Cleaning your vehicle is a basic task for any car owner. While it’s also an option to take your car to the cleaners every now and then, it’s always a good idea to know how this is done so you can take care of the task on your own if you need a quick cleaning or if you just want to save some money. With that said, here is an easy step-by-step guide on how to clean your car:
- Park your car in a shaded area. First things first – park your car in an area that’s protected from the elements. This is important for a number of reasons. First, you’ll be able to take a better look at your car if it’s not under the glare of the sun, plus you’ll probably be more comfortable working in a shaded area. Second, the high temperature will cause soapy water to dry faster, leading to stains and marks on your car exterior. Third, there’s nothing more annoying than finishing a meticulous washing before having it spoiled by rain or bird droppings.
- Make sure you have everything you need.Before splashing water on anything, have everything you need to clean your car close at hand. A carwash requires more than just your car and a bucket of sudsy water. Some of the essential items that should be in your car cleaning kit are: a microfiber cleaning cloth, a sponge, a car cleanser/detergent, a dusting brush, and a shop vacuum. Aside from these, you also have to prepare dry towels for drying your car. If you’re trying to conserve water, you can use a bucket or two instead of a hose and simply refill these when the water runs out.
- Start with a gentle rinse.Start things off by giving your car’s exterior a complete and total rinse, either with a hose or with a bucket. This prepares your car for proper washing by removing dust and small debris from the exterior and softening dirt and grime buildups. Still, don’t try to use the hose or water to knock bigger debris off your car; pebbles, branches, and leaves can cause micro-abrasions on the car surface and damage the car exterior.
- Lather up your car gently with a sponge and car detergent.Now that you have your car all prepped for cleaning, it’s time to do the actual work. Work up a lather with your sponge and car detergent and start scrubbing your car clean, keeping in mind not to exert too much pressure on the sponge. While a car’s paintwork is built to last, heavy scrubbing can cause the sheen to dull in spots. Also, make sure to scrub in an up and down movement. Scrubbing in a circular fashion can cause unattractive swirl marks on your car.
- Rinse again and dry with your microfiber cloth.Letting your wet, freshly-washed car simply sit and air-dry is one of the worst things you can do, as the water will indeed dry but it will also leave watermarks and streaks all over the car exterior. Use a microfiber cloth towel to dry it, blotting out the water instead of wiping it off.
- Don’t forget the tires.Your car’s tires will definitely get dirty the next time you hit the road, but that is not a reason to not clean them at all. Use the same steps we used in cleaning your car’s bodywork: rinsing, lathering, rinsing again, and drying. Just make sure to do them separately, as your sponge may catch debris from the tires, which could scratch your car’s paint if you try to do them at the same time.
- Dust and vacuum the interior.Now that you’ve cleaned the outside, the inside of your car will also need your attention. Pull out the floor mats and give them a careful wash and rinse, dust the seats and dashboard, have the covers washed if they look like they need it. Vacuum the floors clear of detritus as well.
There you have it, 7 steps to cleaning your car. While it may sound like a lot of work, the payoff – a car that looks just as good as it did the moment you bought it – will always be worth it.