How to REALLY clean your car - Select Car Leasing
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How to REALLY clean your car

Think you know how to clean your lease car? Well, think again, because here’s everything you need to know about car ‘detailing’.

Car detailing isn’t just about giving your car a quick blast with the pressure washer and running a soapy sponge across the alloys.

Detailing is a much more meticulous process that aims to get your paintwork - and other surfaces - looking at their absolute best.

If you’re taking your car to a motoring event or show, you might want to get it looking pristine.

Spring is a great time to get your car detailed, because it’ll help remove all of the muck left over from winter, including harmful road salt.

And it also means you’ll turn heads on your summer road trip.

Sandra Borgula (above) is a graphic designer in Select Car Leasing’s busy marketing team. She also happens to be a car fanatic who cruises her native Berkshire in her beloved Renaultsport Clio 172.

Sandra laughs: “Here’s my step-by-step guide to car detailing. But don’t be fooled - my car isn’t always as gleaming as it is in these pics!”

1. Wheels

I always start with wheels as it’s typically the grimiest area of the car. I usually use a dedicated alloy wheel cleaner and my trusty alloy wheel brush. If your brush is looking a little battered (as mine is) it might be time to get it replaced.

2. Pre-clean

The next step is insect remover. Again, you can buy a specialist insect remover for around £10 from places like Halfords and it really does help to get rid of the critters easily. Always follow the instructions - because you’re only supposed to use insect removing liquid on the lower areas of the car where bugs are most likely to get squished.

3. Snow-foam time!

This is the best part as the car looks cool covered in foam, and you can also experiment with lots of different colours and scents. If you’re anything like me, this is the part where you can get some nice photos for your social media!

You’ll need a pressure washer for this section, as well as a snow foam bottle, which attaches to the washer’s lance. You can get a snow foam bottle attachment for around £15.

I use an affordable snow foam wash from Amazon, which again starts at around £15.

And the snow foam itself helps to soften any grime left on the car that might otherwise be hard to get off.

I also use my bigger detailing brush at this stage as well. It gets rid of any dirt in hard-to-reach places, like gaps between trims or windows and badges, etc. Finally, I rinse the car with a pressure washer.

4. The two-bucket method

Now it’s time to get hands-on. The whole idea is simple; one bucket is filled with water and car shampoo, and the other bucket is filled with clean water to wash off the mitt after every use. I use this method to keep my mitt clean throughout the wash to avoid any sharp particles from scratching the paint. Then I rinse the car again. I also clean the door frame from the inside and any plastics that might have got dirty, such as from muddy footprints.

5. Clay bar

You might not be familiar with a clay bar. But it’s a resin compound that lifts or removes things like stubborn tree sap and road tar from the paint when you run it across the surface. You do need to be slightly careful with the resin, as it can remove sealants and waxes from the paint, and I’d also recommend you use a clay bar lubricant.

I only use the clay bar when I think the car really needs it and I’m sure to re-wax once I’ve completed the detailing process. In any case, always read the clay bar instructions carefully.

Once you’re done with the clay bar, I do another quick snow-foam spray and rinse with water.

6. Drying

I use large microfiber towels to dry the car - aim to spend around £20 on a good one. After all that hard work you don’t want to see water stains all over your pride and joy!

7. Tyre-dressing

When the car is completely dry I use a tyre dressing spray, which helps to revitalise the rubber while leaving a rich shine. When you’ve spent so much time on the paintwork, you want to make sure your tyres look clean and fresh as well!

8. Windows

To finish off the exterior, I clean all the windows (outside and inside) with a glass cleaner. I hate seeing smudges on glass so it’s just an extra step to make my car look even better!

9. Interior

For me it’s either a full interior day, or an exterior wash day. And we’re focusing on the exterior here. Still, on an exterior day I also like to throw away any rubbish that I have accumulated inside the cabin, and the extra step I take is to get rid of any dust. I just use a vinyl and rubber spray; it makes the inside look clean straight away, and it makes the interior trim look new.

10. Little Trees!

I usually have spare scented trees at home so I will always pop one in the car to make it smell and feel complete.

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David Hughes

Friday, 17/05/2024