Learn How to Detail Your Car Yourself

October 3rd, 2017 by

Wiping Car

You probably already know how to wash your car – soap, rinse, dry – easy! How about detailing? Learning how to detail your car means you can apply the highest level of attention for unbelievable results. Finding a professional detailer is not difficult, but it is quite expensive. Consider doing it on your own to save big bucks and give yourself a huge sense of accomplishment.

Preparation is Everything

Before you begin, make sure you have all the supplies you need and four to eight hours to get it done. Use this handy checklist:

  • Buckets
  • Hose/Water
  • Soap
  • Sponges
  • Stiff Cleaning Brush
  • Chamois/Microfiber Cloths/Rags/Towels
  • Car Wax
  • Small Brushes (Toothbrushes/Paintbrushes)
  • Q-Tips/Cotton
  • Plastic Spray Bottle
  • Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner With Multiple Attachments
  • Canned Air
  • All-Purpose Cleaner
  • Carpet/Upholstery Cleaner
  • Vinyl/Leather Surface Protector

Interior Comes First

Always begin with the inside of your car so you don’t accidentally mess up the freshly-cleaned exterior. The carpets are a great place to start, because you want them to have time to dry.

  • Carpets – Vacuum well, and attack any stains with the carpet cleaner. Clean floor mats with a stiff brush and hose them off. Let carpets and mats dry completely, and use a minimal amount of moisture to avoid getting mildew later.
  • Upholstery – Vacuum seating areas thoroughly, using attachments to get into all the crevices. A plastic knife covered with a thin cloth works wonders for scraping out crusty debris, and masking tape or a lint roller can take off the pet hair. Remove stains with upholstery cleaner, and leave the car doors open so the seats can dry thoroughly.
  • Floors – Vacuum the floors, using attachments to reach hidden areas. If you have ground-in dirt or other tough stains, use the stiff brush and a strong mix of detergent and water to scrub them out. Vacuum with the wet vac, and then let everything dry with the doors open.
  • Doors – Use a soapy solution on plastic or metal door interiors. Small tools like brushes and Q-tips will remove built-up debris from cracks and crevices and remove stains. Dry everything with a thick cloth or rag.
  • Dashboard – Brushes, rags, and Q-tips are ideal for getting the dashboard clean. Just apply cleaning solution onto the tool, then carefully clean all the areas. You can use canned air to blow into the small cracks and vents to get the hard-to-reach dust. Once again, dry everything.
  • Steering Wheel Column – A soapy solution can remove accumulated dust and any stains. Dry with a rag, and then apply surface protector for that nice shine or matte finish.
  • Center Console – This is a spot that gets a lot of use and abuse, like coffee spills and pen marks. All of the small tools will work well in this area. First apply the cleaning solution, then follow with a dry rag to remove all moisture.
  • Windows – The soapy solution or glass cleaner on your windows is the final step. Clean the insides well, and the dry completely to remove any streaking.

Next Up: Outside

Compared to the interior, detailing the exterior almost seems easy. Clean your wheels first with a non-detergent soapy solution or specialized tire cleaner. A stiff brush and pressure hose can help get them extra-clean. To clean the body next, change the water in the bucket and use fresh rags. Starting with the roof first, wash small areas at a time to prevent them from drying too quickly. Just as you did inside, utilize small brushes and tools to take care of smaller areas like the indents in door handles and side mirrors. Keep rinsing so everything stays wet.

When you’ve cleaned the whole body of the vehicle, dry it with clean chamois rags or cotton cloths. Your small tools can help you eliminate water from any cracks and window wells. If you want to wax your car, that’s the next step, followed by the windows. Use your window cleaner, then dry them completely with soft rags or newsprint so there are no streaks.

Nothing But the Best

Once you detail your vehicle once, you’ll never want to settle for a plain old car wash again. Learning how to detail your car yourself will make it more cost-effective, and you’ll have that feeling of pride that comes with doing something right. At Vin Devers Autohaus of Sylvania, we know that feeling well. Our service department is 100% focused on quality, efficiency, and making sure you’re 100% satisfied with your routine maintenance and other service needs. Contact us today!

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