Aside from aesthetic benefits, detailing also contributes to the long-term health of your vehicle. Contaminants like tree sap and road tar can cause damage if left unchecked.
Detailers take special care to condition the dashboard, clean vinyl surfaces, and sanitize air vents. They also use specialized tools and supplies. They use a car detailing business management app to manage their packages, pricing, estimates, and invoices. Click Here to learn more.
Car detailing involves a lot more than just cleaning the exterior. The interior of your vehicle is where you spend the most time, and it needs to be cleaned as regularly as the outside. Start by vacuuming the carpet and seats, then move on to cleaning the dashboard, door panels, and other components. You’ll also want to remove and wash the floor mats, if they’re removable, as well as dust the nooks and crannies of your car.
Use a mild liquid soap with water to clean most surfaces in your vehicle, except glass. Avoid using a harsh detergent or dishwashing liquid as these can dry out leather and vinyl upholstery, and may damage paint. Professional detailers often use cleaners specifically designed for cars, but you can buy a mild household soap at most stores. Test any interior cleaners on an inconspicuous area to make sure they won’t affect the color or texture of your car’s upholstery.
Most DIYers begin their interior car detailing by shampooing the carpet. This actually makes it dirtier and more difficult to clean, so you’re better off starting with the upper surfaces like the dash, console, and door panels. If you need to protect the surface of your dashboard from future scratches, consider a non-silicone spray. Silicone sprays leave a glossy film on your dashboard that attracts more dust and causes glare. The best option is a matte finish protectant that looks just as good as the original dash, but will not cause glare or reflect more dirt in your windshield.
There’s a lot to clean on the inside of a car, and many things, like bugs, tar, and dirt, will end up on the windshield. Limiting exposure to these contaminants will lesson how often the windshield needs a deep clean, but it’s impossible to avoid them altogether.
The first step to cleaning the windshield is spraying it with diluted glass cleaner. Apply two or three squirts of cleaner to half the windshield and wipe in a horizontal line across the glass. When you’ve completed one side, move to the other.
After wiping the windshield, it’s a good idea to treat the surface with a hydrophobic coating. This makes the windshield water-repellent and reduces how often it needs cleaning.
While sponges were once the go-to cleaning tool for car owners, a microfiber cloth is now preferred. A quality microfiber cloth is designed to be super soft and not leave any scratches on the surface of the windshield. You should also use different microfiber cloths for the interior and exterior of your car to avoid getting any dirty water on surfaces that have just been cleaned. If you need to reach hard-to-get spots, a can of compressed air is a great tool to have handy. It can be used to blow out debris from between the seats or in other small areas. It’s also a helpful tool for blowing out any dust that might have accumulated during the washing and waxing process.
If you want your car to look its best, you need to keep up with routine maintenance. This includes regular cleanings and a deep detailing once or twice a year to keep it looking like it just rolled off the showroom floor.
Using the same cleaner you use on the windows and mirrors, begin by wiping away any water that may have spilled or dripped onto the window or the window frame. Then, use a microfiber cloth or lint-free rag to apply the cleaning solution to the glass surface. Make sure you wipe all areas of the glass, including any window tint or etching.
After the glass has been cleaned, you can wipe down the door handles and ledges, the dashboard and entertainment console, and any other interior surfaces. This process is typically done by hand, as it can be difficult to reach some areas.
If you’re not comfortable doing the work yourself, you can hire a professional car detailer to do it for you. These professionals typically work at a specialty shop, which can be independently run or part of a larger automotive business. They use professional products and tools and often do all the work by hand. They may also perform additional services such as removing road tar and bug splatter, restoring headlights, or washing windshields and wiper blades. They can even clean and detail the engine bay.
It’s important to thoroughly clean mirrors, especially the corners, so they are dust-free. The best way to do this is to use an old toothbrush which can be flicked into tight spaces and crevices that a cloth cannot reach. After removing the dust, it is important to wipe the surface of the mirror using a microfiber cloth and your preferred glass cleaner.
Before applying any cleaning solution, it’s good to get rid of any oily residues on the mirror’s surface by wiping it with a reusable cotton round (or a cotton face pad) and some rubbing alcohol. The rubbing alcohol will help to break up the gunk and reduce the chances of streaks later on.
If you don’t have any rubbing alcohol, you can also apply a small amount of household vinegar to the microfiber cloth and wipe it onto the mirror. This can be done in a Z or S pattern and should remove the majority of the stubborn dirt without leaving any streaks.
After a thorough wipe, dry the mirror with a microfiber cloth that’s been dipped in warm water. Then, if necessary, apply some more glass cleaner to the microfiber cloth and buff it on the mirror again in an S or Z pattern. Once the mirror is dry, it’s a good idea to give it another quick wipe down with a lint-free cloth to make sure that no water marks or streaks remain.
In order for tires to look their best, they need to be thoroughly cleaned. This includes a thorough scrub with a degreaser, and if necessary, a brush, to remove the build-up of dirt and grime. Using something like a tire foam is a great choice for this step as it is quick and easy to use. It also doesn’t require rubbing, which is a bonus for your hands! Once the tires are clean, it’s time to dress them. A good tire gel is a great option because it protects the tires from harmful UV rays. Lastly, it adds a nice shine to the tires that lasts and looks good too!
Many detailers choose to go one step further and apply wax after the cleaning process. This is done to give the paint a glossy finish and to protect it from dirt and road debris. This is a step that should be done on a regular basis, as it helps to maintain the value of the vehicle.
Other services that can be offered by a car detailing shop include fabric protection, which provides a protective layer for the carpets and seats. Many detailers also offer a perfuming service that will leave the interior of the vehicle smelling fresh and clean. They may also provide a vacuuming service to remove all of the dust and dirt that has built up in the hard-to-reach places of the interior cabin.
The exterior of the car is what most people notice first, and is where the resale value is highest. It is susceptible to damage from all sorts of elements, so a thorough detailing is the best way to protect it. This is a process of cleaning, restoring, and protecting the paintwork, chrome trim, windows, tires, wheels, and any other visible components. It can also include a full engine bay detailing or ceramic coating.
To safely clean the exterior, it is usually best to start with a presoak. This can be done with a product like Exterior Multi Cleaner which is applied to the surface and allowed to dwell for 1 to 2 minutes. Afterwards, it can be rinsed.
Once the vehicle is dry, it can be protected with a wax or sealant. There are many products on the market, ranging from tried-and-true carnauba wax to high-tech ceramic sealants. If the paint is heavily contaminated, it may be necessary to use a clay bar and chemical decontamination to remove embedded iron particles that can bloom into unsightly rust spots.
It is a good idea to work on one section or panel of the car at a time when applying wax. This will help to avoid getting wax on any areas that are not supposed to be waxed, such as plastic or rubber trim. It is also a good idea to wipe the wax off in a circular motion to prevent any streaking.