Tips for Cleaning Your Car Inside & Out

Published on 3 August 2020
How to Clean the Inside of Your Car

Important to be careful and use the right products

Cleaning your car isn’t just an aesthetic issue. When dust, dirt, grease and/or salt accumulate, they can accelerate the corrosion and oxidation processes, damaging the paint, as well as the metallic and plastic elements of the car. However, when washing your car, it’s important to be careful and use the right products so that you don’t end up damaging the bodywork or the upholstery.

How to correctly clean the interior of your car

The dashboard, mats and seats deserve as much attention as the exterior of the car. Depending on how you use your vehicle, you should clean the interior thoroughly at least once or twice a year.

Remove them to air them out and shake them

Mats and floor. You can start by cleaning the mats. Remove them to air them out and shake them. Use a brush to remove any caked-on dirt. If the mats are made of plastic, you can dampen a cloth with soap and water to rub their surface. You can also add a few drops of vinegar to disinfect them and restore their shine. Rinse them off with pressurised water and allow them to dry.
If the mats are made of carbon fibre, the most commonly used material in cars, you should only use an air compressor or a powerful vacuum cleaner to remove any caked-on dirt. When the mats are clean, you can also run the vacuum cleaner over the floor of the car to make sure to get into all the cracks, which is where most of the dust accumulates.
Upholstery. To achieve a perfect result, start by vacuuming the upholstery. Pay special attention to the folds of the seats and the backrest. Then, use a sponge with water and a pH neutral soap to clean the fabric, while ensuring it is not soaked. Remember that during vacuuming and cleaning your car’s upholstery, you should use movements that go from the inside to the outside. 
Use a cloth to remove the soap residue and let it dry. If you see any stains, use a dry foam. Let it dry and then remove it with a dry cloth. If the upholstery is leather when you finish cleaning the seats, you should apply a hydrating cream to keep the leather in good condition. It is best to apply it with circular movements.

 Don’t forget to clean the steering wheel

- Dashboard. The dashboard is one of the most visible areas of the car’s interior, but it is usually full of dust and dirt, meaning it’s important to clean it often. Start by vacuuming the dust, but be careful not to scratch the plastic surface. To remove dust from the most difficult-to-reach areas, such as the vents, you can use a small soft-bristled brush.
Apply an APC cleaner with a microfibre cloth and rub gently. Let it dry and apply a plastic conditioner to hydrate it and prevent discolouration due to constant exposure to the sun. In addition, don’t forget to clean the steering wheel, gear stick and the door handles.

Washing the exterior of your car, step by step

The exterior of your car is subjected to all kinds of elements that can damage the body, which is why you should wash it at least every 15 days, depending on how you use it and the roads you usually drive on.

 You should clean them thoroughly from time to time

Tires and rims. These parts are largely ignored, but the tires get very dirty with dirt from the road, mud and grease, so you should clean them thoroughly from time to time. Start with pressurised water. Apply a special product for rims, let it work for a few minutes and rub with a cloth or a soft bristle brush. Don’t resort to acidic products or kitchen grease removers as they can leave stains. Rinse with plenty of water.
If you want your car to look like new, you should also clean your tires. After washing them, apply a mixture of glycerine and distilled water. This will not only restore the shiny black appearance of the tires, but it will also hydrate the rubber. Apply it with a sponge and let it dry for about an hour. Another alternative is to use a tire polish.

Always lather it up from top to bottom

Body. Before you start cleaning your car, you should wet it to avoid damaging the paint when using the sponge. You can also apply compressed air to remove dust and sand. Then, you should lather it up with soap to soften the dirt, either using a soft sponge or a foam gun. Always lather it up from top to bottom, since when the foam runs off, it carries some of the dirt and dust with it. To remove the most stubborn stains, you can use a cloth.
Use a soft-bristled brush to clean the rubber on the windows and doors. Rinse with a hose, preferably from about 60 centimetres away, as this will do a better job of removing the soap. Ideally, the car should dry in the shade because uneven spots may appear if left in the sun. Alternatively, you can dry it using a microfibre cloth, without applying too much pressure. When drying, pay attention to the joints between the parts, as spots could appear due to the accumulation of soap. Remember that you should never use abrasive products or elements because they damage the paint on your car.
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