How to Properly Detail Your Car


For many people, their vehicle is a status symbol.  Whether you have spent thousands of dollars or just a few hundred on your car, chances are you want to take it from clean to sparkling new. Before you begin, you are going to need to assemble a detailing kit so everything is near and within reach. You will need the following:

  • Bucket of soapy warm water
  • Hose (or source of clean water for rinsing)
  • Sponge
  • Chamois
  • Wax
  • Vacuum
  • Rags
  • Q-tips
  • Cleansers for carpet, upholstery, and windows
  • Surface protector
  • Toothbrush and small paint brush

Step One

Begin the cleaning process by removing all interior mats. Vacuum the floor and upholstery thoroughly, making sure to use any attachments necessary to get into small crevices between and underneath seats. Using as little moisture as possible to prevent mildew, use a toothbrush and cleaners to remove any stains on the floor or upholstery. Leave the doors open to allow the fabric to dry.

Step Two

Thoroughly wipe down your door jambs, interior paneled door, steering column, dashboard, center console, and any drink holders with a solution of soapy water. This will break down as the dirt and hard to remove grime. Use a variety of clothes, the q tips, and any brushes to carefully break up dust. Dry with a thick cloth. Use a surface protector and a lint free cloth on everything besides cloth or glass.

Step Three

Wipe down all interior windows using glass cleaner and a crumpled piece of newspaper. Be sure to get into all the corners of both your front and rear windshields.

Step Four

To clean the outside, begin with the wheels. Use a high pressure washer if it is available or the highest pressure available on your hose to try to break up hardened grime. Use a rag and soapy water to clean the rims and a toothbrush to clean around the lug nuts and between spokes. Be sure to rinse the wheels thoroughly.

Step Five

Change the water, add more soap and get a big sponge to clean the exterior of your car. Begin on the roof and slowly work downwards, washing small areas at a time. Continue to rinse off the soap to be sure you have cleaned everything properly. Use your tools to clean around tail lights, bumpers, grills, and around door handles and rinse. Move around the car trying to keep everything wet.

Step Six

When you’ve completed washing the car, get a clean chamois and dry off the car, being careful not to leave any streaks. Be sure to get any drops of water on mirrors, windshields, and between panels. You can now perform the wax according to the directions on the product.

Step Seven

Finish off the job by cleaning the exterior windows and mirrors using glass cleaner and newspaper again for a streak free shine.

Properly detailing your car is a tedious job and may take upwards of four to five hours to complete. While you can always pay someone to do the job for you, the pride you feel when you’ve done it yourself will make the next joy ride you take priceless.



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