Car Interior Cleaning: Basic Interior Detailing Procedures
November 19, 2012
We are a driving nation. Cars transport our law officers, our loved ones, public officials, and a good majority of our citizens. They make all of our deadlines happen, take our children to school and us to work. With as much time as we all spend inside our vehicles, it only makes sense to make the interior as clean and comfortable as possible. Regular basic interior detailing is the best way to keep it looking good. Additionally, it can prevent stains and problems from becoming permanent.
All examples set aside, your cars interior is your kingdom. In our fast paced world, you may easily spend a dozen hours a week or more in your vehicle. It is up to you to make this time enjoyable. Investing hundreds of dollars into a loud stereo or multimedia DVD player isn’t going to impress everyone: maintaining a beautiful interior presence will.
A few car detailing tips can help you maintain a good looking car. Getting a professional to detail a car can be pricey. Doing it yourself can be a money saver. In addition, it can be very gratifying once you step away from the car to take in all of your hard work.
Basic Interior Detailing Tips
The first order of business is getting all of the crud out of the interior. This includes loose gas-card receipts, gum wrappers, toys, and the handful of parking tickets that have been hiding under the seat. In other words, anything that is too large to vacuum up or you want to save. With all of the large debris removed, take some time to evaluate the condition of your interior. Is it primarily dusty with a stain or two in the carpet or are food stains, pet odors and ground-in dirt more prevalent? Assess the damage and let’s start basic interior detailing.
A good vacuum is always needed after some neglect because of the number of things that can be tracked into a car. There’s no special science to car vacuuming. You need a good vacuum and a few attachments. The two most important attachments are the crevice attachment and the dust brush attachment. Make sure your crevice attachment is plastic, not metal. A metal attachment or a plastic attachment that’s in poor condition may scratch or otherwise damage leather or vinyl upholstery.
Start your vacuuming job by pulling out the floor mats. Shake out the mats to remove any loose dirt. Push the front seats all the way forward. Use the crevice tool to vacuum the cracks of the seats, and between the seats and carpeted areas. Vacuum the rear carpet. Use the crevice tool to vacuum around the seat tracks and under the front seats. Push the front seats all the way back to work on the front upholstery. Use the round dust brush attachment to vacuum the console, vents and door panels.
2. Wipe Down Vinyl
We look at the dashboard and console more than any other area of our car’s interior. It makes sense, therefore, that we should give it some special attention. In order to keep your dash from cracking and fading, regular treatment is necessary. Caring for the dash and console is really pretty easy. Simply wipe them down with a damp towel every time you wash your car, and treat them with the right upholstery protectant once a month. The easiest way to treat the dash and console is to use a foam applicator pad. Spray your vinyl protectant on the applicator, not on the dash or console, and wipe it in thoroughly. Allow the vinyl protectant to soak in for 3 to 5 minutes, and then buff the dash and console dry with a microfiber detailing towel.
3. Basic Interior Detailing of Door Panels & Jambs
The next basic interior detailing procedure is focusing on the door. It’s important to thoroughly clean around door handles, pulls and window cranks, using a toothbrush and soapy wash water. Be sure to clean and dry the speaker grilles and the wells on armrests, too. If the door panels have storage pockets, use your sponge or wash mitt to clean in these areas, as they tend to collect a lot of dirt and crud. Next, use your sponge or wash mitt and soapy water to clean all the way around the door frame and the door sill. When you’re finished, dry the door completely with a clean towel.
What’s basic interior detailing without getting the windows squeeky-clean? Clean the windows last, because it will have grime and dirt from the other steps. You’ll get the best look if you buff glass with a microfiber cloth, which does a great job of getting rid of cleaner residue. That residue, as well as oils from your skin, causes streaks and spots on the inside of windows. Use glass cleaner to wash the inside of windows. Spray the cleaner directly on the cloth to avoid streaking and getting the cleaner on the upholstery. The best technique for cleaning your rear window is to use the back side of your hand to guide your towel down into the corners.
Most of us spend 8 to 15 hours a week inside our cars, so it makes sense that we should keep them neat and tidy. Yet finding the time to do even basic interior detailing is difficult with our busy schedules. If you take just five minutes each time you wash your car to remove the trash, shake out the mats, and wipe down the dash, console and seats, you can stay on top of this detailing chore. Then when it comes time for a full interior detail, the task will not seem quite so daunting.
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