Category: Detailing

Just Like New: Five facts about vehicle interior cleaning – Mark J McCourt @Hemmings

Just Like New: Five facts about vehicle interior cleaning – Mark J McCourt @Hemmings


It may be a beloved classic you want to tidy up before car show season gets underway, or the daily driver that takes everything your life throws at it, but we all find our vehicle interiors getting dusty, dirty, and cluttered. Few automotive experiences are more pleasant than settling into a car or truck whose cabin looks, feels, and even smells showroom fresh. It’s one thing to pick up the scattered gas receipts and shake out the floormats, and another to remove built-up filth and discoloration from every part of the interior, and properly treat and protect individual surfaces like carpet, fabric, plastic, and leather.

Professional automotive detailers can charge serious rates because their work is time-consuming and physical, and they’ve mastered specialist techniques that bring the best outcome. And while garage shelves filled with pro-level cleaning supplies and dedicated tools are great to have, those are not the be-all and end-all: a few quality products and some typical household tools, used in a knowledgeable way, can achieve show-worthy results.

1. Before You Begin

When it comes to a serious deep clean of your vehicle’s interior, you may already have some of the most useful and effective cleaning implements and chemicals on hand, while others can easily be acquired through online sources. A shop vacuum–especially a wet/dry version–with brush and slender crevice attachments is great, but even a powerful regular vacuum with an extendable hose can be effective. Microfiber towels that can be washed (a reminder to avoid fabric softener and line dry) are inexpensive, as are various-sized soft-bristle brushes- yes, your old toothbrushes can be useful, so save them for car cleaning!

As to the products you’ll want at your disposal, a biodegradable or citrus-based general purpose, low-sudsing cleaner/degreaser, diluted with water and handled conscientiously, can be safe for use on most interior surfaces. When it comes to interior dressings/ultraviolet light (UV) protectants, detailing pros tend to be selective. Some of the most commonly available brands are silicone-based, which gives them the propensity to attract dust and–as they evaporate–to haze interior glass. Water-based dressings are generally preferred for those reasons, and tend to impart a desirably natural, low-gloss appearance.

2. Under Foot

A thorough vacuuming–including under the seats, in seat seams, the dash top, center console, and don’t forget the rear shelf, trunk, or cargo area, should remove built-up dirt and dust. A towel misted with all-purpose cleaner and rubbed on the carpet can lift dirt and greasy marks and, with repeated passes, treat many types of stains. If a vacuum and rag-applied cleaner aren’t doing the trick, Gil Monge of Gillin Auto Interiors suggests a household-type steam cleaner may work as a last resort: “The key is to not soak the carpet, because there’s padding underneath; if that gets wet, you could end up with mold growing.”

If your vehicle has carpeted floormats, you can give them the same vacuum/wiped cleaner application. Rubber or plastic mats needing attention will benefit from a different treatment, T44 Detailing principal Brian Skorski advises: “Like ugly brown ‘blooming’ oxidation on tires, all-season floor liners and mats can fade and discolor over time. Apply rubber cleaner or diluted all-purpose cleaner and agitate, rinsing thoroughly and following up with a dressing of your choice, but wipe mats before reinstalling to ensure surfaces aren’t slippery.”

Read on

Five things you should know about wax and polish before shining your ride – Matt Litwin @Hemmings


Winter, it seems, is finally behind us, even up here in the northern climate where it has a habit of lingering into early May. It’s time to get the vintage vehicles out of hiding and prepped for a summer of enjoyment. First on the list should always be a wash and wax. Or was it wash and polish? Wax, polish – what’s the difference, right? Therein lies the problem: More often than not, there’s a misconception about wax and polish, and what they should be used for. They are two different products that serve distinct purposes, so here are a few points to ponder after you’ve given the ol’ ride a proper wash.

1. Polish

After washing your vehicle, the first product you should reach for is polish. The misconception about polish is that it produces a nice shine. In truth, its primary purpose is to remove minute imperfections such as grease, dirt, and oxidation from a vehicle’s paint (or clearcoat) that in many instances normal washing will not alleviate. Polish also fixes minute scratches, scrapes and swirls. Here’s the catch, though: a single polish does not solve all of these surface maladies with a single stroke of application.

There are actually two types of polishes, the first being a chemical polish. Its non-abrasive formula essentially cleans the surface, removing (as mentioned) grease, dirt, oxidation, and – if caught early on – even some stains. Abrasive polishes help eliminate/repair swirl marks and scratches before they become an eyesore. This is accomplished by the abrasive compound within, which removes an incredibly thin layer of paint or clearcoat. The abrasiveness varies from one product to the next – from fine to course – to suit various needs, and some are so fine that they are not referred to as abrasive compound polishes, which means it’s important to read the label’s small print. In either case, polish is often found as a cream, spray, or liquid product, and while the surface will look fantastic when the job is completed, it’s important to remember that polish does not seal or protect the paint/clearcoat

2. Car Wax

Car wax is pretty straight forward. It’s been in use – in some form – since the early 1800s, when extending the look and life of an ornate wooden carriage was important to the family budget. It’s carryover to the automotive market was seamless. Unlike polish, wax becomes a barrier between your vehicle’s paint/clearcoat surface and the litany of contaminants that attack it, including UV rays and other airborne pollutants, not forgetting that it helps stymie corrosion. Wax also creates, or more accurately, enhances, the glossy finish many car owners aim for. Because it seals a vehicle’s surface, it’s important to apply wax after polishing the surface, lest the contaminants be locked against the surface, expediting potential damage.There are two different types of automotive wax available: natural and synthetic. As one could guess, the former has been formulated from natural occurring resources, such as waxes, oils, and solvents (crude oil distillates, ethanol, mineral spirits, petroleum, and more). A natural wax offers an incredible shine with great protection, as does a synthetically manufactured wax; however, it does not last as long as synthetic.

Read on

Keeping your car interior clean during Coronavirus (and in general) – Mike Austin @Hemmings


With the COVID-19 pandemic, personal hygiene is more important than ever, and that extends to our vehicles. Of course it’s a good idea to keep a car sanitary in general, but it’s even more important if you’re buying or selling a car. Because our classifieds and our auctions site are one of the main reasons people come to Hemmings, we want to offer some guidelines for keeping cars clean and helping prevent the spread of disease.
Before we begin, however, we can’t stress one message enough: Don’t put yourself or others at risk. If that means putting off buying or selling a car for while, just wait. As we’ve mentioned, Hemmings is taking every precaution while we keep our business running, and we want you to be safe, too. If you do go ahead with a purchase or sale, take extra precautions. And remember, it’s not just a matter of protecting yourself from infection, but protecting others in the event you yourself are sick.

Adam’s Polishes Waterless Wash, it Really Works!


Whilst the headline here may not be a surprise for many it certainly was for me!

I’d seen waterless washes around for quite a while and I use Meguiars Qucik Detailer quite a bit on “clean” cars but that’s not really a waterless wash.

So I purchased the smaller (16oz) size from Prestige Car Shop here the bottle arrived quickly and very well packed, by the way this is not a cheap product at £9.99 for this size.

My S10 lives outside under a Noah Block-It fabric cover which is getting a little long in the tooth. The truck is black and here in the UK the use of salt and grit on the roads in the winter makes using it this time of the year a real chore. I do however like to try and “drive my s***” once a week if possible. So upon my return from my Sunday drive I gave the Adam’s Waterless Wash product a go on a pretty dirty vehicle.


My verdict?

Very very impressed, it lifted all the salt and dirt with no scratching and buffed up nicely afterwards.

As long as follow the common sense instructions on the bottle i.e. don’t use after four wheeling, you will have great success with this product and I highly recommend it!


Detailing a Barn Find Car: Before and After – John Gunnell @Second Chance Garage


Sometimes you come across a well-preserved car that doesn’t need a restoration. Some people call these “Rip Van Winkle” cars, some call them “Survivor” cars and some — whether correctly or incorrectly — call them “Barn Finds” The first and last terms both refer to cars that have “slept” for a long time, but not to the condition they are in. A stored away car can be darned near perfect or it can be a disaster. Sleeping for 20 years or spending time in a barn is better than outside storage, but long-term storage can also cause a lot of deterioration.

Read the rest of John’s article here you can also read John in the excellent Auto Restorer magazine.