Detailing | Rad Dad Rules

Category Archives for Detailing

Learn How to Make a Detailer’s Best Friend Work For You

Do you ever notice your vents are really dusty, or certain parts of your car interior are difficult to clean?

Or, do you notice build-up around your ride’s badging, grille or wheel lug nuts?

There are two great options here - we’ll share with you the least expensive one in this post.

One of the very best, and most simple, tools every detailer and car enthusiast should have is a set of boars hair detail brushes. Here’s a reasonably priced set to consider.

Here are six ways you can use these to more easily and effectively clean your car:

  1. Interior Vents - Your air vents often accumulate dust and grime, and can be difficult to clean. Using your favorite interior cleaner, or an all purpose cleaner (APC) with a 10:1 dilution, spray the detail brush with the solution. Then gently agitate the vents with the brush. Wipe clean with a microfiber. 
  2. Hard to Reach Interior Spots - Often parts of your vehicle console can collect crumbs and debris. Sometimes even compressed air and vacuuming don’t remove these. Simply spray your detail brush with your APC (10:1 dilution) and brush the area. It may take a couple applications like this. Afterwards, wipe clean with a microfiber.
  3. Leather Seat Cleaning - This is one of my favorite ways to clean leather seats. Make sure to vacuum thoroughly first. Using your favorite leather cleaner, liberally spray the surface of the seat and the detail brush. Using small circles, gently agitate the cleaner on the surface. Immediately wipe with a microfiber towel. You may want to repeat this process. With the two cracks at the edge of the seat, gently pull - slightly, to reveal the crevice to be cleaned.
  4. Gunk Around Badges - During your wash process, you can easily get at the gunk using a detail brush. After rinsing, make sure the area you want has plenty of soap on it. Apply 10:1 APC to a detail brush and the badge area. Gently (do not push) agitate the badge area. Rinse immediately and review if you need to repeat. 
  5. Vehicle Grilles and Trim - Similar to your badge cleaning process, make sure the area has been rinsed and washed. While wet and soapy, apply 10:1 APC to the area and detail brush. Agitate the area to clean it well. It may take a little time for this detail. Rinse thoroughly.
  6. Wheels - Your wheels should be the first part of your car that you watch. You can read our post on the best wash process for more detail here. After rinsing and applying your wheel cleaner (or spray 10:1 APC) on the wheel and agitate 

In general, have a seperate set of detail brushes for interior and exterior. You can use a sharpie to label them so you remember.

Detail brushes clean pretty easily with soap/water. Rinse thoroughly, of course.

Remember to always spray the product on the brush - never touch a dry brush to a surface.

If you are looking for an easy way to carry detail products and your brushes, this belt is one of my favorite detail accessories. You can put a couple cleaners, your brushes, and a few microfiber towels. You’ll spend less time running around for things and be able to complete the job in less time.

If you have fun detailing your own vehicles, consider checking out our detail side hustle course. We show you a proven way to easily make $900-$2k a month, and still have time for friends, family and your full-time career.

Discover How to Easily Make Car Mold Disappear

Car mold happens – easier than you might think!

So, your sunroof or trunk seals leaked a bit and now you have a bit of mold in your car. Or, perhaps a water bottle leaked and went un-noticed for a few weeks. Or, maybe you bought a car for your kids (or to flip) and it has some green stuff inside.

Never fear, you can get the mold and smell gone - safely. You may even have everything you need to do this.

We’ll walk you through an inexpensive and practical way  to safely eliminate mold - and future mold spores - in your vehicle. While there are a number of steps here, the process is pretty quick and easy.

Let's Do This!

1. Size It

If your car is inundated with mold, please know that your procedure to remedy this may need to be more intense. This is geared towards mild to moderate cases. If the interior is 100% coated, you may want to consider replacing some things as the mold may be hard to eliminate. We recommend talking with a professional detailer for this.

2. Safety First

Wear a mask (ideally with a filter), nitrile gloves, eye protection, long pants and long sleeve shirt (to wash immediately after).

3. Gear Up

Have the following gear ready to go:

4. Vehicle Prep

Put your safety gear on, then park your vehicle in a sunny spot and open all the windows and doors. Remove any items from the car – floor mats, and all the loose stuff in your doors and console.

5. Remove Cabin Filter

Follow directions for your vehicle and remove your cabin filter. Don’t replace it yet, just remove it.

6. Soak

With your vinegar spray bottle, soak the areas where it is moldy. Also spray a few inches around them to address any spores you may not see. Allow to set for at least 10 minutes. Keep the area wet if it’s very hot outside. Vinegar is safe for leather, fabric, vinyl and other materials. Be careful if using it on alcantara or suede. For leather, you’ll want to condition it afterwards so it doesn’t dry out (step 16).

7. Vacuum

Thoroughly vacuum the entire car, as well as your floor mats that you removed.

8. Let Dry

Allow 10 minutes or more to dry.

9. Borax

Sprinkle borax over the previous mold spots, and let sit for 5 minutes. Then vacuum it up thoroughly.

10. Get Your Vents

Spray vinegar on your microfiber towel or detail brush, then apply to all of your car vents.

11. Clean Everything

Using a 10:1 APC mixture, spray on your microfiber and clean your upholstery, dash, console and doors. Wipe away with another microfiber. Use detail brushes for hard to reach spots.

12. Clean Your Mats

Your carpet floors and mats could use a good super cleaning right now. Liberally spray 4:1 APC (or your favorite carpet cleaner) on the floors and mats (one at a time). Use your drill brush to thoroughly and carefully agitate the carpets. Wipe clean and dry with a microfiber.

13. Steam Option

If you have access to a dry steam cleaner, now is a great time to use it. Steam every surface and wipe clean with a microfiber. Also, steam your vents thoroughly – this will sanitize your HVAC system. We love the Chief Steamers. If you don't want to buy one yet,  you can likely rent one at your local hardware store.

14. Replace Cabin Air Filter

Put the new cabin filter in now that your car is clean.

15.  Air Freshening

Lightly sprinkle baking soda on the upholstery and carpets. Place a dyer sheet on each seat and carpet area too. Let this sit overnight, ideally with the windows down in a garaged area. If you have to close the windows and leave outside – it will be okay too. Work with what you have.

16. Vacuum Thoroughly

Do one more vacuum of the car. If you have a leather interior you can condition it now . You may also want to use a UV-protectant interior detail spray (optional). Now, replace your belongings and floor mats.

After this process, monitor these areas to make sure the mold doesn’t come back. If it has gone to the seat cushions, you will have to have them replaced. Many auto shops can do this, without the need to replace your entire seat.

Congratulations on making your car safe, clean and refreshed!

If you have fun detailing your own vehicles, check out our detail side hustle course. We show you a proven way to easily make $900-$2k a month, and still have time for friends, family and your full-time career.

Know Why You Should Blow Your Car Dry Right Now

Want to know a great technique to keep your car’s paint in great shape? 

In a word -  air.

As we’ve shared in some other articles, most of the damage to your car’s paint is due to improper washing or drying techniques. These produce swirls and scratches that require compound and polish to remove.

The good news is that there are a few tweaks you can make to your wash routine to enjoy more glow, and avoid this damage.

Check out the steps and options below to up your vehicle drying game!

5 Steps to Properly Dry Your Vehicle

Step One

Use a proper wash technique and be sure to rinse your car well.

Step Two

If possible, get your vehicle out of direct sun.

Step Three

Use a blower to dry your car (look for three options below).

Step Four

If you need to use a towel, make use of a drying agent or detail spray, with a good drying towel. Always use straight lines – no wax on wax off.

Step Five

Enjoy the glow!

Vehicle Blowing Options

1. Purpose Built Small


Low Chance of Damage

Some Additional Drying Required

There are several options here that meet most budgets and make a great difference in drying vehicles. You can use these to blow dry wheels, blow water out of difficult, and remove the bulk of water from your vehicle. You will need some additional microfiber towel drying, ideally with a drying agent or detail spray. This is not a bad way to go, as you can easily cover the tiny missed spots that can occur and inspect your paint. I recommend Chemical Guys JetSpeed or Cyclone Blower for drying, Woolly Mammoth and Microfiber Tech for towels and Griot's Speed Shine for detail spray. You only need a very light spray as you do this.

2. Purpose Built Large


Low Chance of Damage

No Additional Drying Required

There’s really one industry standard here, and that’s the Master Blaster.  This meaty machine can completely blow dry your car. However, plan on wearing hearing protection as the air noise on your vehicle is significant. This powerful tool removes every ounce of water from your vehicle, avoiding any physical contact. It is very well built and will last a lifetime. There are two sizes, and the model with the two 4hp engines is worth it.

However, it does take about the same amount of time as the other techniques here. If you are just starting off, or looking to save time, this may not be the perfect tool for you. If you are a pro detailer and have ear protection, you may love this tool.

3. General Purpose


Medium Chance of Damage

No Additional Drying Required

If you are looking for similar results from the purpose-built machines, for a lot less money, you may want to consider an electric blower.


Warning – the tip of this device will scratch your paint easily, and you need to be very careful when using this. That said, with the right technique (top to bottom, and preferably blowing the garage/driveway area before washing) – this is a great way to go. You can also use this blower to quickly remove debris from “trashed” vehicle's interiors or truck beds.

This is one of those detail secrets that many shops may not admit to, but use on a regular basis. They are inexpensive enough to use for car drying only (recommended). Here are our recommended cordless and wired models. Given a choice on these two, go wired!

You are now in the know - like a detail pro. 

With one of these tools, and the simple five-step approach, you are now set-up to best dry your vehicle.

If you have fun detailing your own vehicles, consider checking out our detail side hustle course. We show you a proven way to easily make $900-$2000 a month, and still have time for friends, family and your full-time career. Get started now here!

Love Your Car with This Proven Process

Amazing Results with Two Items and a Simple Process

Excellent car care does not have to be expensive. We’ll share two inexpensive products that make an amazing difference in keeping your vehicle’s paint looking great.  

You may want to also check out our post on straight lines, as well as our upcoming article on drying your vehicle.

Improper washing and drying technique are the cause for 95%+ of the swirls and scratches you see on vehicle paint. The good news is that you can easily prevent this, extending the life of your paint and glow of your car or truck.

First, we’ll tell you about the two items, and then will tell you how to use them. Your total spend on all of these items will be under $35!

Your Items:

Item 1 – Buckets (3):

You can buy 5 gallon buckets at most hardware stores for $4 or under. We’ll explain the technique in the next section, and yes, you want to buy three. These will likely last your lifetime.

Item 2 – Grit Guards (3):

Grit guards are available at a variety of car specialty shops and online at places like Amazon. Any of them that are sized for 5-gallon buckets are perfect for you. You’ll also need three, and they will last you an incredibly long time.

How to use your items:

Buckets – Use each bucket for a specific purpose when washing. You can fill them about half full. Here’s how to use each one:

Wash Bucket – Have car soap and water, and your grit guard, in this bucket. Soak your wash mitt in here as you get started.

Rinse Bucket – Have clear water and a grit guard in this bucket.

Wheel Bucket – Have some car soap and water in this bucket. You’ll also have your grit guard, and all of your wheel washing tools (detail brushes, wheel worm, etc.). Have a separate wheel mitt in this bucket as well. Do not use any of these tools on your car’s paint.

Grit Guards – At the bottom of each bucket, you’ll place a grit guard. These magically little items do an amazingly simple and useful job. Dirt and particles sink to the bottom of the bucket, underneath the guard. When you rinse or soap up your mitt or detail brush – none of this stuff sticks. This helps keep your wash materials debris-free – and scratch-free!

Here’s Your Process:

  1. Start by washing your wheels and only use your wheel bucket. This is the dirtiest part of your car. Wash  each wheel and rinse before starting on your car’s body. When done, put the wheel bucket aside.
  2. After rinsing your car thoroughly, you’ll wash your car. Your wash mitt starts in the soapy water. Using straight lines (article on this here), wash about 1/8th of the car at a time. Then, put the mitt in the rinse bucket, then the wash bucket, then back on your car. This process will help keep scratches from occurring.
  3. Dry your vehicle carefully. We have a future article coming for this.

As a reminder, never scrub hard – gentle and even pressure is good. Pushing and scrubbing is too much effort, and is an indicator that you need another product (like APC) to help loosen the debris.

If you have two vehicles to wash, you can re-use these buckets as-is. The grit guards will keep the junk away from your mitts and paint. After you are done, empty them out and rinse thoroughly.

That’s it – it’s really that simple to get great results and avoid scratches and swirls.

Interested in making your nearly-learned skill profitable as a side hustle? Check out our detail side hustle course. It's a proven path to generate $900-$2000 every month. Keep your full-time job and still have time for family and friends.

Easily Care For Your Car With This Technique

“Wax On Wax Off” is a Recipe for Swirls Galore

Many of us remember the scene in the now classic original “Karate Kid” move. Danielsan learns to build his strength and skills by waxing Mr. Miagi’s classic cars. He has him use circles, which may be great for Karate, but are awful for your paint.

Let’s walk you through a little car paint education and then explain the best way to wash and dry your car.

Modern car paint is made-up of a very thin layer of primer, another very thin layer of color, and then a thicker layer of clear coat. To give you an idea of how thin, all three layers are just under the depth of two human hairs (60-80 microns). This approach is used on most cars post 1995.

Your car’s clear coat layer is porous – meaning it has tiny little holes in it (that we cannot see with our eyes).

Over time, little pieces of debris can get lodged in these holes. While there are techniques like clay bar and products like IronX that remove this debris, most paint surfaces still have some small debris that remains. For noting, this will even remain after washing.

Now, imagine a towel “grabbing” this debris and then scratching your paint with it. This is exactly what happens with circle motions are used when washing or drying. You’ll notice in bright light, at an angle, a pattern of circular scratches. Your paint overall will look duller, and water will appear to “stick” to it a bit more. Over time, this does damage this tiny layer of clear coat on your vehicle.

In fact, poor washing and drying techniques are known to be the cause for 90+% of scratches in your vehicles’ paint.

Want to know how to avoid this?

Here are seven pro tips to maintain a great paint finish:

  1. Always hand wash your car. Yes, this is not always the most convenient. However, it’s the best way to ensure the best result.
  2. Use a separate bucket for rinse water, wash water, and wheel washing. We’ll talk about this more in a future post.
  3. Only touch your paint’s surface if it has some sort of lubricant on it – water, soap, detail spray – but never dry.
  4. Apply only very slight pressure. If you are scrubbing, you need a different product to loosen the dirt. Your scrubbing will move the debris that scratches paint. You can use an APC mentioned in a previous post.
  5. Always start from the top of your vehicle, and go front to back, in straight lines. Slowly progress from top of the vehicle to the bottom.
  6. When washing, rinse your mitt about 8-10 times for every car.
  7. When drying, flip over your towels – about every 1/8th of your car, so it receives a clean surface. You may want to consider a drying aid like a detail spray too. We’ll talk about using air blowing to dry your car in a future post.

If you apply this approach to your washing regimen, your paint will have less scratches and more shine.

If you need a new mantra or song, instead of “wax on wax off”, maybe change the lyrics of “blurred lines” to straight lines (hey, hey, hey, hey). It’s important to have fun.

Smile and enjoy your ride!

Interested in making your nearly-learned skill profitable as a side hustle? Check out our detail side hustle course. It's a proven path to generate $900-$2000 every month. Keep your full-time job and still have time for family and friends.

How To Make Your Vehicle Glow for Not Much Dough

Dilution is Your Friend

(and Other Secrets)

Looking for some detailer's secrets on how to make your car look great? Are the number of cleaning products a big overwhelming and not sure where to start? Or, are you on a tight budget and want to be smart with your spend?

Whatever your perspective, we have you covered.

In this article we’re going to share a detailer’s secret about cleaning products.

When detailing, cleaning is the first phase of the regimen (clean – correct – protect). It’s also what people are most familiar with from washing cars and detailing interiors.

Detail product companies do an exceptional job of producing products that get our interest, and often fill our garages, half full. The good news for you is that you can use a single product, with different dilution ratios, to meet the majority of your car cleaning needs.

The product we are talking about here is a good all-purpose cleaner (APC). With a variety of dilution levels, you can meet nearly all of your vehicle cleaning needs.

Three Ways to Use APC Now

Carpets & Cloth Upholstery

While can certainly use your favorite carpet cleaner here, APC works great on carpet. This is also one of the few vehicle surfaces you can spray the chemical directly on, agitate with a brush, then wipe up with a microfiber. You can also use this with cloth upholstery. In this case, we recommend spraying on one microfiber, then scrubbing the seats with it. Wipe up with another microfiber. Please note – if you have an alcantara interior, do not use this approach. It’s not cloth.

Dash, Doors, Leather & Console

A lighter mix of APC works great on the rest of your vehicle’s interior. Spray the product on a microfiber or detail brush first, then apply to the surface. Remove with a different microfiber. You can apply a conditioner or UV protectant as a second step. This mix can work well to de-grease dirty windows first, followed with window cleaner afterwards

Wheels, Exhaust & Bug Splatter

On the outside of your car, as part of a wash regimen, you can absolutely use APC. Be sure that your vehicle is wet and always use a high-quality, neutral pH balance soap as well. APC does not replace car soap. Most wheels and exhausts can be cleaned with APC. After surface is rinsed and wet, spray on the cleaner directly, agitate with a microfiber or detail brush, and rinse. Bug splatter on the front of your car can be removed by first rinsing the area, then applying. Keep the area wet and let it sit a few minutes. Gently agitate with a microfiber or detail brush. You can repeat this if necessary. Let the chemical do the work – only scrub very gently to avoid scratching your paint.

Okay, now that you have three ways to use APC, how much money will you really save?

You would spend about $40-50 for the four different types of cleaners mentioned above, and they would last you about 6 months to a year.

If you buy a gallon of APC and three spray bottles, you will spend about $35-40 and it will last you 3 years or more. It’s about six times less expensive.

While there are many great brands of APC out there, we have personal experience with Chemical Guys - also Meguiars and 3D. If you pick another brand, be sure to read directions and always start with a gentle dilution and go stronger. You can quickly damage things by using too strong of a mix.

This is the first of a short series we are publishing on car detail tips. You can find out more, and check out our detail side hustle course, at Rad Dad Rules.

Enjoy the clean!

Interested in making your nearly-learned skill profitable as a side hustle? Check out our detail side hustle course. It's a proven path to generate $900-$2000 every month. Keep your full-time job and still have time for family and friends.