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Give Your Car A Good Scrub

Give Your Car A Good Scrub


Few things need a good scrub as much as your car; it’ll thank you for it! Specialists in car cleaning, Supagard, tell us how it’s done.

Vehicles go through a punishing time with dirt, grit, sand, gravel, snow, ice, salt and slush, all conspiring to leave cars filthy, both inside and out. From the exterior of the car to under the floor mats, every nook and cranny of your car would welcome a good scrub!


Shampooing doesn’t just make your car look better, it’s important for the life of the exterior.  Allowing dirt, such as mud, salt or road grit to build up is bad for your paintwork and will cause rust and corrosion, so it’s important to get rid of it.

When it comes to washing your car, there was a time when we all just grabbed washing up liquid which is designed to eat away grease and food. While it works well for dishes, the same attributes that break down the grease will strip your car wax and can actually lead to corrosion as it also contains salt – so, please don’t ever be tempted to use it on your car!

Always use a specially formulated car shampoo as this will clean the car’s surface, enhance the gloss and leave the car wax, paint protectant or paint sealant intact.

In order to guarantee a swirl-free finish, we highly recommend using a microfibre wash mitt and the Two-Bucket Washing Method. As the name implies, you use two separate buckets to wash your car. One bucket holds the soapy car wash solution and the other holds clean, clear rinse water so you can rinse your mitt after each pass over your car. This keeps those dirt particles you just picked up on the surface from going back into the clean car wash solution and being picked up again by the wash mitt.

Don’t wash the car in direct sunlight as this will dry off the water and leave marks on the paintwork which can be difficult to remove. Start from the top and make sure that you wash the whole car, including the wheels and around the bottom of the car where most dirt accumulates.

Cleaning blue car with shampoo

If possible, use a hose to rinse off any remaining shampoo and dry the car off using either a chamois leather or microfibre cloths to remove any remaining water and avoid leaving marks on the paintwork.

This is also the perfect time to apply a protective coat of wax so your car looks its best over the Summer months.

Waterless Car Washes

There will be times in Spring and Summer when your car is a bit dusty and grubby looking, but doesn’t really merit a full wash. An ideal solution in these circumstances is a waterless wash which is sprayed onto the paintwork and polished off with a microfibre cloth, with no water or shampoo required.

These products clean, shine and protect all in one, leaving no streaks or scratches and form a barrier to help prevent buildup of traffic film. They are specially developed to create lubricity, coating particles of dirt and trapping them within the microfibre cloth, whilst leaving a high gloss finish and can be especially useful to anyone living in a flat where it can be difficult to get buckets of shampoo and water out to your car.

Waterless washes are designed to remove light grime and dirt from the paintwork of your car - with a very dirty car we would always recommend washing your car the conventional way using shampoo and water.

Bird Droppings and Bug Splats

Bird droppings can be a problem at any time of year, but particularly in Spring and Summer as hundreds of young birds hatch and venture out into the world. If left on paintwork, they can cause severe damage because of the acid they contain, so always make sure you remove them as soon as possible.

The insect population also increases dramatically in the warmer months and many of them end up glued to the paintwork and glass and can be difficult to remove. It may be possible to wash off minor droppings and splats when shampooing the car, but a good quality Bird & Bug Remover will do the job easily, even on dried in deposits.

Bird lime and bugs get stuck all over your car

These products have a combination of surfactants which neutralise the acid in bird lime. The soapy mousse is sprayed on and left for a few minutes to re-hydrate the deposit, creating a solution that can be easily wiped off the paintwork and can also be used to remove insects from glass and paintwork without damaging the finish.

Wheels and Tyres

Your alloy wheels have a lot to contend with and probably suffer more attacks from brake dust, dirt, grime and road salt than any other part of your car during winter so it’s essential to give them a thorough clean so they look their best over the summer months.

Clean one wheel at a time and start by giving them a good rinse to remove superficial dirt, then apply a good quality non-acidic wheel cleaner. A non-acidic formula will remove stubborn marks left by brake dust and road grime without damaging coatings, lacquers or tyres; be careful to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, avoid overspray and never allow a wheel cleaner to dry on the wheel.

As the wheel cleaner does it’s work, use a soft bristle wheel brush to agitate the wheel surface and remove grime and brake dust without scratching the finish, then rinse the wheel thoroughly and dry it off with a microfibre cloth. Repeat this as necessary until the wheels are completely clean. Giving your wheels a coat of wax will help keep them clean and also make future cleaning easier.

Finish the look by giving your tyres a spray over with a good quality tyre dressing - preferably one which doesn’t contain silicone, as this can age the rubber prematurely. Newer formulas are water based, won’t damage the tyre, and can be layered to give whatever level of sheen you desire, but be careful to avoid spraying the wheels, tyre treads and any brake apparatus.

Tyre dressing can also be sprayed sparingly onto black plastic trim and then buffed, or sprayed onto a cloth and wiped over the trim to give a beautiful silk finish.

Glass and Mirrors

Cleaning the windscreen and all windows thoroughly, inside and out, will guarantee visibility for you and your passengers and help ensure you can see pedestrians and other road users. Marks and blemishes on the windscreen, in particular, can be dangerous – potentially inhibiting your vision as you drive along. This is especially important during the summer months when the glare of the sun can easily catch any slight marks on the windscreen, leading to sun dazzle which can impair your view.

Don’t forget to clean your mirrors too as these are vital in spotting other road users and also when reversing into a parking place.

Use a quality Glass Cleaner which has been specially formulated to break through even the toughest dirt and grime on windows and mirrors. Apply the cleaner to the glass, wipe over with a microfibre cloth to remove any deposits and polish it off with a second cloth for a sparkling streak free finish. When cleaning mirrors, it may be easier to apply the cleaner to the cloth to avoid overspray before wiping over the mirror.

Winter can take its toll on wipers too, so once your glass is clean and sparkling, this is a good time to top up the washer bottle and check and replace wiper blades if required to ensure your visibility is not impaired in any way; if your car has a rear wiper, remember to check and replace that too if required.

Freshen Up Your Interior

Now that you’ve sorted out the exterior and the glass, it’s the ideal time to take the vacuum cleaner out into the driveway and give your car’s interior a good once over. Muddy shoes and dirty dogs can mean you end up with dirt ground into the carpets, stains on your upholstery and streaks of mud across the interior plastics. Give the carpets and upholstery a thorough going over with the vacuum cleaner and use a good quality Upholstery and Carpet cleaner to get stubborn dirt out of fabrics and a Dash and Door Cleaner to get rid of marks on your interior plastic trim. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test upholstery cleaner on a hidden area of the material to be treated before commencing stain removal.

Cleaning car upholstery

Be careful when removing stains as it’s easy to make things worse by scrubbing at the mark. This can drive the contaminant deeper into the fabric so always dab your cloth on the stain to allow the cleaner to penetrate the fibres and lift the dirt to the surface where it can be absorbed by your cleaning cloth.

Finally, we also recommend investing in a good-quality car freshener, and if you have air conditioning, there are products available which will give it a clean to get rid of any stale smells before the warmer weather kicks in. Clean your car, and it won’t just look better, we guarantee you’ll feel better the next time you drive it, even if you’re stuck in rush hour traffic!