May 12

Car Detailing: What Should I Be Using?

Over time, the exterior and interiors of our cars wear from the weather and daily use. Though car washes can be good for keeping up with standard maintenance, sometimes a deep cleaning is necessary. This is when you might take your car to get detailed or detail it yourself, ensuring every inch of your car looks brand new. Let’s discuss some information about car detailing that can help keep your vehicle looking fresh.

What Is Car Detailing?

Car Detailing

Image via Flickr by osseous

Car detailing is the process of cleaning your car with specific tools for a deep cosmetic clean. People often get their cars professionally detailed, which entails experts working to make the exterior and interior of your vehicle look like new. While car washes are more of an essential cleaning, detailing involves getting in between and under all car areas for an ultimate clean. With the proper preparation and materials, you can detail your own car.

Tools for Exteriors

Detailing the exterior of your car can make it shine like it did when you first got it. With the right tools, you can skip the line and the expense of hiring someone to do this for you. First, get a microfiber towel or a wash mitt that you can wear to scrub the exterior. Having a clean bucket of water around is essential, as you’ll need to wash and rinse the exterior several times before polishing. Before washing it with soap, you might do a pre-wash soak with the microfibers and water to get any excess dirt or debris off of the car’s exterior.

For soap, consider using a low-pH car shampoo. The lower acidity can ensure that you don’t scratch or stain your car when wiping it down. Use a new towel and a fresh bucket of water to wipe the exterior with the soap to ensure you get an optimal clean without scrubbing the dirt back into the paint.

Once you have a clean exterior, an essential part of detailing is protecting the coat, tires, and other exterior components. For this, you might need several tools, including a clay bar, car wax, paint sealants, tire dressing, and window cleaner. Rub the clay bar across the coat to prime the car for waxing. This provides an extra level of care, as it removes any tar or residue left after cleaning. You can then apply wax or ceramic coating to preserve cleanliness and make the car shine.

As tires can be the dirtiest part of a car, spraying these directly with a hose can help get excess dirt off first. You can then wipe these down with a fresh microfiber towel. To brighten them up, try brushing each with dressing, so they match the crisp appearance of the car’s exterior.

Tools for Interiors

You might use several additional tools for an interior, and some you might reuse when washing the exterior. For example, you should still have microfiber towels and a bucket of water ready. You might also need a bag or bucket to store all of your items that you usually keep in the interior, so they don’t get in the way while cleaning. A brush, vacuum, and compressed air can are all tools you can use for the interior.

First, brush the carpets or cloth seats with a nylon brush. This helps remove stubborn debris stuck in the carpets and seats. Following this up with a vacuum can result in a more thorough clean since you’ve gotten some of the excess grime out ahead of time. To clean vents and spaces between the surfaces, compressed air can helps loosen any hidden dust or dirt. The air vents can also clear out any excess moisture and release any trapped odors.

Carpet shampoo gives the carpets a fresh, deep clean and improves the smell in your car. You can also use an all-purpose fabric or leather cleaner on seats to get those clean. As an additional option, you can find products like fabric stain protectors that can help you avoid future damage from stains or spills. For leather seats, it’s a good idea to use a microfiber cloth when wiping them down.

You’ll also want to get a foam sponge and interior protectant to clean the hard surfaces on the interior. This can include your dashboard, steering wheel, and doors. As with the car’s exterior, you might first wipe these down with a wet sponge before cleaning them with soapy water and rinsing. After drying these with a dry towel, apply the interior protectant to make these surfaces shine.

Tips for Detailing

  • Gather your tools first: Gathering everything you need first can help you stay focused while cleaning your car. Consider getting extra supplies, especially cloths, so that you don’t have to stop the process to search for more items.
  • Avoid direct sunlight: Direct sunlight can cause your car to dry too quickly, resulting in streaking and watermarks. Try detailing on a cloudy day.
  • Dress tires last: As tire dressing can contain materials that could affect the paint on your car, taking care of this last can ensure you keep everything safe.
  • Remove mats and seat covers: As you detail your car to clean every corner of it, removing items like seat covers and mats can ensure you hit every angle.
  • Use absorbent towels for drying: Once you wash everything, drying interior and exterior surfaces with a dry microfiber towel can help you avoid scratching the various materials.
  • Have several buckets handy: You might have one bucket with water and one with soap to ensure you rinse and wash separately. It can be a good idea to dump and refill these as you continue detailing your car to avoid getting any old dirt on the vehicle.

Whether you’re buying a new or used car from Huffines Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM, you’ll want to add detailing to your maintenance schedule to keep your vehicle looking sharp. Contact us today to speak to one of our auto professionals.


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