Popular Mechanics recommends investing in compressed air and stiff scrub brushes to thoroughly detail a car. Use compressed air to clean the air ducts to remove and prevent odors and use non-acid-based tire cleaners. Also, never use dish washing detergent to hand wash an automobile.
Use compressed air to blow any small particles of dirt and debris from hard to reach areas to the center of the car, where they can be easily vacuumed away. Stiff scrub brushes help drivers loosen dirt from upholstery and carpets.
Compressed air works well when cleaning a car's air ducts. Aim the air behind the vent grilles to remove odor-causing dirt and dust. Change the car's cabin air filter to also help prevent or conquer bad odors.
Refrain from using acid-based tire cleaners, as the acid may cause the pitting and oxidation in alloy wheels. Instead, clean wheels with a degreaser and always clean the wheels before tackling any painted surfaces.
Avoid using dish detergent when hand washing a vehicle. The detergent strips the paint of its protective wax, leaving it more vulnerable to nicks and scratches. Instead, use a detergent specifically made for automobiles.
Other tricks and tips used by professional detailers include using a buffer to polish the car's finish, protecting the paint with wax and always cleaning the glass last.