Give your car the showroom finish it deserves by using these deep-clean methods
Stop moping around and give your car an extreme clean!
The world is in a state of crisis and the best thing we can do for our country is to stay at home and away from people as much as possible. On the surface, this may sound mind-numbingly boring, but the opportunities are only limited by our own imagination.
During lockdown, you don’t have to watch garbage daytime TV all day or spend hours on Facebook. Instead, why not do something more interesting like learn a new language, start working out or learn how to detail your car!
Now, detailing is just cleaning your car in a more professional way and there are many different levels. How far you go with detailing is completely up to you as the deeper you go, the more time will be needed and you’ll also need more specialist tools.
Here are some things you could learn whilst in lockdown:
How to wash your car properly without leaving swirl marks
Ordinary people often take to their cars with a sponge and a bucket and just start mopping away at their car’s delicate paint. This will end with your car having swirl marks on it which are created when fine debris particles are caught in the sponge and are then swiped all over the car, scratching the surface along the way.
To avoid this, you’ll want to start off with a ‘touchless’ wash using a jet washer. If possible, order a snow foam spray nozzle attachment to stick on the end to coat your car in frothy soap, then hose down with the pressure washer. Once this is done, then begin to wash your car with a microfibre mitt using the two bucket method.
If you don’t have a jet washer, then you can skip this step and just begin to wash the car using the two bucket method.
The idea of the two bucket method is this; one bucket is for rinsing your dirty cloth/mitt, the other bucket has the soapy solution in it and you only dip the mitt in it when it’s clean! This way you have one bucket of clean, soapy water and one dirty bucket rather than just using one dirty bucket of water to clean your car.
If you want to go a step further, buy grit guards to put at the bottom of your buckets. These grit guards are for you to rub the mitt against in order to loosen the dirt that may otherwise stay attached. Then, the dirt will sit at the bottom of the bucket below the grit guard and won’t be mixed in with the rest of the water.
When washing your car, follow these rules:
- Don’t rub in circular motions, instead wash the car in straight lines that follow the shape of your car.
- Don’t apply pressure. Keep your hands light and stroke the car lightly.
- If your microfibre mitt touches the floor, stop using it. It will have picked up fine debris and you don’t want that scratching your paint.
- Start at the top of your car and work your way down. The dirtiest parts are nearest the ground, so leave them til last.
- Replace your mitt and water if it gets too dirty. You wouldn’t wash your dishes with a dirty sponge now, would you?
So, once you have soaped down your car with care, you can then rinse it all off either using a power washer or just a bucket of clean water. Once done, dry the car with clean, high-quality microfibre towels using the same straight motions (without any swirling!).
For your wheels, you can buy a special alloy wheel cleaner that breaks down residue brake dust. If you don’t want to buy this, just use the same techniques and philosophy as before and be sure not to scrub.
How to clay bar your car
Now, in the eyes of a detailer, the wash is just the beginning.
Using a clay bar isn’t something you have to do regularly, only every now and again. A clay bar removes stuck-in and embedded dirt and debris from the paint.
Take a small part of the clay bar (5x5cm) and rub in your hands to warm it up to make it more malleable. Then, take a made-for-purpose detailer spray or just some car soap and water mixed in a spray bottle, and spray onto the area you want to work on. Once the surface is lubricated, wipe the car with the clay bar.
You can either do the whole car or just work on areas that bother you most. On white cars especially, it’s very easy to see where the embedded dirt is and the clay bar will remove it.
How to wax your car
Once you’re happy with the cleanliness of your car, you’ll want to protect the paint using a wax, or if you want to go one step further, a ceramic coating.
A good wax will not only give your car a lasting shine, but will also protect the paint for around a month or so.
Be sure to read the instructions on the wax first, but most waxes are best when applied to a dry car, left on until a dull haze, then removed.
When applying, this time you can use circular motions if you like, as long as you’re confident that the surface is free of any abrasive debris, using a soft applicator pad that is usually provided. Let the wax dry to a dull haze – you’ll know when it’s finished drying by swiping your finger on it and it should not smear or still feel ‘waxy’. Remove with a soft, clean microfibre cloth and then enjoy the shining result!
Detailing is a philosophy
Detailing requires great patience and meticulousness. As long as you take your time and become an extreme perfectionist that wants to do each step as well as possible, you’re already on the right track.
As soon as you begin to rush or become frustrated, the whole process can fall apart. For best results, dedicate a whole day to process, clear your mind of distractions and take your time in cleaning and caring for your car. Always looks for spots that could be cleaner and then clean them!
Also, do more research. We’ve only outlined some of the basics and there’s much more to it. But beware, once you go down this rabbit hole you may not be able to turn back!
Challenge yourself during lockdown and take advantage of the lovely weather! Get out and detail!
If you like this, you may also like our post on the top 10 cars that will make you stand out!
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