Keeping your vehicle’s appearance top-notch is more than just an issue with vanity – it’s also imperative to helping maintain its value. Professional car detailers do an amazing job, but they also make your wallet want to run and hide. We’ve rounded up the best secrets of the biz, so you can D.I.Y. your car detailing, and give your bank account a break.
Do a Full Evaluation and Give Yourself Enough Time
If you want your vehicle to look professionally cleaned, it’s going to take more than a quick vacuum and wipe-down. From the dashboard, windows, carpets and handles, to the panels, roof, tires and rims, there are a lot of parts to cover. Don’t force yourself to rush through the process by overlooking any details. Fully assess the situation your vehicle is in, then make sure you block off enough time to get the job done right.
Brush Your Carpets
Vacuuming often isn’t enough. The best way to truly get out all the dust, dirt and grime from your vehicle’s fabrics is by brushing it first. Use a stiff brush to loosen up debris on all your carpets and upholstery. If your vehicle has a leather interior, use a conditioner with aloe.
Bust Out the Air Compressor
If you’re lucky enough to have access to an air compressor, don’t let it go to waste just filling up tires. Use it to blow dirt and debris from the nooks and crannies of your car’s interior. You may also use it to blow the dust out of your air heating and cooling system. Between this and the brushing, you’re all set to start vacuuming!
Remove the Seats
If necessary, remove the seats completely from the vehicle. This allows excellent access to all those little nooks and crannies that can be awkward, or impossible, to access otherwise. In particular, the driver and front passengers seats may need to be removed, as these are generally the most highly-trafficked parts of the vehicle.
Carpets First, Windows Last
Brushing up the carpets and blasting the air compressor is going to ruffle up a lot of dust. Wait a few minutes to ensure everything has settled before vacuuming. Then clean the rest of your vehicle, such as the panels, dashboard and windows.
When wiping the interior parts of your vehicle, be sure to use a safe product that won’t damage the materials. Berryman B-104 Lemon Fresh Towelettes quickly clean grease, grime, tar, dirt, ink, adhesives and paint using a potent combination of powerful, industrial-strength, yet safe, cleaners.
Save the windows for last to prevent dust or debris from dirtying them during the process. Don’t forget to lower the windows slightly and wipe the top of the window pane as well.
Hand-Wash The Exterior
Just like when washing the floors in your home, putting the gloves on and scrubbing by hand is always the most effective way to get your car clean. Be sure to use a designated car washing solution rather than dishwashing liquid. While dish soap may get your car clean, it also strips the protective coatings. This makes the paint more susceptible to scratches and other blemishes. #NotWorthIt.
Polish and Wax
While polish is meant to smooth the surface of your vehicle, it works a lot better if you use a polishing machine of some kind. Oscillating polishing machines work great. Once it is polished, you’re ready to wax. Wax your vehicle twice – it’s easy to miss spots, so the second round ensures a thorough job. Experts suggest waxing your vehicle once every season, particularly if it is parked outdoors.
Dual Wash Buckets
Another great tip when detailing your vehicle is to use two wash buckets. Fill one up with fresh cleaning solution, and one with fresh, clean water. Between dips into your cleaning solution bucket, first rinse your wash mitt in the fresh water. Then wring to dry before dipping it back into the cleaning solution. This way you’re always putting a fresh cloth into your suds bucket, ensuring all that dirt and debris doesn’t just get transferred back to your vehicle. You also won’t need to refresh your cleaning solution as frequently, saving you time, water and cleaning solution.
Don’t Forget the Engine
An impressive car appearance isn’t complete without a sparkling clean engine, and cleaning it is simpler than you may think. The majority of modern-day engines are highly protected with plastic shrouding and housings. However, the alternator remains a sensitive area. It is safe practice to cover the alternator with a plastic bag to protect it while cleaning the rest of your vehicles engine.
First, spray engine degreaser over the entire engine and engine bay. Berryman® B-33 Engine Degreaser contains a proprietary blend of high-performance detergents and emulsifiers which easily penetrate road grime, dirt, grease, and oil. Allow the product to work its magic – then simple rinse it off with water! We don’t recommend using a pressure washer to do this, a simple garden hose with a water nozzle attached will do the job safely and effectively.
Don’t forget to clean your Mass Air Flow system and electronic parts. Berryman® Mass Air Flow and Electronic Cleaner is Ideal for cleaning and degreasing mass air flow sensors, printed circuits, switches, relays, rheostats, contact points, and diagnostic test equipment. It allows automotive electric control units to optimize air/fuel ratio for improved fuel economy. Further, it removes oils, lint, and dust from tape heads, tuners, VCRs and other electronic equipment.
Once the engine bay is sparkling clean, blow dry it with either a leaf blower or air compressor. This removes the majority excess water from your engine. When you’re done, fire it up and let it run for ~5 minutes to help everything dry out completely.
At Berryman, we are committed to providing prompt personal service and producing products that meet the highest quality standards of performance, reliability and environmental responsibility. For accurate information and quality products you need to for maintaining your vehicle, contact us today!