Give Your Car The Detail It Deserves

Cleaning the interior of a car door panel with a pink clothIt’s impossible to keep your car showroom-clean all the time. Even if it’s bright and shiny on the outside, the interior could probably use a little TLC. Every time you and your passengers get in, so do traces of dirt and debris. Bits of litter get dropped and forgotten about, spare change piles up in small storage spots, and gas receipts fill up the glove box. The only way to get ahead of the growing mess? Tackle a full-spectrum detail job. Here are some easy tips to getting your car’s cabin squeaky clean and ready for your spring and summer joyrides.

What You’ll Need for a DIY Detail

You probably have most of what you need for a do-it-yourself car detail on hand. And taking on the job on your own can save you the pretty hefty price that a professional detailing service would charge. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A vacuum cleaner, preferably with an extension hose and hand-held attachments
  • Cleaning products for vinyl, plastic, upholstery, and carpeting
  • Microfiber towels and rags for wiping surfaces (make sure the cloths are clean and free of residue)
  • Dust brushes of varying sizes for getting into nooks and crannies

Detailing Basics

It might be tempting to start with the dirtiest part of your car, which is probably the floor mats and carpeting. But if you want to avoid needing to re-dust them after you’ve tackled higher areas, you might want to work top to bottom, saving those floors for last.

Dusting the Nooks and Crannies

The dashboard has lots of hard-to-reach places where dust likes to settle. Put those microfiber rags to good use here and swipe away dust, using small brushes to get in between buttons, knobs, and the slats of the air vents. After dusting and vacuuming, you can apply a cleanser formulated for the material and do a thorough wipe-down.

Cleaning Upholstery

Tackle upholstery with a thorough vacuuming before cleaning the material in question – vinyl, cloth, or leather – based on its specific needs. Make sure any cleanser you use on your car’s upholstery is specially formulated for use on that material. Leather cleaning compounds and conditioners require particular care, while vinyl is quick to clean and cloth can benefit from a simple upholstery cleanser or fabric refresher.

You might also like: Car Care For Spring

Finally, the Floors

Before tackling your car’s flooring, pick up any loose coins, wrappers, or trash that the vacuum can’t handle. Remove the floor mats, shake out the dirt, and vacuum them as well as the flooring underneath. For tough jobs, use a carpet cleaning machine, which you can rent or purchase along with the necessary shampoo or cleansing foam. Make sure not to get the carpets too saturated, and let them dry completely to avoid mold or mildew growth.