10 Steps To Detailing Your Car

I'm in the last week of spring cleaning - finally! For the past several weeks, a friend and I have been going room by room through the entire house, deep cleaning anything and everything we could find. You really don't appreciate your home until you've been down on your hands and knees scrubbing, or high on a step stool tearing down cobwebs.

The last two tasks on the list are the one-car garage attached to the house and the windows. Friday will be an exceptionally long day as we have literally dozens on huge windows throughout the house.

To get a jump on the garage cleaning, I detailed my car. After the extremely long winter we had this year, the car was full of salt, dirt and ... yeah, I'm not sure what some of that was.

If you'd like to do a down-to-the-carpet deep clean of your own vehicle, here's a handy check list to get you motivated.

1. Gather your cleaning supplies. (It's always best to use car-specific cleaners, just to be on the safe side.) You'll want cleaning cloths, multi-surface cleaner, window cleaner and a shop vac. The smaller the attachments you have, the better.

2. Pull the car into a large open space and empty it completely. Pull out the floor mats, clear out the glove compartment and unload the trunk. Remove any cup holder liners and window clings, if you can.

3. Spray and clean the openings around the doors, especially if this is its first cleaning since winter or you live on gravel roads. This will probably be the dirtiest part of the job, so do it first.

4. Clean the insides of all the windows.

5. Get all the dust off the dashboard and console. You'll get in the crevices in a little while. Wipe out the glove compartment and any plastic, metal or rubber edges showing. This is probably the longest part of the process, but it makes all the difference. You'll see.

6. Depending on whether you have cloth or leather seats, use the appropriate cleaners to get all the grime off.

7. Grab your shop vac and run it over the entire interior of the car. This includes the seams on the seats, under the front seats and where every floor mat was. Don't forget the back window sill, since that's where the bugs like to collect.

8. Rinse off the floor mats, and scrub them if necessary. Leave them out to dry.

9. If you normally wash your car by hand, now is the time to get the outside done, or you can run it through the car wash. Treat yourself to the Executive Wash this time and watch it shine.

10. Sort through all of the stuff you removed from the car in Step 2. Only return the important paperwork to the glove compartment. Put a trunk organizer or crate in the trunk to keep your shopping bags and groceries from pouring out all over. Rotate in some new CDs and replace the cardboard coasters in your cup holders.

While it may not be a new car, you can definitely take good care of it. Who knows ... it might even run better without all that junk on it and in it!


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