A dirty and cluttered car is depressing. Paying for auto detailing services every time your car needs refreshing is also not budget efficient. Fortunately, there are many ways that car detailing can be done yourself! There are many different methods and tricks you can apply to make your car look as if you’ve used professional auto detailing services. In this article, we will discuss what you can use for auto detailing at home and how to save money on it. We’ll look at how to perform interior and exterior car detailing at home, using a very simple cleaning process.
How often should you clean your car?
It is recommended to clean your car at least once a week. Simple vacuuming, wiping the interior, and washing the exterior should be done weekly. These easy tasks will prevent the formation of unpleasant smells and the development of bacteria in the car.
Avoid regular tunnel car washes. The brushes that clean the exterior of the car are very harsh on the paint and can lead to the formation of small scratches all over the vehicle. It is best to use manual car washes or wash the car yourself.
Professional car detailing can be done every few months. It all depends on how much you care about your vehicle. You need to make sure that you find a good car detailing company, offering attractive car detailing packages, so you get what you pay for. If these services do not fit into your budget, you can always do a thorough car cleaning at home.
Consequences of not cleaning the vehicle
Car cleaning is important not just to make it look nice. Neglecting to clean the car leads to the accumulation of bacteria, which can pose a direct threat to health. Therefore, it is important to clean the ventilation channels and often change the air filter in the car, as most germs spread inside the vehicle through them.
In addition, leaving food in the car and other dirt can lead to the formation of mold, which is very difficult to remove. Mold removal services are very expensive, and the cleaning itself can be difficult.
Pros and Cons of Automatic Car Washes
Automatic car washes have become a popular choice for car owners looking for a convenient and time-saving way to keep vehicles clean. Considering the benefits of such car washes, the most important is the efficiency and speed of the washing process. Automatic car washes are designed to quickly clean the exterior parts of the car. Additionally, they often offer various options, such as undercarriage cleaning and waxing, ensuring the service’s comprehensiveness. Another advantage is consistent efficiency, as machines apply a standardized cleaning procedure, providing a uniform effect for each vehicle.
One of the drawbacks of automatic car washes is the risk of damaging the exterior part of the vehicle. Mechanical brushes used in some washing systems can be rough, leading to scratches or spiral traces on the paint. Moreover, powerful jets of water and chemicals do not always reach all nooks and crannies, leaving some areas not quite clean. Furthermore, automatic car washes are unable to address the needs of interior cleaning, such as vacuuming or detailing.
Exterior Car Detailing at Home
External services include window cleaning, wheel cleaning, and washing the entire external element of the vehicle. Other external services you can perform include clay bar cleaning, engine detailing, and ceramic coating.
What supplies and tools for car detailing will you need for exterior car detailing?
You will need a few things for exterior detailing. Good cleaning does not require expensive or sophisticated equipment.
You should stock up on a few microfiber towels before the cleaning process. Microfiber towels will provide a shiny look without streaks and without damaging the paint. You can use them for cleaning the exterior parts, as well as windows and tires. They are also very useful for interior detailing. Just make sure you use a different towel for the exterior and interior of the car so as not to transfer dirt and bacteria inside the vehicle.
It’s important to have a good glass cleaner. There are many different glass cleaners on the market. You can try foam ones that prevent streaking on the windows, and the gentle formula is safe to use on tinted windows. Another great cleaner is the Fortador 50 to 1 Glass Cleaner. It is an ethanol-based cleaner, eco-friendly, and safe to use on all types of glass.
Car Wash Liquid
You need a good washing liquid to remove all the dirt. Fortador Green Magic Waterless Wash and Wax is a great product. It works as a waterless car wash that simultaneously waxes the car, which is very efficient. You can use it to wash every exterior part of the car.
Interior Car Detailing at Home
Interior car detailing involves cleaning all surfaces, such as the dashboard, center console, seats, floor, and windows. Do you want your interior to be clean and smelling good? Follow the tips below.
The first step to interior detailing is vacuuming. If you have a vacuum cleaner with a long hose and different attachments, it’s the perfect tool. Make sure you vacuum all the nooks and crannies, such as spaces between the seats, floors, as well as spaces under and around the pedals.
To clean the dashboard and other hard surfaces, you can use any cleaning agent. There are special products for cleaning the interior of a car, but if you don’t want to spend money on them, ordinary dish soap or hand soap will also be suitable.
Just like when cleaning the exterior of the car, you need clean cloths to clean the interior. Use them to wipe the dashboard, steering wheel, doors, and other surfaces. Remember to change the cloths often so as not to transfer dirt from one place to another.
If you have leather upholstery, use a special leather cleaning agent to moisturize and protect it. For fabric upholstery, you can use any upholstery cleaning agent available on the market. Remember to vacuum the seats thoroughly before cleaning them.
Car detailing at home is a great way to save money and make sure your car is thoroughly clean. Although it requires some time and effort, it is certainly worth it.
Transform the exterior of your car with home detailing
Step 1: Soak the car
First, you should use a hose to cover the entire car with water. You need to soak some of the dirt to make it easier to remove later with soap.
Step 2: Engine cleaning
You should clean the engine before you start cleaning the exterior of the car, as the dirt from the engine is likely to end up on the exterior.
You can apply pressure engine cleaning or use a water hose for this purpose. First, apply a degreaser to the entire engine. You can use a soft brush to rub the degreaser in to loosen accumulated dirt. After cleaning with a brush, rinse off all the dirt.
Step 3: Soap the car
After soaking the vehicle and cleaning the engine, prepare a bucket of water with your chosen car wash soap.
Use a soft sponge or microfiber with a soap mixture and start washing the car from the hood. Be gentle when washing the car to avoid damaging the paint. At this stage, the whole vehicle should be thoroughly washed.
Step 4: Rinse off the soap
Rinse the entire car with clean water to remove all the soap. You can use a clean microfiber to clean the dirt that you might have missed in the previous step.
Step 5: Wheel and rim detailing
After thoroughly rinsing, you can move on to the car’s wheels. For wheel cleaning, you can use the same soap solution you used outside. If you want to go a step further, you can use a degreaser, such as Fortador Ultra Strong Degreaser and Wheel Cleaner, for a full professional car detailing experience.
Use a sponge with your chosen cleaner and go over all wheels and rims. After cleaning, you can use a tire gel for extra shine. Fortador Tire Shine Gel or Black Magic Tire Wet are excellent products for getting a shiny finish.
Step 6: Window cleaning
For this step, take a clean microfiber and the window cleaner of your choice. Start by applying the window cleaner to all windows. Use a fresh microfiber and clean the exterior windows from top to bottom and side to side to make sure there are no streaks left on the windows.
Step 7: Apply wax to the paint
After completely washing and drying the car, you can move on to applying wax. Depending on the wax you use, you need different materials. If you use a spray wax, take a microfiber towel and spray it slightly with wax.
Apply the wax to the vehicle surface in circular motions. Make sure you don’t leave streaks on the car. The car finish should be glossy, without streaks and drips.
Clay is one of the best investments you can make for your car. This clay-like product cleans the clear coat of your car of impurities. It is able to remove water spots, minor scratches, metal dust, road grime, and much more from the surface of your car.
Clay is one of the leading car detailing services that will leave you with a shiny car without any imperfections. Combined with ceramic coatings, which also provide paint protection, your vehicle will look like new. Additionally, the ceramic coating provides protection against harmful UV rays, which can lighten the color of your paint, causing it to look faded.
Although these car detailing services may be difficult to perform at home, you can still learn the skills of handling clay and ceramic coating.
Interior Car Detailing – Step by Step
Professional detailers charge quite a lot of money for interior car detailing services, and there are many methods you can apply to conduct an excellent car wash yourself.
What tools and materials are needed for interior car detailing?
Most of the materials needed for cleaning the interior of a car can be found at home or are the same materials that can be used for exterior car detailing.
For the interior, you can use a mild upholstery cleaner at your discretion. Just make sure you’re not using anything with bleach, as this can damage your fabric or leather seats.
Automotive detailing vacuum cleaner
Get any portable vacuum cleaner that will be good for use in the car cabin. You need something that will be able to vacuum between the seats, under the seats, floor mats, and all other places that accumulate dust.
It’s important to use a vacuum cleaner before any liquid cleaning agents so as not to smear all the dust and dirt that has accumulated in the car.
Microfiber towels are a versatile tool for use anywhere in the vehicle. You can use them for cleaning seats, dashboard, interior windows, and more.
To make your car look like you’ve hired professionals to conduct interior car detailing, you need to get a good steamer. The steamer is a very versatile device and can be used on many troublesome areas in your vehicle.
Steam is able to break down dust that has settled in the car for some time and easily remove any stubborn stains from the seats. It is safe to use on plastic parts as well as leather and vinyl surfaces. In addition, it is a great option for cleaning windows as it does not leave streaks or damage sensitive window films. It is also great for cleaning air vents and the air conditioning unit. Steam is not only useful for cleaning but also for disinfection. It kills up to 99.99% of bacteria and germs without the need for any harsh chemical agents or bleach. Thanks to high pressure and temperature, steam cleaners are able to combat even stubborn fungi, such as mold.
Many automotive detailers enjoy using the Fortador Volt Electra steamer. This portable device also includes a powerful vacuum cleaner and several attachments that can be used for both interior and exterior car detailing.
Steam cleaner with vacuum for the garage
Another great option is the Fortador Volt Mini. It is even smaller than the Volt Electra and is also great for household tasks. This powerful and easy-to-use steamer is perfect for car detailing at home.
Car leather seat conditioner
It nourishes and revitalizes dull leather that hasn’t been cleaned for some time.
One of the best leather conditioners is Fortador Leather and Vinyl Trim Coating. This product nourishes and protects leather and vinyl. You can spread it on the surface and rub it in with microfiber or a clean cloth. This product will leave a shine on your leather, making it look like new.
Compressed air is great for use in hard-to-reach places. If you have sand, dirt, and other fine particles between the seats, this item is the perfect solution to get rid of these waste products.
Guide to interior car detailing
Step 1: Vacuuming and canned air
Start the car interior detailing by vacuuming the entire cabin. If there are places that are too small for the vacuum cleaner nozzle, use canned air to blow out all the dirt and later collect these waste products with the vacuum cleaner. Also clean the floor mats and footrests.
Step 2: Use your chosen cleaning agent on the upholstery and dashboard
Use your chosen cleaning agent according to its application.
You can use microfiber to wipe all surfaces. Make sure you reach the door panels, car seats, dashboard, and all other places that need refreshing.
Step 3: Steam clean the interior of the car
Use steam on all surfaces that are frequently touched, such as the steering wheel and door handles, to disinfect them.
You can also use steam on leather and fabric seats for deep cleaning and disinfection. If there are minor stains, steam will also be able to remove them.
Step 4: Cleaning car windows
You can use steam or a special window cleaner. It is important to wipe both sides of the window. Use a clean microfiber for this task and move from top to bottom, side to side.
Step 5: Final touches
After the deep cleaning, you can apply protection to the leather surfaces. Follow the instructions of the chosen product and apply it to the leather.
Tips for car detailing at home:
Use ammonia-free cleaners
They are much gentler on window films and don’t leave streaks.
Avoid using oily cleaners on the dashboard
Oily cleaners can reflect sunlight onto the front windshield, which can be dangerous while driving. Instead, use matte cleaners which are equally effective but without the glare.
Avoid using too much water
When cleaning the seats, avoid using too much water. Water can get into the foam and cause mold issues. Instead, use a water spray or a damp cloth.
Use skin-safe products
Always check labels and choose products that are safe for leather surfaces.
Don’t overdo it with the leather conditioner
Too much conditioner can make the leather slippery and greasy. Instead, apply a thin layer and leave for a few minutes to absorb. Wipe off any excess with a cloth.
If you vacuum the car at least once a week, it will look and smell better.
Remember that keeping the interior of the car clean is just as important as taking care of the exterior elements. Regular car detailing helps maintain its value, as well as improves the comfort and safety of driving.