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Thread: Spring Cleaning, or how do you wash your car.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Delorean3610's Avatar
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    Spring Cleaning, or how do you wash your car.

    Hey everyone, it’s springtime. And that means warm weather and car cruises. Time for owners to get their cars clean and ready for the season. Post your best car cleaning methods and rituals for anyone looking for tips and what not to do.

  2. #2
    EFI'd dn010's Avatar
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    Location:  Florida: Pinellas County

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    1-wet the entire car down
    2-scotch brite on all panels going with the grain, doing one panel at a time using water as needed and rinsing them as they're finished so the debris doesn't dry on them
    3-let it air dry in the sun
    4-windex on the glass
    5-tire shine on all fascias, louvers, exterior plastics, etc.
    6-I use Adam's leather clean on the inside
    7-silicone spray on rubber seals
    -----Dan B.

  3. #3
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    I tend to do a lot of pre-season checks as part of my spring cleaning process. Actual cleaning too, but mostly I go over a bunch of areas on the car just to see what condition things are in and if there are any new surprises waiting for me.

    Areas inside the car include the fuse and relays areas behind the seats, cubby hole behind the driver's seat, the frunk including under the carpet and under the spare tire as well as in the jack and toolbag area. I'll vacuum or wipe whatever I can and in the case of the fuses, I'll pull each one out and reinsert a couple of times to clean off any build-up of corrosion.

    Underneath the car, I'll see what might be leaking. This Spring it's ATF for me (often is). I'll need to put the car up on ramps or jack stands to get at things, but even if I wasn't going to need to fix a specific leak, I like getting under there and not only looking at things close-up, but wiping off any grime or oil to help me see anything that might be cracked or damaged in some way.

    Same goes for in and around the engine. Ideally all the surfaces are spotless, but in reality, I just like to get most things reasonably clean so that if something new happens, you notice it better. The alternator belt is a good example. If it starts to rub or shed some rubber, it's normally going to show up all black on the immediate area around where it spins. If you keep that area somewhat clean, then when or if you have a problem, you'll see it sooner than later.

    ~

    I personally don't have any luck with letting the car dry out in the sun as it seems to just produce water stains. Our water here is very hard so I generally wipe it dry with a chamois. Although doing it in smaller sections and rinsing things off mid-clean instead of doing the entire car all at once is good advice as some of that Bar Keepers Friend or other cleaning powders really get everywhere if you let them dry on their own.


    Sept. 81, auto, black interior

  4. #4
    EFI'd dn010's Avatar
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    I sometimes forget that I live in Florida and there really isn't a change in seasons, it just gets cooler for a few months. So for me there is really no 'pulling it out of storage' and going over things, it's typically just an every now and then wash and check out the car as needed sort of deal.

    For washing - I used to get water spots when I lived in NY and would have to wipe down the car. But where I am now, luckily, I am able to let things dry which is pretty fast in the heat and there are no spots except the louvers which are cleaned off anyway. Water doesn't seem to 'pool' as much once you go down a panel with the scotch brite. I tend to keep the hose handy and spray as I go along to get the black particles down and off the car. However if I leave it in the rain, unfortunately, there will be spots once dry but I don't do that often.

    I tried all sorts of stainless polishes or cleaners etc along with windex but I never liked the look of it once completed. Using scotch brite and water leaves the stainless brighter but then you get the dark spots when you get a finger print. This is what I like compared to the darker 'wet' look that windex or stainless cleaners leave the panels in. And then in contrast, I'd get light spots all over when something brushed against the car or if I got finger prints.

    I guess it depends on the owner and location.
    -----Dan B.

  5. #5
    October 1981 C.Bennett's Avatar
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    Sharing a few tips from my obsessive approach to cleaning.

    Firstly, my car is never driven in the rain so I don't need to worry about everything that goes with that. I have the opposite problem - California dust, which collects very quickly (even in the garage). I start every process below with a very light dusting with a double-sided "Swiffer”.

    Stainless
    I never hose-wash the car. I use a small hand spray bottle (like you use for watering plants) to carefully spray and wipe down the stainless and fascias using a damp lint-free microfibre cloth with a small dot of regular “Palmolive Oxy (Power Degreaser)” dish washing liquid. After a quick once-over with that to remove dust and lint, I wipe all of the the stainless panels with “Griot's Oil & Grease Cleaner” - being careful to follow the grain. It’s incredible stuff. It just sucks dirt, oil and grime out of the stainless grain. Once I’ve done that I repeat with another light clean using “Palmolive Oxy (Power Degreaser)” to remove the cloudy residue of “Griot's Oil & Grease Cleaner”. After each wipe, I’m quick to grab a quality plush bath white towel (that’s been washed loads of times to remove fluff and lint) to lightly wipe away the dampness to leave a brilliant clean crisp dry finish, again taking care to follow the grain. Interestingly, I used to use WD-40 (recommended to me by Chris Nicholson) but after trying Griot’s cleaner, I found the WD-40 really dulled the stainless and also seemed to attract a lot of dust and lint - because of the slightly oily residue left behind.

    Fascias
    I use my hand spray bottle with a damp lint-free microfibre cloth and a little dot of “Palmolive Oxy (Power Degreaser)” dish washing liquid. Buff very lightly with my quality plush bath white towel. Twice a year I apply some high-end Swissvax to the fascia paint to protect it in a similar way that PPF (Paint Protection Film) or Ceramic/Nano coatings can protect high end super and hyper car paint. The benefit to Swissvax is that it’s non permanent and protects the car paint from paint scratches and chips. It’s easy to re-apply the wax to increase protection. I use this as I have a near-concours car that I like to drive and enjoy - while preserving and protecting all those little details.

    Windows
    I use my hand spray bottle with a damp lint-free microfibre cloth and a little dot of “Palmolive Oxy (Power Degreaser)” dish washing liquid and buff like crazy using a small plush white towel. I then finish with “Griot’s Window Cleaner”, again buffing like crazy to get a super clear non-streaky finish. I have to clean the windows before every drive and show to keep the atmospheric California dust at bay.

    Wheels
    I remove my wheels once every six months to fully clean and detail the front and back, but regularly wipe the front facing spokes to remove brake and road dust. For this, I simply use a damp cloth with a little dot of “Palmolive Oxy (Power Degreaser)”. Every six months the wheels come off and get fully hose-washed with Griot’s Wheel Cleaner and towel dried. While they're off I spend a lot of time detailing the wheel arches, suspension, trailing arms and everything I can get to while I'm in there. Every two weeks I lie under the car and use a damp cloth to detail the arches around the tires to pick up any road dust.

    Tires
    A lot of people seem to like a really wet finish. I’m the opposite. After trying almost every product imaginable, I swear by “Optimum Opti-Bond Tire Gel”. This stuff is friggin amazing. It balances out the rubber, hides discoloration imperfections, and makes them look like showroom-new tires – with a very low-gloss, eggshell-like finish.

    General Fibreglass, Engine Area, Mirrors and Black Trim
    Again, I use my hand spray bottle with a damp lint-free microfibre cloth and a little dot of “Palmolive Oxy (Power Degreaser)” dish washing liquid. Every now and again I’ll introduce a little “Meguiar’s Ultimate Protectant” into the mix. It can get very streaky so you have to apply it and very quickly buff it out before it dries. It does a really good job of restoring a richness to the black, but it’s important not to overdo it.

    Interior
    Again, I use my hand spray bottle with a damp lint-free microfibre cloth and a little dot of “Palmolive Oxy (Power Degreaser)” dish washing liquid. I don’t use anything else on the interior panels. I only wipe the interior down twice a year. At all other times, it’s a simple Swiffer to remove dust and lint.

    Leather
    I always sit on a super clean grey color-matched towel when driving the car to avoid the leather getting shiny from my jeans. Twice a year I treat the leather with “Griot’s 3-in-1 Leather Cleaner” being careful not to over-do it. A very little goes a long way.

    Carpet & Mats
    I simply keep them dust and lint free using my hand-held Dyson vacuum - being careful not to over-do it. I don’t want to damage the carpet or mat pile.

    Frame
    Every year I raise the car on a four-post lift to detail the underside. It's usually a full days work to get into every last corner (yes, even up in at the accumulator) to catch road dust. There's never usually anything more than a light coating of dust but it always feels great to know it's spotless underneath.

    Pretty sure that covers most of it.
    DeLorean DMC-12 (October 1981)
    Manual transmission. Grooved hood. Grey interior. Rear antenna.
    Obsessive perfectionist and proud owner.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.Bennett View Post
    Sharing a few tips from my obsessive approach to cleaning.

    Firstly, my car is never driven in the rain so I don't need to worry about everything that goes with that. I have the opposite problem - California dust, which collects very quickly (even in the garage). I start every process below with a very light dusting with a double-sided "Swiffer”.

    Stainless
    I never hose-wash the car. I use a small hand spray bottle (like you use for watering plants) to carefully spray and wipe down the stainless and fascias using a damp lint-free microfibre cloth with a small dot of regular “Palmolive Oxy (Power Degreaser)” dish washing liquid. After a quick once-over with that to remove dust and lint, I wipe all of the the stainless panels with “Griot's Oil & Grease Cleaner” - being careful to follow the grain. It’s incredible stuff. It just sucks dirt, oil and grime out of the stainless grain. Once I’ve done that I repeat with another light clean using “Palmolive Oxy (Power Degreaser)” to remove the cloudy residue of “Griot's Oil & Grease Cleaner”. After each wipe, I’m quick to grab a quality plush bath white towel (that’s been washed loads of times to remove fluff and lint) to lightly wipe away the dampness to leave a brilliant clean crisp dry finish, again taking care to follow the grain. Interestingly, I used to use WD-40 (recommended to me by Chris Nicholson) but after trying Griot’s cleaner, I found the WD-40 really dulled the stainless and also seemed to attract a lot of dust and lint - because of the slightly oily residue left behind.

    Fascias
    I use my hand spray bottle with a damp lint-free microfibre cloth and a little dot of “Palmolive Oxy (Power Degreaser)” dish washing liquid. Buff very lightly with my quality plush bath white towel. Twice a year I apply some high-end Swissvax to the fascia paint to protect it in a similar way that PPF (Paint Protection Film) or Ceramic/Nano coatings can protect high end super and hyper car paint. The benefit to Swissvax is that it’s non permanent and protects the car paint from paint scratches and chips. It’s easy to re-apply the wax to increase protection. I use this as I have a near-concours car that I like to drive and enjoy - while preserving and protecting all those little details.

    Windows
    I use my hand spray bottle with a damp lint-free microfibre cloth and a little dot of “Palmolive Oxy (Power Degreaser)” dish washing liquid and buff like crazy using a small plush white towel. I then finish with “Griot’s Window Cleaner”, again buffing like crazy to get a super clear non-streaky finish. I have to clean the windows before every drive and show to keep the atmospheric California dust at bay.

    Wheels
    I remove my wheels once every six months to fully clean and detail the front and back, but regularly wipe the front facing spokes to remove brake and road dust. For this, I simply use a damp cloth with a little dot of “Palmolive Oxy (Power Degreaser)”. Every six months the wheels come off and get fully hose-washed with Griot’s Wheel Cleaner and towel dried. While they're off I spend a lot of time detailing the wheel arches, suspension, trailing arms and everything I can get to while I'm in there. Every two weeks I lie under the car and use a damp cloth to detail the arches around the tires to pick up any road dust.

    Tires
    A lot of people seem to like a really wet finish. I’m the opposite. After trying almost every product imaginable, I swear by “Optimum Opti-Bond Tire Gel”. This stuff is friggin amazing. It balances out the rubber, hides discoloration imperfections, and makes them look like showroom-new tires – with a very low-gloss, eggshell-like finish.

    General Fibreglass, Engine Area, Mirrors and Black Trim
    Again, I use my hand spray bottle with a damp lint-free microfibre cloth and a little dot of “Palmolive Oxy (Power Degreaser)” dish washing liquid. Every now and again I’ll introduce a little “Meguiar’s Ultimate Protectant” into the mix. It can get very streaky so you have to apply it and very quickly buff it out before it dries. It does a really good job of restoring a richness to the black, but it’s important not to overdo it.

    Interior
    Again, I use my hand spray bottle with a damp lint-free microfibre cloth and a little dot of “Palmolive Oxy (Power Degreaser)” dish washing liquid. I don’t use anything else on the interior panels. I only wipe the interior down twice a year. At all other times, it’s a simple Swiffer to remove dust and lint.

    Leather
    I always sit on a super clean grey color-matched towel when driving the car to avoid the leather getting shiny from my jeans. Twice a year I treat the leather with “Griot’s 3-in-1 Leather Cleaner” being careful not to over-do it. A very little goes a long way.

    Carpet & Mats
    I simply keep them dust and lint free using my hand-held Dyson vacuum - being careful not to over-do it. I don’t want to damage the carpet or mat pile.

    Frame
    Every year I raise the car on a four-post lift to detail the underside. It's usually a full days work to get into every last corner (yes, even up in at the accumulator) to catch road dust. There's never usually anything more than a light coating of dust but it always feels great to know it's spotless underneath.

    Pretty sure that covers most of it.
    Holy cow, that's quite an extensive list... Do you have any time left to drive it after all that cleaning?
    5 speed, grooved hood, grey interior (Nov '81)
    Spax Shocks, DCUK springs, Delorean.eu LCA brackets, DPNW Poly swaybar bushings, DMCMW shock tower bar, Deloreana.com convex mirrors, DPNW Toby Tabs, DPI cat-less exhaust, C4 Corvette third brake light, PJ Grady tail light boards, Bitsyncmaster relays

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackb View Post
    Holy cow, that's quite an extensive list... Do you have any time left to drive it after all that cleaning?
    Maybe he cleans it while he’s driving?

  8. #8
    October 1981 C.Bennett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackb View Post
    Holy cow, that's quite an extensive list... Do you have any time left to drive it after all that cleaning?
    Quote Originally Posted by CFI View Post
    Maybe he cleans it while he’s driving?
    Haha. Yooooo guys! It's always worth the extra effort to keep our cars in tip top shape. I enjoy detailing and caring for it just as much as I enjoy driving it.
    DeLorean DMC-12 (October 1981)
    Manual transmission. Grooved hood. Grey interior. Rear antenna.
    Obsessive perfectionist and proud owner.

  9. #9
    DMC Timeless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dn010 View Post
    1-wet the entire car down
    2-scotch brite on all panels going with the grain, doing one panel at a time using water as needed and rinsing them as they're finished so the debris doesn't dry on them
    3-let it air dry in the sun
    4-windex on the glass
    5-tire shine on all fascias, louvers, exterior plastics, etc.
    6-I use Adam's leather clean on the inside
    7-silicone spray on rubber seals
    4) Do you have luck with Windex? For YEARS Ive used Sprayway or Hi-Tech foaming window cleaner with stellar results. Windex leaves steaks.
    http://www.spraywayinc.com/content/glass-cleaner
    5) What type of tire shine? Standard ArmorAll attracts dust like crazy.
    ~LXA~

  10. #10
    Assbassador Michael's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Posts:    3,678

    I just run mine through the car wash for a buck once a month whether it needs it or not. Sometimes the quicky lube where I get my oil changes done has a special and I let them wash it.

    When I blow leaves I will pop both doors and go at it for a minute. Pretty much takes care of the interior.

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