Cleaning Away Winter Grime

By: The Auto Guy Email
By: The Auto Guy Email

Winter grime is all over your vehicle, inside and out, but there are plenty of products and techniques that you can use to make it look like new again.

Let’s start with the interior. Get the floor mats out and shake as much sand and dirt out of them that you can. Then you can dry vacuum them and use a foaming carpet cleaning product to really clean and freshen them up. Next, you can get the vacuum going on the rest of the carpet and seats. Remember to use the crevice tool to get down into the nooks and crannies.

Wipe down interior panels to remove dust and dirt that has accumulated over the winter and treat the panels with a protective product to keep them looking good. When working on leather parts, use cleaners and conditioners designed for leather to prevent damaging it.

Now let’s head to the exterior. Sand and dirt accumulate on your vehicle so obviously you need to get it all off of your paint finish. But there is a proper way to do it so that you are not grinding all of that dirt into the paint.

Before you lay a hand on the vehicle, blast off as much grime as you can with water pressure. A pressure washer works best, but your garden hose used with a good nozzle will work as well. Remember to get under the wheel wells and the under car.

Once you have the pre-wash done, it’s time to hand wash the vehicle. Choose a car wash product that’s designed for vehicles, don’t ever use dish washing detergent. Soft mitts should be used for hand washing your vehicle. Start at the top, rinse often to keep the dirt moving and get a fresh bucket of soapy water whenever necessary. Then use soft micro-fiber towels or a soft chamois to dry it off. Using other types of mitts and towels might scratch the paint.

A “clay bar” is used when you have small contaminants that have stuck to the paint and won’t come off during a regular wash. You wet the panel with a special spray and then wipe the clay bar over the top of the paint. The contaminants stick to the clay bar, leaving behind a smooth paint finish. Clean the glass inside and out and follow up with a fresh coat of wax. Dress the tires and you are ready to hit the streets.

If you don’t want to get all of the different cleaning products and do all of the work there is another option. You can always drop your vehicle off at a detail shop and let them handle it from start to finish. Either way, you will be happy to have a clean vehicle once the warm weather arrives.

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