Driving a dirty vehicle isn’t fun, especially when you’re proud of your ride. Unfortunately, it’s hard to make time to completely clean your car every time it rains, every time you get some dirt splashed on your rims, etc. The solution? Use some old detailing techniques to keep your car looking reasonably clean until you get a chance to do a serious cleaning.
Invest in Quick Detail Spray
This is a miracle product for people who obsess over having a clean ride. Go to any car show before the gates open and you will see car owners wiping their entries down with quick detail spray. That’s because quick detail spray is designed to clean a waxed car very quickly, restoring the high shine in a flash. If your vehicle has a good coat of wax, a bottle of quick detail spray and a few chamois are all you need to get rid of dust and water spots.
If you haven’t taken the time to put a coat of wax on your vehicle, quick detail spray will still be helpful, but not as much.
Keep Wet Wipes on Hand
Try as you may, something sticky, icky, and gooey is going to end up on your car. When latches onto a door handle, steering wheel, shift knob, and anything plastic or composite, be prepared with wipes.
Wet wipes, or baby wipes are pretty cheap, but be on the look-out for wipes that contain harsh chemicals, like bleach, that can hurt your paint or interior. Also, you can make your own wipes by putting a tiny bit of soap on a damp paper towel and keeping them in a zip lock bag. When you run out, you can repurpose the bag in some of the tips to follow.
Toss the Trash
You don’t need that fast food bag or pile of old receipts in your car, so make a point to throw them away before things get out of hand. A good trick is to collect your trash every time you get out of the car. You can just toss it in a garbage bin on your way in the door.
Also, remember that one busted pack of ketchup or leaking coffee cup can turn into a big mess. Throw these things away immediately after you’re done with them.
Work While You Wait
Speaking of bags of fast food, put your idle time to good use and clean up your interior while sitting in a drive through or waiting on the ATM at the bank. Gather anything for the trash in a bag to throw away, put items that need to go inside the house all in one place so you won’t keep putting it off, wipe off the dash using your handy wet wipes, and organize the glove box.
Put Products to Work for You
Want your vehicle to look and smell like new without the grunt work? Cut corners when it comes to time by getting products that work without your sweat. Anything you can apply and walk away, or apply then remove with scrubbing, will help you move through the cleaning process easily.
For example, high ammonia based wheel cleaner will scrub chrome wheels for you, all you do is apply, go do something else for a few minutes, then wash. Products like Biocide Auto Shocker can zap interior smells while you sleep. So next time you’re putting together your detailing kit, look for the easy products.
Have Some Forethought
Putting some thought into full details will go a long way when it comes to saving cleaning time in the future.
Take two minutes to:
- Get a new rag if you drop one in the dirt while washing your car
- Properly dry your paint and windshield
- Choose a long lasting wax
- Wipe tire shine so it doesn’t get flung onto the wheels
Take two minutes to clean your car in these easy ways and you’ll always have a nice looking vehicle.
A self-described “car nerd,” Jason is a automotive columnist who has written for the eBay Motors blog, Motor Car Digest, as well as his own sites TundraHeadquarters.com and AccurateAutoAdvice. With an engineering degree, a full-time job in the automotive parts industry, and a decade of experience working in auto dealerships, Jason brings an interesting perspective on all things automotive.