Now that you’ve read about why you should clean your car if you’re selling it, here’s how to ‘detail’ your car, ie thoroughly clean it
In this article we’ll show you how to wash your car (there’s more to it than washing up liquid and a hose) and talk about how to ‘clay’ your car before waxing and polishing your car (to give it that ‘span new’ look).
That’s not to forget the windows and important parts like tyres.
What you may need to clean your car:
- somewhere outdoors close to a tap and electric power points
- two buckets
- brushes (a detailing brush or a washing up brush from the kitchen)
- lambswool wash mitt or a sponge
- leather shammy (chamois) or microfiber towel
- wire wool
- a hose
- products such as:
- wheel cleaner
- car shampoo
- claybar lubricant
- chrome polish
- rubber and plastic care products for interiors
- tyre dressing or spray
How to wash a car
- Rinse all surfaces of the car thoroughly with water to remove any loose dirt or debris that could cause scratching starting from the roof and working down.
- Spray the wheels with a wheel cleaner, preferably a non-acidic ph neutral one to prevent corrosion. Leave to settle for one minute then agitate with a detailing brush or a washing up brush. Rinse thoroughly, removing all that caked-in brake dust.
- Shampoo the car, using the two bucket technique.
- Use two buckets – one containing water and the other containing car shampoo and water.
- You can use a sponge but a lambswool wash mitt will help prevent scratching.
- Shampoo from the roof down, cleaning one panel at a time.
- Dip the mitt/sponge in the bucket of water to get rid of dirt and grit before dipping in the shampoo bucket again.
- Continue the process until the car is fully shampooed.
- Rinse off the shampoo with a hose, starting from the roof down.
- Dry the car with a leather shammy or a microfiber towel.
Clean those windows
Use window polish to bring out the perfect shine:
- apply with a microfiber cloth inside and out
- leave to haze
- buff with a clean microfiber cloth for a streak free finish
Chrome, rubber, plastics and tyres
Polish any chrome including grill and exhaust with chrome polish; wire wool may be useful for the exhaust pipe.
- Keep rubber and exterior plastics looking good with rubber and plastic care products
- Give tyres the black wet look seen on new cars with a tyre dressing or spray.
Claying, waxing and polishing
If you really want to get serious you need to clay, wax and polish your car.
- From the day a car leaves a show room all sorts of particles attach themselves to the exterior of the car. Washing alone doesn’t remove these – but ‘claying’ can help remove all sorts of contamination.
- Polishing can remove dullness from your car’s paintwork. However, unless you have experience and specialist equipment this process should be carried out by professionals.
- Waxing your car both protects it and gives it shine.
Look out for our claying, waxing and polishing advice article.