How to Detail Your Car (and Really Enjoy Doing It)

How to Detail Your Car

When you drive around in a sparkling, clean car, you feel like a million dollars! So knowing how to detail your car is a handy skill to have because not only will you look great (because your car looks great), but you’ll also save lots of money on paying professionals to do it for you.

We’ll also give you some fantastic suggestions on how to detail your car the most enjoyable way possible. Read on!

Love your car, inside and out

Is your car the one with fast food wrappers on the floor, a dashboard so dusty you can’t see the time on the clock and pet hairs all over the seats? Is yours the one in the carpark with mud all over the bottom, bird droppings on the roof and cat paw prints on the bonnet?

Ok, today’s the day to detail your car and get it back to pristine condition. If you’re going to do a good job and clean it inside and out, it’s best to start with the inside because you don’t want residual water entering after you wash it.

Clean out all debris, rubbish and mystery items

If you haven’t cleaned your car in some time, you’re bound to find items that you’ve not seen for a while. It could turn up that jacket you thought you’d loaned to someone or the earring you thought you’d lost. Clear out all rubbish, remove any items that really don’t need to be in the car and tidy the glove box, centre console, door pockets and back-of-seat pockets. Removing used tissues, wet wipes and napkins will also relieve your car’s interior of unnecessary bacteria. Also remove the floor mats and vacuum well. If they are rubber, and not carpet, hose them down when you wash the car.

Start with a comprehensive vacuuming

Using the crevice tool on your vacuum, clean the seats from top to bottom, making sure to get into the part where the back meets the seat. Next, take the brush attachment and vacuum the dashboard, console and door interiors. Go over every carpeted surface of the interior, including the boot. Move the seats forwards and backwards to make sure you target every inch.

Wipe clean the interior surfaces

Take a clean, damp cloth and wipe all the non-fabric surfaces of the car’s interior. This includes inside the cup holders and glovebox. You may want to use a rubber, vinyl and plastic protection product for greater shine and to protect the surfaces from the sun’s rays. However, avoid using any product which may make your steering wheel slippery. It’s also important to wipe clean the door jambs but this is where you’ll use a damp old rag.

Make the windows sparkle on the inside

When you clean the windows, you can use a commercial window cleaning product or you can simply make up a solution of white vinegar and water. It’s important to use a lint-free cloth (preferably microfibre) that is completely clean or you’ll end up with ‘fuzzy’ windows.

Getting your car’s sparkle on

Before you even start, make sure your car is parked on an appropriate surface (adequate drainage, preferably flat) and the windows are all shut tight. Now take two buckets, one for the detergent solution and the other for the clean water. Assemble everything else you’ll need including a cleaning mitt, the hose if you are using one, and two clean microfibre cloths (one to use damp and one to use dry). You may also want to use a brush that you keep specifically for detailing your car, that you can use to coax dirt from under the chassis and in the wheel arches. If your car has squashed bugs on it from driving at night, you may need a commercial bug and tar remover.

When washing your car, start from the roof and work your way down because that’s the direction in which the dirt and dirty water will travel. Remember to raise the windscreen wipers to clean them and clean under them. Do one section at a time because if you allow soapy water to dry, it will ruin the results. Wash, rinse, wash, rinse, wash, rinse … once you get a system going, it’ll be easy to see where you’ve cleaned and this will motivate you to get the whole car looking spectacular.

Once the car has been washed, go over it with your microfibre cloth to dry it and avoid the chance of any water spots forming and ruining the finish. Clean the windows with a dry microfibre cloth.

Give the tyres extra special attention

Your tyres will come up looking new again if you dress them with a commercial tyre black product. You can use the same kind of product on your rubber car mats and mud flaps as well.

DIY wax, buff and polish

You could pay good money to have a professional detail your car, or you could pay less and hire car polishing equipment to do it yourself at home. They come with a lambswool buffing pad that will bring up your car’s paintwork to its glorious, shiny best.

Get to the heart of the matter

If you really want to show your car some tender loving care, then you might like to clean under the bonnet as well. The best way to do this is with a high pressure hose. If you don’t have one at home, you can go to a car wash facility and pay a small fee to use theirs.

How to really enjoy spending time detailing your car

Maybe you don’t really like the idea of spending a few hours detailing your car. You can make it extra pleasant by putting on some music and turning up the volume, inviting friends over to help.

Why not have a few friends bring their own cars over and you can all co-operate with each other, share products and know-how and swap the jobs you don’t like with those you do. Buy some sausages, get the barbecue out and make a day of it!

Now that’s how to detail your car!

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