{18/10/2012}   Cleaning cars

I cleaned my car, a full valet, the other day.  In the two and a bit years I’ve had her, she’s never looked so good, though it annoys me to see that she has a few new scrapes that I know I didn’t do.  Well, the main ones are on the front bumper, a selection of different paints having been left behind.  Incompetent parking, and I reiterate not me!  But the biggest surprise wasn’t the beauty of my shiny pistachio gold car after a thorough valet, rather how complicated it is buying car cleaning products.

It sounds like I’ve never washed a car before but I’ve washed mine a fair few times, it’s just difficult where I live and would involve a bucket rather than hosepipe and I have no way of getting electricity from the second floor down to the road.  I used my mum’s hosepipe and vacuum cleaner to do the job and I then took photos of my shiny car as I am going to attempt to sell her, hence the full valet rather than the usual quick wash, usually brought on by an excesses of seagull poo splattering the paintwork.

In return for mum hosting the valet, I decided to buy a selection of cleaning products.  Nothing – nothing – prepared me for the amount of bottles, wipes, clothes, brushes, etc, on sale for the purpose of cleaning a car.  It was a daunting process and made me ten minutes late for meeting a friend, having initially had a good 15 minutes set aside for a slow shop and pootle, and even then had to be repeated for another c10-minute session another day.  I came away with a cleaner with turtle wax (usual stuff), a pack of three cloths (for the interior, hardcore exterior jobs and “velour”, which I have yet to find a use for seeing as I have no velour that I’m aware of – my seats are leather, don’t you know!), a cloth for windows, a drying cloth that’s supposedly better than a chamois (I love the smell of chamois leather, it can’t be good for me sniffing it as often as I do, hence the synthetic cloth), a sponge coated with a nice cleaning surface that apparently glosses the paintwork and is all attached to a handy glove and a brush for my alloys.  I was tempted to buy a dashboard spray scented with “new car” but I just knew it would make me sneeze furiously and wouldn’t have the same effect as, say, baking bread, ie a lovely smell that makes you feel good.

There is something for everything.  I was poised to buy some wipes that clean and nourish leather but knew my mum had some saddle soap, though in the end I thought a leather polish was a bit excessive; it’s not a Maserati being sold for obscene amounts of money.  Did you know that there are even special chemicals that promise to get rid of specific stuck on things so, yes, there is a cleaner that completely obliterates the carcases of dead flies and there is even one that gets rid of bits of tarmac.  Surely they aren’t kind on your paintwork?  There are also a variety of different sprays to enhance different parts of your car, such as blackening tyre sprays and alloy shiner.  Admittedly I did start off with my arms piled with wipes promising minimal effort for maximum benefit.  I realised after I had piled up leather wipes, dashboard wipes (I went for the “new car” aroma!), interior windscreen wipes, exterior windscreen wipes, trim wipes and alloy wipes that to clean the whole car in this manner would be a ludicrously expensive exercise, so I downgraded to the selection of cloths.  I might yet get a scented dashboard cleaner.

Believe it or not, I spent about an hour and 15 minutes valeting my car and I actually enjoyed it.  Though a minor paddy was only just averted when, while taking stylish photos of my pristine car, I knocked over a mug of tea that I had stupidly placed on the parcel shelf. Tea has the capacity to get everywhere and set me back a good few minutes!  Aha, maybe I will need some eau de voiture nouvelle after all!  Ho hum, point being it’s easy to get conned into buying a selection of products that promise so much to anyone wanting a super clean, new-looking car.


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