The 10 Best Pro Tips for Detailing Your Car’s Interior
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When you spot a car that's freshly washed and waxed (and obviously well-cared for) cruise by, it's difficult not to notice such an appealing sight. The deep color of the paint shines through, and the wheels reveal their metallic glow.
And just the same, when you get into the seat of an impeccable vehicle interior, be it a stretch limo or an Uber, the neatness and comfort make it a pleasant atmosphere. With every speck of dirt vacuumed away and seats that look as clean as those in a fancy restaurant, a clean interior makes driving that much nicer.
But after car washing, what are the steps to interior car detailing?
Let's look at the 10 best pro tips for auto detailing.
Interior car detailing pro tips
1. Remove loose items
Before you begin deep cleaning your car interior, you should first look through it for loose items like tools, sports equipment, or electronics.
Looking through the footwells, glove compartment, cup holders, center console, and trunk ensures the big things are out of the way before you begin the rest of the detailing process. Worry not. You'll have your car looking good as new in no time. Take it from us because we should know, given that we fully detail every vehicle in our inventory before listing it for sale.
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2. Start from the top
It may seem natural to break out the vacuum and begin deep cleaning the carpets and upholstery first, but experienced interior detailing services start from the top and work their way down.
It's good to begin by brushing out the air vents and cleaning the dashboard, steering wheel, and other controls. When you do this first, excess dirt drops to lower areas for the vacuum to pick up.
3. Look for the dust
Though you may barely notice it, tiny dust particles hide nearly everywhere throughout your car's interior. So before moving to the big stuff, it's good to scrutinize every surface with a detail brush and vacuum, paving the way for deeper interior cleaning.
Another good tool for this step is a small brush, allowing you to wipe away dust hiding inside hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.
4. Slide the seats forward
Car seats can hide all sorts of surprises underneath, and sliding them forward helps you clean out excess junk that may have accumulated over the years.
Whether coins, receipts, ticket stubs, or something else, checking underneath the seats ensures your interior is truly clean and looking as good as new.
5. Brush and vacuum carpet and upholstery
You spend a lot of time driving your vehicle, and as a result, dirt and dust accumulate over time. A simple vacuuming of the carpets, floor mats, and seats isn't enough to remove these deeply embedded particles that want to stay put.
Many professional detailers use not only a high-powered vacuum but also a large, coarse brush to agitate and loosen up dirt particles, ensuring a more thorough clean than vacuuming alone.
6. Deep clean carpets and upholstery
Although brushing and vacuuming your interior is a good start, for a complete refresh, a steam cleaning machine or a carpet shampoo takes things another step further.
When you use a carpet cleaning machine, it sprays the surface with a mixture of cleaning agents and water, which get suctioned up. With this method, the device saturates the carpets and upholstery with liquid, which binds to dirt particles, making for a more thorough wash than vacuuming by itself.
7. Clean hard-to-reach places
Just like the term interior detailing implies, it's the process of meticulously cleaning the interior of your car down to the last square inch. So once you've taken care of larger interior surfaces like the carpets and seats, you can zero in on other hard-to-reach areas.
These spots can include the inside of handles, crevices and trim lines, door panels, various buttons and switches, and the gauge cluster.
An all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth work well for this application. Or, if you don't have a bottle of cleaner around, warm water can suffice.
8. Wipe and wash plastic surfaces
After you vacuum the dust away, the plastic surfaces of your interior may look clean. But like any material that ages and endures wear and tear, a good wash can make them look as good as new.
You can use the soap of your choice — with many niche companies offering interior-specific ones — along with a sponge or cloth to wipe away the years of wear and grime.
9. Install seat covers
If your vehicle's interior experiences above-average wear (we're looking at you, parents with little ones), installing aftermarket seat covers provides not only comfort and protection but also adds style.
Installing seat covers is a simple process, taking only about two hours for both front and rear seats. All you need is a wire coat hanger and possibly tape, with all other necessities included.
Seat covers range in price from around $50 for a one-size-fits-all model, with custom-fit ones about $150. With your seats protected, you can avoid excessive abrasion and not have to worry about needing them reupholstered.
10. Clean windows
Last but not least, with your interior vacuumed and deep cleaned, it's essential to wipe down the windows thoroughly. Outward visibility is essential to staying safe while driving, so using a specialty glass cleaner ensures a crystal clear finish.
And by waiting until the end to clean the glass, you'll wipe away any excess dust kicked up by the previous steps.
If you’re done detailing your current vehicle and are looking to get behind the wheel of something new, remember, buying a used car can save you thousands. But where can you buy one that stands the test of time? With Shift's best-in-industry service contracts, you know your vehicle's good to go, mile after mile. With a Shift Vehicle Protection plan, not only are essential components covered, but you also receive roadside assistance if you run into trouble. Wherever you happen to be in the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, or Canada, help is just a phone call away, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
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April 15, 2022
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