My wife found some car cleaning tips on cartalk.com and I found them to be very valuable. To make my life easier, I have summarized the items into a list:

External:

  • wash your car in a shaded area. if it is hot, you might get soap spots from drying to fast
  • pre-soak the car to remove heavy stuff
  • use mild liquid soap and 2 mitts, one for car, one for tires
  • wash one section at a time. start with the roof and work your way down
  • always hose your mitt or sponge off before puting it in the wash bucket to re-soap
  • rinse throughly
  • be careful when using spray on cleaners, as it might harm the surfaces of unintented application
  • no pricy automotive cleaners, use mild liquid soap that is well diluted.
  • dry car immediatly. chamois works. so does ‘the absorber’
  • wax with ‘black magic wax’, meguirs polish, and finish with meguiars quick detailer

Internal

  • refer to owners manual for types of cleaning solutions to use
  • test solutions on small, low visible areas first
  • try blowing out debre from hard to reach places, on low power
  • use a fine paint brush and toothbrush for hard to reach places (eg around the dashboard or door panels) (leave them in your glove compartment for easy reach)
  • use sturdy brush and vacuum to remove debris from carpets
  • use gum and wax removers to get the offending item off the surface. other options are to freeze the object and shatter it off
  • dont use armor all, just a cloth with some water will do great. to remove grime, use a all purpose cleaner diluted with water.
  • use Plexus for cleaning those plastic parts
  • the dirtiest spots on a car are: between your legs, steering wheel, seat belts, drivers door panel, shifting knob. spend a few more minutes cleaning these areas.
  • when cleaning seat belts, use only diluted mild laundry soap. this will protect the fabric
  • clean windows inside and out with paper towels. dry with 100% cotton towel.
  • to remove smells, use a 20:1 water-to-vinegar mixture. if it does not work, keep increasing the ratio until success. (dont forget to test first on a small area)
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