The birds are singing, the bees and buzzing and the bulbs are flowering: Spring is in the air. And that can only mean one thing; many of Britain’s drivers are looking at their car and hanging their heads in shame, unable to remember the last time they cleaned their motor.
If that sounds familiar, set aside a couple of hours one weekend, roll up your sleeves and treat your car to a thorough spring clean. Pick a sunny day and you might even put some colour in your cheeks.
You don’t have to be a professional car valeter, or detailer, to return a car to the showroom-sparkle finish it once enjoyed. Here are some simple tips to take the strain out of a spring clean.
Top spring cleaning tip 1: Blast away muck with a pressure washer
The professionals wouldn’t dream of cleaning a car without a pressure washer, so why would you? Don’t think this means shelling out yet more hard-earned money for another gadget – although a good pressure washer can cost as little as £50. Instead, borrow one from a friend or neighbour, or head to the nearest petrol station with one.
The high-pressure water will remove the dirt and small particles of grit that a hose can’t budge. It means that when the time comes to applying a bit of elbow grease with a sponge, you won’t be rubbing that grit all over your car’s delicate paintwork.
Top spring cleaning tip 2: Two buckets are better than one
It may seem excessive, but again, having two buckets is a technique recommended by car cleaning gurus. The first is for warm soapy water – and remember, use car shampoo rather than washing-up liquid which is abrasive – and the second bucket is for clean cold water, used to rise the sponge or wash mitt.
Top spring cleaning tip 3: Two sponges are better than one
The reason for using two sponges or, better still, two wash mitts, is that the first should be used for washing the top half of the car and the second is for the lower half. Why? Because the bumpers, lower door areas and underside of the sills and wheel arches collect the most dirt and debris, and you don’t want to be dragging that over the more visible parts of the car, such as the bonnet, main door areas and roof.
Top spring cleaning tip 4: Rinse and dry for a showroom sparkle
We all know it’s not a good idea to leave dirty soapy water on a car’s bodywork. But not as many drivers realise that letting a car drip-dry is a bad idea. Water is full of minerals and once the water dries in the air or sunshine, these minerals form hardened deposits that look a little like a rash on the paintwork. Removing them can damage the paintwork. So dry the bodywork off, using a microfibre towel or two.
Top spring cleaning tip 5: Investigate the interior
Whether it’s dog hairs causing a pong in the boot, raisins turning into a mulch in a child seat or a confectionary museum’s worth of sweet wrappers, you car’s interior deserves a spring clean too.
Grab a plastic bag, vacuum and damp cloth and set to work. Throw out the months’ of accumulated rubbish. Banish the crumbs to the vacuum cleaner bag. And wipe down the plastic surfaces with a gently dampened cloth to remove dust. If you want to go the extra mile and have an as-new finish, invest in a bottle of interior plastic cleaner.