If possible, work in a cool garage or in shade. Most detailing products do not work well on hot surfaces. Washing your car in the sun is a sure recipe for water spots and streaks.
Your car is dirtiest on the bottom and cleanest on the top. Washing from the top down keeps your wash water clean longer and helps to prevent swirl marks. Dry your car from the top down, also, leaving your bumpers, rocker panels, tires and wheels for last.
Invest in a $5 masking tape lint roller designed to remove lint from clothing. These rollers are great for removing lint and pet hair from interior upholstery. Lint rollers work equally well on canvas soft tops, too. Roll away for a beautiful, lint-free top.
Never wash your car fresh off the road. Cold water can severely damage hot parts, including brake rotors, exhaust components and your engine. Let it cool for 20 to 30 minutes first.
Have you ever wondered why the instructions on most hair shampoo bottles read "Wash, rinse, repeat"? It's pretty simple; they want us to use more product. Most car care products are meant to be used sparingly, and the instructions will say so. Let's face it, most of what we apply, we wipe right back off again. Use less and save money. You'll get the same results, maybe better.
That nasty film on the inside of your windows is a polyvinyl fog created by new plastics and vinyl. As your car ages, the polyvinyl fog diminishes. You can reduce the amount of polyvinyl fog created by using interior dressings and protectants sparingly, and wiping the dash and console dry. On new cars, keep a window cracked as often as possible to allow the polyvinyl gasses to escape. Use of a sun shield also helps.
Sweat, oils from your skin, lotion and sunscreen will soil fabric upholstery, and damage vinyl and leather upholstery. If you drive scantily dressed, cover your seat with a seat cover, towel or an old T-shirt. In addition to upholstery damage from sweat, sunscreen and lotions, driving topless brings additional wear from ultraviolet (UV) rays, which quickly causes fading and rapid deterioration of the materials.
You've just finished polishing and waxing your car until it glistens, but all of your hard work is overshadowed by white wax residue around your trim. This problem is easily solved while the wax is still fresh by using a few shots of detailing spray and a detailing brush or towel.
Be careful not to damage your car's paint with zippers, belt buckles, rings and other jewelry. Wear appropriate clothing and take off the hard stuff.