Make us your home page
Instagram
Autos | A clean machine

Transform your car from grungy gorgeous

A tornado of trash spewed from the black Mazda6 at the Plymouth, Mich., Supercenter, bits of old granola and Hershey's Kiss wrappers swirling above Bryan Wagner's head. • Wagner, the car care center manager, was doing what had not been done in the five years since the car left the dealership: thoroughly cleaning the interior.

The car belongs to this reporter, who paid the standard $90 for an interior auto detail.

Wagner, 22, and his car care center colleagues were willing to divulge their advice for interior car maintenance so that the straight-up slovenly can do much of the job themselves. Here are the key steps:

1. Clear it all out. For the Mazda6, Wagner got a trash bag and threw everything that should be kept — garage door openers, sunglasses — into it. Don't forget to toss in items from the glove compartment and console.

2. Remove and wash the floor mats. Wagner says doing this task early allows the mats to dry while you're detailing the rest of the car. He uses a degreaser to spray the mats before power-washing them. If you don't have access to a power washer, he suggests a Wet Vac. Use a blade to remove sticky stains.

3. Use an air compressor, if you can borrow one, with an air gun to blow crumbs and candy wrappers out of cracks and crevices. Wear goggles to protect your eyes. If you don't have an air compressor, use a toothbrush, though it's time-consuming.

4. Vacuum, using a hose attachment, all of the exposed crumbs. Wagner says one of the worst cars he worked on "looked like a garbage bomb" exploded inside. Another had layers of orange crumbs all over the carpet — the owner had an affinity for Cheetos.

5. Spray degreaser on your door jambs and wash them down.

6. Use window cleaner and a cloth to wash the inside of your windshield and rear and side windows. Ryan LaParr, 21, a detailer at the shop, says wipe with long, smooth strokes so the chemicals in the cleaner have more room to work.

7. Use an interior cleaner, like the kind you can purchase at an auto supply store, and a cloth to spray down the dashboard, door and instrument panels. You can also use the interior cleaner on the seats, and if you have leather seats, finish it off with Armor All. Do not use Armor All on the wheel or pedals — it's too slippery. For fabric seats, Wagner suggests a foam carpet cleaner. Use the same cleaner to extract dirt from the headliners.

8. Shampoo the carpet. Wagner and LaParr used a combination of interior cleaner and water to mix shampoo for the carpet, which they scrubbed down and then vacuumed.

9. To prevent mold from forming on the shampooed carpet, leave the windows of your car doors cracked 2 inches overnight or turn on the floor heating for 45 minutes. The result should make you feel like you just bought a new car.

Transform your car from grungy gorgeous 07/16/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 16, 2009 6:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Detroit Free Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients

    Business

    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  2. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel

    Business

    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. New York town approves Legoland proposal

    News

    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]