Homemade Automotive Detailing Solution

by Matt McKay
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Making homemade auto detailing solutions can be a satisfying way to save money. It will also make you aware of exactly what substances are being applied to your car. Care and common sense should be exercised with any homemade solutions, and you should consider the environmental impact of homemade solutions, as well as the actual cost.

Window Cleaner

A favorite of professionals is a full strength or 50/50 mixture of water and plain white vinegar applied to windows with a spray bottle. Old newspapers can be use in lieu of paper towels, and more vinegar can be added to increase your cleaning power if necessary.

Car Wash Soap

Inexpensive car wash soap can be made with few drops of dish washing liquid, and some powdered laundry detergent may be if added cleaning power is needed. Alternatively, liquid Castile soap mixed in a bucket of water is safe and effective for lighter wash requirements. Use a heavy sponge, change your dirty water often and wipe the car with clean cotton towels rather than expensive chamois or microfiber cloths. Launder towels after use, and they will be ready to serve at the next wash.

Carpet Cleaning

A paste made from baking soda, salt and water can be rubbed into vacuumed carpets with a stiff bristle brush. Allow this paste to dry thoroughly and vacuum up the residue powder. Plain baking soda can be placed in a box or small tray under the seat to keep the car smelling fresh between cleanings.

Interior Detailing

White vinegar and water mixed in a 50/50 solution will also work well on plastic, wood, leather and chrome interior parts. Do not use on aluminum because of possible oxidation issues with vinegar and aluminum. Clean aluminum parts with the car wash solution applied to a towel, and buff dry. Avoid spraying cleaners in the car's interior, and apply the cleaner to a clean cotton towel for better control.

Tire, Rims and Chrome Detailing

The same baking soda, salt, and water paste can be used for tires and rims and applied with a medium bristle brush. The paste can be left for a few minutes before rinsing with clean water. Chrome can be cleaned with the vinegar and water solution, followed by buffing with a clean towel.

Car Wax

Keeping the car waxed is important to keeping paint protected. You can make your own carnuba wax by combining 4 tbsp. carnuba wax, 2 tbsp. beeswax, ½ cup vinegar and 1 cup linseed oil in a saucepan. Heat slowly, and stir continuously when the wax begins to melt. Pour the liquid wax into a separate container, and it will be ready for use after it cools. Always apply wax in smooth even coats to a freshly washed car away from direct sunlight, and buff with a clean towel when the wax turns white and powdery.

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