Clean It Up: The Ultimate Guide to Car Detailing

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Is your car currently a total mess? If so, join the club! Unfortunately, professional car detailing can be expensive.

The good news is that there are tricks you can learn from the pros to detail your car yourself!

If you’ve been wanting to give your car the love and attention it deserves and make it look as good as new, this article can help.

Keeping reading as we take a look at some important auto detailing tips that will save you some cash while still getting the job done right.

Tips the Pros Know

Is there any better feeling than having your car freshly detailed? Well, it’s easier than you think to detail your car like the pros, and we are here to show you the tips to make it happen.

Soap, Buckets, Wash Mitt

Believe it or not, when it comes time to wash your car, a lot of people use the wrong supplies. Even the basics are important.

Our first important tip is to steer clear of dishwashing liquid. That’s right, not all soap is intended for the same purposes. That bottle of Dawn under the kitchen sink might be great for getting caked-on lasagna off your fine china, but it won’t give your car the shine it deserves.

Be sure to use a soap intended especially for use on car paint. You don’t need to spend more than a few dollars, but the right product will make all the difference.

The next tip is to use a microfiber car wash mitt rather than a sponge.

This is a rookie mistake many people make. The pros use microfiber mitts because the girt from the car more easily falls out of the mitt when rinsed, whereas a sponge will hold on to it.

Next up, you’ll need two buckets, one for soapy water and the other for rinse water.

When you scrub your car, you’ll want to dunk the dirty mitt into the rinse water after each swipe to dislodge the dirt and grit, then dunk it back in the soapy water to get ready for the next swipe across the paint. This process also helps to keep your soapy water clean.

See, you’re learning something new already!

Dry with a Microfiber Towel

Now we move on to rinsing and drying your car. Once you’ve rinsed the car with clean water, you’ll want to dry it with a microfiber towel.

That’s right, forget the chamois. This is because a chamois might do a good job of soaking up water, but it won’t collect any grit left on the surface of your car.

A microfiber towel, on the other hand, will collect the girt so that those abrasive particles can’t scratch the paint while the surface is waxed and buffed.

Polishing the Paint

So, a couple of things here.

First, be sure to remove minor scratches before polishing. That’s right.

Keep in mind that while polishing increases the shine, it won’t remove scratches. Whereas, when scratches are removed first, you’ll get even more shine from the polish. Shazam!

The next trick of the trade is to invest in a dual-action polisher. We aren’t talking about a high-speed buffer. No, this is a different animal. 

Polishers run at lower speeds and oscillate as they rotate. Buffers, on the other hand, run at higher speeds and tend to burn paint off the car if held in one spot too long. 

Here’s a bonus tip: Be sure to apply the polish to the machine’s pad, then use the pad to wipe the polish onto the paint. Otherwise, when you activate the polisher, you’ll end up flinging polish everywhere except where you need it.

If you’re curious about common body shop repair for cars, read more here.

Wax and Wipe

Once you’re done polishing, apply synthetic wax in small sections.

Use the wax applicator that comes with the wax to make sure it goes on smoothly and evenly. Now use a clean microfiber towel to remove the wax haze. 

Detailing the Inside of the Car

Now that we’ve moved inside the car, there are a few important tips to help it look the way the pros do it. You’ll need a shop vac and some clean nylon brushes.

Start at the Top

This is so easy and obvious, yet it makes all the difference.

When cleaning the interior, always start at the top. This means never start with the carpet. After all, as you work your way down, dirt and grit from the upper levels will fall to the floor. 

Vacuum as You Go

As you clean each area with a brush, hold the shop vac wand near the brush to suck up the crud you’re clearing away. Otherwise, you’ll just be making a bigger mess on the floor to clean up later.

Brush and Vacuum the Carpet

Sure, you can just go over the carpet with the vacuum, but this will leave a lot of dirt behind. To remove the deep stuff, use a brush as to agitate the carpet to bring the dirt particles to the surface. 

Polishing the Dash

To protect the dash, use a non-silicone matte finish vinyl protectant. Keep in mind that a silicone dashboard protectant will leave a slick film, which will end up attracting more dust. The pros use non-silicone matte finish protectants because it looks great and also reduces glare.

Cleaning the Glass Last

The wisdom of not cleaning your windows before the dashboard is to avoid having to clean them again afterward. The pros always save the glass for last, which removes the chances any overspray from the vinyl treatment and keeps the windows looking their very best!

Car Detailing That Will Impress the Professionals

Remember, you don’t have to shell out big bucks to get car detailing results that are just as good as the pros.

After all, car detailing prices can be crazy expensive. With the help of this article you can save serious cash and never leave the comfort of home.

Click here to see 5 secrets for maintaining your car’s matte paint job.