How dirty is your car? This isn’t meant to be a loaded question. It’s just a simple fact that many of us just don’t have the time to keep our cars clean. For some, giving your car a wax and polish to make sure every single detail is perfect is their idea of a hobby. But for most of us, we don’t even think about giving our car that sort of attention until someone writes ‘Clean me’ in the grime on the bodywork.

Keeping your car in good condition isn’t such a bad thing to do. Not only is it a nice feeling to get behind the wheel of a car with a nice-smelling interior and gleaming exterior, but making sure the windows and mirrors are all clean and clear can help improve your driving and safety. Plus, if you keep your car in good nick, it will help with the resale value.

So, we’ve put our heads together, done some research, and put together our step-by-step guide to getting yourself a gleaming car.

Set aside some time

You can’t rush a good job. If you are giving yourself plenty of time to give your car a clean, you will ensure you have the time to do it right. This also means you give yourself some leeway after the clean is complete. If you’ve given your interior a clean, your car seats will need time to dry. You don’t want to end up with a soggy bottom if you need to head out for a drive.

Check the weather in advance

You also don’t want to end up start cleaning your car, only for the heavens to open and start pouring down on you and your work. You’ll only end up having to start all over again. Check the forecast and choose a day that’s bright and clear. And if it’s warm, that’s even better as there’s a chance you’ll get a bit damp during the process.

Give yourself some space

To clean your car properly, you’ll need to get in and around it. If your car is parked in the road, you might end up having to dodge traffic. If you have a drive, then this is simple. If you don’t, can you borrow someone else’s? You’ll also need close access to a hosepipe and a plug socket (for your vacuum cleaner!).

Rinse your car

Now that you have everything ready, it’s time to give your car a good rinse. Hose it down all over, making sure you give attention to all sides including the roof.  Make sure to spray the glass and mirrors, but be careful with how much pressure you apply, especially if using a jet washer. You don’t want to crack the glass.

You should also ensure you give the tyres a good spray, making sure to dig out all the dirt that might be in the tread. Finally, check the gap between the bonnet and the windshield, lifting up the wipers to clean it out. Bits of leaves and twigs can easily get trapped there, so make sure you pull them out.

Get out the soap

Now it’s time to start cleaning. Get a bucket of warm water and add your cleaning product. There are many different ones to choose from, and it’s always better to choose a specialist car cleaner rather than a generic product or washing-up liquid.

Get your water nice and soapy and then get your sponge and dip it in. A sponge is better than a cloth as it absorbs the water until you squeeze it out. Work on one section of a car at a time and work from the top down. Make sure you get in deep with the sponge, making sure the crevices are reached.

Once you’ve cleaned a section with soap, rinse it off with some water from your hose.


Cleaning the windows

When you are cleaning the windows, make sure to use a swiping motion rather than a circular motion. If you do circles with your sponge, it can lead to streaks that can obscure your view.

Wipe down your car

Once you’ve cleaned your car with soap, it’s time to dry it. Get a chamois leather and wipe it down all over. If you leave it to dry in the sun, it can lead to streaks and spots from any soap you might have missed. That’s why it’s important to give yourself time, you need to dry it yourself.

Clear out the trash

Now it’s time for the interior. Grab a bin bag and empty all the rubbish from inside. You’ll be surprised how many wrappers, drink bottles and miscellaneous detritus builds up in your car. Get in and under the seats and empty it out. You should also check between the seats, especially if you have young children in the car. Who knows what they have tucked down there…

Clean the carpets

Take the carpets out of the car and give them a good beating, getting the dust out as best you can. Then hoover them while they are outside of the car. You should then go into the car and vacuum the floors and upholstery while the carpets are outside. Some vacuums come with a specific brush head that you can use to get deep into the seams.

Clean the interior

You can use a microfibre cloth on the dashboard and steering wheel. If you need to use an interior spray, check the label first to ensure it's suitable for plastics, PVC and leather. It should have a clean, even look with a slight shine to it.

Then move onto the seats. If you have leather seats, use a dedicated upholstery cleaner. If you have cloth seats, you can use fabric cleaner to give them a good clean.

Wipe down and you’re done

Now it’s time to give the car a good wipe down and you’re done. Put the carpets back in and you’ll be good to go! While it’s not going to be a professional-level valet, an hour or two spent giving your car a clean will leave you feeling as fresh as your motor!

Looking for a gleaming new car?

If it'll take more than a sponge and soap to make your car gleam, then maybe it's time to upgrade. Creditplus can even help find the perfect car for you - complete with an RAC inspection and full valet, before delivering to your door. 

Apply Online to discuss your finance options with a car finance and leasing specialist today.

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