If the mornings are almost frost free and the weather is finally getting warmer it can only mean one thing: spring is finally here! The new season may inspire you to get all the chores you've been putting off done, such as sorting out the loft, repainting the front of the house and having a general clear out.
Spring cleaning is a great way to freshen up your house and garden, as well as your car. You don't need to pay a small fortune to get someone else to give your motor a valeting, just spend a little time and effort and you can achieve results that look professional standard.
Here is a simple step-by-step guide to spring cleaning your car.
1. Clearing out the interior
No matter how hard you try to avoid it, dirt and debris will accumulate inside your car. This can be brought in by the driver, passenger and even the ventilation system and must be cleared out before the cleaning can begin. Empty the contents of the interior and boot, such as CDs, anti-freeze bottles, tool boxes and children's toys, as well as removing all the mats.
Use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of as much dirt and dust as possible and use a product designed specifically for the interior of your vehicle to clean the dashboard and doors. Pay particular attention to the switches, steering wheel and car controls, as these can be hotbeds for grime. Give your mats a couple of sprays of the interior cleaner after they have been vacuumed and then hose thoroughly. Make sure you hang them up so they can dry properly.
2. Before you start on the exterior
Fill a clean bucket full of water and ensure this is changed regularly to stop it filling with grime, as this will ruin your hard work. Before you clean any of the outside of your car, wipe away any bird droppings - ideally, this should be done as soon as it happens as it can destroy your paintwork if left untouched.
3. Cleaning the exterior
Hose the car down with just water to loosen any caked-in dirt and grime before dropping a cap full of car shampoo into a bucket of tepid water. Sponge the car down one side at a time, starting from the roof downwards using a sweeping action. A small brush should then be used to get into crevices, such as around bumpers, number plates and inside the front grille. Use the hose to wash away all of the suds before they get a chance to dry, as this will leave smears.
4. Wheels and tyres
One of the things that really makes your car look smart after it has been valeted by a professional is the wheels and tyres, as these can enhance the appearance of your motor when they look spotless. To achieve the same results, hose them down before you start detailing them to remove any mud and road grime.
Use a wheel cleaner to really make your wheels shine, ensuring that the tyres are completely cold before spraying it on. Concentrate on one wheel at a time and use a brush to scrub away the dirt before hosing away the suds. Spray engine and machine cleaner under the arches and leave for several minutes to loosen caked-in mud, then use a stiff brush to remove the debris.
5. Engine bay
No matter how careful you are, dirt will build up inside the bonnet of your car, so this must be removed every now and again to ensure your motor stays in tip-top condition. Dead leaves may gather inside the fresh air intake grille and could block it completely, so it's important these are removed from the channel at the front of the windscreen. When you open the hood, cover any electric sensors with waterproof tape before cleaning, but if you do not know where these are or if your car is fitted with them it's best to stay away from anything electrical.
Spray your engine and machine cleaner on to every surface, paying particular attention to the grimiest bits, which are usually at the foot of the engine. After a few minutes, use your hose to rinse off the suds, working the water from the bottom up. Use a cloth to mop up any excess water and then use a product that protects vinyl and rubber, as this will make everything look new.
6. Doors and boot lid
Grime and road debris can also build up in the door and boot shuts of your vehicle, which often get overlooked. Giving these areas a spring clean is simple and will make all the difference to the appearance of your vehicle. Spray your engine cleaner on all the door and boot shuts and frames, using a small brush to get into the locks, hinges and striker plates. Leave for a few minutes and then use a concentrated jet hose to clear the suds. Finally, use your vinyl and rubber care spray to treat the door and boot rubbers to prevent them sticking without degrading.