What is an Interior Detail?
When it comes to interior car detailing, what can be preformed can vary greatly. You can get a simple vacuuming and wipe down of the interior or a steam cleaning, shampooing, cleaning every little crack and crevice and tackling every little spot/stain.
Though there will be be some common ground, what is actually done in an interior detail will vary from detailer to detailer.
What I'd like to do here is explain what I provide in an Interior Detail.
First off, time. How long should it take.
This is probably the easiest to answer as its just based on the condition of the vehicle. Our interior details can take anywhere from 1-4 hours. A simple maintenance detail, usually an hour. A complete train-wreck, 3+ hours.
Sometimes just certain spots need attention, other times the interior needs it. Salt stains, carpet and fabric staining, excessive dirt, pet hair . . . can and will make the detail take longer.
On to the details.
Like with other detailing services, the terms "full" and "complete" get thrown around a lot and are terms I don't like using. What constitutes a "full" or "complete" detail? What I think a "complete" detail is and what you think it is could be two totally different things.
One thing I do not do is put any greasy, oily dressing on any interior surface. Last thing you need is a dash that's as shiny as you paint.
I do preform shampooing and steam cleaning at an added cost usually only if requested or if I recommend it. Both are done once a year, in the spring, for my monthly maintenance clients.
More about shampooing and steaming clean is at the end of this article.
For Precision Mobile Auto Detailing's Interior Detail, it all starts with a assessment of your vehicle. How bad is that salt stain on the driver side? Is that an excessive amount of pet hair? How bad are those cup holders?
For me, I pay particular attention to the carpet since this can be the most problematic. Not all interior materials are created equal, for example, carpets from some manufactures can be very difficult to work with as opposed to others.
Once that's out of the way, I'll start the process by vacuuming the interior.
With a variety of soft and hard bristle brushes, I vacuum up any loose debris in, around, on and under the floor, seats and console area. I use different brushes agitate any dirt/debris that might be deeper in the carpet and seats, if fabric. And other brushes to get into the cracks, crevices and seat tracks to loosen up dirt to vacuum up.
Now the chemical cleaning can begin.
Now that the loose debris is removed, we can really see what we have. Spots/stains that we couldn't see before are visible now. That piece of candy that vacuuming didn't come out is plain to see. This is where I like to assess and decide if I can handle these spots as I get to them or do I need to pre-treat them before I can actually clean them up.
Armed with a microfiber towel and a few different cleaners, usually an All-Purpose Cleaner and Enyzme cleaner, I break the car interior into sections, driver seat, rear driver side, passenger side and rear passenger side and work each area one at a time. I only leave a section once I'm satisfied its clean.
I also use a variety of brushes at this point too. Different brushes for different jobs and surfaces.
I wouldn't use a hard nylon brush to get around the edges of the Tesla screen. It would surely scratch the screen and last I heard, that screen was over $1000 to replace.
For a good example, I use a women's makeup brush or a boar's hair brush around your touchscreen and gauge cluster. Yup, you read that right, a makeup brush. Have you ever felt how soft those things are?
I won't go into detail on handling spots/stains here. If it's a recognizable spot, like say coffee, it should be no problem getting it out. Others might require some trial and error before they will come out completely or be at least, less noticeable.
Be aware that not everything will come out. The type of stain and the material its in will ultimately decide that.
Once satisfied with the interior, I give it one more vacuuming. You tend to kick around a lot of dirt/debris while cleaning and it usually ends up on the carpet again.
At this point, if you have a leather interior, I'll condition it with a light, non-greasy conditioner to help keep the leather nourished and protected from UV damage.
Lastly, I clean the windows (my pet peeve). I hate when the windshield is streaky and always promise, if your's is please call me and I'll fix it asap.
A little about shampooing and steam cleaning.
For me, shampooing and steam cleaning need to be about the moisture control. That is, the amount of moisture you're introducing into the fabric surface. Too little and it won't be effective. Too much and you can introduce other problems.
Shampooing is a great way to clean any soiled fabric surface. One way to do this is by spraying the surface with a cleaner, scrubbing it with a nylon brush then using a carpet extractor to rinse and vacuum up the dirt.
I'm not a fan of the carpet extractor. As in my experience with them, they tend to leave too much moisture behind that reaches down deep into the fabric and materials under it, like the foam in your seats. This moisture is not easily removed even with the strongest vacuuming.
If the remaining moisture does not dry fast enough, it can lead to mold and mildew forming.
The way I preform a shampooing is to spray the surface with a fabric cleaner, not enough to saturate it but enough to help loosen everything up, and brush it into the material. I let it dwell for a few minutes then wipe it up with a microfiber towel.
I love steam cleaning. I love the fresh feeling you get after an interior has been steam cleaned. The other great thing about steam cleaning is the moisture can be controlled, as little or as much as you want. There is such a thing as too much steam too.
Steam cleaning can be used straight up as a way to clean all the surfaces of your car, or the way I like to use it just for the fabrics.
Done right, steam cleaning can help control odors and kill mold and bacteria. That's the reason why I love providing this service, especially in the spring, after your vehicle has been all closed up all winter and we can finally roll down the windows and get some fresh air!
I hope this article gives you a better understanding of what's involved in my interior detail and the actual process.
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I appreciate you taking the time to read this and look forward to working with you!