LIFE TIPS: Easy Ways to Clean Your Car: Nova Scotia Auto Retailer Offers Best-Kept Secrets


Have you ever got into a freshly cleaned vehicle and thought, wow! This is really awesome!

If you’re feeling stressed out, a messy vehicle certainly doesn’t help, says April Whyte. A clean vehicle can actually help you feel better psychologically, she says.

Whyte made a point of knowing everything about clean cars – literally.

For the past six years, she has operated a car detailing business from her home in Greenwood, Nova Scotia called the Cats Meow Car Detailing.

Whyte says there is a financial reason to keep your car clean. If you’re thinking about trading in your vehicle, a cleaner vehicle is worth more than a dirty vehicle, she says.

Another added benefit to cleaning your car is finding lost items.

April Whyte, who runs Cat’s Meow Car Detailing in Greenwood, Nova Scotia, often deals with dirty vehicles. When cleaning the interior of your vehicle, she suggests adding laundry detergent to your liquid. This will give your car a good smell and at the same time give your floors a mini-shampoo. – Contributed

“Sometimes I find things that you thought were long gone when in reality they just slipped out of the side of your seat and you forgot them,” explains Whyte.

This includes lost change – your car may be hiding enough money to buy coffee or even a meal.

“You would be surprised,” she said.

Never use dish detergent to wash your car, says April Whyte.  Dish soap actually removes wax and other protectors from the outside of your paint.  - Contributed
Never use dish detergent to wash your car, says April Whyte. Dish soap actually removes wax and other protectors from the outside of your paint. – Contributed

Based on its years of experience, Whyte offers several tips for keeping your car clean:

1. Clean from the rear of your vehicle to the front. That way, as you go along, the dirt will advance. The worst part of your cleaning will end up being up front, which makes cleaning easier, she says.

2. When washing the exterior of your car, only use specific soap designed for cleaning cars. Never use dish soap, she cautions. Dish soap actually removes wax and other protectors from the outside of your paint.

3. When washing the exterior of your car, always rinse it before you start washing it with soap. Wash from top to bottom then rinse from top to bottom.

Bottom cleaning ensures that your dirt travels upward and some parts of your vehicle don’t come out clean at the end, she explains.

4. Always dry your vehicle with a chamois, says Whyte. These cloths are designed to help dry your vehicle and reduce water spots that occur when the car is not properly dried.

5. Did you know that tree sap and bird droppings can destroy the clear coating of your vehicle? Make sure that as soon as you notice them, you delete them, she says.

Having trouble getting rid of tree sap? Whyte offers this handy trick: Hand sanitizer does the trick.

6. Do you want your car to feel better? Take a bucket of water and a rag and mix some of your laundry detergent into the water. Ring your rag and use it to wipe down all of your seats and floors.

When dry, she says, it will help your car smell better and give you a mini shampoo at the same time.

7. The streaks that annoy you on your windshield are actually created by your air conditioner. Her best suggestion for dealing with dirty windows is to use Norwex non-toxic microfiber cloths.

8. “Do you find garbage piling up in your car all the time? Yes, of course, ”says Whyte.

The trick to helping minimize this problem is to buy a small trash can from the dollar store or Walmart and put it inside your car.

“I have it between my front and back seats and whenever I have trash, or the kids have trash, I put it right in that trash,” she says. “It really helps to minimize the amount of trash on the floors. Then all you have to do is think about emptying it.”

9. Pet hair takes a long time to remove. Whyte suggests buying a pumice stone at the dollar store and rubbing it over the surface to make it easier to remove. Be very careful of any vinyl in your vehicle, as the pumice stone will scratch it. She also suggests spraying fabric softener to help remove pet hair. If dog hair is always really annoying, this is when Whyte says you may need to bring in the pros.

Remember, Whyte says, after washing your car, it isn’t completely clean no matter how hard you wash it. Brake dust, road contaminants, and road tar adhere to your paint, which a simple wash will never get rid of.

If you have a white vehicle, Whyte says you might notice some yellow stains that are difficult to remove. It’s brake dust, she said.

When Whyte washes a vehicle for wax or ceramic coating, she decontaminates the surface with a clay bar.

The trick to keeping a car clean, says Whyte, is maintenance.

“As a designer, I find that a vehicle that has not been cleaned in years is much more difficult to clean than a vehicle that has been maintained over time,” she adds.

“Dirt penetrates deeper into the carpet making it much more difficult to remove, and in some cases it won’t come out.”


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