How to Valet Your Own Car

Lots of people clean their cars regularly, inside and out. But in the world of car detailing and maintenance, there’s clean and there’s really clean – and that’s where valeting comes in.

Valeting is a step above simply washing a car. It’s for those enthusiasts who enjoy cleaning and detailing their car, or for people who want to really make it look as good as new. It goes beyond a simple shampoo with a bucket and sponge, and involves using different products and tools to really clean and also protect every bit of the vehicle from top to bottom, inside and out.

Car valeting might sound like a professional service, but you can get the same results at home with the right products. And in this guide, we’ll show you how.

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Exterior Car Valeting

Keen to improve the appearance of your car to its just-bought best? With these exterior valeting tips, you can clean, protect and shine in no time.

What You’ll Need to Valet the Outside of Your Car

  • A pressure washer or hose (a snow foam lance)
  • A dedicated car cleaning mitt and two buckets
  • A range of high-quality microfibre cloths
  • A wheel brush
  • A chamois leather
  • Car polish
  • Car wax
  • Wheel cleaner
  • Tyre and Trim Restorer
  • Glass cleaner

polishing the bonet

Tips for Valeting Your Car’s Exterior

Cleaning and Drying the Paintwork Like a Pro

Using a pressure washer, start at the top and work your way down, blasting as much dirt and debris from the wheels as possible.

Brake dust can be difficult to remove and may stain alloy wheels over time, so you should use a dedicated wheel cleaner to clean them properly. Our Iron Active Wheel Cleaner also works as a fall-out remover which you can use on bodywork as well as wheels. Combine this with a pressure washer or hose to give your car a deep clean from boot to bonnet. Top tip – you can use our shampoo as a snow foam to cover your car and soak off dirt.

After the pre-wash has finished, give your car a thorough clean, using the two-bucket wash method (one bucket for shampoo, another for cleaning your sponge).

A microfibre wheel brush is a great tool for cleaning alloy wheels. Thanks to its thin, cylindrical shape, you can get into those hard-to-reach areas, ensuring that the whole wheel is clean and free from harmful deposits which may cause corrosion over time.

Click here for more advice on valeting wheels and tyres

From there, it’s time to dry your car in preparation for the next steps. Use a couple of soft microfibre towels to begin drying each panel, then switch to a chamois leather to finish the job.

Polishing, Waxing and Detailing

When the paintwork’s dry, it’s time for the polish. Car polish is designed to remove swirl marks and light scratches from the paint, making it appear more uniform.

Apply polish on one panel at a time with a dry microfibre cloth, working in a smooth circular motion. Leave the product to dry to a haze (this will take a couple of minutes), before buffing each panel to a high shine.

After polishing, it’s important to restore your car’s protective layer – which is where wax comes in. Car wax seals and protects the paintwork from harmful dirt and deposits, while restoring a deep, showroom-like shine.

When applying wax, work panel by panel, applying a layer in a circular motion before buffing off to a high shine. The reason for this is that it prevents the wax setting hard on the paintwork, which would make it difficult to remove leftover residue.

After waxing, you need to work on all the detail, which include:

  • Trim: Restoring the colour of black plastic trim which may look faded and tired. Simoniz Back to Black is ideal for restoring faded plastic surfaces around your car.
  • Tyres: You can use the same product to give your tyres an instant shine too, and it will also protect them, so they look good for longer.
  • Glass: We’d recommend cleaning the windows with a dedicated glass cleaner. To remove grease and grime, this guarantees maximum visibility, removing any streaks left behind after washing and drying.

Interior Car Valeting

Valeting the inside of your car is when you really start to see the fruit of your labour. With the right products and a patient approach, you can get professional results which make the inside of your car feel like new.

What You’ll Need to Valet the Inside of Your Car

  • A vacuum cleaner with brush head and crevice tool attachments
  • Upholstery and carpet cleaner
  • Leather cleaner (if your car has leather seats or trim)
  • Dashboard cleaner
  • A can of compressed air
  • Cotton buds
  • Glass cleaner
  • A range of soft microfibre cloths
  • Interior cleaner
  • Sanitising wipes

Tips for Valeting Your Car’s Interior

Vacuuming the Carpet and Seats

Your first task is to clear out any dirt and dust, particularly from the seats and carpets. A vacuum cleaner is essential here, and you’ll need both brush head and crevice attachments for lifting dirt and cleaning those difficult areas.

When vacuuming, work from the top of your car downwards, using a lifting action to draw dirt and bits from the carpet and upholstery. If your car has leather seats, be careful not to scratch the material with your plastic vacuum tools.

If there’s dirt and bits trapped in the carpet pile, don’t scrub too hard with the brush head attachment as this could damage the carpet surface. Continue using a gentle lifting action and return to the area with a carpet cleaner to pick up any remaining bits.

Cleaning Leather and Upholstery

Valeting the inside of your car means cleaning the carpets and seats – something not many people do regularly. But it’s well worth it for that clean, fresh finish, as well as that clean fresh smell.

If your car has leather seats and trim, be sure to read our guide on taking care of leather surfaces like a professional. We also have a similar guide on looking after car upholstery.

When it comes to carpets, you’ll need a cleaner that’s strong enough to lift stubborn dirt and odours. Simoniz Upholstery and Carpet Cleaner is ideal for penetrating surfaces to remove ingrained dirt and bits, so you can get your car’s carpets looking clean and smelling fresh.

Detailing the Rest of the Cabin

When you’re happy with the seats and carpet, turn your attention to the dashboard and other interior surfaces. Cleaning areas such as the steering wheel, touchscreen, armrests, dash, glovebox, gearstick and handbrake can make a big difference to the look and feel of your car, and it’s also an important step in removing germs and bacteria.

You can use an Interior Cleaner to wipe down areas like the steering wheel and touchscreens, and then use a dedicated dash cleaning product to get a nice finish on the dash. They’ll clean and restore the plastic and also give it a finish – either gloss or dash depending on your preference.

Here are a few other tips on valeting the inside of your car:

  • Clean the inside windows with a proper glass cleaner. Fog can build up from air con systems and this will make sure you get a streak-free finish and maximum clarity.
  • We’d also recommend Simoniz Car Sanitiser for disinfecting your car between uses.

For more advice on valeting your car’s interior, take a look at our guide on cleaning the inside of your car like a pro.

So, there you have it, a complete guide to valeting your car inside and out. To enjoy professional results each time you clean your car, you can count on Simoniz. For more information or to browse our full product range, visit the homepage.

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