Car Cleaning Tips & Hacks
Posted on May 30, 2022
Think you know all there is to know about cleaning your car? Maybe spending hot summer days earning some extra money cleaning the family car gave you some experience, but did it make you an expert? The following car cleaning hacks and maintenance tips are to help you level up your car cleaning skills to get that interior and exterior shine you’ve been working for.
Use the right products in the right places - Dos and Don’ts:
- Don’t use household cleaning products (or baking soda or rubbing alcohol - no matter what you may have seen on TikTok)
- Do use dedicated car cleaning solution(s)
- Don’t use an old fashioned sponge or cleaning rag
- Do use a microfibre mitt and/or microfibre cloth
- Don’t use the same mitt//cloth around the whole vehicle
- Do use a separate mitt//cloth for the wheels(and any other very dirty part) than for the rest of the vehicle - also use a separate cloth to dry the vehicle, ringing it out and/or getting a fresh towel as you go
- Don’t ever scrub - always be gentle - stubborn dirt/debris can be handled with soaking and/or appropriate detailing sprays and rinses
Tricks of the Trade:
The best car cleaning hacks are those trade secrets from the people who made careers out of the task you are attempting to do - here is a few we’ve picked up along the way:
- If road paint gets on your cart, you can use a bit of gasoline to remove it, but be extremely careful not to use too much or scrub too hard
- Clean off tree sap and/or bird droppings immediately as they can damage your paint.
--> For tree sap: use as warm water as possible (cold will not cut it here) and a detailing solvent spray and/or mix of water and car wash solution - don’t listen to the google “professionals” who recommend rubbing alcohol
--> For bird poop: use as warm water as possible and mix with some car wash solution. Soak the poop - really soak it and leave it (in a shaded spot away from direct heat and/or sunlight) for 20-30 minutes (adding more water/cleaning solution as needed to keep the area soaked). Return and check if the droppings have softened by lightly touching the edge of the mess - repeat soaking as many times as needed for the poop to soften. Wipe using an incredibly soft touch. Never, ever scrub! Never, ever use baking soda no matter what you saw on a Facebook video about car cleaning hacks
- Use a newspaper page/microfibre cloth to wipe the glass/windows/sunroof/moonroof down after using a spray bottle of glass cleaner - it leaves no streaks and no fibers behind. You should also always leave the glass cleaning to the very end as you will inevitably get the glass dirty when cleaning the interior of the car and leaving it last will avoid having to repeat the process
- Does the car still have an odor even after a thorough cleaning and changing the hepa filter? Best car cleaning hack is to use dry compressed air (no moisture or oil) in your air vents to get out any extra dirt/debris or moisture causing mold
- You should already have dry compressed air available to clean your console and/or areas with buttons that should not be soaked and are hard to reach - ever seen what a can of compressed air gets out of your computer keyboard? Just wait until you see what it can do for the buttons in your car. A small car detailer’s brush is also great for those nooks and crannies
- Another great car cleaning hack is use a rubber glove or squeegee to get pet hair out of fabric and carpet before vacuuming
- If you are going to wax/polish/seal after cleaning, be sure to also use the clay bar process to take your decontamination to the next level. It is definitely worth noting that clay bar cleaning can lead to some abrasion of your clear coat as it works to remove the microscopic pollutants and thus should only be used as a cleaning technique if you plan to wax/polish/seal after cleaning
- The plastic bag trick: to find any bumps or missed debris after cleaning without putting fingerprints all over your freshly cleaned car, grab a plastic bag, place your hand in it and run it along your vehicle - if you hear or feel any rough spots, go over this spot with more cleaning product and/or clay bar technique and a rinse and dry
- When in doubt, go to the detailing professionals!
Remember time is money and cleaning your car properly can be very time consuming - and even more costly if you make any errors that result in needing a touch up. You should consider car exterior and interior detailing part of your regular maintenance and often a professional is your best bet. If you want to leave it to the experts, check out our car detailing package and some before and after shots here: carhub.ca/service/detailing
Sharon Pinfold has been in the automotive industry since 2005. She has worked in the Service Department, Leasing Department and as a New/Used Car Sales Person for domestic, foreign and luxury brands. Most recently, she worked for an Agency that provided digital advertising and website solutions to the automotive sector.