Tips on Detailing 5 Important Areas of Your Vehicle

Let’s face it – summer driving is so much better when you’re surrounded by sparkling, new-vehicle freshness. When your vehicle is as clean as it can be both inside and out, it is not only a boost to your self-esteem – it can give your passengers a great impression, too.

Here are some of the best professional-tested methods of detailing five important areas of your vehicle – the tires, the windows, the exterior paint, the dashboard/doors/steering wheel, and the carpets and seats.



Wash your tires first, because they are the dirtiest parts of the exterior. Use a separate mitt and buckets just for tires and rims to keep brake and street dirt away from the exterior paint.

Use a non-acidic cleaner for the rims to avoid unattractive oxidization and pitting.

Let the tires dry completely before you hit the road again. Dirt is attracted to moisture.



Use a non-ammonia glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth.

Clean the inside and the outside of your windows in different directions. If you leave a streak behind, you will know which side of the window it’s on.

Remember to roll down those windows that can lower and clean the top edge. It’s too easy to forget this piece of the glass.


Exterior Paint

It starts with the right kind of soap. Household soaps such as dishwashing liquid are within easy reach, but they are not meant for vehicle paint because they dry out essential oils. Use a cleanser specifically made for vehicle paint.

Use two buckets – one for your soap and water mix, the other just for rinsing. Use the rinse bucket to remove the grit that accumulates on your wash mitt. This grit causes the thin scratches on the paint that are visible under bright light.

Use a mitt or a microfiber cloth, not a regular terrycloth towel.

After washing, squeegee the excess water off the paint. Use a clay bar to remove the stubborn dirt that remains after washing. Make sure that the surface is dirt-free before you apply the wax. Covering your hand in a plastic grocery bag and running it over the surface can detect leftover debris.

Now it is time for the wax. There is little real difference between paste and liquid waxes. You can do this by hand or with an electric polisher. It’s best to do two coatings, but no more.

A buffer (hand-held or electric) is meant to apply wax, not remove it. Use a microfiber cloth to remove wax.

Don’t wash in direct sunlight. Washing and waxing a hot car can cause paint damage.


Dashboard, Doors, Steering Wheel

A mild, all-purpose soap is all you need to clean the dashboard, doors and handles, cup holder, steering wheel, etc.

Use small utensils such as cotton swabs, barbecue skewers, makeup brushes, and toothbrushes to clean tight spots such as corners, cup holder bottoms, vents, knobs, and door pockets.

A small air compressor can clear dirt out of the vents.


Carpets and Seats

An air compressor can loosen up dirt inside your car to make it easier to vacuum up. So can a stiff brush. But be careful – today’s car carpeting is often made of cheap, easily damaged materials.

Take the floorboard carpets out to clean them. After brushing, use a vacuum cleaner (if you have or can rent a deep-cleaning vacuum, use that).

If you have pets who spend time in your vehicle, a latex glove rubbed against the carpet can lift off hair with static electricity.

If you have cloth seats, spray them with a foaming cleanser, then vacuum dry the cleaned surface.

If you have leather seats, use a specialized leather cleaner, never plain soap and water.

Search under the seats – both trash and treasure can end up hiding there.


If you don’t have the time or the inclination to detail your vehicle yourself…

Search for detailing professionals on We have a list of people who can take care of this task for you while you work or play. Our customers rate our pros, so you know who is most qualified to take care of your vehicle.

Contact JobQuotes today. Your vehicle will thank you!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.