Professional detailing is expensive. Doing it on your own can save you money and is a straightforward deal. With most of the tools likely to be in your possession, keeping your car close to its original state can increase its resale value considerably.
Cleaning materials and tools
If you possess a good vacuum cleaner and a mixed bag of cleaning products, you’re almost there. Add on towels, brushes, sponges and rags and you are ready to get cracking.
Vacuum Cleaner: One with extension hose and other attachments will be preferred, those that clean carpets and difficult to reach corners and nooks. Have a steam cleaner? Perfect,then.
Chemical cleaners: Though likely that you have all those to clean the variety of materials inside your car- vinyl, plastic, leather et al- recheck and load a lot of the cleaning products.
Wiping and Polishing material: A bouquet of detailing accessories, including towels and rags for scrubbing, cleaning and polishing must be at your disposal. A microfiber cloth is a must to prevent scratches. Before you get going, make sure that the buffing materials are free of chemicals.
Applicators and brushes: To reach out to the different corners of your vehicles- from the air vents to the underside of seats- brushes of different sizes are required. Take care to use the right one at the right place for best results.
Ensure that cleaning products that you use are meant for your cars surface. Test in a hidden area first.
Carpets and Floor Mats
You could start from here as they are the ones which are dirtiest. But if the rest of the interior, including seats and dash, has much to be cleaned and gives away dirt, then the flooring has to be re done. Remove all the junk that may have accumulated inside. Slide the seats back and forth to get the best out.
Take off the floor mats and shake them vigorously. Dirt can clog in the groves of these mats. Try loosening with a brush if they are hard. Vacuum clean and then spray water from a powerful jet and then dry them. If you use a detergent make sure that the solution doesn’t make the mats slippery.
Vacuum clean the carpet thoroughly, using brushes and other attachments to tidy even the small holes and the places around the seats.
A steam cleaning machine is ideal to clean a carpet, a hand- held one if manageable. Else, many other carpet cleaning products are available, foam variety being a good choice.
The process for most of the products is spraying with a brush that is medium stiff, after applying grease to the problem areas. Exercise care to not wet the carpet much as moulds could grow. In case of saturation, use an absorbent to blot and dry.
Stronger stains may need the use of specialized cleaning products. ------ can make qualitative difference. If some guy has been crazy enough to let chewed gum on the carpet, scrub with ice cubes till it turns brittle and detach.
Leather, Vinyl and cloth being the main ones used for the seats, each requires a different treatment. Commonly, a good round of vacuum cleaning gets dirt off them to go ahead with putting on the cleaning compound.
Leather is appealing, yet has a drawback that it is a tough job to keep it clean and looking natural. Over a period of time dirt builds up on the surface and even changes its lighter colour to a rather shady one. A good cleaning product can handle this issue well.
Leather cleaning compounds must be sprayed to the surface and worked upon by rubbing with a towel, flipping sides often. Once done with it, dry with microfiber cloth.
Allow time to dry completely, a couple of hours usually. Apply conditioner to keep leather graceful. Washing and conditioning is possible with a 2 in 1 product like KochChemie Leatherstar.
Unlike leather, vinyl is easy to clean and many products can do the job, even a glass cleaner. Use something that is compatible with vinyl spray with the cleaner and wipe with a towel. Don’t use it on any other material on which it may cause damage. Wipe down the seats with another cloth. In about an hour the vinyl seats should be ready.
Ask yourself if it is the tough stains that you have to handle or is a general cleaning that you require. The answer will decide the type of product or the method you may have to use.
A multipurpose upholstery cleaner like KochChemie Greesntar can do a good job. A specialized stain remover like dirt eraser will be required if stains are the problem. If an odour removal spray is on your mind, try Dustoff Appel.
When you have to be against tough stains on cloth, be cautious. Increased volume of liquid cleaners may dampen and spoil the surface, without drying easily. To address this problem, sprinkle a dash of baking soda on the surface and vacuum clean after some time. The longer you allow the baking soda to stay, the better the freshness.
Windows and Mirrors
A microfiber cloth plus a glass cleaner can give your glass surfaces a sparkle. Ensure not to confuse gauge covers that are plastic, with glass.
With tinted windows, you’ve got to be more careful, as a bit of the tinting is a part of the glass while the rest may be a sheet applied on the glass surface. The latter is easy to get damaged by cleaning products. So, in case of a doubt, reach out to the vendor who did the tinting.
While you clean the windows and mirrors spray cleaner on the scrubber rather than on the glass. This helps in reducing streaking. It may also prevent aerosols from damaging other surfaces.
Roll down your windows in part and have a look at the portion-about a quarter inch on top- usually neglected in the cleaning process. Give it a good wipe, by doing a job of a pro.
With streaks it could be confusing to identify the surface, whether it is the outside or the inside. So while you wipe one side horizontally, carry out wiping vertically on the other to say good bye to streaks.
It looks cluttered and may seem difficult to clean, courtesy the panel, knobs, switches vents and so on. It is an area that we keep looking at often. Cleaning is easy with the correct tools.
One of the most difficult areas to clean, the dashboard, made of vinyl, leather or anything else, can drive you nuts. The windshield angle in some vehicles may create tough to reach areas on the dash, which can be the worst in terms of dust.
Vacuum clean thoroughly before applying the polishing compound. You may also want to apply a dressing apt for the material to prevent fading or cracking by exposure to sunlight.
Dust on the console, consisting of an array of buttons and controls, often tests you patience. It can get into any small crack or groove. A simple trick can make the cleaning job easy. To get rid of dirt on the tightest spots, take the thinnest cloth possible on a fine and sharp screw driver tip and reach out to those areas. Cotton swabs too can get the job done.
They may not be difficult to clean, but the process can be tedious because of multiple parts. Proper tools- a soft and long bristle brush- and a container of compressed air can clean the dusty vents fast. Use the brush to wipe off as much dust from the grill as you can and then fire a couple of jets of air from the container onto the vents. Phew. Your job is done.
They are of the same material, in most cases, as the upholstery, the seats or the dash board. The same products and method can be applied here too. The open cup holders and other compartments on the door panels are store houses of dust. Before using a chemical, remove everything that could be, with your hands. Vacuum clean well, later.
Nagging odours can prove difficult to remove, especially if they are of cigarette smoke or pets. We do have excellent odour removal products available like ---------.
Before you get one, confirm that the source of the odour is out of the vehicle; else the exercise would be futile because the odour can’t be killed by even the best aroma. If you identify that the upholstery or carpet emanates the odour, use the odour removal product copiously. They are best at taking care of even the most unpleasant odour.
Smoking and travel with pets make odour recurrent. Hang an aromatic deodourizer on the rear view mirror gives good results.
An old trick, a small plastic container, filled with charcoal pieces, cut on the lid by half an inch and placed under the car seat without being noticed, is a good idea. It absorbs and neutralizes the filthy odours, putting off the need of a car deodourizer which only covers up unpleasant smell.
Unless you are someone who is always behind your wheel, a detailing once in six to eight months would be a fair deal. The first detailing will take longer, especially if the car hasn’t been cleaned for long. Detailing at regular intervals ensures the new and classy look for your car with a higher resale value.
Do you have anything to share on detailing? We will be happy to listen to you.
1 - KochChemie Greenstar
2 - KochChemie Gummifix
3 - KochChemie Leatherstar
4 - KochChemie Speed Glass Cleaner
5 - Poshlyf Microfiber