We have all the tips you need to get your car back into tip-top shape. We’ll break down the best cleaning advice to make your car sparkle inside and out.
Before you start spraying cleaners or scrubbing surfaces, make sure you give your entire car a thorough vacuuming. Make the most of your vacuum’s attachments for the best results - ie. use the crevice tool to get into all the nooks and crannies, the brush tool for a deep dusting of your vents, buttons, and dials, the upholstery tool for your fabric seats, and the standard attachment for your carpet and mats. (If you have a powered brush tool use this on carpets and mats).
If you don’t want the hassle of running extension leads from your house to the car, then it’s worth getting a cordless vacuum cleaner. Look for models that convert to a handheld and that have long running times, such as the Cleva Joey 21.6V Touch.
Carpets and Mats
Once you’ve vacuumed your interior, you can tackle the dirt and grime in your carpet and floor mats with a mild upholstery cleaner and brush to scrub them back to life. Be sure to let everything thoroughly dry before replacing floor mats.
When choosing a cleaner for your leather interior, make sure to avoid any products that contain wax, silicone or oil. Before using any products on your precious leather seats, make sure you do an inconspicuous spot test to prevent any irreversible discolouration or damage. If your spot test proves successful, apply the leather cleaner to your seats and follow the label’s instructions.
If there are any stains on your car’s upholstery, you can use a fine bristled brush to spot clean with a mild laundry detergent. However, if you regularly travel with children or pets, you may have some tougher messes to clean up. You can deep-clean your upholstery if necessary using your wet and dry vacuum cleaner:
- Firstly, ensure you have vacuumed the seats thoroughly to remove all dry dirt before applying moisture / shampoo. Otherwise, any dry dirt will turn to ‘mud’.
Hand-remove specific stains such as coffee, tea or red dye from ketchup or juice.
- Steam clean deep stains if possible.
- Pre-spray upholstery with carpet / upholstery shampoo to emulsify oily soil on the fibers. Rub with a hand brush to apply friction to the shampoo.
- Lightly spray with water to dilute shampoo.
- Use your wet and dry vacuum cleaner to extract moisture from upholstery. Repeat steps five and six to completely rinse clean the combination of oily soils and shampoo residue.
If don’t already own a wet and dry, then the Vacmaster Power 30 PTO is an industrial standard vacuum cleaner that’s suitable for domestic use.
When everything has been vacuumed, scrubbed, wiped and dried. Keep your car smelling fresh with a homemade baking soda air freshener. Mix about 90g of baking soda with approximately 15 drops of your favourite essential oil for a natural air freshener. (Did you know baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is actually a salt? It’s perfect for absorbing odours because it has a slightly higher pH whilst most odours have a lower pH, thus neutralising smells.)
One size does not fit all for car exterior cleaning products. So make sure you treat your windows, paint, wheels and tires separately. Whether you choose DIY cleaning products with natural ingredients or buy specialist products for your specific needs, make sure you spot test and follow the instructions on the label.
The most important tip for getting spotless car windows is to use a clean, microfibre towel - better yet, use two, one for cleaning and one for drying! While the trick is in the towels, avoid using common household cleaners on car windows as most products typically contain ammonia which can damage window tint. Tip: partially roll down your windows, clean the top, roll them back up and clean the rest of the window for a thorough job well done with no unsightly smears.
The cleaner is the key to getting your wheels to sparkle. If you know your wheel type, use the product that has been specifically formulated for it; however, if you’re unsure, opt for the least powerful wheel cleaner, or an acid-free pH balanced aluminum wheel cleaner as these are formulated to be safe on all wheel types. Apply your preferred cleaning product and follow the instructions on the label.
Body / Paint
To keep your paint job in mint condition, use a car-specific washing liquid. Before you apply any cleaners, make sure you give your car a moderately powerful rinse to remove any larger pieces of dirt which can scratch your paint during the washing process. Once you’ve given your car a thorough rinsing, use clean, non-abrasive cloths or mitts to wash the surface. Rinse away any suds and residue before drying with a soft clean cloth. To seal the deal on protecting your paint job, polish things off with a waxing. Tip: liquid waxes are often easier to apply and provide a similar quality of protection as paste waxes.
Most importantly, allow everything to dry sufficiently. From your mats to your seats to your wheels, anything that’s damp will attract dirt when you take your next journey. Make sure your car has a decent drying break before you get back on the road.
Dry your car
On the topic of drying your car, a popular use among car enthusiasts is to use a leaf blower to dry their cars after a wash, but using your wet and dry vacuum cleaner on the blow setting is perfect for the job too.
Click here to see our full range of household and wet and dry vacuum cleaners.