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How to clean a car

Need car washing advice? This article is full of handy tips on car cleaning - read on to find out how to wash, wax and polish your vehicle!


By Cleanipedia Team

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Car cleaning requires time, patience, and specific materials. Here is a step-by-step guide to cleaning your car, inside and out:

Make sure you have the right tools before you begin to clean your car. Soft sponges, wash mitts, and chamois are great options for cleaning your car, as they will not scratch it.

Cleaning the interior

Deal with the interior of your car first. You’ll need the following car cleaning products:

  • Shampoo (for fabric seats only)

  • Leather cleaner and conditioner (for leather seats only)

  • Protectant (for the dashboard only)

  • Detergent (for the pedals)

  • A handheld vacuum

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Once you’ve got your materials together, the process is fairly simple:

  1. Read the instructions on the labels of each product before starting to clean.

  2. Then, shampoo cloth seat covers lightly to remove grime and absorbed liquid. Take extra care dealing with leather seats, and always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

  3. Swab the dashboard and clean the pedals.

  4. Vacuum the whole interior with your handheld vacuum.

Now you can get ready to wash the outside of your car!

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Cleaning the exterior

Before you start, you’ll need the following car cleaning supplies:

  • A large bucket

  • A hose (preferably one which is connected to a water supply)

  • A large, soft sponge, a soft wash mitt, and a chamois

  • Liquid detergent (Although specialised car soaps are available, they are not essential. Always make sure you follow the guidelines on the labels.)

  • Plastic polish

  • Metal polish

  • A polishing cloth or sponge

  • Car wax

  • A toothbrush or specialised detailing brush

Once you have all your car wash products, you can start to wash your car! Remember not to wash your car on a sunny or overly warm day, as this will cause water to dry out too quickly and leave you with soap spots on your car. Either wait for an overcast day, or pull the car into the shade before you begin.

  • Start by hosing the whole car down. Get the whole car wet to dislodge any surface-level dirt and to remove mud and grime from the wheels.

  • Next, get your sponge, and give the wheels a thorough scrubbing. This will prevent any dirt from the dirtiest part of the car getting transported anywhere else later on.

  • Now gently scrub down the bodywork of the car with your wash mitt. Lambswool works best here, as anything too abrasive will damage the paintwork. Dry the car off with a chamois, but remember to be gentle.

How to clean a car
  • Use your toothbrush or detailing brush to get dirt out of cracks in the bodywork.

Microfiber cloth on car
  • Polish any bare metal, but be careful not to use metal polish on non-metal surfaces and remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the product. Next, use your plastic polish to clean and polish your headlights, indicators, and brake lights. Dirty headlights are not only unsightly, but they can also lead to road accidents, so this step is absolutely crucial.

How to clean a car
  • Apply wax. Remember to wax your wheels as well as everything else!

  • Lastly, clean the windows. Soap and water can do the trick, but glass cleaner will always give you better results.

Originally published