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How To Clean Your Car Like A Pro

Red Beetle (Double HDR)Recently, I visited my good friend Joe, whom I haven't seen in years. He had the most awesome car ever but it was covered in so much grime and dirt, that it looked not-so-awesome. So, we took it to the local professional car wash, and they cleaned it until it was absolutely radiating cleanliness. But, was I shocked when Joe handed over a whole ?50 for a car wash! So, I thought to myself, there must be a lot of us, blowing our money, to keep our cars clean, and the ladies happy. But, I also thought, there'd be a much cheaper way to do it, if I just showed you.

Well, to begin, if you want to clean your car, you're going to need the staples:

  • A steady water supply (Obviously!)
  • A soft towel/sponge of some sort
  • The right car products

Make sure you don't use kitchen or toilet cleaners on your car they'll damage it instead of cleaning it. Instead, just go to your local supermarket? they're bound to supply some car cleaning solutions.

To get some basic guidelines down, I'd recommend you to:

  1. Rinse down the whole car to get rid of loose dirt.
  2. Wash then rinse one section at a time. Working from top to bottom is probably the best idea. However, some people prefer bottom to top, so it's up to you.
  3. Scrub SOFTLY, so you don't grind dirt into the car, damaging it.
  4. Rinse the sponge/towel often, to remove dirt from it.
  5. Rinse the whole car down afterwards.

Of course, you might want to consider doing all of this on gravel, or grass, or some place where the ground cleaning-productswill absorb the entire residue. All the dirt coming off your car, and the oil and cleaning products will end up in the drains and waterways if you do it in your driveway, and it's always good to be a bit environmentally-friendly.

Your wheels and their covers are going to be dirty too, so make sure you use specialized products to get rid of the dirt on them. It's usually the brake dust from the disc brakes which make them look so dirty.

You've got to get the right products do, as the wrong ones for your car could seriously corrode your wheel covers. If you're unsure what to get, refer to your car's manual. If you can't find that, a general rule of thumb is that you spray on the product, leave it for 45 seconds, and then rinse it off.

Another great way to make your car look cleaner is to just spray on some protectant over the tires. Don't wipe it afterwards, or even rinse it. It'll give the tires that clean, glossy look, which you want to achieve.

97% of all cars nowadays have a clearcoat finish, which basically protect your car from all sorts of bad things like oxidation, ultraviolet light and UV light. But, these coats need caring for.

To care for these finishes, you should aim to wax your car around 3 or 4 times a year. Wax not only makes your car look shinier, it removes minor damages like scratches. Before waxing though, check your car's manual for any things you need to look out for.

To get a general idea on what to do when waxing:

  1. When waxing, keep the car out of the sun.
  2. Wash the car before you start waxing it.
  3. Make sure the temperature is at least above 10 degrees Celsius, and it's not humid.
  4. Try to use circular movements when waxing.
  5. Wait for a few minutes after you finish letting the wax dry a bit. After that, wipe it off gently with a soft towel.
  6. Shake off the towel afterwards, and wipe the car down again to get all the bits you missed.

If you want a bit of extra shine without waxing, try some of the spray-on and wipe products, such as Turtle Wax Emerald Series Premium Detailer.

Although the waxing process is easy enough to do by yourself, if you feel that the paint is damaged, don't wax. Instead, take the car to a professional to get it checked out before you wax. You don't want to damage the car.

After all the exterior cleaning, what's left?
The interior of course!
The absolute first thing you do when cleaning the interior, is of course, vacuum the car's interior to get rid of all the loose dirt. Make sure you check the small holes in the car before you vacuum though (One guy I knew had several condoms floating around his Dyson after cleaning his car.).

To clean the majority of the car, just use lint-free towels and water. If you can't reach into a small crack or whatever, use a cotton swab. Clean the carpet with a stiff-bristled brush.

Make sure you use the correct product for whatever material you're cleaning. For example, if you're cleaning the leather seats, use a product designed to clean the leather seats.

When you clean the carpets, use only a small amount of carpet cleaning solution. Most people accidentally use too much, resulting in a much over-saturated carpet.

Make sure that you use absolutely no products containing ammonia though. The chemical is extremely harsh, and could result in damaged windows, or even worse, damaged seat belts, which could compromise your own safety.

If you follow all these guidelines, it'll be easy for you to maintain a great looking car. Just try to wash once or twice every fortnight, wax every 3 months, and you'll be absolutely fine. Sure, at the start you might find it hard, but trust me, it get's a lot easier the more you do it.

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About Anthony Duong Anthony currently lives in London, UK, and has returned there after quitting his job in Hong Kong, where he worked as an English Teacher. He's a gym rat, and loves to play rugby. He is currently working as a Soccer Coach for teenagers, where he passes on his extensive knowledge on all things. He also loves to play the guitar.

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