Try as we might, we found it impossible to narrow the multitasking of a complete detailing down into a short list, but we were able to compile a list of Nine Detailing Tips that should help you work more efficiently! Learn new tips and tricks for everything from the interior to the exterior, and the windows to the engine bay.
1. Save the Interior by Detailing it First. Cleaning the engine bay and exterior is a wet, dirty job. You do not want to get grease from your clothing, or water and mud from your feet on the interior while you are trying to clean it. Begin with the Driver’s Side area so that it’ll dry by the time you need to go somewhere. Work from the front of the vehicle to back.
2. Removing Seats is a Good Idea. Make sure you push the seats all the way back when cleaning the front, and all the way forward when cleaning the back. If there are spills in between the seats, remove the seat to do the best job. Rinse mats and upholstery of cleaner residue so it will not attract more dirt. If you use a wet vacuum, make sure you have removed all water from the carpeting. Note: If you remove the driver’s seat, do not place the key in the ignition for any reason as it will cause a “check engine” light to appear.
3. Condition/Dress Before Windows. If you’re spraying or using an applicator to condition the dash or panels, you could get some overspray on the windows. No need to clean twice if you wait until after to get the windows. Also, be careful not to get these dressings and conditioners on the clear plastics that protect the instrument panels. Some of them will make the panels cloudy or foggy.
4. Getting the Top Rim of the Windows. Lower them to half-mast and clean that top inch that isn’t always visible, then roll them all the way up and clean the rest of the window.
5. Vertical on one Side, Horizontal on the Other. While cleaning your windows, wipe vertically on one side of the glass and horizontally on the other, if there are streaks, you’ll know which side of the glass it is on.
6. Protect Clothes and Paint while Working in the Engine Bay. Protect your clothes by using a work apron, and place wet towels over the front and side fenders to prevent scratching the paint when you lean over into the engine bay area. This also prevents streaking the paint with grease, dirt, and harsh degreasers. Be careful to keep water or degreasers away from any computer or electronic modules. Clean them with a damp cloth but avoid immersing them in water. Wipe away excess cleansers or dressings; their dampness will attract dirt and dust.
7. Start Low. Aside from the engine bay, the wheels, tires, wheel wells, kick-panels, and doorjambs, are usually the dirtiest areas of the vehicle because of their exposure to road rash, debris, and dust. Clean them first with a body or wheel brush for example so you don’t track the dirt around with your wash pads.
8. Separate Towels. Separating your towels will diminish cross contamination and smearing products. For example, wiping off wax and then using the same towel to clean the windows will cause streaks and bad finishes.
9. Stomp on the Brakes. By driving down the road and slamming on the brakes a few times will remove the orange rust from the brake rotors.
The end goal here is to recommend some procedures that will help you work faster and more resourcefully. If you have any additional ideas or comments, feel free to share them with us.