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We all love road trips with the family – the quality time, the singing, the sense of adventure, the scenery and obviously, the upcoming holiday, be it the rolling waves of the coast or the never knowing what's you'll find down the dusty roads in Kruger. What we DON’T like is the inevitable mess that can build up in the car over the holiday period.
I am sure most people will be heading home from their holidays over the next few days, and, once everything is unpacked, the last reminder of that great holiday is usually your car. The layers if encrusted mud all over your chassis speaks of your great adventures in the Kruger, while the sea sand all over the carports and boot and tyre-well bear testament to another great beach holiday. The Tennis biscuit crumbs, cold-drink stains, pop corn kernels, decapitated Lego figurines and assorted mess in the back make us think fondly of our kids, when will they ever grow up?
The first thing to do is address the mess, before it begins damaging your vehicle. And why not do it yourself, no one cares for your baby like you do, right? You have a few days before work restarts in January, you have the complete step-by-step guide below (courtesy of Wikihow 'https://www.wikihow.com/Detail-Your-Car'), all the products you need you can easily find on Start My Car or will already have at home? And who knows, maybe you've been around the wife too much and she is being naggy and you could use and hour or two of alone time?
The whole process should take between 2-3 hours to complete, so plan to set aside a full morning or afternoon to detail your car.
1. Remove trash and personal items from the car’s interior.
Go through your car and pull out any fast food wrappers, soda cans, old magazines or papers, and any other junk that’s piled up since the last cleaning. Look under the seats and between seat cushions for trash that may have slipped out of sight. Deposit all of these items in a trash can.
2. Vacuum the interior of the car with a wet/dry vacuum.
Pull up the floor carpets and vacuum dirt and grime off of them with the vacuum cleaner. Then, use the vacuum’s broad heads to clean the floor beneath the carpet. Finally, use narrow heads to vacuum up debris stuck between the seats.
3. Clean the interior windows with a window-cleaner spray.
Open the doors to your car and spray each of the interior windows with 5-6 generous sprays of a commercial window-cleaning solution. Also, spray the interior of the rear window and windshield with the cleaner. Use a clean cotton rag to wipe the solution across the window surfaces to clean them.
4. Wipe inner door sections and the trunk with a rag.
Spray an all-purpose cleaning solution onto a clean rag and clean off the interior plastic and metal surfaces of your vehicle. This includes the dashboard, steering wheel and column, and center console. Avoid spraying the cleaning solution directly onto the car. Instead, whenever the cloth starts to dry out, spray 4–5 more squirts of cleaning solution directly onto the cloth.
5. Clean dust out of interior corners with cotton swabs.
Many areas within your car’s interior will be too small for your vacuum cleaner and rags to reach. Rather than leaving them dirty, grab a handful of cotton swabs and start cleaning out the nooks and crannies. Dry cotton swabs should easily pick up most of the dust and dirt that’s worked its way into small crevasses in the vehicle’s dashboard and seats.
6. Clean the vehicle’s seats with a leather cleaner or shampoo.
If your vehicle has leather seats, purchase a leather cleaning spray at an auto supply store. Follow the directions on the package and apply the leather cleaner to the seats. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe the leather seats clean with a clean, dry cotton rag.
1. Choose a cloudy or partly cloudy day to detail your car.
Washing and waxing your car on a hot, sunny day isn’t ideal, since the sun’s heat may dry the soap and wax on the vehicle before you’ve rinsed or polished it sufficiently. So, if you’ll be working outside, check the forecast to make sure you’ll detail your car on a partly or fully overcast day.
2. Park your car on a flat outdoor surface.
While it’s possible to detail your car while it’s parked in a garage, you’ll find that there’s more room to move around the vehicle if it’s parked outside. Situate the car on a level area so you’ll have easy access to all sides of the vehicle. To avoid full sun, park under a tree or in another shady location.
3. Fill a plastic bucket with water and automotive soap.
It’s important that you use a soap specifically designed for vehicles and not, for example, dishwashing detergent. Pour automotive soap into a large plastic bucket as directed on the label. Then, using an outdoor hose, add water to the bucket until it’s roughly 3/4 full.
4. Scrub your car thoroughly with a soft, clean sponge.
Take a large vehicle sponge and submerge it in the soapy water. Scrub it across surfaces of your car in long, lengthwise strokes, making sure to remove all of the caked-on dirt and grime.
5. Rinse the car with a hose once you’ve finished washing it.
As soon as all of the sections of the car are clean, use your hose to spray a generous amount of water over the car’s body. Be sure not to let the soap dry on the car before you rinse it off, or it will leave unsightly residue marks across the vehicle.
6. Scrub the mirrors and door handles clean with a stiff-bristle brush.
Dip the brush into the bucket of soapy water and then set to work cleaning out hard-to-reach nooks in the exterior of your car. Scrub inside of the insets around your headlights and taillights, under door handles, and inside the side mirrors. Rinse off the brush as necessary to keep it from getting filled up with grime.
7. Wash the wheels and wheel arches with a wheel cleaning spray.
Purchase a wheel and tire cleaning spray from your local auto supply store. As directed on the packaging, apply the shine spray to the wheel surfaces and let it sit and soak in as directed on the spray container. While the spray is soaking on 1 wheel, walk around your car and spray wheel cleaner on the other 3 wheels.
8. Dry off the car with a clean chamois cloth.
Once you’ve finished washing the entire surface of your car, dry it by hand before the water evaporates on its own. Use a microfiber cloth to dry off the windows, doors, hood, trunk, and all other surfaces of the vehicle. An efficient hand-drying will leave the car free of smears.
9. Clean the car’s windows with auto window cleaner.
Start by spraying a generous coating of the window-cleaner spray onto all of the vehicle’s external glass surfaces. Then, take a new sponge and wash the exterior of the car’s windows until all traces of dirt are gone. Be sure to also wash the windshield and rear window.
10. Apply a generous coating of car cleaner wax to the outside surfaces.
Cleaner waxes will both wax and polish your vehicle. Once your car has been washed, a cleaner wax product will both polish and wax the outer surfaces. Follow the instructions on the bottle and apply the product with a clean rag.
11. Buff the entire car with a clean, dry cloth or chamois.
Don’t buff the car while it’s dry, as you might end up scratching the paint. So, make sure there’s still some wet polish on the car before you begin buffing. Rub the metal surfaces with small, circular strokes to smear the cleaner wax across the vehicle. Work over the entire car’s body with a dry, clean cloth.