Washing a car has always seemed like a pretty straightforward process – wet the car, use a cleanser, rinse, and then dry. There are a few tricks you can use in this process to make your car look great.
When you get the car wet, don’t immediately get it all soapy. Let it sit for a minute and the water will dissolve the dirt a little bit before you scrub. A sponge can pick up grit and spread it around, so some people recommend that you use a high pressured hose to remove dirt before scrubbing with a sponge.
Once the dirt is rinsed off your car, then you can use your sponge. Using the sponge and cleanser, work in circles, saving the tires for last. The tires are usually dirtiest, so scrubbing them last avoids spreading dirt around.
When you wash your wheels and tires, scrub with a brush before the sponge. Use a sponge that is not used to wash the rest of your car, or you can spread grit around. Some tire cleaners use chemicals that are harsh on skin so you may want to wear gloves for this part.
Then rinse, one section at a time, starting with the roof. Use a hose or a bucket of clean water. Distilled water can help prevent water spots.
When you clean the interior, wipe off the dashboard with a damp cloth. Silicone based products can leave a greasy residue that you wouldn’t want on the pedals. Polishing the dashboard can give you glare on sunny days.
If you have bugs on the front of your car, you may not want to let them sit. Letting dead bugs hang out may actually harm your paint. Scrubbing with a heavy cotton towel can get them off.
Car upholstery can be easily cleaned. A couple drops of dishwashing detergent added to a gallon of water is all you need. Dip a towel in it and rub the seat. This can be used on leather seats too, although a leather cleaner is preferable. Leather seats will need a conditioner too.
Ink stains can be taken out of leather with cuticle remover. Just let it sit for ten minutes (longer for more stubborn stains) and wipe off.
When detailing the dashboard, the little spaces can be tricky. A soft paintbrush can get in the grooves of the air vents. A damp Q-tip can also get in the tiny spaces well.