How To Clean Your Car In The Spring – A Comprehensive Guide April 29 2016
The long winter has passed and cleaning your car to keep it nice and tidy is now your first priority before taking it out on the road. The very last thing you want is to take your favourite automobile out with pieces of mud hanging over the front fender, scrapes on the side of the bonnet, and traces of salty snow on the boot.
To help you with cleaning your car in the proper manner, we’re here with the complete guide to how to clean your car in the spring. We’ll be talking about how to perform a full clean-up: from front to back, in and out, under the bonnet and over the top, the carpets and the windows, the headlights, and the dashboard. Your car will receive a 5-star treatment that’ll leave it shining all-year-round!
Before You Clean Your Car
- Why Is Spring Cleaning Different?
- Preparing the Car Getting Supplies for Cleaning Your Car
How to Clean Your Car in the Spring
- How to Clean Your Car Interior
- How to Clean Your Car Dashboard
- How to Clean Your Car Seats
- How to Clean Your Car Carpet
- How to Clean Your Car Exterior
- How to Clean Your Car Body
- How to Clean Your Car Windows
- How to Clean Your Car Engine (Optional)
After you Clean Your Car
- How to Keep Your Car Clean
- Choosing the Best Car Covers
After you Clean Your Car
- How to Keep Your Car Clean
- Choosing the Best Car Covers
Before You Clean Your Car
First, we’re going to start with why your car gets so dirty during the winter months and why there’s a dire need for an extended cleaning session once the bluebells are in bloom and spring is just around the corner.
However, there are several important steps you must undertake before you begin with the clean-up of your car. The most important of these is that you have all the tools in order to provide your care with the service it needs and deserves. We’ll be stopping by each of these issues one at a time, in the hopes of providing you with top notch tips and advice to clean your car exhaustively and professionally.
Why is Spring Cleaning Different?
Spring cleaning can be a mess, no matter where it takes place. The dirt, dust, and mud of winter somehow makes its way into the tiniest of places from your car’s interior to the backdoor of your house. How does everything get so dirty over the course of just three months? And how does it happen to your car?
- The setting snow leaves marks on your car’s body, windows, mirrors, and headlights.
- The melting snow will turn into a goo-like substance of water, mud, brine, and more mud. This substance causes nasty stains and generally sticks to any material it comes into contact with. The brine makes it slightly corrosive and so it’s even harder to remove than typical stains.
- The fact that people usually drag it all over the car’s carpeting with their boots doesn’t help at all (Pro tip: for an easier spring car cleaning, shake off your boots before getting into the car during winter).
- Going over puddles of melted snow spreads the brine-water substance all over your car’s underbody and makes for an even more complicated process of spring cleaning. On top of this, you actually have to clean the underbody since that water and brine in time eats away at the car’s components and may turn into a hazard.
- The freezing temperatures will also freeze the mud water on the car’s body, making for an even more difficult clean in the spring.
- When the weather starts getting slightly warmer, the mud that used to cover all the roadways will turn into a very dense and light dust. This dust likewise gets everywhere – you’ll see it on the insides of your windows, on your tires, and even in your car’s engine. This needs to be cleaned off as well.
Preparing The Car
On to the actual process of how to clean your car at home. The two things that you first need to do are to prepare your car for cleaning and to acquire the cleaning products necessary. Both of these can be done in whichever order you prefer as long as you do them properly.
Preparing your car will ensure it’s completely safe and you’re not risking damage just by cleaning it. Here’s a full checklist of what to do before you actually start the long and lengthy process of cleaning your car:
- Make sure the car is in parking. First, you should place your car on a completely flat surface. Then you should make sure that the parking mode is engaged (if you use an automatic gearbox). For manual gearbox fans, make sure the handbrake is engaged. Automatic drivers should also check the handbrake.
- Turn the vehicle off. One too many mishaps are due to the fact that drivers fail to turn the vehicle off while cleaning the car. For a basic bonnet clean, you should be fine. However, for such an extensive cleaning job as the spring cleaning usually is, you should turn it off (use your phone for music if you just have to set the mood).
- Disconnect the battery. This one is optional and is also mandatory if you want to clean the engine and if you know how to disconnect it. After removing the key from the ignition, go under the bonnet and remove the wires from the battery gently.
- Check that the crank is safe. If you want to go under the car and clean it more thoroughly, you will need a crank or a jack. If you have one, make sure it’s safely secured under your car before you take on any sort of underbody cleaning.
- Check the weather. Ensure that the weather’s going to be sunny on the day you want to schedule a full spring cleaning for your vehicle. The polish can be washed off by the rain in just a manner of minutes. A good way to avoid this is to buy a waterproof car cover and put it on immediately after the job’s done.
Getting Supplies For Cleaning Your Car
Acquiring the products is an equally important step since it will - how much time you will actually spend doing the clean-up job. The better quality the products you buy, the less time you’ll spend cleaning the car, and the longer it’ll stay so neat.
Take out a pen and paper, print out this list, and then go to the store and buy everything that you need and don’t already have. Prioritise some of the items that you think that you can’t do without:
- Rags (10-12);
- Vacuum cleaner;
- Car soap;
- Shampoo or car shampoo;
- Window cleaner;
- Paper Filters (coffee);
- Trim cleaner;
- Tire shine;
- Cloths (dry-clean recommended);
How To Clean Your Car In The Spring
Now that the long winter has passed, it’s high time you cleaned your car. Chances are you will have several layers of mud residue to go through is certain areas. The best way to go through this is to approach everything in a simple, step-by-step way.
Opinions are generally varied when it comes to which part of the car you should clean first: the interior or the exterior. We won’t take sides here: just do whatever feels right to you, but bear in mind that the last thing that you need to do is to apply the polish. More about this in the next bit!
How to Clean Your Car Interior
The interior of a car is oftentimes the most difficult to clean. It takes a lot of attention to detail, a lot of patience, and nerves of steel. Follow the steps bellow to the letter, however, and you should be fine! Cleaning the car interior generally takes up to half an hour, provided you don’t endeavour to remove the chairs. Let’s begin with cleaning the dashboard:
How To Clean You Car Dashboard
The dashboard is probably the most important part in the interior of your car. Everyone will look at it, including you. It’s the way your car speaks to you. So, naturally, you’ll want to have it as clean as possible. Here’s what to do:
- Wipe the dust with a dry cloth. Just like with furniture, first, remove all the dust from every single orifice. If you can’t get to a particular place, us the toothbrush to wipe the dust off (make sure it’s dry).
- Wipe with a damp cloth. Apply some cleaner to the cloth if the dashboard is particularly dirty. Go slowly along the shape of the dashboard and be sure to do it gently. If there’s any excess dust you may risk scratching the dashboard or the steering wheel. Also, repeat the previous steps for the sides of the doors.
- Use a wet toothbrush to remove stains. Remove the stains from your dashboard with shampoo (or car shampoo) and with a toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are amazing for these types of cleaning jobs.
- Clean the windows on the inside. A simple wipe would do, provided you don’t have kids who like to touch the windows with sugary hands. Also, use the toothbrush to remove mud-dust from the inside of your windows. Roll the windows up and down a few times and clean them repeatedly until all traces of dust disappear.
How To Clean Your Car Seats
Cleaning the car seats is easy! If you have the usual dust and small mud stains, use a dry brush to remove them, after which you should take out the vacuum cleaner. Use a narrow end extension for your vacuum cord. Small car vacuums are also amazing for this job, provided you want to spend several extra pounds on one.
If your car-seat upholstery is particularly stained or dirty, you should have the possibility to remove them and wash them in the washing machine. However, doing this for some vehicles implies unscrewing the seats completely which we don’t recommend unless you absolutely know what you’re doing.
How To Clean Your Carpet
Before vacuuming the car carpets, you must first remove them from the car and shake the dust off of them one by one. Make sure you stand as far away from them as possible while doing this.
The next thing you should do is remove any junk from the floor of the car: coins, plastic cup heads, food remains, and whatever else you may find there. Then, using the vacuum cleaner once more, clean the floor of the car without the carpets. After a thorough clean (be very careful around the edges), put the carpets back and vacuum them as well.
If you believe the carpets are still in need of cleaning, simply put them in the washing machine by themselves.
How To Clean You Car Exterior
After you’re done with the interior of the car, it’s time to move over to the outer body. This may require a lot of extra force, but also more patience, and stronger cleaning products. Cleaning the exterior of a car generally takes up to one hour, with slight variations depending on the type of cleaning products you have and how dirty your vehicle is.
How To Clean Your Car BodyActually washing the car might be the simplest and most satisfying things you will do. The best way to clean a car on the outside is to follow the following steps precisely:
- Fill buckets with soap water. Put car soap into buckets of water and simply dump them all over the car until every corner is covered.
- Turn on the hose. Before you actually brush, wipe, or rinse the car, you’ll need to make sure all the excess dirt is off. To do this, point the hose at the dirtier parts of the car and use a powerful and steady stream of water.
- Wipe and rinse. Using the two rags dipped in soap water, clean the car in circular motions until every single spot is covered. Then rinse with the hose and be sure to shoot water at all the small areas where the dust usually gets to. Repeat this process as many times as you think it’s necessary.
- Clean the wheels. Use some more rags to clean the wheels and tires. If you want to be thorough about it, using a small one pence coin, remove the dirt from the tire sculptures. Rinse with the hose.
- Apply tire shine. Simply use a sponge to wipe some tire shine onto the tires. Don’t overdo it since it won’t last very long, it’s just so that the car looks consistently tidy when you’re done with the spring cleaning.
- Apply polish. This should be done only after all the other cleaning processes are done. If you’re going to apply the wax by hand, use quality wax. If you would rather do it with the buffer pad, you can use any type of wax since the pad will give a nice finish regardless.
How To Clean Your Car Windows
Cleaning the windows is very simple and you should already do it from time to time, no matter whether it’s spring or not. This very same principle applies also for how to clean your car headlights and how to clean its mirrors.
If you’re going to use window cleaner, make sure you use good quality solutions since cheap ones often leave marks that may be more annoying than the window before it was cleaned. If you want to save some money, mix half vinegar and half water in a bowl and use newspaper to wipe the windows. The graphite in the paper will gather the dust and moisture and leave the glass squeaky clean!
How to Clean Your Car Engine (Optional)
Important reminder: Never use the hose to clean your engine. Use as little water as possible since there are wires there that may fry your circuit board the moment the car is turned back on. Follow these steps precisely and if you think your engine needs more thorough cleaning, take it to a professional.
Wipe off the dirt and grease from your engine slowly and carefully with a slightly damp rag. Do not remove anything from the engine. Leave it as is and try to work around its components. Remember to clean all the areas around the engine as well: the inside of the bonnet, the blow area, and the inner walls.If you still want to insist on getting the grease and dirt off of your engine manually, use a degreaser and apply it precisely like this:
- Turn on the engine. Remember that everything needs to be dry when you do this. Don’t start your car immediately after you’ve finished the cleaning process. Let the engine run for about five minutes before turning it off again. The degreaser will work amazingly if the grease is hot.
- Wait for it to cool a bit. Never apply degreaser to a hot engine. Wait until you can touch the exhaust without it being too hot. Only then use the degreaser in very small amounts on the engine. The mixture must be made with water and must be very concentrated.
- Wipe off the degreaser. Use a water atomiser to spray water mist over the engine, gently wiping it off immediately afterwards. Do not use too much water and always wear protection gloves.
After You Clean Your CarHere are some pro tips so that you can keep the car clean no matter how lazy you are:
- Keep it shining! Keep some of that wax and polish your car from time to time. It will make the world of a difference.
- Keep it tidy! Put a few trash bags in the back and in the front. Never eat in the car. Always throw out your garbage. Small gestures are the ones that matter.
- Keep kids contained! Try to discipline your kids to not touch windows with greasy/sugary fingers and teach them to only enter the car with clean shoes.
- Keep it in the garage! A garage will make everything always look nice and clean. It’s the same principle as with a bike: keep it outside and it’ll rust and decay, keep it inside and it just might make it through the winter.
- Keep it covered! Choose one of the covers below and fit it to your car! You can use waterproof covers, snow resistant covers, or indoor covers.
Choosing The Best Car Covers
Looking for your first car cover? You’re in luck since we’re here with a few helpful tips on how to choose one. If you follow these steps, you will have the perfect fitting for your car all year round! Here’s what you should consider:
- Where are you going to store the car? Will you leave the vehicle in a garage or are you going to leave it out in the open? Are you in an area where it rains a lot? If so, look for a waterproof cover!
- How much money do you have? Cheap covers offer cheap protection. Most of the covers that are cheap may actually damage your car (non-waterproof covers in the winter should be forbidden).
- Want more tips? Head on over to our full guide to equipping your car with the perfect cover over here!