Owning and operating a vehicle can be stressful. From the initial cost to purchase and auto insurance bills to the various tasks necessary to maintain your vehicle's motor or tires, it is easy to see the overwhelming nature of driving a car. While you might take your car in for major auto body work, you may not be placing enough time and energy into maintaining your car's exterior. Considering the condition of your car's interior and exterior are top factors in your vehicle's overall worth, protecting your investment with regular washing and maintenance is imperative.
Professional car washes can become expensive, so you may prefer to wash your vehicle at home. Unfortunately, utilizing many of the products sold in stores to wash your car can negatively affect the environment. Many of these cleaning products contain harmful chemicals and phosphates, which will run off into local streams, lakes and rivers. Using this guide, you can clean and condition your car in an eco-friendly manner.
You may think a bucket full of water and soap is sufficient for washing your car's exterior, but taking a natural approach is effective for your car's appeal and protecting the environment. In a bucket, combine the following ingredients:
- 3 gallons of water
- 2 cups of distilled white vinegar
Soak a microfibre cloth or pad in the vinegar solution for a few minutes. Use your garden hose to rinse off your car's exterior before washing with the soaked cloth or pad. Use circular motions on one section at a time, rinsing as your move to the other side of the vehicle.
If you have stubborn areas of dirt, mud or dead insects on your car's exterior, pull a pair of panty hose over your hand and scrub these problematic surfaces.
Wash the glass with the vinegar solution, as well. Rinse with your garden hose.
After washing your car, consider spending some time on your tires and chrome rims. Inspect the tread of your tires for any nails, screws or other debris. Remove small pebbles and rocks that are stuck in between your tread, if possible. Combine the following in a bucket to wash your tires and rims:
- 1 gallon of water
- 2 cups of baking soda
- 2 cups of lemon juice
Apply the solution onto your tires and rims using a soft-bristled brush. Allow it to soak on your tires and rims for 20 minutes before rinsing with your garden hose.
Small dents and scratches can dull the shine of your chrome rims. While common, you can enhance the look of your chrome using a balled up piece of foil. Dip the foil in your cleaning solution and scrub the chrome rims using gentle circular motions. Do not use excessive force since this may create fine lines and scratches in the chrome.
Vacuuming dirt and debris on your carpeted floorboards, mats and seats is the most efficient option for cleaning your car's interior. However, removing light discolouration and stains from your upholstery is also important for your vehicle's appeal and value.
To freshen up the look and remove unpleasant odours from your carpet and upholstery, combine 1 quart of water with 1 quart of white vinegar in a spray bottle. Add a few drops of lemon essential oil and shake the bottle to mix. Spray on carpets, mats and upholstery.
Leather seats may not seem worth the investment initially, but after 5 years of age, it can become an asset. Of course, proper care is essential. Use a microfibre cloth to wipe away light dirt and debris. To condition your leather seats, apply a thin coat of saddle soap to the surface. After a few minutes, wipe the seats down with a damp cloth.
Protecting your car's interior and exterior does not require expensive trips to the car wash or toxic chemicals. Using this guide, you can clean and protect your car in an affordable, eco-friendly manner.