Spending a sunny afternoon cleaning your car is hardly most people’s ideal weekend activity. With lockdown easing and spring settling in, spending a day outside scrubbing a vehicle seems more like a chore than a pleasure. And most of us put off getting the bucket and sponge out as long as we can, only cleaning our cars once every 11 weeks.
The majority of us are pretty reluctant to clean the car, but even for those that enjoy taking care of their vehicle, it’s challenging to find the time to do it. 41% of Brits say that they’d like to clean their car more often but don’t have the time. Because of this, a lot of us end up taking our vehicles to a professional detailing service.
While a professional detailer has all the right equipment and car detailing products, getting your vehicle cleaned professionally regularly can cost a pretty penny. But anyone can get that professional sheen from their driveway with the right car detailing products and a bit of elbow grease.
What Is Car Detailing?
Car detailing is a pretty self-explanatory process. It usually involves a detailed or thorough cleaning of your vehicle and sometimes includes some light repairs to minor nicks and scratches. For more serious repairs, it’s always best to seek professional assistance.
Why Is Car Detailing Important?
While most cars take about two hours to detail properly, it’s worth the effort. Regularly detailing your vehicle helps protect its glass, body parts and paint from contaminants, UV rays and everyday wear and tear.
Keeping your car clean isn’t just about making it look great on the road. Keeping it clean and detailed is a clever way to maintain the car’s value and make sure you get the best price if you’re looking to sell in the future.
Finding the Right Car Detailing Products
Getting the right car detailing products can be overwhelming as there’s a lot to choose from. There are shampoos, foams, waxes, polishes and more to consider. It’s a good idea to start with the basics and work from there. Two buckets are the least you’ll need to get cracking with detailing.
From there, it’s wise to invest in a good shampoo, wax, polish and snow foam. Getting good products might set you back a bit more than standard ones, but they’ll save you from having to clean your car more regularly, and you’ll get a far better finish. Wilko also sell a fantastic range of decent quality car cleaning kit.
Car Detailing: Step by Step
Step 1: Start Easy, Wheely Easy
Unsurprisingly, the wheels of your car are the dirtiest part. They’re usually covered in road dirt, grime, brake dust, and lord knows what else. Use a good wheel and tyre cleaner and take your time on each wheel. You don’t have to worry about shampoo drying on the rest of the car by doing the wheels first.
Step 2: Pre-wash to Stop a Re-Wash
The pre-wash is a vital part of the detailing process. Pre-washing breaks down any road grime or stubborn marks on the car and means you won’t have to worry about a re-wash quite so soon.
Step 3: Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow Foam
There’s nothing better at getting rid of dirt and grime that have survived the pre-wash than snow foam. Snow foam is a thick foam that traps dirt and lifts it away from the paint. The snow foam gets rid of as much dirt as possible before you move onto the next stage of detailing.
Step 4: Pop the Shampoo
Much in the same way as we prefer good shampoo to keep our hair healthy, so does your car. To get the most out of detailing your car, use a specialist vehicle shampoo rather than washing up liquid which can leave permanent marks and cause rust. Specialised car shampoos are designed to clean cars thoroughly, and you won’t be disappointed with the investment.
Step 5: Decontaminate and Dry
With a bit of elbow grease and the aid of some chemical products, you can decontaminate the paint and surface of your car. Once it’s decontaminated, dry each of the car panels with a microfibre drying towel.
Step 6: What a Finish
The first step to get that shiny finish is polishing. Polishing your car will remove any imperfections like scratches and marks from the paint. Follow this up with a wax or sealant treatment which will protect the paint.
Step 7: Clean Inside and Out
The final step is to give the inside of your car a good clean. The best part about this stage is that you can whack on the radio while you clean and sing “Car Wash” (by Rose Royce or Christina Aguilera, depending on your generation).
Start by removing any old crisp packets or takeaway coffee cups and get hoovering. If you’ve got a portable vacuum, it’ll be a breeze.
After the vacuum, give everything a once over with a general-purpose interior spray to restore its original look and protect against UV rays. Finish it off by adding a new air freshener to give it that new car smell.
And there you have it. Your car will be sparkling and be the envy of all of your neighbours.