6 Tips to Clean Your SUV Like a Professional

Published August 18, 2015 by Jayme Williams

Even with a busy schedule, it can be very easy to clean your SUV like a professional. For those with kids, you can even turn it into a fun weekend project and get some help in the process. According to Harvard Health Watch, the average American spends 101 minutes in their vehicle per day, and if you are a busy family, you could easily double or triple that. You would not want to spend hours in a dirty home, so why spend hours in a dirty SUV? It does not take long to have your SUV clean and looking great with these six tips to clean your SUV like a professional.

#1 Clear out the clutter in your SUV

Nearly every person who gets in a vehicle is guilty of leaving something behind. Whether it is a fast food bag, beverage bottle, jacket, or sweatshirt you did not need or leftover snacks or toys from the kids or pets, clutter can accumulate quickly. Clearing out all the trash not only makes your SUV look better, it can avoid any strange smells or unwanted critters that may appreciate your clutter more than you do. If you find that the clutter piles up quickly, you might want to consider investing in an automotive size trash can that makes it easy to contain any trash and dispose of it easily. If you do like to carry extra clothes or supplies just in case, investing in a plastic container with a locking lid will keep any incidentals safe, clean and out of your way. You can also use it to store a small first aid kit, which you can put together yourself or buy pre-made online inexpensively.

#2 Brush, and vacuum, off the dust

If you do not have a vacuum with attachments, now you have an excuse to buy one that does. Vacuum the carpet, seats, and dash and anywhere else that dust, crumbs, or pet hair may accumulate. You also want to be sure that you do not miss any heating/cooling vents located throughout your SUV. An easy way to be sure to get them clean is to use a small paintbrush to brush all the dust and pollen out while you follow along with the vacuum hose. For stubborn dog hair in the carpet, sprinkle a little baking soda on it and let it sit for about 10 minutes before you vacuum to help loosen it up. If you notice any stains on the carpet or upholstery, use foam carpet cleaner and follow the instructions carefully. Once you are done vacuuming, wipe down all hard surfaces with a disinfectant wipe and for extra freshness spray all of your carpet and cloth upholstery with a fabric refresher. If you have leather upholstery, you can purchase a product specifically for leather or simply use a conditioning furniture polish and soft cloth to clean and protect it.

#3 Skip the car wash

Yes, it is more convenient to take advantage of the neighborhood car wash, especially with a busy schedule. What you may not know is the combination of dirty brushes and recycled water can wreak havoc on your SUV’s finish. You would not wash your clothes in dirty water, so why wash your SUV with dirty water? With a couple buckets, a bottle of car wash, a soft cloth or large sponge and a hose, you can save your finish and get some exercise in the process. Using two buckets gives you one for the sudsy water and one for clean water. Use the clean water to rinse your sponge or cloth before you dip into the suds to make sure you are not recycling the dirt and grime you are working hard to wash off, which can also scratch the paint. Work from the top of your SUV down in sections and avoiding the sun can eliminate water spots. Use a clean cloth or chamois to try and your SUV will be clean and sparkling in no time.

#4 Yes, you do windows

Your windows are not just for looking at the scenery, they are what help keep you safe and aware. After you wash your SUV, be sure to clean the windows, inside and out. If you do not like to use a commercial window cleaner, some newspaper and white vinegar will get your windows clean and ensure that you have a clear view no matter where you need to see. Also, do not forget to roll down each window a couple inches so you can clean the edges as well. Invest in a canister or package of pre-moistened window wipes and touch them up occasionally to make sure you can always see clearly. They also come in handy for those sticky finger smudges or dog nose streaks.

#5 Pay attention to details

Once you wash your SUV and before you wax, make sure you take care of all the small details that often are overlooked. Any black rubber or plastic exterior trim can be brought back to life with a little bit of brake fluid on a soft cloth. Just be careful not to get too much on your paint, but if you do, just wipe it off immediately. Spray or apply protectant to your tires to make them shine as well as help condition the rubber and help it last longer. Clean your headlights and taillights with window cleaner or vinegar to make sure they are clear and providing you with the visibility they should. This is also the time to touch up any small scratches or chips. Matching touch up paint can easily be found at your local auto parts store and some department stores. While this does take a little time to complete, it makes you SUV look as if it was professionally detailed and helps keep it in great shape.

#6 Wax on, wax off

While you do not have to wax your SUV every time you wash it, it is recommended that you do it at least twice a year. One good waxing in the spring to clean off the winter grime and one time in the late summer to protect from winter grime is good for both colder and warmer climates. A good coat of wax not only helps protect your paint from dirt and salt, it also helps protect your finish from the sun to help slow down fading. While the type of wax you use is a personal preference, the better the wax, the better the results. Waxes are now available in spray, liquid, paste, and the type you choose all depends on how much elbow grease you want to put into the project. No matter which type you choose, make sure that you do not forget to wax your headlights, taillights, and windows to give them an extra layer of protection. Waxing your glass also helps water bead off more easily giving you better visibility in rain and snow. If you notice your SUV has a lot of surface scratches and small chips, you might want to consider investing in a colored wax, just be sure to wear gloves so you do not match your SUV until it wears off. You do not have to spend a fortune at an auto detailing shop to keep your SUV clean and looking its best. The time you spend keeping your SUV clean and protecting its interior and exterior will pay off when it comes time to trade or sell. A clean SUV also makes the time you spend in it much more enjoyable and more importantly, safe. Cleaning your SUV does not have to be a chore with these easy tips for cleaning your SUV.

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