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Feb 28, 2020

7 min. read

Cleaning tips to regain that showroom shine.

There's no single best way to detail an automobile. The golden rule for the job, though, is in its name. Whether you use a self-serve wash bay or hire a professional, getting your vehicle looking its showroom best is all about paying attention to the details. Here are some tried-and-true tips for refreshing your ride.

  • Prioritize interior vacuuming—moving from high to low. If you don't often clean your car, vacuuming can be very time consuming, So it’s a good ideas to get it out of the way first.

  • Clean vents, crevices and hard-to-reach spaces with smaller tools, such as toothbrush, pick or compressed air. Hold vacuum in free hand to suck up debris while you work.

  • Use a hard-bristled brush to scrub pedals; vacuum dirt and cleaning product that falls to the floor.

  • Spray the exterior—including undercarriage—with foaming pre-soak detergent, which loosens and lubricates dirt so it doesn't scratch when washed off. If available, spray degreaser on wheels and rims. Rinse everything using a pressure washer.

  • Spray on polish, seal it with a spray-on wax, and perform "spot-free" rinse using deionized, reverse-osmosis water. Dry by hand with water blade and/or microfiber cloth.

  • Spray down floor mats and scrub with all-purpose cleaner. For a like-new look, apply floor-mat dressing according toproduct specifications.

  • Open doors and wipe jambs, seals and hinges. There's always going to be a bit of water in there after you've thoroughly washed the exterior.

  • Wipe down all interior surfaces. To disinfect, use a low-concentration (15 percent or less) isopropyl alcohol–based cleaner.

  • Apply protectant (e.g. Armor All) to plastic, vinyl and leather surfaces. Spray product on cloth, then apply "with the grain"; using a circular motion will leave noticeable swirls.

  • Use glass cleaner on windows and mirrors, wiping with a microfiber cloth. Polish with a clean, dry shammy towel.

  • Spray on tire dressing to rejuvenate tires. Clean rims with product specific to type of metal—steel, aluminum or titanium.

  • Give interior a final once-over with vacuum. Move vehicle out into sun to reveal any exterior spots that have been missed. Touch up where necessary.

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