Once you have invested in something as expensive as a car, you want to keep it as clean as possible both inside and out. Cleaning your car is more than just running it through an automatic car wash twice a year, though. It entails tasks for both the exterior and the interior. Here are a few tasks to help you maintain your car in its best cosmetic shape.
Start with a deep clean
You should always start with a good, deep clean of your car. You want to do this at least three times a year and more if you drive in tough conditions. Rather than do this in your driveway, go to a self-serve car wash that has powerful pressure hoses. Skip the automatic washes, as the brushes can actually scratch your car.
Start by rinsing all the loose contaminants off the car, not forgetting to get underneath. Then wash it using a soap specially designed for washing cars. Don’t use dish detergent or any other kind of cleaner. Always use a soft, microfiber cloth, or sponge to avoid scratching your vehicle.
Waxing and polishing
Wax does more than just make your car look shiny. It actually provides protection against the UV rays of the sun. Your car’s paint job won’t fade as quickly if you wax it, and the wax also provides an extra barrier against salt, road debris, acid rain, and even light scratches.
Use a polymer wax, which is more expensive than a carnauba wax but easier to apply. It also does a better job of protecting your car. Always wax your car right after a good wash, and be sure your car is perfectly dry before you begin.
Overspray is a contaminant that settles deep into the clear coat and eats away at the finish on your car. It isn’t easy to remove and includes things like chemicals from the road or emissions or soot from wildfires.
This job is best done by a professional, and you should get paint overspray removal at least once a year as well as any time your car is exposed to the type of contaminants that can cause a problem.
Assuming you have a new or newly-cleaned car, your first step is to keep a portable vacuum in your car. There are many types available that can run on 12V from your car’s own cigarette lighter or 12V charger.
Use this to clean up spills and to do spot cleans on a regular basis. This will keep you from getting dirt and crumbs ground into your car’s carpet and upholstery.
Invest in floor mats
Your car comes with floor mats, but all-weather rubber mats are always a wise investment. These will protect your car from the muddy boots of kids, from dirt and grime, and even from the worst of spills.
Plus, rubber all-weather floor mats are very easy to clean. Simply pull them out, rinse them off, and replace them when they’re dry.
Use interior cleaning spray
There are many types of detailing sprays designed to condition and protect your car’s dash, wheel, and other hard surfaces. These sprays will remove dirt and grime, but they’ll also fight static.
As static electricity builds up inside a car, it attracts hair and dust onto your dash and controls. Using the right spray on a regular basis will help you repel these contaminants and ensure your interior stays fresh and clean.
Get a professional detailing
Once a year, or more if you are hard on your car’s interior, consider getting a professional to detail the interior of your car. Professional cleaning tools will be able to remove dirt and stains that you just can’t get out.
Occasional detailing will keep your interior looking its best. You’ll enjoy your car more if the inside is clean, and if you ever want to sell or trade it in, you can be sure of getting the best possible price.