places, you can get a bit inventive. Surely, a horse-hair brush works just fine for upholstery, but you could even go for Q-tips when talking about the vents. This can get a bit finicky, but it’s in your own interest to do it.
If you’re into old school carpets, they’re thankfully not particular about how you go about cleaning them. Just take out a stiff brush and start scrubbing, then use your handy vacuum from the previous phase. An alternative to scrubbing is taking it out and beating the bottom softly but rapidly. If you’re allergic to dust, definitely do not do this, as you’ll inhale a lot of it if you’re not careful. And of course, if you want to clean that carpet thoroughly, it’s time for some carpet shampooer.
If you’re not too attached to your carpet though, consider a vinyl/plastic one, as it is way easier to clean, though not as effective at wiping your shoe soles. If you already have one though, just blast it with some cold water, scrub it with plain soap and a sponge, rinse it out and let it dry.
Make Your Vehicle’s Windows Shine Again
If it’s needed, you can clean the interior of your windows at this point. However, clean the outside glass last, as it would only get further grime on it once you wash the car itself. One tip about cleaning windows is to take your car outside of the sun a bit before starting the cleaning process. This is especially true for our boiling climate, although you should be safe now that it’s winter time. If you get to work while the car is still hot, you will of course find it difficult to touch it, but the water and cleaner used will evaporate too fast as well.
The best way of cleaning your windows and windshield is to start with a dry microfiber cloth. If you don’t know what those are, they’re basically a towel-like cloth. The difference is that they have a lot of very tiny fibers spread over them, which are really good at picking up dust and muck. Only after doing this is it recommended to de-grease the surface with some rubbing alcohol. Otherwise, the dirt will just bunch up and spread everywhere, making your life more difficult. Finish up the job by wiping the windows with a microfiber towel in a circular motion. If you find any irregularities on your glass while washing it, such as cracks or chips, let us know at (480) 525-6554, and we’ll repair your auto auto glass for free!
Efficiently Cleaning The Car’s Exterior
Like we’ve already established, there’s a certain order when speaking about how to clean a car in an effective way. You most likely won’t have a high pressure hose for a car wash at home, but one isn’t really needed anyway.
First of all, you’ll want to focus on your wheels. Go for a cleaner that’s based on water; it’ll be less corrosive than those with concentrated chemicals. Spray it all over the surface, and scrub with a tire brush. If you want to go a few extra steps, it’s also beneficial to purchase a brake dust remover (this accumulates naturally through the grinding of the brake rotor on the brake pad) and spray it around the wheel at this point. Wait around 5 minutes; you’ll know it’s having an effect when the liquid turns purple-ish (it’s a sign that the dust particles have been removed). Proceed with scrubbing the rims (always top to bottom, because all of the muck falls down), rinse the wheel, and dry with a microfiber cloth (do keep separate microfiber cloths for the interior and the exterior).
When washing the car’s exterior, be extra-sure that all of your windows are tightly shut first, since you already cleaned the interior. For the cleaning itself, a homemade solution might not be best this time. Dish detergent can eat at your paint and strip away the wax, so pick your preferred specialized car soap. Start by rinsing away the main layer of dirt. For some tougher stains that just won’t come off, try some mineral spirits, as they won’t harm your finish. Go ahead with some good ol’ soapy rub-down at this point (a specialized washing mitt works great), and rinse it with a bucket of clean water at the end.
Although it seems counter-intuitive, water can actually leave spots on your vehicle. To avoid this scenario, use your by-now trusty microfiber towel, and dry your windows first (easier to form spots), and your car second. Remember to use circular motions for the windows.
And that’s about it! A lengthy process to be sure, but you can take care of your car the way that you see fit, and there’s no need to drive to town either.