Keeping Your Car Clean After a Detail

posted 20 September, 2021 by Jackson Balling
Education, Car Care

Who doesn't love the feeling of driving around in their vehicle just after it has received a quality detailing service? Unfortunately, that blissful moment doesn't last as long as we wish it would. More often than not, the car becomes dirty again after just a few days of regular use. It ruins that just-detailed car feeling, and it can make you feel like you wasted your money on the service.

However, the truth is that by following the proper guidelines, you can maintain your car after detailing for much longer than you'd expect.

So what's the secret? How do you keep your car clean after a detail service? It's pretty simple. Read on for a full breakdown of the essential vehicle maintenance secrets so that you can keep your car fresh and clean for as long as possible.

Why Does Detailing Matter?

First, let's start with the all-important question: why does this even matter? Plenty of car owners will avoid car detailing and instead opt for a quick trip to the local car wash whenever their car is looking particularly grimy. Who's to say that your vehicle needs a detail service if you don't want to invest in it?

We've broken down the benefits of car detailing before, but the top reason to commit to getting your vehicle detailed is trade-in value. If you're aware of depreciation, then you likely know that your car loses a significant chunk of its value the moment you drive it off the lot. While that initial drop in value is unavoidable, how you treat and maintain your car is entirely within your control.

Some car owners may choose to purchase a car and ride it until the last mile before replacing it, but a vast majority decide to lease or trade-in their purchased vehicle for something new down the line. If you're looking to maximize your car's trade-in value, then you must treat it with routine cleaning and maintenance. That can extend to detailing services, which help protect your car's interior and exterior from damage that goes beyond normal wear and tear.


How Long Does a Detail Last?

So, we can all agree that detailing is beneficial to your car, its paint, and the longevity of its interior. But how long can you expect a detailing service to last after that initial investment?

At Spiffy, we've detailed tens of thousands of cars since 2014. While an interior detail lasts up to six months, in our experience, the exterior protection you get from a detailing service generally lasts about 2-3 months. While that may not seem like a lot of time, it's due to several factors that can impact your car after a detail, including:

  • Driving frequency
  • Common causes of paint damage like bugs, tar, and tree sap
  • UV damage from routinely parking your vehicle outside
  • Damage from extreme weather, such as blizzards, hurricanes, and tornadoes

Fortunately, there are some ways to mitigate these factors. The most impactful way to protect your car's paint and maximize a detailing service is to keep it stored indoors. But if your house or apartment doesn't have a garage, your next best option is to extend the life of your car's detail manually.

5 Tips to Extend Your Car's Detail

When you're planning on making your car's detail last longer, there are a few tips to keep in mind to get the most out of your investment.

#1 – Clean Your Car's Exterior Often

This tip probably sounds a little too obvious, but we can't understate the importance of washing your car regularly. Between work, school, and all the other obligations in your busy life, you may not relish the thought of cleaning your vehicle more than once in a blue moon. However, performing consistent maintenance and engaging in regular cleaning habits are the best ways to keep your car looking great long after a detail.  

But how often is it really necessary to wash your car? Opinions will vary, but washing your car each week is the best option for those who want their vehicle to look as clean as possible all the time. 

By washing your vehicle weekly, you can eliminate the dirt and grime that builds up from your daily commute to work, running errands, and nights out on the town. You can wipe away any debris before it becomes fully set, giving your car a fresh appearance — you might even be able to trick passersby into thinking it just came from the dealership!

Working these regular cleanings into your schedule isn't as hard as it sounds. It shouldn't take an overwhelming amount of time to wash your vehicle's exterior. Just make sure to set aside thirty to sixty minutes in the evening, on the weekends, or during a day off!

#2 – Wash Your Vehicle Yourself, Not at the Car Wash!

After reading that last section, you might be wondering, "What if I don't want to wash the car myself? Can't I just have it cleaned by the professionals once a week?"

Of course, you can, but that can prove to be an expensive way to keep your car clean. However, saving money isn't the only reason to avoid commercial car washes when trying to maintain your car after detailing. 

More often than not, these professional cleaning services will use a combination of detergents and spinning brushes to get your vehicle's exterior in pristine condition. These tools can remove dirt and grime from your car, but they can also take quite a toll on your car's paint job.

If you'd like to avoid harsh chemicals and automated spinning brushes damaging your paint, we would recommend washing your car by hand using gentler cleaning products. It's a bit more work for you, but in the end, it's worth it to avoid extra wear and tear while keeping your car looking spotless.


#3 – Use the Correct Drying Technique

After you've finished hand washing your car, you shouldn't just leave it in the sun to air dry. The evaporating water particles can release more dirt and minerals onto your paint, leaving behind water spots as a result. To avoid these circumstances, you can dry the car by hand using a microfiber towel, making sure to remove every bit of leftover moisture.

#4 – Don't Forget the Interior!

It's important to remember that proper vehicle maintenance doesn't end with the car's exterior. You have to make sure that all of the parts of your car get the attention they need. For that reason, you'll have to be sure to clean out the car's interior regularly as well.

The most crucial part of this step is vacuuming any loose dirt or crumbs off of the seats and floors. You can use the hose attachment on a standard vacuum, but automotive vacuums are also available on the market with special attachments designed explicitly for cleaning vehicle interiors.  

Don't forget to get into all of the nooks and crannies too! You never know where loose dirt can end up. Frequently neglected areas that may require special attention are the glove box, inside of the cupholders, and the cracks between the seats and the doors. 


#5 – Stay Mindful of Messes

After you've put a lot of hard work into maintaining your car's "just detailed" look, you don't want to trash it right away. That's where it's important to be mindful of the messes that can build up inside your vehicle. If you're someone who frequently eats in their car, try using a paper or plastic bag to collect trash as it accumulates. 

Parents of young children are all too familiar with the struggles of staying ahead of the bodily fluid messes and "snack avalanches" that can occur while driving. There are plenty of excellent parent hacks out there, especially for long road trips, which can simplify your interior cleaning routine by minimizing backseat messes.

One last thing to keep in mind is the status of your trunk. If you're anything like me, your car's trunk acts as a constant storage area for bulky items that have no place in the house. It can be a hassle to clear out if you're used to leaving it better off alone. However, not only is it relieving to clear away the clutter in your trunk finally, but it can also increase your car's fuel efficiency. 

According to the EPA, every 100 pounds you remove from your car results in a fuel economy increase of 1-2 percent. While you may dread having to organize the items in your trunk, you may end up saving money on fuel in the long run by getting it out of the way. (Speaking of which, I should probably get on that!)

Keep Your Detailed Vehicle Looking Clean!

And that's how the magic happens! If you make sure to follow these easy-to-follow steps, you should have no problem trying to maintain your car after detailing. Your car (and its trade-in value) will thank you from the inside out. 

Now that you know how to make the results last for the long haul, you don't need to fear spending a little extra on your car's next service!

If you want to extend the life of your detail with a professional car wash that comes to you, then our professionally trained technicians are ready to help. Our Spiffy Car Wash service is the best gift for a recently detailed car - offering the ideal cleanliness and attention to detail that you've been seeking.

Are you interested in turning your driveway or office parking lot into your personal car wash? Book an appointment with Spiffy to see our five-star quality up close and in action!

Save $20 Spiffy

Posted in Education, Car Care

Written by Jackson Balling

Jackson was Spiffy's Content Marketing Manager from January 2019 to July 2022 and brought over five years of professional experience in creative copywriting, audio production, and video editing to the Spiffy Marketing team.
Find me on: