Of all the regular maintenance we perform on our cars, keeping them clean is among the most frequent.
Whether it's trash that has a tendency to build up or just dust in the crevices, you've got to address it. And we've got some of our favorite car detailing tips to help you keep your car clean. Sure, it might not be as fundamentally important as keeping it running smoothly. But proper maintenance is a holistic proposition. Besides, who wants to give someone a ride in a cluttered car?
The best car detailing tips make a intricate job a bit less tedious.
A lot of drivers are satisfied taking their cars through a car wash a couple of times a month. They give it a quick vacuum and they're on their way. And for some situations, this is probably more than enough. If you're transporting a van load of kids around, for example, you might keep cleanliness in perspective.
But if you're driving a car you truly want to show off, you probably want to show it in its best light. Heck, for a night on the town you might want to get the minivan detailed!
Whatever reason you have to get in the nooks and crannies, there are plenty of methods. Some, we have found, work better than others. Whether you're trusting a professional or doing it yourself, we recommend the following steps.
We'll be the first to admit that a day out in the car getting all the trouble spots sounds dreadful. But then we started testing some of the car detailing tips the experts provided. And now we have a different outlook on the whole thing. It still takes a great deal of care and effort to do it right. Some of the most frustrating parts are much less so, however, with the tips below.
1. Start with a microfiber cloth.
Let's start with the basics. The tools you use when detailing your car are of utmost important. And the type of cloth you use is perhaps the most important among them.
We remember seeing our parents' generation out in the front yard with big sponges. Times have changed over the past several years, though. New types of weave have produced microfiber cloths and towels that are incredibly useful. If you use this type of fabric for multiple applications, you'll realize its versatility. The reasons we think it is optimal are many, but the most noticeable is its tendency to remain clean. Other types of cloths and sponges can pick up dust and grime much easier. Not only can this smudge the interior or exterior surfaces, it can cause ugly scratches.
They are also easy to wash and dry. We use them inside and out for fairly big surfaces. In fact, there are usually a few around at any given time, and in several useful sizes.
2. Wait until it's cool.
Nothing ruins a fresh wash like water spots. And even if you're using a great microfiber towel, you might not be fast enough.
One of the simplest car detailing tips we use cuts down on evaporation time. We like to wash our cars in the early morning or after sunset. When the temperature drops, you'll have longer to get your car dry and spot free.
It's also just nicer in general to avoid the heat of the day. We find that a nice leisurely clean in the evening can even be a time to relax a bit. Going to bed with the accomplishment of a freshly cleaned car can be its own reward. Then driving in it the next morning will remind you of why you put in the extra time.
3. Compressed air dusters are great for your vents.
You might already know that these handy dusters are good at getting in some tight corners. And we think it's a great tool to have on hand when detailing the center console and other narrow spaces.
But one of our car detailing tips gives compressed air a new purpose. If you want to refresh the air in your car, just use new air!
We like to take a can of compressed air to our air vents. Blowing them out regularly can keep the buildup at bay. And all of the stuff that gets lodged in the ventilation system can add up. If you have lingering odors in your car, it is probably at least in part because of this common problem. You will know if you need further attention. But we find that compressed air keeps the everything nice and maintained.
4. Mind the gaps -- and edges.
Car detailing tips will always emphasize the details. Whether you are working on the exterior or interior, it all comes together in the crevices. If the rest of your car is perfect, those minor flaws will only stick out more if not addressed.
Most of these are probably pretty obvious. Different vehicles have varying levels of intricate design. So some cars are much easier to detail given their simple, uncluttered detail. But there is one area on practically every vehicle that seems to get overlooked constantly. It's the top portion of your windows, and we know we've paid the price of forgetting about them.
While you're cleaning the windows, make sure to pay special attention to the top portion. This can easily attract gunk and grime. Then, all you have to do is put down the window and it's smeared along the glass. So clean it properly and make sure it's completely dry. Then you can let in the breeze without fear of unsightly residue.
5. Push your seats to the limit.
Even with automotive vacuums, it can be hard to reach under vehicle seats. So one of our favorite car detailing tips is an easy fix. Most cars, even with manually adjustable seats, move quite a long distance. Using this to your advantage can be a big help.
Push them as far forward as possible and get everything from the back half of the carpet. Then make sure they're as far back as they can get before you take on the front floorboards.
While we're talking about vacuuming, we'll end with a bonus suggestion. We like to use a balloon or latex glove on the carpet to get some static electricity flowing. This helps the dirt rise to the top instead of getting trapped further within the fibers. Then the bristles of your vacuum should pick everything up much more efficiently.
It might be easier to pay an expert, but a few car detailing tips will make you feel like a pro.
We've included several of our favorites in the list above. Try them out and be sure to add a few of your own strategies into the mix.
If you enjoyed our list, share it with the auto enthusiasts in your life. And leave us a comment below with your favorite car detailing tips.
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