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Spring Clean While Going Green

Spring CleaningSpring and fall are the best transition times to give your car a thorough cleaning. Spring cleaning gets your car ready for warm days and road trips ahead.

Start Inside Your Car

Time to put away ice scrapers and other items that have accumulated over the winter. 7 Steps To A Beautiful Car Interior will guide you through the process to get your car’s interior looking and smelling good.
If you car needs a little organizing love here are some suggestions:

DropStop1If you’re a fan of Shark Tank you might have seen the Drop Stop. It’s a creative way to stop food, keys, your phone and other items from falling in the gap between your car seat and the center console. And, the Drop Stop has great reviews on Amazon.

Wash and Wax

The next step is a thorough wash and wax. You want to have the underbody of your car rinsed off to remove chemicals from road treatments during the winter. (The best way we know of to do this is to take your car to a touchless car wash service. (We are fans of The Puddle in Boulder and Black Diamond in Lafayette.) If you prefer the do-it-your-self approach review 5 Steps To a Perfect Wash and Wax.

And Don’t Forget…

  1. Change out your snow tires. They will wear down quickly on dry, warm roads.
  2. Have your alignment checked. Bumps and potholes throw it out in a hurry.
  3. Top off all fluids and have the oil changed.
  4. Get your car in for a maintenance inspection.

7 Steps to a Beautiful Car Interior

Car Wash

  1. Step 1: Pick up, remove all the trash.
  2. Step 2: Vacuum. This is where all those attachments on your vacuum cleaner come in handy. Cars have tight nooks and crannies that are natural trash collectors. If you can not reach those spaces use a can of compressed air and start with those spaces first as you will be blowing the dirt into the rest of the car. Do not forget the seams of your car seats, armrests and door handles, floor mats (pull them out) and your dashboard. A clean, dry paint brush is useful to clean the vents.
  3. Step 3: Clean and condition the hard surfaces including the dash, glove compartment, other storage spots, doors, seatbelts and sideboards. A good all-purpose house cleaner does a great job. Spray it on a rag, and then wipe the surfaces. Try an old soft-bristled toothbrush for hard to reach spots. to If you want to use a conditioner (like Armour All) on vinyl surfaces, use the non-glossy type. Products containing silicone make surfaces slippery, create glare and create off-gasses that cloud up your windshield.
  4. Step 4: Clean upholstery. For cloth use spray upholstery cleaner. If your seats are leather use a leather soap and conditioner. All-purpose cleaner will work on vinyl seats. Avoid conditioning products with silicone. They can stain your clothes.
  5. Step 5: Carpets. A steam cleaner is perfect for thoroughly cleaning car carpets. If you do not have a steam cleaner, use a good carpet cleaner. Use this on your floor mats as well. Avoid over-wetting and let all carpets thoroughly dry out to prevent mold.
  6. Step 6: Clean all the interior windows. For streak-free results avoid the sun, spray window cleaner on a rag or paper towel, rub to clean, and shine with newspaper. Note: avoid window cleaners with ammonia if you have tinted windows as it can cause blotching on your windows. Read more.
  7. Step 7: If you want to be really thorough re-vacuum the car. All this cleaning will stir up more dirt.

 

5 Steps to a Perfect Car Wash & Wax

General Tips:

  • Wash your car in the shade when your engine is cool.
  • Use cool water and detergent made for cars (it is gentler on your car finish.)
  • Assemble all your supplies.
  • If you are washing on a winter day, pick a warm one and wash the car as early in the day as possible to eliminate any chance of water freezing on your car (this applies to car washes and doing it yourself.)
  • Wash your car on grass to prevent oil, gas and metals from polluting local water sources.

Supplies:

  • Bucket
  • Car wash detergent
  • Hose
  • 2 Soft sponges or lambs wool mitt
  • Chamois or soft towels for drying
  • Wheel brush
  • Special supplies (bug and tar remover, wax, tire shine, chrome polish)

Steps to a Great Wash

      • Step 1: Spray down the whole car. If there are bugs or dried bird droppings and you do not want to use a bug and tar remover, set a wet soapy rag on the spot to loosen it up while you work on the rest of the car.
      • Step 2: Clean the wheel wells and tires. Spray well; use your wheel brush and soapy water to scrub. Be sure to rinse the brush frequently to remove grit and small stones.
      • Step 3: Starting on the top begin washing your car. Work in small sections using the sponge or mitt. Rinse continually, do not let soap dry on your car.
      • Step 4: Towel dry your car working in long sweeping motions that follow the contours of the car body. High-grade silicone squeegees are available at some auto supply stores that effectively remove water and take less time than towel drying. Drying is important to prevent water spotting and streaking. Water with high mineral content will leave small deposits on your car finish.
      • Step 5: Treat special areas as needed. Tires: Like shiny tires? Use a tire lubricant. These are for the sides of the tires only. Do not get them on the tire treads, your paint or the brake rotors. There are also products to whiten up the whitewalls. Hard dried bugs/tar: There are specialty products to remove them. Follow the instructions.

Waxing

      1. Protects your paint job by preventing oxidation. Oxidation causes paint to go flat and lose its shine. (Newer cars have a clear coat finish, which means the final coat of paint originally applied to your car was clear. Wax goes on top of this. Waxing on top of clear coat will not make your car any shinier but it will help protect the finish. Select a wax safe for clear coat.)
      2. Helps prevent small rust spots from developing. Remember water+dirt=rust. If not tended to small rust spots will always grow into bigger rust spots.

Tips for a good wax job:

      • Wax your car right after it has been washed. Work in a shady spot. The temperature should be above 55 degrees.
      • Work on a small section at a time starting on the top of the car. Apply the wax with an old, soft, clean rag. Work in small circles.
      • Let the wax dry to a haze (usually takes less than a minute.) Use a separate cloth to polish off the dried wax.

Useful Guidelines for Keeping Your Car Clean

Beyond the personal satisfaction of driving a clean, well-kept car the main reason to keep it maintained has to do with your wallet. Look at any car valuing service website (Edmunds, NADA, Kelly Blue Book) and you will see the difference in value between cars rated in good, fair or poor condition ranges $1000 or more. Keep your car in great shape by removing all trash every time you come home; take care of spills immediately after they happen and take an hour each month to thoroughly clean the interior and exterior of your car.

Cleaning Your Car

Exterior. We recommend washing the exterior of your car once a month and waxing your car once a year. In the winter months the City of Boulder uses magnesium chloride on the roads. Be sure to give your car a good rinse (including the underbody) between washes. When we have frequent snowstorms if you go to an automatic car wash, we suggest spending a few extra dollars and having them clean the underbody. For your monthly wash you can go to a car wash (see more detailed information below) or follow our 5 Steps to a Perfect Wash & Wax.
Interior. We recommend a thorough interior cleaning every quarter. Again, you can have a full-service car cleaning company perform this service for you or follow our 7 Steps to a Beautiful Car Interior.

Car Cleaning Options

Car Detailing Services. A great time-saving option is to use a full service car wash. We prefer touchless drive through car washes that use high-powered spray to clean the car. Full service car washes usually offer a variety of other services. You can have your car washed and hand-dried, vacuumed, waxed or thoroughly detailed. In Boulder County we recommend Black Diamond or The Puddle. There are also professional detailing shops that clean your car inside and out by hand. A service to consider if you have a special car or are preparing your car for sale.
Car Washes. There are two types, the automatic drive-through and self-service bays with spray wands. The main complaint about drive-through car washes is that the rotating brushes leave small swirls and scratches in your paint. (Most of these are being replaced by the newer touchless technology.) Likewise at the hand-held stations, use caution with the foaming brushes that sit on the ground and can have small rocks and dirt lodged in them that scratch your car.