Assemble your washing supplies, including two buckets (one for soapy water and one for rinsing your sponge). Other supplies include a hose with a sprayer tip, a towel or chamois and a sponge. Choose the right time of day and the right place. You'll want cooler temps (early morning or late evening) and shade. Too much direct sunlight can cause soapy water to dry too quickly and cause difficult spots.
In professional detailing, the interior work is as important as the exterior. Your customers want to feel like they are driving a brand new car – inside and out. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
• Brush out the air ducts using an artist's brush using an all-purpose cleaner where necessary
• Carefully clean windows, including top edges
• Deep clean carpets and mats
• Carefully clean in and around all knobs, door paneling and console
At AutoBrite, we have a great selection of proven products to help you navigate interior cleaning including carpet, upholstery, leather and plastic cleaners, protectors, plus carpet and detail extractors, steamers and Tornadors.
Rinse with clear water prior to any other exterior treatments. It's important to remove surface dust and grit before starting your wash. Don't forget the tires!
Soaping and Pre-Soaking
Although pre-soaking is not as common as the rest of the steps, it can go a long way to giving you the edge on your competitors. Pre-soaking helps loosen dirt and grime, as well as giving soap a better grip during the main wash. Put pre-soap on and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Rinse well.
There are as many different soap products on the market as there are brands of cars. Your soap choice should not break down wax and sealant products, so choose carefully. A good soap will also help make the rinsing process easier and more effective.
Work from the top down! Obviously, you don't want dirty soap falling from the roof onto a freshly clean side. Use long strokes with your soapy sponge or mitt, rather than a circling motion that can cause scratching. Rinse the spots you've cleaned before moving to the next. Rinse your sponge in between.
Air drying can leave unsightly spots, therefore, use a clean towel, microfiber cloth, squeegee or chamois to dry the vehicle.
A Note About Tires
You should use a quality and dedicated tire cleaner to help remove tar, asphalt, and other grime. Tires should be cleaned and conditioned to keep them from developing dry rot. Consider using a separate sponge since tires, rims and other parts of the wheel generally accumulate more dirt and grime.
As we mentioned before, rinsing should be done in parts along each step of the washing process. Use clean water!
Of course you'll want to give your car – or your customers' cars – a bright, shiny finish. Wait until the car is completely dry before starting with a good quality wax. Waxing is best done in a shady spot. Apply in small sections, allow wax to haze, then use a clean micro fiber towel to rub the wax off.
At AutoBrite, we have a variety of products and tools to help you at every stage of your detailing work, including detailing extractors, paint correcting systems, headlight restoration products, cleaning and detailing accessories, pads and accessories, cleaning tools, steamers, polishers and more. Contact us today to find out more or check our online store.