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DIY Tips To Clean Your Car

Updated on February 7, 2016

The best way to wash your car is not as your local car wash, but on your own...

DIY Tips To Clean Your Car


The Conventional Car wash

  1. To clean the car seats, dashboard and center console: Throw trash into a garbage bag. Clean the dashboard, center console, inside door pockets, steering wheel and gearshift using wipes. Spray air-conditioner treatment into the air vents below the windshield, and let sit. Clean the leather seats with a few wipes. Wrap a wipe around the end of a flat-head screwdriver and clean all buttons and switches on the dashboard. Spritz the cup holders with glass cleaner and let sit. Wipe out the cup holders with paper towels.
  2. Remove dirt from the carpet and upholstery: Using an air compressor, blow dirt from every nook and corner of your car floor to the middle of the carpet. Use a stiff brush to loosen dirt from the carpet and upholstery. Vacuum the floor with the bare hose of a hand vac. Do not attach a tool. Vacuum the seat upholstery and foot wells, shifting the front seat fully forward, then back, to hit every spot. Return the seats to their original positions.
  3. Cleaning the duct system: If your car has a cabin air filter, either get it changed or blow the dust out. If you have tried your hands on duct cleaning, then only make an attempt to blow the dust and grime out of the heating and air-conditioning ductwork, using a small portable air compressor.
  4. To clean the tires: Remove the dirt and oil stains from the wheels using a degreaser. Do not use household detergents, as they can damage the paint. Use a non-acid based tire cleaner to protect the bare alloy of the wheels from getting oxidized.
  5. The actual carwash process: For this you require a car wash liquid from a trusted brand, a 4-5 gallon plastic bucket, a quality sponge or a wash mit that is less likely to fall to the ground and collect the abrasive dust you just rinsed off your car, a bug and tar remover, and a rubber blade squeegee for drying. Use of a dishwashing detergent gets the car clean, but strips the protective wax coatings, exposing the vehicle to possible nicks, scratches, and stains. Stay away from powdered carwash detergents, as the undissolved crystals can scratch. Start in a cool and shaded area out of direct sunlight to avoid the products getting evaporated. Pay special attention to the area under the car, to knock off large pieces of dirt and road grime where possible. Bird droppings and other pollutants settle on the paint, and after a while can saturate through the wax and clear coatings into the color coat underneath. Paint cleaners remove the wax and the top layer of the paint taking away the unwanted bits that have bonded to the paint. They also remove small scratches from the car. Or you can even opt for a paint cleaning clay lubricated with a liquid cleaner wax. Rub a small block of it on the exterior of the metallic body of your vehicle. For fresh glue stains, you can use the sticker that you took off to remove much of the residue. Just keep blotting the sticky sole of the older sticker against the glue remaining on the bodywork.The next step would be using an oscillating polish machine to refine your paint, and then around two coats of wax. You can use paste wax or liquid to evenly coat the entire paint. The wax forms a protective layer that wears over time but during that phase, will absorb small scratches and stains before they get to the paint.
  6. And finally the glasses: Start your glass cleaning process using detailing clay in case your window glasses are badly stained. Although the detailing clay works well, it tends to get trapped in the pits of older glasses. Once trapped, it is very difficult to remove and interferes with clarity. Ammonia-based cleaning liquid is bad for the vinyl upholstery and the instrument panel. Use a glass cleaner without ammonia to buff the glasses with a microfiber cloth or clean using an elastrofoam block. Lightly glide the cloth over the area to be cleaned in a back and forth motion. To reach the inside of the rear window, use the back of your hand along with the cloth. This way, you can get much farther down the glass. Roll the side windows down slightly that you can get at the top edges. After several passes over the area, dry with a microfiber polishing towel.

Tips To Clean Your Car Without Water

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, drivers who lather up their vehicles at least once every month (the chronic car washers) with potentially toxic cleaning products that are hosed off using on an average 80-160 gallons of fresh water, cause harm to the ecosystem as the water ultimately drains directly into the ocean. So a more environment-friendly waterless carwash is preferred.

Steps for a water-free carwash:

  1. Spray waterless car wash product on the vehicle in sections, beginning with the front quarter panels and hood, and working down and towards the back of your vehicle.
  2. Wipe using clean sections of microfiber towels folded in quarters.
  3. Wash wheels last using towels that were dirtied from washing your vehicle's metallic body.


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    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      3 years ago from India

      any tip for removing glue stain from the car?


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