Troubleshooting common car cleaning problems

Car cleaning can be a really satisfying process. You put in the hard work and your reward is a car that looks like it’s just rolled off the showroom forecourt.

But if you’re anything like us, then you’ve probably experienced the little frustrations that car cleaning can bring too. You know the ones we mean: the scuff mark you spot after you’ve emptied your bucket. The lingering smell that refuses to budge after you’ve used up a bottle of detailing spray. The windscreen that just gets more and more smeared the harder you polish.

We’ve teamed up with our friends at Turtle Wax to tackle some of these common problems head-on and provide step-by-step solutions. So, get those buckets filled, have those cleaning sprays at the ready and read on to find out more.

How to remove paint transfers, scratches and scuffs

There’s no getting around it: paint transfers, scratches and scuffs can be really annoying. Luckily, it can be easier to remove them than you might think, particularly if you have the right products and knowledge to-hand.

  • Step 1: Use a car wash shampoo like the Turtle Wax Zip Wax Car Wash & Wax to wash and dry your vehicle.
  • Step 2: Pick up a light paint cleaner such as Turtle Wax Scratch Repair & Renew. Make sure you test it on a small, unobtrusive area of your paintwork first to check that it works correctly.
  • Step 3: Add the cleaner to a clean microfibre towel or foam applicator pad. Then apply the cleaner to the paint transfer, scratch or scuff for about 30 seconds, using a back-and-forth movement. Be firm, but don’t rub too hard as you could accidentally damage your paintwork.
  • Step 4: Check your progress. If you can still see your paint transfer, scratch or scuff then you may need to repeat step 3.
  • Step 5: Wipe the treated paintwork with a clean microfibre cloth to remove any residual cleaner.
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How to clean car windows and glass

The windscreens and windows in your car can be tricky to clean. Not only are they subject to insects, road dust, dirt, grease and more from the outside, but they also pick up smoke, dirt, fingerprints and more from occupants on the inside.

Thankfully, companies like Turtle Wax have developed specific products to cut through these contaminants and give our glass surfaces a crystal clear finish.

  • Step 1: Choose a dedicated glass cleaning spray such as the Turtle Wax Dash & Glass Interior Cleaner.
  • Step 2: Spray the cleaner directly onto your windscreen and windows.
  • Step 3: Wipe your glass surfaces dry with a microfibre towel. If the towel becomes too damp, swap it out for a clean one.

If you’re struggling to achieve a streak-free finish because of temperature or particularly stubborn dirt, then we’d suggest using the following method:

  • Step 1: Dampen a clean microfibre towel with water.
  • Step 2: Apply three sprays of Turtle Wax Dash & Glass Interior Cleaner to the towel and apply it to the glass.
  • Step 3: Dry the glass with a second clean microfibre towel.
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How to get the smell of smoke out of your car

Cigarette smoke has a way of penetrating upholstery, carpet, hard surfaces and air systems, which makes it one of the most difficult odours to remove from your vehicle. Difficult, but not impossible – particularly if you follow our four-stage process.

1. Remove any smoke particles and fallen ash

  • Step 1: Vacuum all of the hard and soft surfaces in your car. This will pick up any smoke particles and fallen ash that are releasing the odour into your carpets, car seats and vents.

2. Check and clean the ashtray

  • Step 1: Remove the ashtray and wash it thoroughly.
  • Step 2: Allow the ashtray to air for 24 hours before you return it to your vehicle.
  • Step 3: If you’re a regular smoker then consider investing in an ashtray cup with a cover and smoke diffuser to help keep the odour of cigarettes contained.

3. Check and clean the vents

  • Step 1: Use a product like the Turtle Wax Odor X Whole Car Blast to clean your vents and car surfaces.
  • Step 2: Place the can in a cup holder or a footwell and firmly depress the valve.
  • Step 3: Leave the car and let it run for 15 minutes to give the product time to travel through your vents and remove odours on a molecular level.

4. Clean and deodorise the interior surfaces

  • Step 1: Choose an interior cleaner such as the Turtle Wax Power Out Fresh Clean All-Surface Cleaner.
  • Step 2: Shake the bottle well before use, then liberally spray the source of the odour and other interior surfaces that might have been affected.
  • Step 3: Wipe the treated areas with a clean and dry microfibre towel. If you can still detect any odours or see any stains, repeat Steps 2 and 3.
  • Step 4: Use a clean microfibre towel to blot the treated areas dry. If any of the areas are upholstery or carpets, make sure to let them dry.
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Car cleaning at Halfords

Here at Halfords, we’ve got a huge range of car cleaning and car detailing products from top brands including Turtle Wax, Meguiar’s, Autoglym and Auto Finesse. From car shampoo and pressure washers to car wax and interior cleaners, you’re sure to find whatever products you need to make your car sparkle inside and out.

If you’re looking for some advice about the car cleaning process and its different stages, then be sure to check out our guide to cleaning your car in 3 easy steps. Or if you’re a keen detailer, then our ultimate guide to car cleaning will be right up your street.

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