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How to Clean Your Car after the Winter
When the winter has finally ended and the warmer, brighter days of spring returned, many of us like to give our homes and lives a bit of an overhaul, getting rid of the old and bringing in the new. Spring cleaning is part of this urge, and most of us diligently sort through our homes to eliminate dirt and clutter. However, have you ever thought about spring cleaning your car? Your hardworking car certainly deserves the same treatment as your home, so check out these easy tips for getting your car in tip-top shape for the warmer months.
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1. Wash the cars exterior
The exterior of your car will likely be coated in salt, mud and other winter dirt its important to remove this not only to improve the cars appearance, but also to protect the paint and bodywork from corrosion. Use warm water mixed with some weak detergent or special car cleaner (dont use too much you dont want to risk leaving a residue on the car) and a soft sponge to soap the exterior, then rinse well with fresh water from a bucket or hose. Make sure you get into the crevices around doors and other openings, and dont forget the undercarriage this is often the area hardest hit by dirt, and the most vulnerable to corrosion. Wash the wheel wells, the hubcaps and windows, too, then dry the entire vehicle with a soft chamois to help prevent streaking as it dries.
2. Start with a quick overhaul
The first thing to do is to perform a quick recce. Look around inside your car and see which items need to be kept in there and which dont. Remember, keeping a load of bulky items in your car that you dont really need will not only limit space and create a cluttered look, but will make your car less fuel efficient as well. So, lighten its load by eliminating anything you dont need.
3. Scrub the dashboard and heater
Over the course of a long winter your dashboard can get pretty grubby. Take a washcloth, get some surface cleaner from the kitchen, and give it a scrub. You can also use an old toothbrush to get inside any little cracks and crevices to clean out any old bits of dust and grime, and use cotton swabs to get into those tricky gaps along the heater vents. When it comes to the ceiling, be careful to not scrub too forcefully if the ceiling is made out of fabric, as this can leave it looking fuzzy. Instead, use a damp washcloth with ultrafine fibres and use detergent sparingly.
4. Clean the steering wheel and seats
If you have a leather steering wheel, you may be tempted to use a leather cleaning product on it. This may not be a good idea, as it can leave your wheel feeling a bit slippery beneath your hands. Instead, use a dry cloth to wipe it down. If you have leather seats, give them the same treatment. If you have fabric seats, use warm water with a bit of detergent, but not much you dont want to leave a residue on the seats, or to wet them so much they take ages to dry. For any larger stains, you may need to invest in specialised car upholstery cleaning products.
5. Vacuum the floor and mats
The floor of your vehicle can accumulate a lot of grit and grime over the course of a winter, and if its allowed to stay wet for too long, it can start to grow mould or rot. Remove the mats from the vehicle and either vacuum (if theyre fabric) or wash them (if theyre rubber). Allow them to dry thoroughly before returning them to the vehicle. In the meantime, vacuum the floors to remove stones and salt deposits, and use a brush with warm water and a bit of detergent or fabric cleaner to remove caked on mud or other dirt. If possible, leave the doors open for a while to let the interior dry out completely (but dont leave the vehicle unattended at any time).
6. Check your car costs
Spring cleaning isnt just about wiping and dusting it can also include getting your affairs in order so you can enjoy the warm weather ahead. For instance, insurance companies change their rates each year, so dont renew your current policy without first checking out all the options to make sure you are still getting the best deal.