“Are You Decent?” The Spring Car Cleaning Tips You’ve Been Waiting For


It is said that in the olden times, as members of the human race pulled themselves out of caves and huts after the winter, they looked at their sports cars and minivans and thought, “I wonder if the Clean-o-Quik closes before five today.”

As Spring arrives and waves of pollen and flower buds slough themselves onto the layers of snow grime and road salt residue from the preceding months, it seemeth right unto us to present a few car cleaning tips. Given that many people will be cleaning their cars this month, this would be a great time to pick up a lesson or two about how to better clean your vehicle(s).

One website pointed out that just as you wouldn’t clean your face with a broom, or your shoes with a hair shampoo, different areas of the car (windows, tires, body panels) need different methods of cleaning. We’re not saying you need a dozen new products that you’ll use precisely one-quarter ounce of every three months; rather, just look over our list to see if there’s a thing or two you could pick up.

1. Do not wash in direct sunlight, nor if your vehicle is hot

You know how a magnifying glass can burn things by focusing sun rays? Well imagine a thousand water drops doing that all over the surface of your car. That means you’re waiting for the end of the day when the sun’s going down, and when the car is cool to the touch.

2. Clean tires first, and use a degreaser

Typically we wash the car, get so exhausted with physical effort that we barely make it through, decide to let it “air dry” and say to heck with the tires. However, because they make such a mess when washed, it’s best to do them first. Avoid cleaners that use acid (they will damage your rims), avoid detergents (they damage paint), and avoid movies with Shia LaBeouf (will damage your mind). Instead, use a nice degreaser.

3. Do not use dish soap

Should be well-known, but it isn’t. Dish soap will strip the protective waxes and coatings right off your car. Is Joy soft on hands? Well bully for them. Using dish soap is like taking an ice pick and chiseling out “Daddy’s little helper” on your front hood. Don’t do it. Buy a car shampoo instead (they’re inexpensive).

4. Use two buckets

Again, not rocket science here, nor are we talking high-tech equipment that runs dozens of dollars. Just two plastic buckets, one full of your car shampoo mixture for cleaning, and the other full of clear water to rinse your rag or sponge when it’s dirty. There’s no sense in depositing all that grime right back into your clean soapy water.

5. Use a clay bar

A good physical washing won’t be able to take off deep stains from air pollution, bird droppings and other chemicals that bond to the car’s surface. For that you need a chemical cleaner such as a clay bar. Chemical cleaners can also take off light scratches in the body’s paint. This point’s a little fancy, but ask yourself: do you really want to look at pigeon doo every morning for the rest of your life?

6. Glass for last, and no ammonia

Your windows will have all sorts of grime on them from washing the body, so leave them for last. Most household glass cleaners have ammonia, which is bad for the interior surfaces it will inevitably mist upon. A microfiber cloth is best for streak-free glass cleaning, so save your newspaper for bonfires about the end of journalism. Ha ha!


As always, for tips about how to properly care for your particular vehicle, feel free to give our service department a call. We’d love to help!

“Are You Decent?” The Spring Car Cleaning Tips You’ve Been Waiting For was last modified: April 30th, 2015 by Mercedes-Benz Raleigh

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