Make your car shine in 10 easy steps
Car wash tips
You can go through a car wash, of course. But it won’t match the results you get when you wash your car by hand. Here are our tips to help you clean your car like a pro:
Start with the outside:
1. Rinse off the grime
Start by giving the entire vehicle a good soaking to remove grime. Don’t forget the tires and rims and under the vehicle.
2. Wash with a sponge or soft cloth
Avoid abrasive kitchen sponges, as they can damage the paint. And use a non-abrasive soap designed for car washing rather than dishwashing soap, which can dull the paint finish and strip the wax. Working from top to bottom, wash in small sections and rinse the sponge frequently, in case it has picked up any fine grains of sand that could scratch the paint.
3. Dry with a chamois cloth
To avoid leaving spots on the finish, rub down the clean, wet car with a chamois cloth.
4. Apply car wax
When your car is dry, apply wax or sealant to the painted finish with a microfibre cloth for a deep shine without smears or streaks. Spray-on wax can be applied to a wet or dry vehicle.
5. Avoid the sun
Although it’s tempting to wash your car on a sunny day outside, it’s best to choose a shady spot because UV rays from the sun, combined with cleansers, could damage your vehicle’s finish.
Now, clean the inside:
6. Clear out the clutter
Remove garbage, loose change and junk from the glove box, storage bins, and door panels.
7. Dust and disinfect
You’d be amazed at the amount of dirt and germs inside your car. The dirtiest spots are the ones you touch most often: steering wheel, door handles and cup holders.
Remove spills and bacteria from your dashboard and interior trim with a multi-use auto cleaner, disinfectant wipes, or simply a warm, damp cloth and mild cleanser. Use compressed air to blast crumbs and other debris out of hard-to-reach crevices. Wipe-away grimy fingerprints on LCD and navigation screens. Avoid using ammonia-based (Windex-type) cleaners, as they can damage plastic surfaces.
8. Clean carpets and seat upholstery
Vacuum under the mats, between the seat crevices, and under child car seats. Don't forget the trunk! Stubborn salt stains on the floor mats? An industrial-strength carpet and upholstery cleaner with foaming action is perfect for carpet and car mats. It’s also good for lifting ground-in stains from grease, oil and mud. Or, you could use a vinegar-and-water solution as an eco-friendly alternative. Take advantage of a sunny spring day to hang the mats on the clothesline.
9. Make your windows shine
Restore the shine both inside and out using ammonia-free automotive glass cleaner or a mix of 50% water and 50% vinegar. Remember that ammonia-based cleaners can damage tinted windows. Tip: Fold a newspaper in four and wipe away dirt from the windows—you’ll get a clean, streak-free shine every time.
10. Treat leather seats
Preserve your leather seats with a leather cleaner using a clean terry cloth towel. Afterwards, condition the leather. Leave it on for a few minutes and buff it to a dry finish. To quickly spruce up leather seats, simply use a cloth soaked in warm water.
After a winter’s worth of salt, gravel and dust, your vehicle needs plenty of TLC in the spring. With these simple car wash tips—and a little elbow grease—your car will be shining like new in no time!
For more on this topic, visit:
The Personal refers to The Personal General Insurance Inc. in Quebec and The Personal Insurance Company in all other provinces and territories.
The information and advice in this article are provided for informational purposes only. The Personal shall not be liable for any damages arising from any reliance upon such information or advice.