DIY car detailing in Broward County is more feasible than ever thanks to the growing market of affordable consumer products coupled with the plethora of online “how-to” guides that teach us how to use them properly. Unfortunately, none of this removes the unfortunate errors that many people still make that can actually do harm to their vehicle rather than good. In this article, we’ll be exploring those mistakes and how they can be avoided.
Using Wrong Cleaning Detergent
Detergents are manufactured specifically to clean the thing they are marketed for. They may look and even smell similar, but their specific function and exact makeup are different. Dish-washing soaps, for instance, contain harsher chemicals that are fine for washing stubborn stains from plates and pans, but will work too aggressively on your car’s surface, stripping away wax layers and other protective finishes. These products are specifically made to combat grease and wax in your dishes. They don’t distinguish between the waxy congealed grease on your roasting pan and that wax that is there to protect your car.
Always stick with proper car care products that are manufactured with your car and its delicate balance of paint and other coating materials in mind.
Detailing in Direct Sunlight
You might see detailing as a kind of leisure activity; something to do on a Sunday afternoon on a nice sunny day in the yard. It sounds perfect, but creating hot conditions for the car while you’re trying to detail effectively is actually a very bad idea.
As you’re washing, the sun’s heat may dry the surface of the car before you get around to drying it yourself with a microfiber towel. This will leave water spots on the surface and just force you to do it over again. It’s best, therefore, to wash the car in a covered or otherwise shaded area to keep the effects of the sun’s rays at bay.
Leaving Hard Water On Car Paint
There are two mistakes that many people make when drying their car. The first is not completely drying the car, which will inevitably leave watermarks, streaks and other unappealing results. The second is not using a proper microfiber towel. If you use a dishcloth or another type of rag, you’ll either not dry off all the water, or you might even scratch off the wax and paint.
Using the Wrong Glass Cleaner
Once again, there is a common mistake involving other household products that we assume are safe for our cars. If you ever look carefully at a professional detailers kit, they will not have anything like regular Windex or another similar product. Why? One ingredient is key — ammonia. This is a common ingredient in household cleaners, and it’s very effective in its own world. For car interiors and upholstery, however, it can be quite damaging. Therefore, you should avoid using any cleaning product with ammonia. Fortunately, there are plenty of ammonia-free options out there that will get the glass gleaming again.
Applying too much Wax
Probably the most common mistake amateur detailers make is assuming that if two coats of wax provide a better protective effect than a single layer, then surely four coats would be twice as good as that, and would last longer, right?
This is not the case. The first layer of wax serves as the principal coating that protects and shines. The second coat you apply is more of an insurance, that ensures you’re covered by filling in any areas that are insufficiently waxed. The two-layer approach is solid, and once buffed will leave your car with an irresistible showroom-quality shine. Keep adding the layers, on the other hand, and all you’re really doing is throwing that good wax away.
When cleaning the carpet, many of us make the mistake of going at the stains and dirt too aggressively with our various carpet-cleaning chemicals. We think we’re doing the carpet good by dousing it in chemicals and soaps and then leaving them to soak in and work. Sometimes we then don’t wash them out properly, but never think that it could be a problem. The fact is that not washing out the soap can damage the carpet, leaving it even more exposed to dirt and dust.
The main lesson here is that carpet cleaning needs time. An effective vacuum, for example, is always the best place to start, and can remove more of that stubborn dirt than you know. Cleaning as much of the gunk out of there before you turn to the soaps is always the best policy. Afterward, use products sparingly, and consider multiple washes to get the carpet fully clean, always thoroughly rinsing soaps out and allowing the carpet to dry before the next cycle.
Waiting too Long to Clean
This one could be argued to be more of a bad habit than a specific detailing mistake, but it is certainly related and relevant to this topic. When you’ve invested in leather upholstery, you get one advantage which is that leather is easy to wipe clean in the event of spills. Cloth upholstery, on the other hand, presents some other issues that can affect your detailing.
You’ll likely include seat vacuuming as part of your interior detailing process, and that’s fine. The mistake happens when drivers leave stains and spills unattended in fabric seats until detailing day comes around. This is not a good idea because such stains and spills can attract mold and pests, depending on what exactly it is. This is one problem that you don’t want to leave until detailing day.
Experienced detailers like Drexler Ceramic Miami Detailing Center know all too well that effective detailing is a careful and methodical process in which no step is left done improperly. Stick to those principles, and hone your craft until you too can detail like a pro. Who knows? It could also turn into a great part-time business for you to earn some extra money in the future.