When I only had one child, I would take my car into this amazing hand wash where I could get an interior detail and wash for $60. I went once a month and that was plenty.
Now I have three kids, and I have neither the money nor the time to get my car detailed as often as it needs it. It would be an exercise in futility. But now I have figured out how to do it myself in the most efficient way possible. Here’s how to detail your car like a pro.
What you need:
- Laundry basket
- Window cleaner
- Spray cleaner
- Roll of paper towels
- White washcloth
- Shop vac
- Scrubber vacuum attachment
- Baby wipes
- Water hose spray nozzle
First, take everything out to the car and then use the laundry basket to collect all the myriad items that need to go back in the house. Shoes, toys, books, business cards, and anything else I don’t want to throw away. Leave the laundry basket outside so you can use it to haul all your supplies back in with the junk you have to put away.
Next, remove the car seats, floor mats, and my DIY carseat cover. By shaking out the carseat cover, I eliminate about 90 percent of all the crumbs and dirt that I would have to vacuum up. I usually take this opportunity to wash the carseat cover or switch it out with my spare. Take the floor mats and put them next to your car. Spray all over with Folex, then rinse with the hose on the higest pressure you can muster. Hang to dry.
Then, take the Folex and pretreat any stains on the seats, seat backs, armrests, and anywhere else that it’s needed. Folex is just simply amazing for this. They aren’t paying me to plug their product, but they should be. I have gotten out orange, post-surgery popsicle-urp stains, road-trip barbeque sauce stains, and other stuff that I won’t mention here out of respect for my very last shred of dignity. The stuff is a miracle.
I treat all the stains at once and come back around to the first to start scrubbing. Really stubborn stains will need to be scrubbed with the white washcloth before you go any further. Light stains will likely come out with the vacuum scrubber. After all the stains have been dealt with, I grab the vacuum and use the scrubber end to give the stains one last scrub and clean the seats. Scrubbing with the vacuum hose instead of rubbing with a cloth helps suck up any dirt and dust that’s stuck on, and I find this really makes the difference between a clean car and a car that looks detailed.
Next, I like to wipe everything down with Mrs. Meyers spray cleaner in the flower scent of the season. I prefer this over Armor All or other specialty vinyl cleaners simply for the smell. That’s right, the smell. Let’s face it, I could care less is the plastic is shiny. Pleasant smells are a luxury I will pay for. Plus, I find a true spray cleaner gets the dirt and grime off better than vinyl cleaners.
After I have wiped the car down with that, I grab my baby wipes. These are amazing because they get every piece of dust and dirt and stuck-on mess, especially in cup holders, change cups, the spaces around radio knobs, and those little nooks in the doors that are too small to be useful but somehow the perfect size for cast-off suckers, gum, and other sticky messes. They also make any chrome detail shine. I am a firm believer that you should always carry baby wipes whether you have children or not. They are lifesavers.
Last, wipe down those windows, and you are done! Stand back and look at that lovely car.