"Detailing is the art of refinishing or restoring the appearance of your vehicle to new or close-to-new condition," says Asif Rashid, owner of Calgary-based Pebble Beach Auto. "Your success will depend on the age of the vehicle, the resources you have and the project you're starting out with."
For most of us, the restoration of our vehicles to showroom status is more than we need. That said, many of us spend up to fifteen hours a week in our vehicle, so keeping it relatively clean can be important.
The interior of your car has three basic areas requiring "detailing" and special care: upholstery/carpeting, windows and the interior trim.
For tips on self-detailing the interior of your car, read on...
Tip #1 Start with a good vacuuming
Loose dirt in door jambs and hard-to-reach places will be easier to vacuum up when the car is dry, so vacuum before you wash. Starting with a vacuum means you won't be blowing dirt over a clean car. Use a carpet brush attachment to lift the carpet pile and a crevice tool for between the seats.
While you're vacuuming, go over the dashboard to remove the heavy dust that often films over the dash.
Tip #2 Removing grease stains from your car's carpet
If you have children, you've almost certainly had greasy stains tracked into the car at some point.
Scrape as much of the stain away as possible. Place a sheet of brown paper (a layer from a lunch or grocery bag will do) over the stain and run a warm iron over the bag. The grease should lift off the carpet and onto the brown paper.
Tip #3 Clean stains as they occur
The longer stains sit, the more difficult they will be to remove. Keep a mild detergent cleaner handy to remove stains as they occur. Always test cleaners on an inconspicuous area to make sure there's no bleaching of colour.
Tip #4 Removing smells from your car's carpet
You've already followed Tip #1 and vacuumed thoroughly, but an unpleasant odour persists. What should you do? Sprinkle baking soda over the carpet and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Vacuum the area again.
Tip #5 Car wash follow-up
It's easy to miss the small, hard-to-reach parts of a car's interior -- the places where dirt and grime collect almost unnoticed. Make a point of wiping down the door jambs and rubber window sills every time you wash your car.
Remember that a clean car is easier to keep clean. Spending a few minutes every week to maintain the state of your car is much less time consuming than trying to clean a year's worth of built up grime.