Of course, it’s much easier to clean your car during the summer, on a light evening or a warm weekend afternoon, but how do you keep on top of your car care in the winter months, when the daily drive can involve churning up fallen leaves, or the muddy slush of an icy-cold spell? Here are our top tips to keep your car looking sharp, even when it gets cold and dark.
Use the right tools – and get out there in daylight
First, remove any layers of dust or dirt from the car with a hose or pressure washer, taking special care to blast away any well-hidden grime from underneath the vehicle, around the door sills and wheel arches. When you’re hand-washing your car, it’s important to use the right tools; for example, a wash glove instead of a sponge. Use this with your bucket of warm water mixed with car shampoo, and clean the car across the bodywork, windows and outer mirrors, and on the wheel trims, too. Then, use clean water to rinse off the soapy mixture.
To ensure longer-lasting exterior shine for your car, use a high-quality wax, which as well as giving an attractive shine will stop grime and dust that comes from driving in wet and wintry conditions from sticking around. Repeat the process every six weeks.
Try to do exterior cleaning at least a couple of hours before daylight fades, so that any remaining water evaporates and doesn’t freeze overnight. This will save you hacking away at an icy layer across your front windscreen before you do the morning commute.
If you need to, dry the door and window frames to stop any residual water from freezing and causing them to stick.
And don’t forget, windscreen wipers need to be cleaned, too – they can trap dirt and grime and scrape that across the windscreen when activated – so make sure you clean those with warm soapy water before drying with a dry cloth or kitchen roll.
Make sure it shines on the inside, too!
When you’re driving your car you want it to look good on the inside, too. A simple ‘litter pick’ is a good start: get a carrier bag and collect any food wrappers, drinks cans, bottles or receipts, and remove them from the car. Anything that can be recycled, put it in the appropriate bin.
Then, if it’s a dry day, dig out the vacuum cleaner from the cupboard and attach an extension cable if needed, then use the hose function so that you can sweep up any dirt and dust from the footwells, under the seating, between the seat seams, and in the cabin’s storage compartments. If you can’t use a household vacuum cleaner, a hand-held vacuum will clean the open spaces on seats and floors.
Also, for easier cleaning throughout the winter, use rubber mats instead of fabric ones, because with driver and passengers with often wet and muddy footwear stepping into the car, they can easily be wiped clean.
How should you clean the inside of the car windows? The best way is to use an automotive-specific glass cleaner that’s ammonia-free so it won’t damage leather or fabric surfaces.
To clean your dashboard and interior surfaces, a simple hack should produce shining results: after wiping the dash with a dry cloth, use a small dollop of petroleum jelly on a microfibre cloth. This should give your dash and interior surfaces longer-lasting shine without them looking too greasy.
Repeat this process every few weeks to keep your car in sparkling condition during the winter.
Want to clean your car but can’t find the right products to do it? Check out our range of car care products, from single cloths to full winter care kits, here.