It’s so exciting buying and driving your very own car, and even if you were bought up to clean your parents’ cars, you will need to take a closer look at what’s involved to extend the condition and/or resale value while looking good at the same time.
The real bonus to cleaning your own car is getting to know your car on a more personal level. Sure you enjoy the feel and power of driving, while getting to know all the controls, buttons, and switches, but it’s now time to inspect the car while at the same time cleaning it. You will get to know all the imperfections to the paintwork, any minor rips to the trim or boot linings, nicks to the vinyl dash and console, small chips or scratches on the windows, small car park dents in the doors, and any squeaking when opening door and boot hinges.
With that said, let’s check out the top do-it-yourself car cleaning essentials, and read part two on the exterior and to learn further tips on ensuring the longevity of your cars condition.
Think about it. While the exterior of your car is exposed to the elements, tree sap and bird poop, the interior is constantly exposed to trapped air particles and grime which attach themselves to the interior windscreen and windows including hair products, germs and bacteria transferred from your hands onto the steering wheel and other working components of the car (such as the seatbelts, handbrake, gearstick, rear view mirror, car stereo, sun visor, and door handles), as well as food, drink spills and stains. Unexpected vomiting, body fluids, or cuts can also end up on seat fabrics and carpets. Pets will leave their mark also. These are the reasons why it’s essential to clean your cars’ interior on a regular basis.
We all know how much junk ends up in the car, so when it comes time to clean it, get rid of all rubbish, put items that belong in the house back in the house, and put any dirty clothing, towels, or rags in the wash. If you have a collection of small soft toys along your dashboard, put them in the wash also. Anything you keep in the car can be put aside until you finish, then put back where they should go.
2. Light Brushing
Get yourself a cheap pack of varying sized art brushes, make-up brushes, or hair color brushes. Use wider brushes for general sweeping over the dashboard, along the bottom of the windows, and getting into the door pockets to expel loose dirt, dust, and hair. Use a smaller brush for cleaning out air vents, around knobs and buttons, and getting into other small compartments.
3. Suck it Up!
Get the vacuum and it’s unique attachments that get into slim or small areas like between the seats and center console or down the back of the seats. Start at the top and work down including those door pockets. Be thorough as there are a multitude of nasties including dead skin cells, dried or rotting food remnants, hair, and everything brought in by your shoes or feet (dirt, grass, sand, gum, poop, etc). Make sure you move the front seats forward to get right under to get to any hidden surprises, and put down the rear seats to get to where the seat locks in. Don’t forget to do the trunk, including under the mat around the spare tire.
4. The Wipe Down
Get yourself a bucket of lukewarm water with a very mild detergent and lint-free cloth, and work over all dash, console, glove box, steering wheel, sun visors, doors, and door frames. If you have leather seats, rub down with leather cleaner and protectant to avoid cracks and tears.
5. Window Finish
The front windscreen is the worst culprit when it comes to getting dirty. Why? Because it’s a combination of vinyl and plastic oils evaporating from the dashboard onto the windscreen from sun exposure, breathing and sneezing residue from the driver and passenger, greasy protectant products used on the dashboard, and if you or your passengers smoke, then that residue also sticks to the windscreen. There are plenty of videos on how to clean the windscreen, but using microfiber cloths, an isopropyl rubbing alcohol (a good way to get the grime off), and finish with your favorite window cleaner is a good place to start. Ensure you clean sun visor mirrors, the rear view mirror, and roll down door windows to clean the top edges as they collect grime, dirt, arm grease and fingerprints.
Don’t forget to read the accompanying article ‘Top DIY Car Cleaning Essentials – The Exterior’ for the complete car overhaul.