Posted on: 9 September 2015
It never fails. You plan to take your car to the auto detailer for a good scrubbing on the weekend, but meanwhile a VIP (your boss, your in-laws, a date) needs to ride in it in the interim. Here are some tricks you can use to make your vehicle look cleaner and stay that way until you are able to have it seen by the pros.
You can give your car a quick wash on the driveway to scrub off the worst of the dirt. Be sure to use a window cleaner afterward, and wipe it off with crumpled newspaper to avoid streaks.
Use a rag to apply petroleum jelly to any black trim and tire sidewalls to make them shine like they do when the car wash does them. No matter who's riding in your car, safety's important, so make sure your headlights are clear.
If you're like most folks, your car's dashboard area is your command central, so it's likely to be full of food crumbs, loose change, and tubes of lip balm. Wipe everything down first with a damp cloth. If you don't have time to get the deep grime out of your cup holders and trays, try using paper cupcake molds to cover up dirt and corral small stray items. You can toss them and replace them as needed until you make it to the car wash.
If you have a few extra minutes, run a screwdriver (gently) or a cotton swab along any grooves to dig out gunk. For deep-seated dust, try blasting your vents with a can of compressed air. You can also clean vent slats with a small paintbrush.
Hopefully, you'll have time to give your vehicle a once-over with a vacuum cleaner.
Your upholstery is likely to show some wear and tear, too. Mix blue dish soap, white vinegar, and club soda in a spray bottle and work it into the fabric with a soft brush. Blot and wipe the area, then let it air dry.
To prevent future stains, slip a towel under all kids' car seats, which can really do a number on your upholstery. Keep a tub of leather wipes handy, if you have leather seats or trim.
Also for future reference, a rubber liner in the trunk or cargo area of an SUV, wagon, or van will help keep mess there to a minimum. You can spray it clean or even remove it and hose it down to get rid of pet mess, beach sand, and the like.
Last but not least, sprinkle some baking soda around the vehicle, let it sit for an hour or so, and then vacuum it up. It will help remove any odors that you might have become accustomed to but would be noticeable to your passengers.
Your professional car detailer can make most autos look almost new again, so to really get that sparkling appearance, be sure to see them periodically. Meanwhile, work on habits that keep your car from getting so messy again, and you won't panic next time you become an impromptu chauffeur.
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