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July 22, 2013 / nuttystepmom

the work of cars: wash that sucker

CindyLou, as much as it frightens me to think about it, you’re probably going to have a car one day.  Even though you’re 12 right now, we’ve already begun teaching you what all of the road signs and lane markings mean, but there is so much more to know about having and driving a car.

As with the other topics, we’ll start simple.  Yep, today we’re just going to talk about keeping that thing clean.

So, why bother cleaning your car at all?  Well, there are a few reasons.  First of all, if you don’t keep the inside cleaned out, you’ll eventually lose a milkshake or something in there, and it will smell to high heaven.  This is not a situation you want.  But, really, as I’ve tried to teach you all along, if your surroundings are calm and orderly, it helps your brain to be calm and orderly.  Trust me, when you’re behind the wheel of a car, calm and orderly is a desired state of mind.  Always remember this:  Your environment affects your mentality.  This includes your car.  If you’re constantly having to dig for things or moving things out of the way for passengers to have room for their butts or trying to identify the source of funky smells, you’re going to feel a little chaotic.  Avoid that.

Now, the outside of the car has even more compelling reasons to be kept clean.  It can actually goof up your paint and lead to rust and contagious diseases if you leave the outside of your car gross.  Okay, maybe not contagious diseases, but it really can speed up that whole rusting process.  You do not want a rusty car.  That’s bad.  Dirty windshields are also bad news.  If you can’t see, you’re not going to be in tip-top driving shape, are you?

There’s also that pesky thing about taking a little pride in the things you work for, pay for, and own.  Cars, like everything else, should be maintained so they’ll last longer, stay nicer, keep a higher value, and so on.

Okay, we’ve covered the why of the whole thing.  Now let’s talk about how.  As usual, I’m just sharing how I do things.  It works for me. You may find a better way…but I doubt it. 😉

Depending on where you live, you have car washing options.  You may have a business in your area that will do the whole thing for you, but it’s gonna cost you.  You may have a nice driveway to wash your car in, but that can cause troubles too…and it can also be kind of time-consuming.  And the car washes at gas stations?  Ehhh, they usually cost more than they’re worth.  This is what I like to do…

  • Keep some handy car-friendly wipes in the car (the trunk is a nice spot).  Once a week, I grab one or two wipes and clean up the dash, the drink holders, and all of the hidey-holes that cars seem to have.
  • Keep some glass cleaner and a rag or two in the car (again, trunks are good for this sort of thing).  After you’ve cleaned up the dash and whatnot, clean up the inside of those windows.  Replace the rags from time to time…they can only get so dirty before they become part of the problem.
  • Take your car to one of those goofy, do-it-yourself, put-the-quarters-in-to-make-things-operate car washes.  Get every scrap of trash out of your car.  Throw down the 50 cents to vacuum the inside of your car.  This will take you about 2 or 3 minutes.  Now throw away the $1 or $2 it will take to soap up and rinse your car.  You’re looking at another 5 minutes or so.  (If this gets done fairly often, it really doesn’t take long.)  In under 10 minutes, and spending less than 3 dollars, you have a spiffy, clean car.
  • One more note!  Those sprayers for the soaping and rinsing are really damn fun to play with, but be warned…some of those things spray water with enough ferocity to rip the skin from your body.  I’m not saying if I speak from experience on this issue or not (okay, I am, and that crap hurt really bad), but focus your water spraying energies on inanimate objects, okay?

As you are aware, I wash my car and Daddy’s car every two weeks (okay, so it’s more of a “my car one week, Daddy’s car the next week, repeat” kind of thing).  I promise you I don’t spend more than a few minutes each week on this and I generally invest $1.50 in the whole process.  Way better than taking forever in the driveway or spending a fortune to have someone else do it, no?

Sadly, the car information you need to have only gets less interesting from here.  Trust me…it’s stuff you need to know or I wouldn’t bore you with it. 😉


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