Automotive Detailing at Home

Automotive detailing at home will save you money, and it's a great way to get some exercise. After all, it is a physical activity. Detailing your car is more than just a simple wash and wax. It's paying attention to the details and leaving no stone unturned. It's the difference between your car looking ordinary and looking spectacular.

What You'll Need

Before you start, make sure you have all the proper tools, materials and the space for the job. You'll definitely need a toothbrush, a wet/dry shop vacuum, a chamois, plenty of old rags and an outdoor water source with a garden hose attachment. Also, a nicely sized driveway or other area, preferably away from any trees, is key. The cleaning products you buy should be specific to the area you want to clean. Whatever the surface you're working on, whether it be tires, rims, windows or vinyl, make sure you use the appropriate cleaner.

Where to Begin

It's best to start with the interior of your car. The amount of dirt and dust that is kicked up can ruin a great exterior job. So, start from the inside. Begin with taking the floor mats out. Look for any loose change or any other kinds of valuables around and under the seats. Give the floor and seat areas a good vacuuming. Next, use a good foam cleaner to get the minor stains out of the carpets and cloth seats. Work the cleaner into the stain with a damp sponge or cloth. Later, blot the area with a dry cotton towel then let sit. If the stain is still there, repeat the steps.

Fixing Holes, Burns or a Tear in the Vinyl

If the carpet has a hole or burn in it, cut a piece the size of the torn area from a hidden section in the car. Under the seat is the best place. Then glue the new piece to the questionable area with a water-proof cement adhesive. Tears in the vinyl are easily remedied by purchasing a repair kit at an auto supply store or your local K-Mart. These are made specifically for those types of blemishes and are easy to follow.

Other Parts to the Interior

When cleaning hard interior areas, use mild, all-purpose cleaner. Apply with a damp cloth. When cleaning vinyl or leather seats, use products made specifically for those materials. Avoid the slippery products that produce a glossy shine. You or your passenger won't have any traction sitting in the seats, and that can be dangerous. Windows should be cleaned with your everyday run-of-the-mill window cleaner. The dash board area can be the toughest. It's hard to get a damp cloth in the little nook and crannies of the dials, temperature gadgets and the air vents. A can of compressed air you use to clean the keyboard on your computer or a cotton swab will do the trick. 

Time for the Outside

Next, wash your car. Make sure you use a nice car wash soap instead of a dish washing soap. This is the perfect time to use the toothbrush to scrub the brake dust from the hubcaps. Once the car is clean it's time to wax. A superior wax will give it the extra shine that will make it the envy of your neighborhood. Or, just make you feel good inside. Have a cold beverage and admire your work.

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