How To Clean Your Car Like A Professional
| Jeff McEachran
There is nothing like having your car professionally cleaned. Professional detailers ensure the highest standard of cleanliness with the ultimate finish that makes a car exterior and interior feel like new again. Achieving this level of clean can feel almost impossible, but with the right tools and techniques, you too can replicate it at home. Here’s our guide to how to clean your car like a professional.
Bottom line is we want the best for our vehicles. After all, we were the ones that spent the money on it or the time restoring it. If we won’t allow eating in our cars, why would we settle for a sub-par clean or go extended periods without cleaning it?
If you’re looking for the ultimate tool for your detailing supply bag, look no further than BLO car dryer’s. These easy-to-use car blowers can help produce a streak free finish any time you head out to wash your vehicle. They’re easy to maneuver and use quality, filtered air that avoids direct contact with a car while producing unmatched drying finishes, achieved only by professionals. Find more information on our professional car blowers here.
Cleaning Your Car Like A Professional
Use the step-by-step guide below to treat your car to the cleaning and detailing it deserves! Car detailing pro’s have many tricks and techniques that they deploy for the ultimate car cleaning experience, but many of them can be replicated at home. We reference tools and products used throughout. Here’s how to clean your car like a professional:
Begin Cleaning Vehicle Inside
DIY car cleaners can often make some mistakes when cleaning their interior. To start, begin at the top and work your way down to the carpet.
Cleaning your car this way ensures that any dirt is pushed down and can be hoovered in one go rather than starting at the bottom and then pushing dust from your seats or door panels back into a freshly cleaned carpet. That can be a waste of your time and energy.
Remove everything from your car including the car mats. Then feel under the seats and between cracks to ensure any debris is collected and removed. Find additional tips on getting between the nooks and crannies for thoroughly cleaning the interior of a vehicle.
Using a Detailing Brush & Other Tools
The best way to remove dust and dirt from your car is to use a small detailer brush. This will remove dust and dirt from all the nooks on your dash and console. You see all the professional car cleaners use one, so join them and grab a detailer brush! You will want to hold a vacuum wand near the brush too, sucking up all the dust and dirt as you go. This prevents it from hitting the carpet and should save you time when it comes to cleaning that later on.
Clean The Interior
How you clean your interior will vary depending on the type you have. We have included instructions for cleaning both cloth and leather interior.
When cleaning your interior, don’t forget to give your seat belts a clean using a cotton cloth and some warm water. Adding laundry detergent to the water will leave a lovely scent and ensure that your seatbelts are soft too.
To clean your cloth interior, start with a quick vacuum to remove any dirt, dust, or debris. Next, you will want to take a stain remover and brush to first remove any stains. Gyeon’s offering will remove dirt and stains, leaving your interior fresh, and clean, just like when the professionals do it! It's ideal for cloth and fabric interiors, but before applying, always check that it is suitable for use with your interior.
For a leather interior, you will also want to vacuum to remove any dust and dirt. You will follow this with a leather cleaner like Gyeon’s. Their strong leather cleaner is great for those that want a pre-coat for their leather interior. It will break through dirt, oily residue, and leave your leather ready for coating. There is also a mild leather cleaner for those with well-maintained leather that won’t need a strong and deep clean.
Use their brush to apply these products and clean your leather. Once the leather interior has been thoroughly cleaned, follow with your coating to ensure that the leather is protected and soft. This will help to prevent any drying, stains, cracks, or other damage. It's best to use a towel to apply this. Microfiber is best as it will leave no streaks!
Protecting Car's Dashboard
When cleaning your dash, be careful with the type of protectant spray that you use. A silicone dashboard protectant spray will leave a slick film on your dash that can attract more dust. And more dust means more cleaning for you! It can also reflect into your windshield, leaving you with a reflection and glare that reduce your vision at night.
Leave the silicone sprays at the store and pick up a silicone-free Vinyl Cleaner instead. Gyeon’s offering does not discolor or fade your interior trim and will remove dust and dirt instantly with no residue left behind! It is fantastic when used in collaboration with their Preserve which preserves your trim parts if they are lightly faded and comes with UV protection and dust repellents!
Cleaning Vehicle’s Carpet
Once you have removed all the dust from your door panels, seats, and dashboard, you will want to get to work on the carpet. Now car carpets are notorious for holding onto the dirt. Even after hoovering, there will still be dirt left behind. To get it all out, use a stiff brush to scrub the carpet while you vacuum.
You should see dirt particles bounce to the surface, providing you with the perfect chance to suck them up into your vacuum and banish them from your car. If you have pets in your car, you will want to run a lint roller or duct tape over the carpet to pull the hair out.
Next, turn your attention to your floor mats. Slap them together to remove dirt and lay them on the driveway or ground. You can use a vacuum to remove any remaining dirt or a lint roller to get tough pet hair out of the fibers.
To clean the interior of your car as the professionals do, you will want to clean your windows. Save them until last to remove any overspray from the vinyl treatments. You will want to use a glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth to ensure that there are no streaks left behind.
Gyeon’s Q2M glass cleaner provides fast and easy cleaning that will remove any oily residue and give you a smudge-free window to enjoy! What's more, you can use this worry-free, as it's safe for all your interior materials including leather, vinyl, or Alcantara. To finish, use newspaper to wipe off and dry the windows after your glass cleaner has been applied.
When drying your windshield, you will want to do it in two different directions. Wipe the interior horizontally, and the exterior side vertically. This will allow you to tell which side of the windshield has streaks on (if any) and you can remove them quickly!
Cleaning your exterior
With the interior done, it's time to move outside and clean the exterior of your car. Don’t worry we have even more tips coming up, and a super-fast way to dry your car!
Washing & Rinsing Your Vehicle
A top trick all the pros know is to rinse your car before washing! Putting soapy water on dry paint will grunt surface dust and road grit into your paint finish, which could cause small scratches and damage to your paint job. Not what you want! To avoid this heartache, start like the professional detailers do, with a clean water rinse to remove the dust and dirt from the exterior of your car.
Proper Washing Techniques for Your Vehicle
When it comes to soap, you will want to use the right one! While most DIYers will just grab the dish soap from the kitchen, you are going to use the right soap, as the pros do. Dishwashing detergent is far too harsh and sucks the essential oils out of your car’s finish, shortening the life of your paint!
Copy car detailers and use a car wash soap for professional detailing! Try Gyeon’s Q2M Bath Essence for super-concentrated car shampoo. You can expect 80 washes and the ability to cut through dirt, grime, and organic contamination with ease! It's safe to use on all exterior surfaces and will not affect any coating or leave you with a full finish. It's ideal for coated cars and when paired with a high-quality wash mitt you can enjoy a virtual friction-free cleaning experience!
As we mentioned above, you will want to use a mitt to wash your car. Throw out your sponges as these can hold dirt and grit in their large pores, you don’t want to clean your car with a dirty sponge, do you? Even when you wring out the sponge, the grit will stay put. And once it's in, it will be like washing your car with sandpaper, not ideal!
Instead, opt for a microfiber car wash mitt. Any grit will fall out when you rinse, ensuring that it won’t damage your car now or during any future cleans.
Along with this, you will also want to use two buckets. Have one with clean soapy water and one for rinse water. After each wipe, take your dirty wash mitt and dunk it in the rinse water bucket, swirling it to dislodge any dirt and grit.
Then, dunk it in the soapy water and carry on with washing your car. You will want to empty the dirty rinse water and replace it with clean water before moving onto the other side of your car, helping to keep your soapy water clean.
Be sure to clean your tires too! You will want to clean the rubber portion and your metal or alloy rims with a mitt. Gyeon has a fantastic tire cleaner that you can use to do this, providing you with a factory fresh look without needing to do a lot of work. Simply apply it to a cloth and work all over the tire before leaving to dry.
We recommend doing this after the rest of your car has been rinsed and washed. You might need to wipe off any bubbles or watermarks before getting to work too, so be sure you have a cloth at the ready.
When it comes to drying your car, copy the professionals and use a microfiber towel! Often, DIYers will use a chamois which will soak up water but won’t pick up any grit left behind after rinsing. Instead, a chamois grinds grit particles into your paint. A microfiber towel will collect the particles instead.
You will want to rinse the towel in clean water to remove the grit it collects, wring it, and then continue to dry your car’s exterior.
Another trick the professionals use is a dryer! It saves time waiting for your car to dry naturally and the elbow grease it takes to dry your car with a microfiber towel. There are a few different dryers on the market, but none of them compare to Blo! There are three different sizes available depending on the power you want, but we love the Air-GT.
It comes packed with two motors to offer plenty of power. If you have a large car, or simply don’t want to wait for your car to dry, then it's the one for you! It heats up to 30 degrees above ambient air temperature to get the best drying speed for you. The large blower can be a little heavy to maneuver, but thanks to the swiveling wheels you can have it all over your garage with ease. It also features wheel locks so those with steep driveways needn’t worry.
There's also an extendable hose to ensure that you can move it around large cars and even trucks without any stress.
So enjoy a drip-free drying experience with minimal effort required from yourself. There is also an impressive 3-year warranty that provides you with protection and peace of mind. What more could you want?
Before you polish your car, take a leaf from the professional’s book and remove minor scratches before applying any polish! Polishing will increase the shine in your car, but it won’t remove any scratches, which could be visible after your polish, or even reduce the amount of shine you will get.
For best results, go in with a scratch removal kit first and then polish. You should see even more shine than before! Gyeon’s polish can be applied by hand with a microfiber cloth, or you can use a machine if you wish. The polish is fantastic and will deliver that professional level of shine that we all enjoy.
Now to become the expert detailer you were born to be, you will want a dual-action polisher. Now some people can confuse this with a high-speed buffer, and that is something you don’t want to do! Buffers tend to run at higher speeds and can burn the paint off your car if you keep it in one place too long or press too hard, making them difficult to use. Polishers on the other hand will run at lower speeds, oscillating as they rotate.
They are also incredibly easy to use and in no time at all, even beginners can become an expert! Doing this before waxing can make a massive difference, so it's an investment worth investing in. When using a polisher, you will want to apply the polish to the machine's pad, wiping the pad across your paint. It will stop the polish from jumping off the pad once you hit the trigger!
Next, you will want to wax your car. While an old-style paste wax looks fantastic on antique cars, they don’t have the same wet-look you will get with a modern, synthetic wax, nor will they last as long. You might have been sold a paint sealant from your car dealer when you purchased your car, but this actually is a high-quality synthetic wax. So save yourself some money and do it yourself.
Take a synthetic wax and apply it in small sections, using a wax applicator sponge.
Once you have waxed your car, you will want to remove it. It's best to copy the car detailers again and use a microfiber towel. You can use these in circular motions to wipe off the wax haze. As you towel loads with wax, fold it to a cleaner section. Once the towel is fully loaded, swap it out for a second towel to ensure that you are removing the wax and not spreading it around the car.