When you’re ready to take on spring cleaning tasks, don’t leave your car out of the cleanliness equation. From a shiny exterior to a spotless interior, keeping a clean ride is just as important as keeping a clean house. Here is a glove box full of tips that’ll help you effectively clean your car where it needs it most.
Power Wash the Undercarriage
Although the undercarriage of your car usually doesn’t get much attention from onlookers, it’s actually the most important part of your vehicle to keep clean. This is especially the case if you live in wintry environments. Your car’s undercarriage gets the brunt of road dust and dirt, and when driving on treated winter roads it can accumulate road salt as well. By using a power washer with a 45-degree nozzle to spray off dirt and salt from your car’s chassis and suspension, you’ll help prevent premature wear and rust.
A good bath is a given when it’s time to spring clean your car, but not all car washing techniques are equal. Soapy water and a sponge or car wash mitt is the trusted method as long as you remember to wash your car a little at a time. If you soap and scrub the entire car in one shot, chances are the suds will dry and you’ll have to start over again to get rid of the soap residue.
There are various brands of car wash soaps that all work equally well. Some create more foam, some connect directly to the end of your hose as a spray attachment, and some are even waterless. Don’t use household dish soap or it will leave behind water streaks that are hard to remove.
Wax On, Wax Off
Whether you use good old-fashioned elbow grease to wax your car or you cheat with an orbital buffer, it’s important to use the right wax and wait for the right conditions before waxing your ride to a showroom shine. In the realm of waxes, there are two popular types: carnauba-based and synthetic.
Both wax types come in sprays, pastes, and gels. If you’re waxing by hand, synthetic gels and sprays are easier to work with, while carnauba-based pastes work best with orbital buffers. It’s important to wax your car in a garage or in the shade, as direct sunlight will make the paint hot which makes it susceptible to scratching and harder to buff.
Vacuum and Shampoo the Interior
Your first line of cleaning defense when sprucing up your car’s interior is vacuuming. Whether you use a shop-vac or a handheld vacuum, use a flexible extension to reach all the nooks and crannies. Before vacuuming, remove any trash or debris that your vacuum can’t handle.
After vacuuming, it’s important to shampoo the floor mats as well as the carpet itself. Remove your mats before shampooing them and use a waterless spray shampoo on your car’s carpet so you don’t over saturate the padding. In addition, keep your windows down or open your car’s doors to allow for ample drying.
This spring, make sure you follow the auto-inspired spring-cleaning tips above. By doing so, you’ll have a clean and shiny car both inside and out.