Car Carpet and Upholstery Steam Cleaning – The Importance Of Cleaning Your Car Internally And Externally
Do I Really Need To Do This Regularly?
There’s more to cleaning your car than just giving it a quick splash. Everybody who owns a car needs to keep it clean inside and out. Open virtual bracket. Before I’ve forgotten, here is something I wanted to share with you. We ‘ve recently teamed up with Anyclean London to get all Panel Wizard clients a great deal on car carpet and upholstery steam cleaning. This is an exclusive offer that I have (proudly) managed to negotiate just for you. End virtual bracket 🙂
You want to make sure that you’re not that person with the mucky car – the sort where you have to brush crisp packets and takeaway food wrappers off the seat to take a passenger, or the sort with so much dirt on the outside that people start trying to write “Clean Me” messages (or worse) in the build-up. By the way, if things have got so bad that your friends have tried to write things in the dirt and dust on your doors and the tailgate of your hatchback, this has probably scratched the paintwork as well, so you’d probably better get those scratches repaired pronto as well as getting your car washed properly as soon as possible.
Washing your car regularly might seem like one of those slightly stuffy and rather boring things that is only of interest to middle-aged car enthusiasts – the sort of people who drive classic Jaguars and spend half the weekend buffing up the headlights with a chamois leather and the rest of the weekend driving through country lanes with fellow enthusiasts. Or else it might bring back too many memories of your dad telling you to go and clean the car or else when what you really wanted to do was to fool around on the X-Box.
It’s especially important to keep your car scrupulously clean during winter here in the UK. This isn’t just because when it’s wet, cold and rainy, there’s more mud and dirty water to splash up all over your paintwork, although that’s certainly true. Over here, we ensure that the roads stay safe and ice-free by applying salt to them. Salt helps keeps the ice off but it’s hell on paintwork. The only answer is to ensure that you wash the salt and other deposits off – and to do it properly.
The Problem With Drive-Through Car Wash Facilities
Going through your local drive-through car wash might seem like a good solution. To a certain extent, this is true. An automatic car wash will remove all the surface grime from your paintwork, bumpers and the like so people can’t graffiti your vehicle.
However, these automatic car wash facilities have their drawbacks – and that’s assuming that you’re not the claustrophobic type who gets the heebie-jeebies taking it through. For example, many of those car wash facilities can’t handle certain types of vehicle (soft-top coupés and convertibles, for example) or vehicles with extra fittings. The worst types of car wash are the sort that use brushes as opposed to the touch-free or brushless type, as these can damage your paintwork and don’t play nicely with any extra after-market body kit that you’ve put on your vehicle. The brushless sort, however, don’t always remove all of the dirt.
Neither brushless carwashes nor the sort with the big rotating brushes manages to do a really good job of the underparts of your vehicle. This is why you’ll never see professional car detailers taking their vehicles through one of these machines. They just don’t remove all of the dirt, debris and salt. These drive-through car wash facilities also leave residues on your windscreen, which can contribute to the problem of sun strike at the beginning and the end of the day when the sun is low in the sky.
Lastly, of course, those drive-through facilities only pay attention to the outside of your car, and it’s important to clean your car internally and externally.
Why Your Car Needs Polish
When you clean your car, it’s important not to skip the polishing step. This is because applying polish and wax protects your paintwork by restoring the clear outer layer of the finish. You’ve probably noticed just how shiny a brand new car is compared to one that’s been on the road for a while. However, a good polish will remove those micro-cracks in the paint and will help your car stay rust-free and looking good for longer. Proper attention to the polishing and waxing stages of cleaning a car is how rental cars manage to stay looking good even though they’ve clocked up quite a few thousand kilometres.
Polishing and waxing are also important for ensuring that your vehicle stays protected from the elements, especially if you live somewhere without off-street parking or if you have to leave your car parked outdoors in the staff carpark during the day a lot. Sun, wind and rain are tough on paintwork, and the elements are tougher on some colours than others. It’s probably something to do with the electromagnetic spectrum but red paintwork always seems to show signs of sun damage sooner than other colours – which means that if you’ve got a lovely little cherry-red sports hatch, keeping up the polish and waxing schedule are important.
Polish and wax also help rainwater flow off your car’s body quickly. This, though you may not realise it, means that if there are any tiny cracks or dents in the paintwork, the rain is less likely to get into them and cause rust.
How To Do Your Own Car Detailing
- Choose a day when it’s not raining. Grey, windy and overcast is the best. If it’s sunny, go into the shade or the detergents will dry onto your paintwork.
- Start on the outside by washing all the surface dirt off. To save water, it’s best to do this with a soft brush and a bucket rather than a hose. However, if you can somehow get the grey water from your bath into a hose, this could work. Warm water with a little detergent is best, although you can use a commercial car wash product if you prefer. Don’t use a hard scrubbing brush, as this will scratch the paint. Work from top to bottom and don’t forget to wash underneath as far as you can reach. This includes the mudguards and underneath the exhaust pipe.
- Get a fresh bucket of water and wash the wheels, paying careful attention to all parts of the spokes. You may need to use a smaller brush to get into all the fine details.
- Rinse off the whole car very thoroughly. You may want to use a microfibre cloth or chamois on the windscreen to ensure that you remove all the residues and prevent sunstroke. The same goes for the mirrors. You may need to rinse a couple of times. Again, work from top to bottom.
- Dry the car. It’s no good applying polish to wet paintwork. One possibility is to drive the car around the block a couple of times so the air dries it. However, this might be a good time to work on cleaning the interior of your car.
- To clean the interior, start by removing large bits of rubbish. Check the glovebox and other storage compartments for grime.
Alsotake the mats out of the footwell. Now vacuum everywhere – the footwells and the seats, getting into the cracks. If your upholstery is in really bad condition, then call for an upholstery cleaner.
- Wipe down all the hard surfaces with a damp rag or twenty. Don’t forget the inside of storage compartments, the centre console, and the cupholders. Be very gentle with touchscreen displays – you may prefer to clean these with a microfibre cloth or chamois of the type you clean your spectacles with. Also, use a microfibre cloth on the rearview mirror.
- If you’ve got leather upholstery, apply a light coating of polish – NOT SHOE POLISH! Let this sink in for a bit, then buff well.
- By now, the exterior of the car will probably be dry. If it isn’t, use an old towel to get the last few bits. It’s now ready for a proper polish. You can do this with a polishing wheel like a pro if you’ve got the equipment (this is called “wheeling”) or by hand with soft cloths. Judging the right amount of polish to apply at once can be tricky. It’s best to apply polish to your cloth (not directly to the paintwork) little and often – don’t try to soak the polishing wheel or the rag with a product and wait for as long as possible to apply more. Pay careful attention to little odd corners. Work on one panel at a time, going from top to bottom. Buff well (if you’re doing this by hand, you won’t need to go to the gym today, as it’s hard work).
- Rinse excess polish off with plain water. This is where you can use the hose.
- Lastly, apply a coating of wax to fill in micro-cracks in the paintwork and leave your car looking fantastic!