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How to Detail Your Interior

When detailing your car, it’s all about the details. That’s what makes a thorough car detail different from a simple exterior wash or interior cleaning. With a plan in place and plenty of time, you can detail your car just like the pros – but read this first!

How to Detail Your Interior

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Pre-Detail Tips & Tricks

Before starting, keep these things in mind.

  1. Detail the interior first and the exterior last. This prevents outside dirt, dust and other debris from entering your car.
  2. Use two buckets – one for dirty water, one for clean water.
  3. Detail the exterior in the evening, or in the shade. Hot and sunny weather produces more water streaks.
  4. Clean bird droppings off your car right away, as this substance is full of paint-destroying acids.
  5. Always clean from top to bottom – both interior and exterior detailing.

How to Detail Your Interior

  • Remove the larger items first (cups, paper, other garbage), then focus on the smaller problem areas.
  • Remove floor mats, seat covers and removable upholstery.
  • Clean all removed with a foaming cleaner, and allow plenty of time to dry.
  • Brush your carpets before vacuuming. This allows your vacuum to grab more dirt.
  • Vacuum the carpet and upholstery.
  • Clean all leather surfaces, including seats, steering wheel and other appointments.
  • Clean all vinyl surfaces. This usually includes interior door panels, the dashboard, etc.
  • Clean all interior mirror surfaces. Don’t forget the rear-view mirror!
  • Use a cleaning brush or cotton swab for hard-to-reach areas, including air vents, door pockets, trim panels and other tight spaces.
  • A 30-40 psi air hose is ideal for removing dust and debris from cup holders, emergency brake compartments and other small areas.

Bonus interior detail tip:

Keep a few 100% cotton or microfiber towels in your car at all times. They’re great for spills and general cleaning, and you can also use them immediately after an exterior wash; sometimes, water can enter your interior through door jambs, windows and the trunk.

Skip the chemical cleaners for your steering wheel, brake & gas pedals, emergency brake and shift device. These are items you need to grip, and using a vinyl or leather cleaner can reduce friction. Instead, use warm water with a small amount of soap.

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