Detail Car Yourself Save Money

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Detail Your Car Yourself

Professional car detailing can help to make your car look like new.  You can also detail a car yourself and save a lot of money.  With the high demand for used cars, you might be thinking about selling.  You could add hundreds of dollars to the value of your used car if you have it detailed.  Griots Garage car care products can make car detailing so much easier for the car owner who wants to do it themselves.  When you’re done, jazz up your steering wheel with an easy to install cover.

Always test cleaning products on a small area of carpet and upholstery to be sure it won’t damage your material.

Save Money Detailing Detailing Your Car

The cost of having your car professionally detailed can can be hundreds of dollars, maybe into the thousands for extreme detailing.  The only way to find out the cost in your area is to take the car to the detailer for an estimate.  I personally was not able to get even a vague estimate over the phone.  In all fairness, they need to see your car to determine the cost to clean it.  After spending almost a thousand dollars on some very annoying but essential repairs, I decided I would save the cost of a professional detail and do it myself.

How To Detail Your Car – The Basics

It was 90 plus degrees outside, the car was dirty, dusty, and evidence of children snacking was all over the back seat.  It appeared to be an overwhelming job but I broke it down into small tasks.

  • First, only work before it gets really hot outside and try to find a shady spot.
  • Second, break it down into interior, exterior, carpets, seats, dashboard, console, doors and windows.

Equipment and Supplies For Detailing

Car Detail Cleaning Supplies
Car Detail Cleaning Supplies

The following tools from the dollar store got me through the entire interior for less than $20.00:

  • Supper stiff bristle brush
  • Bottle brush
  • Wire brush
  • Makeup brush
  • Micro fiber duster

For the upholstery, dashboard, console and doors, Griots Garage Interior Cleaner did an amazing job!

Step By Step Interior Detailing

  • Remove all trash, car seats, bags, etc.
  • Remove all floor carpet padding – check the trunk too.
  • Vacuum every part you can reach.  I did not have a vacuum that was powerful enough so I took the car to Pete’s Car Wash.  There I was able to spend unlimited time vacuuming the car (in the shade).  I just had to pay $6.00 for the basic wash.
  • Brush and hose off the floor padding, let dry in the sun until really, really dry.

Break the car down into sections.  I worked on quarter sections at a time so as not to be so overwhelming.

  • Using your tools listed above, work from the top down with the small end of the bottle brush and the wire brush to dig into those tight corners and edges.  Work the dust, dirt and stale French fries into a trash bag. My most difficult parts were around the seat frames and tracks.
  • After you’ve brushed as much as you can, get the vacuum cleaner out and go over all the carpeting and upholstery again.
  • Once you have vacuumed all the loose particles, use the interior cleaner to coat any remaining stains from floor or seats.  If those stains have been there a long time, it may take several applications.  Spray, scrub with stiff bristle brush, soak up excess with a rag.
  • Next, use a micro fiber duster to remove loose dirt and dust from the dashboard, console and doors.  Then apply a liberal amount of interior cleaner, finally wiping dry with a cotton rag.  Don’t use paper towels as they will shred and leave dust behind.

Getting into the very narrow crevices and air vents can be a challenge.  Saturate a wide make up brush with interior cleaner and work it into the small spaces.  You can also use an artist’s brush or cotton swabs.  Use a clean brush to ‘pull out’ any dirt or dust.

Finish off your interior with a good window cleaner and an absorbent cotton rag.  Griots Garage makes both an upholstery cleaner, glass cleaner and plenty of options for exterior cleaning.  My favorite glass cleaner for car or home is Sprayway Ammonia Free Glass Cleaner.  It does a great job on windows and mirrors.

Step By Step Exterior Detailing

The local car wash can do an excellent job on most cars but to make your car look great at a close inspection, there’s a couple spots the car wash probably missed.

  • Open the doors and clean all around the car on the inside.  Don’t forget the rubber seal and the foot treads.
  • Open the trunk and clean all around the trunk lid.
  • If you have any hidden compartments in the back or trunk, be sure to give them a vac and shine too.
  • Hose down the wheel wells and your tires and use Griots Heavy Duty Wheel cleaner on the wheels.

Now, take the car back to the car wash and get the extra special wash including the undercarriage ( if they offer it )

Last Step

After all the brushing, flossing, washing and vacuuming, apply a generous coating of tire shine for a very spiffy look.


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