Meguiars #39 Heavy-Duty Vinyl Cleaner
Meguiars #40 Vinyl & Rubber Cleaner/Conditioner
Meguiars Heavy Duty Carpet Cleaner
Meguiars Gold Class Leather Conditioner/ Armorall Leather Care
Rain X Anti-Fog Wipes
Can Vacuum w/ hose and 2 attachments
Many people overlook the interior of their vehicle. After all, no one else see the inside. Why bother? You should bother because YOU spend your time inside the vehicle. The interior is your connection to the car and thus to the world you drive in. It is also a determining factor in the show arena, especially if interior mods are part of your presentation. This being said, let’s begin.
You should always start by “dejunking” the car. By this I mean removing everything that isn’t part of the car. It is far easier to detail the interior when there are no McDonald’s cups or Taco Bell wrappers in the way.
You now need to vacuum the interior thoroughly. I recommend a small, but powerful vacuum with a flexible hose and a slash-cut wand and a fuzzy attachment. While vacuuming, be sure to pay attention to details. Don’t overlook areas such as: under the seats, door handles, door pockets, glove boxes, cupholders, crevices in seats, and the trunk. It is the little things like this that set a detailed car apart.
As it is always advised to do your dirty work before your beautifying, it is now time to remove any stains that may be present in your carpets. Up until now I have attained good results using a Bissel Little Green, however, due to constant problems with the quality of Bissel’s machines I am currently looking for a new brand of machine.
Stain removal is fairly straightforward. When using a deep cleaning machine, you will follow the same instructions as you would use in home. Pre-soak the surface with the cleaning solution and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Now that the stain has had time to be released from the surface, you will now vacuum it out using your deep cleaning machine. It may be necessary to repeat this process with stubborn stains.
In addition to the use of machinery, there are also several hand-applied stain removers designed especially for automotive use. Meguiars Heavy Duty Carpet & Interior Cleaner is a good product. I would recommend trying this before buying a deep cleaning machine. Also, a quick misting of Febreze can also help to remove any trapped smells.
**Note: This step is only necessary if you have stains or discoloration on your interior plastics.**
To remove grime and thoroughly clean interior plastics, I recommend Meguiars #39 Heavy-duty Vinyl Cleaner. It will remove tough stains in plastics. Simply spray surface and wipe/scrub lightly with a double-sided sponge. Then dry as you go with a clean cloth or towel. Follow this with Meguiars #40 Vinyl & Rubber Cleaner/Conditioner applying as before. Be sure not to skip ash trays, cupholders, storage bins, or any little nook that your car may have. There is no excuse not to pay attention to detail!
You can’t forget the windows. The reason you are doing these next is that any of the products before would have messed them up, and cleaning the windows may mess up the following steps if they came first. For interior glass, I actually recommend Rain X Anti-Fog wipes. They are ammonia-free, and thus safe on interior tinting. They also do help prevent fogging. One wipe is good for all interior glass on an average car. You will first wipe down the glass thoroughly, being careful to get in deep cracks. Also, don’t forget to get the top portion of the window which often gets overlooked when the window is completely closed. Details! Next, buff out window with a clean, 100% cotton cloth or towel until glass is perfectly clear and the haze is gone.
. Now that all the ““ugly”” work is done, it is time to start beautifying your now sterile interior. Another common myth about car cleaning is that Armorall is a miracle liquid. It is actually one of the worst products to use on your interior, especially the dashboard. I recommend that you use Armorall only on wheel well plastics and on plastics in the engine bay. This being said, I would suggest that instead you would use a leather conditioner. Leather conditioners are also good for use on vinyl. The two products that I prefer and recommend most are Meguiars Gold Class Leather Conditioner and Armorall Leather Care. They both result in similar suppleness, with the exception that the Armorall product provides a slightly shinier appearance, which is why some prefer to use it on dark-colored leather. The Meguiars conditioner, however, provides slightly better moisturization. Choose a product based upon the criteria of your needs. Apply either of these products with a soft cloth, a little at a time, and rub into the surface until fully absorbed.
Now that all steps have been completed, do a look-through of the car, taking notice of anything you might have missed. Then, re-vacuum the carpet to remove any particles of cloth that might have come off during the leather conditioning process.
Simple Green/Meguiars Extra All-purpose Cleaner/Degreaser
Several plastic bags
Meguiars Gold Class Vinyl/Rubber Protectant /Armorall
A medium-sized paint brush
One of the most often forgotten and ignored aspects of detailing is the engine bay. It is, for most people, the least seen and of last importance. However, being key in the show arena, having a clean engine bay is essential.
**Note: If your engine is exceptionably dirty, it may be necessary to take it to have it professionally steam cleaned to remove caked and burnt-on grime.**
Before any true detailing can be done, the metals of your engine may need to be degreased. For this, I recommend either Meguiars Extra All-purpose Cleaner or a high concentration of Simple Green. Both products do a great job of cutting grease. First, cover the alternator, ecu, battery, and ignition with plastic bags. Then, with a warm engine (not hot) spray on the degreaser and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Scrub, if necessary, with a medium-sized paint brush or toothbrushes. Then, rinse with a slow stream of water. You may need to repeat this step. A paintbrush can actually be a helpful tool in cleaning the engine. Dry the engine bay with a few old rags.
It is now time to begin detailing the engine. Believe it or not, glass cleaner works well for shining up engine metals. If you have polished engine parts, Meguiars Gold Class All Metal Restorer is a good product. If you have chrome parts, you will want to clean them with Mothers Chrome Polish. Painted parts need only be misted and wiped with Quick Detailer. As for plastics and rubber hoses, either Armorall or Meguiars Gold Class Vinyl/ Rubber Protectant (Meguiars obviously being the superior product, but Armorall still get’s the job done).
When working in the engine bay, be sure not to overlook details such as hoses, wiring, and turbo piping or intercoolers (if applicable). Also, look up. The underside of the hood is another commonly forgotten thing. Clean the lip of the hood with Quick Detailer, being careful to clean inside the hood latch and hinges. Once again, details!