Should I Detail My Car or Hire a Pro? We help you sort it out.Mar 4th, 2022
We all drive, and we all know how difficult it is to keep your car clean. A lot of work getting all the nooks and crannies only to have it ruined by one spilled kids’ meal or hairy dog. Keeping your car spick-and-span isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If you have the motivation to start the year with a clean car, we have some awesome tips for you to help clean the seats, dash, floor, and windows! We also will explain why professional details last longer and are more beneficial to the well-being and getting the most out of your ride.
Problem area: FLOORS
Coffee stains, dirt, hair, or crumbs, a dirty car floor probably has at least two of these going on at any time. The more they are neglected, the worse they tend to get. Most people tend to just use a vacuum and get the visible things on the floor, but better methods are out there!
DIY: A vacuum doesn’t always get everything. The best way to get started is to break out a brush and scrub the carpet. This will allow the fabric to expel all the fibers and debris from the floor, making them easier to remove. Next, break out the vacuum and remove all the debris that was lifted with the brush. It can be hard to get all the areas of the car, so removing the seats might be an option for a deep detail. Once the floor is clean, it is smart to clean the carpet with an upholstery/velour spray, and use a rag to spread it evenly. This will not only clean the carpet but restore the color as well!
Get a Pro: For those tough to reach stains, it is better to leave it up to your car care professional. They have steam cleaners and stain lifting chemicals that will restore your carpet to look like new! They can remove your seats as well, getting all the cracks and crevices of your car free of crumbs and hairs. They can also use heat extraction to remove the toughest of stains.
Problem Area: SEATS
As far as seats go, they contain a lot of the same issues that the floor does. Basically, whatever doesn’t make it to the floor, it finds its way on to the seat! So, stains, hair, and even smells can all be trapped in the material. Depending on if your seats are leather, cloth, or vinyl, you have different problems that you may have to deal with.
DIY: Leather does have its flaws: keeping it clean and looking like new isn’t always an easy task! As time goes by, dirt and grime become embedded into the material, possibly changing lighter-colored leather to a dingy shade. Fortunately, a good leather-cleaning product can take care of that in no time.
Most leather-cleaning compounds must be sprayed or applied to the seat, worked into the material by rubbing with a towel. If using a towel, make sure to flip it often so that you are only using the clean side. Once the cleaning process is complete, dry the seats with a microfiber towel. Allow a couple hours for the leather to dry thoroughly, then apply a leather conditioner to keep the material soft.
Get a Pro: It is extremely easy to damage leather seats with too much cleaner, or the wrong materials. Make sure you know the steps to take or you could end up discoloring, fading, or even damaging the leather on your seats. This could happen with brushes, spraying chemicals directly on the seats, or use too much liquid. Just make sure you are aware of the benefits and when in doubt, leave it up to the professionals.
DIY: Compared to leather, vinyl seats are a dream to take care of. Cleanup is quick and easy! Many products that you may already have at home will work fine. Go through the labels of products you have on hand to identify one that is works with vinyl. Then, spray the car seats with the cleaner and wipe with a rag/towel. Make sure not to get the cleaner on any other interior material, as it could damage certain surfaces. (Refer to the details of the specific cleaning product for cautions.) Wipe the seats completely, using a second cloth to dry. In an hour or so your vinyl car seats should be clean and good as new! Vinyl seats have much more leigh way when it comes to cleaning, so not too many issues should arise while cleaning.
Get a Pro: Using too much liquid could cause warping of the material and abrasive cleaners could flake and possibly damage the vinyl seats. Once again, if you are worried about damaging your seats, schedule a detailing!
When cleaning cloth car seats, you must ask yourself a few questions. Are there any tough stains? Do the seats need a general cleaning? Do you have to get rid of nasty odors? These factors will dictate the type of product or method you will need to use.
DIY: A multipurpose upholstery cleaner, such as Tuff Stuff, can work well. But if you have problem stains, you may need to contact a detailing professional. You may also want to use a household odor elimination spray if the products used up to this point have not left your car smelling fresh! When dealing with a tough-to-clean cloth seat, beware; the more liquid cleaning products you use, the more damp the seats become. These fabrics that soak up too much moisture won’t dry completely, leaving your car smelling musty. To minimize using harsh chemicals and running the risk of wet car seats, sprinkle some baking soda on the seats. After several hours, vacuum the baking soda and your car should smell nice and fresh. Just remember: the longer you let the baking soda sit, the more odor it will absorb.
Problem area: STEERING WHEEL
The steering wheel and dash can harbor dust, dirt, and grim, but often get overlooked when you are in your car. You touch your steering wheel every time you drive (hopefully), leading to oils and grime being built up and creating dark marks on the wheel. Luckily, there is a way to clean the dark grime and restore it to greatness!
DIY: Depending on your wheel type, you should approach cleaning in different ways. You can make a mixture of 3-parts all-purpose disinfectant and 1-part water if your steering wheel is made of plastic or faux leather. Use wood polish if you have a steering wheel made of natural wood. (Hint: Look for a wood grain texture on the wheel.) For leather, work with a high-quality leather cleaner or conditioner. Faux leather and genuine leather are difficult to differentiate, so check your owner’s manual to be sure. Spray a towel/rag with your solution and start working on the steering wheel. Be sure to not apply too much pressure, or some of the color can be pulled out of the steering wheel. Once this is complete, wipe it down with a damp cloth, and then dry with a microfiber towel.
Get a Pro: If this doesn’t do the trick and dirt/grime is still present, try spraying the end of a brush with your solution and gently scrubbing the parts that need it. If you are still having trouble, a steam cleaner works wonders (if you have access) and if push comes to shove, you can always schedule a professional cleaning, almost guaranteed to get your stains out!
Problem area: DASH
Whether your dashboard consists of leather, vinyl, or some other material, this can be one of the most difficult parts of your car to clean. The windshield in some cars can create hard-to-reach areas on the dash, and to add insult to injury, it tends to be the dustiest area in your car.
DIY: Make sure you vacuum all the dust before you apply a cleaning product, making sure to reach as far as possible during the entire process. After cleaning, you may want to apply an interior dressing appropriate for the material to keep it from fading or cracking from exposure to sunlight.
Get a Pro: Using chemicals/cleaners could possibly cause damage to the dash of your car. Depending on the material, you must watch out for some of the same things as when you are working on cleaning the seats. This includes identifying what materials your car has and how to address them. This may seem like an easy area of your car to clean, but can easily be damaging with one misstep. So please consider a car care expert when cleaning your dash, steering wheel, and seats.
Problem area: WINDOWS
At first glance, windows may seem simple to clean. All you need is a squeegee, some soap, and some water, right? Not necessarily. In many ways, windows can be arguably the hardest parts of a car to clean because of how dirty and fragile they are. Gum, spray paint, stickers, tints, and cracks are among the many factors that can make windows particularly hard to restore to their original form. With that, each of these requires specific strategies for getting them off or repairing them. A glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth can be a great tool when cleaning glass surfaces. However, make sure you are cleaning glass, not plastic. For example, gauge covers on the front console are usually made of plastic. For this, you can use an all-purpose cleaner.
DIY: When cleaning windows and mirrors, spray the cleaner on the cloth (rather than on the glass itself) to reduce streaking. This will also avoid getting cleaner on other parts of your car that may be damaged by the cleaner. Lastly, roll down your windows partway. That line of grime along the top quarter inch? Clean it! Many completely forget this area of their car. If you are dealing with streaks, it can be maddening to figure out whether it is on the interior or exterior surface of the glass. To combat this frustration, wipe exterior glass surfaces horizontally while wiping interior glass surfaces vertically. This way you are never in doubt which side the streak is on.
WHY YOU SHOULD LEAVE DETAILING TO THE PROS
It may be enticing to clean your car yourself, especially if you have the time. However, that isn’t a luxury everyone has. When taking your car to a detailing professional, they not only have the tools and the proper care, but they have professional know how from training and experience. They can get all of the hard-to-reach spots without causing damage to your car, and some detailing services can even travel to you! So don’t mess with chemicals and finding the perfect mixture of soap and water. Rest easy knowing they will not only take care of your car but have it looking like new as well.
Keeping your car clean can be your ticket to the fresh start you’ve been looking for. With the clean interior you can actually enjoy driving your car again! Unfortunately, these tips aren’t as easy for everyone to follow as it may seem. You may not have the right tool, the space, or most importantly, the time. In a popular reddit thread on “The most difficult part of a car to detail”, one of the unanimous answers was finding the time. It is somewhat easy to keep your car clean if you can make the time for it! However, we all have lives, and some are much, much busier than others. This leads to the question… How can you find time to detail your car? Luckily, we have an answer to this issue. Schedule a detailing with us at Ogilvie Subaru! Your car will be in and out in a matter of time, and our detailing professionals will take care of not only the interior of your car, but make sure the exterior is shining like it was the day it came off the lot.