Monday, November 21, 2016

Removing Minor Scratches and Improving Scuff Marks

First of all I apologize for the long hiatus. It has been raining almost every weekend for the past one and the half month. There are a few things that I wanted to work on but were hampered by the poor weather. Let us hope for more sunny skies ahead.

So, back to the topic. It was about 3 weekends back and I was driving on a rainy night. Out of a sudden, my car hit something and got it lodged underneath. It appeared to be some left-over debris from an earlier road accident, I guess. It looked like a corner piece from a broken bumper with some metal brackets. That debris not only broke my license plate and damaged my front bumper but it was lodged under the front of my car. It was dark and raining and I could not see clearly. Trying to dislodge it caused scratch wounds on my hands as the debris is made from fiberglass. Luckily, a good samaritan helped me to dislodge it. I am very thankful to him. I was lucky enough as there seems to be no serious damaged on the undercarriage.

After a quick wash, the damage did not look too severe.

There were some minor scratches and some deep dents. And obviously, the debris was blue in color. I did not noticed a spider making a cameo until I post this entry. Hello there!

Frankly, the damage is not obvious but unable to wash the blue paint away triggered me to put some effort into it.

One has to be realistic here. The deep dents would not go away, unless I use some putty and areas where the paint has stripped off could not be "polished" away, unless I use some touch up paint. I do not intend to do that. I just wanted it to look less obvious. So, I decided to grab my bottle of Meguiar's Scratch X 2.0.

According to Meguiar's, the product is recommended for isolated scratches and blemishes. And it could be worked in by hand. According to Mike Phillips from Autogeek, Scratch X sits below Ultimate Compound in terms of abrasive level. Read more in Meguiar's Online.

One might ask, why not use Ultimate Compound? Well my approach is always to start from the least aggressive method. So, with an applicator pad and some generous amount of the product, I worked it in.

After some muscle power, this is how it looks.

Not bad at all. Well, as I mentioned earlier, one should have realistic expectation. I do not expect the dents to go away. In fact, I am very impressed on how it turned out. And since this is at the lower lip on the front bumper, it would not look obvious. After using Scratch X, one should seal back the area with either a wax or sealant for protecttion.

That is it for this post. Comments are welcome.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cleaning in Between

I made a few posts about exterior care and also a long post on interior care. I sort of missed out the "in between" surfaces. Yes, they would be door edges and door jambs. These areas would get pretty nasty and they tend to be neglected. So in this post, I would share on how I clean this "twilight zone". Cue music.


Ideally, cleaning and protecting this area are to be done after every wash rather than a standalone job. There are two ways to clean this area. Rinseless or waterless.

The first method of cleaning this area is to use Optimum No Rinse Wash (ONR or ONRW but I prefer the latter for added protection).

Dilute the cleaner accordingly in a bucket and use a microfiber towel. Much like wiping our furniture, the idea is to get the microfiber towel damped but not dripping wet. Rinse the towel when it picked up too much dirt. Always wipe from top to bottom.

Start by cleaning the door jambs and move on to the door panels side and lower edges.

Be sure to clean in between the rubber seals. Pinch the seals in between the towel and wipe. Those are some pretty dirty areas that could get neglected.

Another simpler cleaning method is to use a waterless wash (see more details here).

"Prime" the towel with the waterless wash product until it is damped. Wipe in similar fashion as above. Rinse or change to another microfiber towel when it is soiled.

These two methods can also be used to clean car boot jambs and fuel cap cover areas. In fact, they can be used to clean all interface areas and weather seals.


Once cleaned and dried, I would follow with some dressings on the rubber seals. You can read more about dressings under the interior care post here. The idea is to protect the rubber seals from premature drying, cracking, and shrinking. These failures would lead to less sound-proofing and in worst case water leakage.

I would apply some dressings on a microfiber towel and use the towel to wipe on the seals.

Similar to cleaning, dressings could be applied to all rubber seals and plastic surfaces.

This sums it all for the "twilight zone". It is not too hard to get this done after every wash.
Happy detailing.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Short Review of Autoglym Super Resin Polish Extra Gloss Protection, 5-month Durability

This is going to be just a short informal review.

Back in April this year, I gave my daily drive a full treatment - wash, clay, polish, and seal. All this was done completely using a full range of Autoglym products.


I washed the car using Autoglym Bodywork Shampoo conditioner. For its review, please read here. I used the full wash method described here.

Once done washing and claying, I used my trusty old Bosch GEX 125-1AE with a green Lake Country CCS foam to polish the surface. This was done using Autoglym Super Resin Polish. This is an all-one-product. It has mild abrasives for mild correction power and fillers to fill in minor scratches, and some very mild protection.

Correction vs Hiding Defects

This heading might irk some OCD enthusiast. If you are one of them, please skip this section.

There are two main ways to keep a car looking great. The first is to go all out and remove all or almost all of the defects by cutting down the clear coat (as much as going with wet sanding) to remove all (or almost all) of the defects. Most might argue that this is the "correct" way. I agree but to a certain extent. If the paint condition is new and there is some heavy defects, then this is the correct way. 

However, a clear coat on a car surface is only a few microns thick. So that leads to this question: How many times can we compound a car before the clear coat is gone? Well, we could use a paint thickness gage (gauge EN-GB) but would cost a few hundred Ringgit but I have one anyway :-p. My approach again is, if in doubt use the least aggressive methods.

Say for example a car has been compounded a few times before or you would prefer to "save some thickness" for future correction, you could use a milder approach that would remove minor defects and fill up heavier defects. This is where mild polish with fillers comes in handy.

 Autoglym Super Resin Polish (SRP)

This is an all-in-one product that has:
- good cleaning ability
- mild correction ability
- good fillers
- mild protection

The application method is the same for a normal car polish. See here for details. It is a little dusty compared to other polishes like Meguiar's Ultimate Polish.

I mostly use either this or Dodo Juice Lime Prime (LP) as a pre-wax cleanser. A pre-wax cleanser is used to clean car surfaces before waxing for better bonding. Think of it as a very light polish. So when to use a pre-wax cleanser? Let say my previous wax (or sealant) application was 3-4 months ago and the protection seems to be wearing off and the condition of the surface is still good with no heavy defects, then I would use a pre-wax cleanser to remove the old wax (sealant), dirt, minor defects before rewaxing (resealing) the car again.

Comparing Autoglym SRP and Dodo Juice LP, the former comes with fillers and some very mild protection whereas LP is a pure cleanser. Both are good products but for hiding defects before resealing I would go for SRP. As I always mention, there is no right or wrong here. It is just a matter of personal preferences.

Autoglym Extra Gloss Protection (EGP)

This product is a sealant (or synthetic wax). See here for comparison. This product has been in the market for quite a long time but it still works well in comparison to newer products. EGP comes in a liquid form. Give it a good shake before applying. As usual, I always apply sealant by hand using an applicator pad. Once applied to the entire car, let it sit for at least half and hour before buffing off. 

Once done, enjoy a durability of 3-4 months (or more) with regular maintenance.

Look at the water behavior after a recent downpour (the pictures were taken in early September with the car washed a week ago). That is a 5-month durability in a hot and humid climate and it is still working. Yes, this can be achieved with regular maintenance and by regular maintenance, I mean wash and add additional protection using spray wax after every wash.

Have you found a durable sealant that you like? If yes, enjoy.
Happy detailing :-)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Hands-on Review on Clover 15mm Throw Dual Action Polisher

This is a review of my 15mm dual action polisher. You can read about the unboxing and initial impressions here.

After much procrastination, I decided to re-seal my daily drive. I used the new DA with the included green pad. It is a medium cutting pad which is ideal for an all in one polish. Before starting, I was dilly-dallying to use either Autoglym Super Resin Polish (SRP) or Dodo Juice Lime Prime. Then, while doing a walk-around, I noticed some very minor scratches on the sides of the car, maybe due to some brushing from twigs. This is what we usually get, parking by the roadsides. To remove and fill those scratches, I went on with SRP that has some fillers in it.

Straight on, the DA works as it should have with well-controlled vibration. My hands did not feel as numb as with Bosch GEX. Cutting power with the supplied green pad was good. See the condition of the pad after polishing the roof top. This is after washing and claying.

One thing to note is that this DA is quite loud. It is louder than my old Bosch GEX. I had to use my wireless headphone with active noise cancellation to seal off and cancel off the noise. See that headphone hanging on the top of the chair? That headphone sealed off about 70% of the noise. Do take this with a pinch of salt though as I am not an audio expert. This was merely based on feelings. Luckily my neighbors were not in. Although it is loud, I am guessing it would be the same with other DA's. I read on the Internet that DA's tends to be loud :-p

Another point to take with this DA is that it tends to get quite hot especially near the top. It could get a little uncomfortable. I should have used the provided handle. I was working with this for about an hour or so (on and off in between wiping panel by panel) and the temperature sort of maintained at the same level as when it first ran in the first 15 minutes. So, not a deal breaker.

And as with larger throw DA's in general, getting into tight spot is a little difficult compared to smaller throw DA. Here, at the rear bumper, I could only get this to polish near the outer edge. Any closer, the side of the pad would hit the panel. With my old GEX I could get much closer. I had to use hand polish for this area. Luckily I went for the 15mm throw, a 21mm throw would not even go in, I think.

All in all, this DA works great and is really worth buying. The pads stayed very well throughout the whole polishing. The Velcro is very strong. Comparing this to my old GEX, I could get more work done in shorter time.

Coming back to my daily drive, I sealed it with Finish Kare Hi-Temp Paste Wax (1000P).

And now for some shinning gallery.

More posts coming up.
Happy detailing.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Quick Review: Autoglym Professional Express Wax

This a quick review of Autoglym Professional Express Wax. This is a bulk packing (or professional) version of Autoglym Aqua Wax. 5 liters. Please visit my previous post on spray wax for other spray waxes reviews. I got this for about RM350 from eBay including delivery from the UK. This is a lot more economical than buying the standard packing version that costs around RM170 for 500ml that is sold locally. Check or Lazada to see for yourself. Crazy, right? The standard packing includes two microfiber towels but it is still way too expensive.

Autoglym Express Wax (Aqua Wax)


I followed the instructions of spraying the wax on while the car is still wet (with excess water wiped off first). This wax does not behave like other spray waxes that I have used before. It feels grabby when wiped on. I think it is actually a good idea to spray it on a wet surface because of the "grabbiness". This is not a normal wipe on, wipe off product. After drying the car with this product, I could see smearing or streak mark appearing. I was like uh-oh...

Following the instructions, I then used another dry towel to buff the wax off. Buffing this wax off feels like buffing off a traditional wax. The towel felt grabby. After buffing the wax off, I was like wow! This wax seems to make the car shine more than other spray waxes I have used. The gloss is deep and the shine is excellent. The surface feels ultra slick, almost as slick as a traditional wax. I guess this is the reward for the extra buffing.

I then left the car outside after dressing the tires, sun-baking the car. The gloss became more pronounce after "curing". However, it started to rain after about 4 hours of application. I drove the car into the car porch and was amazed by the beading. Looking at the previous post here, the sealant on this car has become quite weak but this Express Wax managed not only to enhance the gloss but to create a good hydrophobic barrier. I am impressed.

As for durability, I do not know yet as this is my first time using this Express Wax but anything that can last a week or two is good by my standard.

Will I use this after every wash? No, because it takes some effort to buff off. I would continue to use other spray waxes after every wash and maybe use this once a month.

That's it. Happy detailing.

P/S: I was only planning to post this today but due to a great revelation, I ended up posting this and another post on the same day.

Meguiar's Ultimate Paste Wax Poor Performance?

Meguiar's Ultimate Paste Wax

Back in June 2016 ( 3 months back), I corrected and sealed my wife's daily drive using a full suite of Meguiar's products from Ultimate Compound, Ultimate Polish to Ultimate Paste Wax. You can read about it here.

As I was washing my wife's daily drive this morning, the sun rose earlier, seemingly wanting to reveal something to me :-). Great revelation - a lot of water marks and stains on the car. It was quite bad considering that the car was waxed less than 3 months ago.

The actual conditions are worse than the pictures. This car followed the spray wax after every wash routine, mostly using Meguiar's Gold Class Quik Wax.

I am not sure why the wax is not doing its job as it is one of the most hyped about waxes/ sealants in the detailing world and it is not cheap.

Comparing to my own daily drive that was sealed almost 5 months ago, the condition on my wife's daily drive is far worse. My daily drive was sealed using Autoglym Extra Gloss Protection. There are some watermarks and stains on my car but not as bad.

However, this observation; although with evidence; is still inconclusive. The two different cars could be exposed to different environments. So to be fair, I have planned to tape-up my wife's car into sections and test with the following products and conduct a long term observation test. I actually do not prefer taping up a car because of the adhesive residue and unprotected surfaces under the tape. I guess I will device a slightly better method that does not leave any surface unprotected. I already have an idea... stay tuned. Happy detailing.

ultimate paste wax, fk1000p, fuso coat, egp

Global products.
From USA: Meguair's Ultimate Paste Wax & Finish Kare 1000P Hi-Temp Paste Wax (FK1000P)
From GB: Autoglym Extra Gloss Protection
From Japan: Soft99 Fuso Coat

Saturday, August 27, 2016

My 15mm Throw Dual Action Polisher

I got a package from China a few weeks back. It was a 15mm throw dual action polisher (simply referred to as DA) that I bought from AliExpress. A DA is sometimes called random orbital polisher.

dual action polisher

I had been looking around for a decent DA as an upgrade for my current Bosch GEX 125-1-AE workhorse which is a random orbital polisher with a smaller throw. As compared to a few years back, dual action polishers with 220-240V with a 3-pin UK plug are easier to find here nowadays (or could be purchased overseas and sent here). There are several UK sellers on eBay selling DA polishers meeting that voltage specs here. Many of them are selling models based on Kestrel DAS-6 with 8mm orbit (I will go into that later) from GBP75-200 including delivery to Malaysia.

Meguiar's also has something similar to DAS-6; Meguiar's MT320; with 220V but that costs nearly RM2000! That's way out of my budget. There is also a local company that sells their "own brand" of DA polishers. One model is based on DAS-6 which is also similar to Meguiar's MT320 and Dodo Juice Buff Daddy. Another model is based on the famous Rupes Bigfoot LHR15. Simply put, those machines are copies that are made in China and relabeled to the local brand. Price wise, I was quoted about RM900 for the 8mm throw and RM1000+ for the 15mm throw.

After much comparison I decided to purchase a DAS-6 copy on eBay from a UK seller that is cheaper than anything that I was quoted locally. However, it ran out of stock. I was told to wait for restock. The waiting period prompted me to think, "why not explore China?". I once saw a funny post on Facebook. It goes something like "God made the sky, the land, the sea, and all living beings. China made everything else!".

It was then that I explored AliExpress. Search results for dual action polisher returned mostly with large throw dual action 21mm and 15mm. Some are even bolder claiming straight forward that they are selling copies of Rupes DA. Well, Rupes is a well-known Italian maker of DA's and other tools. They are famed for their large throw DA of 15 and 21mm. After much comparison, I decided to order a 15mm throw DA. It came with both 5" and 6" backing plate (same design as Rupes), some 6" foam pads, a 5" microfiber pad, a side handle, and a set of spare carbon brushes. All for USD155.

counter balance

6" backing plate

5" backing plate

Some Basics on Dual Action Polisher

I try not to get too technical here. Please bear with me. Unlike a rotary polisher that on spins on a single rotary axis, a dual action polisher (or sometimes called random orbital polisher) will spin and orbit at the same time. To simplify the explanation let us take a 5" (125mm) pad as an example.

dual action diagram

In the above diagram, the left most circle shows how a 5" (125mm) pad will spin on a single rotary axis. For a DA, apart from spinning on its axis, the pad will also orbit around an 8mm diameter orbit. In the picture second from left, the center of the pad will orbit around the smaller 8mm circle. Here only 4 instances are shown but it actual case, there will be a continuous motion. Do note that the orbiting motion will be random. There will be instances where the pad will be thrown from one end of the orbit to the opposite end. Try to imagine a perpetual spinning top (gasing) spinning inside a tin can. The tin can diameter will be the throw size and the spinning (gasing) will be the pad. The gasing will bounce randomly inside the tin can while spinning. On a DA, the gasing will spin continuously.

The other 2 pictures on the right show DA's with larger throws - 15mm and 21mm. From here, two obvious benefit can be seen, The orbiting motion will reduce heat build up as the buffing is spread across a larger surface on the paint. This will prevent paint burn-through even if the DA is left in the same spot for a longer time. For rotary, there is always a risk of paint burn-through. The second obvious benefit is a larger throw DA will have more buffing action. A DA with larger throw will cover more area in a single orbit. So a larger throw DA would get the job done faster.

Another safety feature that DA has over rotary is the free-spinning spindle. With the power turned off, the spindle on a DA is free to rotate. This mechanism will act as a fail safe if too much force is applied when buffing with a DA. With the DA running, if too much force is apply, it will stop spinning and only orbits. This will surely prevent paint burn-through. Of course, there is also another kind of DA known as forced DA that will continue to spin even if heavy force is exerted during buffing. I will leave that out from this post as it is not very common. You can search the Internet for more info.

Most common DA's come with orbit diameter ranging from 2-8 mm. My Bosch GEX 125-1-AE has a 2.5mm orbit. This 2-8 mm range used to be the standard for many years until Rupes introduced large throw DA. The two famous models from them are the 15mm and 21mm throw. That two models revolutionized DA and more work can be done with less time. That could be the reason why there are now many copies of large throw DA from China.

So, why did I chose the 15mm over 21mm? Unlike many professionals that have multiple tools, I am just a guy working my own cars under my car porch. That means I can only have one or two tools with a tight budget. I guess 15mm is sort of the middle ground for me. It is better and "newer" than a normal 8mm and way better than my current 2.5mm but still small enough for me to work on smaller areas like head lamps and side mirrors.

Plans to Test Out the DA

I have yet to try this new DA. One of my rides is due for resealing with a 4 months old sealant. I am planning to work it with a pre-wax cleanser (to remove old sealant and very very mild scratches) with this new DA :-p and reseal it. Well, that might not do justice for the new DA but the conditions of my rides are still good that I do not need any paint cutting or compounding yet. There are two reasons that I am blaming in delaying the resealing. First is the the rainy season (yes, yes, blame it on the weather when I am lazy). Second is that the sealant seems to be still holding strong after 4 month. Using spray wax after every wash does extend the durability of existing wax or sealant.

Autoglym SRP + EGP beading

Check out the beading after a heavy downpour. However, if we look closely, there is some very mild watermarks. Since I do not wish to cut the paint, a pre-wax cleanser will do. Something like Autoglym SRP again (with fillers to hide some minor scratches) or Dodo Juice Lime Prime with very mild abrasive.

That's it for this post. I will post an update after using this new DA.

Update: Check-out my hands-on on the Clover 15mm throw DA here.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Complete Interior Care

In this post, I will share the products and methods I used to keep the interior of a car clean and protected. This is going to be a long post. Here we go.


I normally start the by removing large and loose objects. Not only will they make your interior look messy but they can also be hazardous. Once cleared, I would remove all floor mats. For coil mats; if weather permits; I would wash them with diluted all purpose cleaner like Optimum Power Clean (or repacked as Alien Clean in Malaysia by Detailien). For carpet mats, I would give each of them a "good beating" by to remove all loose dirts like stones and sand. I would then sun-baked them while I work the rest of the interior

For vacuuming, I would recommend a good vacuum cleaner with multiple nozzles for cleaning different surfaces and reaching tight corners. A cordless vacuum is the best here but a good quality corded or car-powered vacuum will work too. 

Same as washing the exterior, I would usually vacuum from top to bottom. I would start from the dash with a brush type nozzle and then to the car seat. For hard to reach places, I would use a hose extension connected to a brush type nozzle.

For car seat, I would fully recline them to expose hidden areas in between the backrest and the seat.

See all the dirt trapped in between?

Here, I use the brush type nozzle directly. More power.

For the seams, I would use my hand to push them apart and vacuum off all the trapped dirt. This is especially important if you have leather seats in your car. Imagine a trapped sand in between the seams. With car moving and somebody seating on the seat, that sand will move about and scratch or worst cut the leather.

Yes, "pry" the seams open. I could not show it it the picture as I only have 2 hands. One to hold the vacuum and another to hold my camera (phone).

Once all the top surfaces like dash, door panels, and seats are vacuumed, I would vacuum the floor.

This is where different nozzles come in handy. This is a narrow opening nozzle (no brush).

Cleaning Fabric Surfaces

Most of the time, I would only vacuum and use a little Febreze for fabric surfaces like car fabric seats and door panels. However, if they are really dirty like if there is a stubborn stain, I have a few stuffs that I would normally use.

First up, is Autoglym Interior Shampoo. It is a multipurpose interior cleaner dedicated for car care. I would take a microfiber towel, spray some cleaner on it, and use the towel to wipe the fabric. I would then follow by wiping with another damped microfiber towel a few times to remove or "rinse off" the shampoo. This is effective for most stains.

If the stain is too stubborn, I have something a little stronger where I can vary the dilution. I would normally go for 10:1 dilution to be economical but could go up to 3:1 as the bottle suggest. This would be Optimum Power Clean. It has been repacked and relabeled by the local authorized distributor (Detailien) to Alien Clean. Same method applies for this. Spray on a microfiber towel. This is to prevent over spray and cleaner staining or spotting. 

There are also some aerosol type foam cleaners from Carplan or Johnson. These would work too but instead of spraying onto a microfiber towel, spray them on direct. Wait for them to foam and wipe. Same thing, I would follow with a damped microfiber towel.

Cleaning Plastic Surfaces and Rubber Strips

The above two cleaners for fabric (Autoglym and Optimum) can be used to clean plastic and rubber surfaces too. They are good for heavier dirt and stain. However, for only cleaning light dust, a milder cleaner can get the work done.

This Meguiar's Quik Interior Detailer is a very mild cleaner. It is perfect for cleaning light dust and finger prints. Similar to the other cleaners, spray onto towel and wipe. This cleaner and the above cleaners provide good cleaning for plastic and rubber surfaces but lack protection. Plastic and rubber surfaces in cars are exposed to high temperature and strong UV light for most of the time. Therefore, besides from keeping them clean, it is also important to protect them. Unlike the old days, most modern car plastics and rubbers already have UV stabilizers and other additives in them. Adding external protection will further enhanced the durability. I still remember our old local-made cars where the plastics will "disintegrate" by just touching them just after a few years of use.

I have a few protectants that I normally used. There are some protectants in the market that are either too glossy or too oily. Also be sure to use something from a reputable manufacturer. I had a bad experience last time in using a sub-standard plastic dressing. The dressing would "vaporized" under hot sun and fogged up all the glass windshields and windows and because of the oily nature, I had to use a strong glass cleaner to clean them off.

The Meguiar's Natural Shine Protectant is one of my favorites. It is not too shiny nor too greasy but offers UV protection. I do not recommend following the directions of "spraying directly on the surface" as stated on the bottle. I would spray some on a microfiber towel, and wipe it on plastic surfaces. Spraying onto a towel gives you better control as we do not want the product to be on everywhere. I then used another clean microfiber towel to wipe off the excess.

Next would be Autoglym Vinyl & Rubber Care. This is like an all-in-one product. It comes with some mild cleaning agent as well as protection. And it smells wonderful. This will be my go-to product if the interior is just dusty, and I need to top up the protection.

Next in the line is the most expensive plastic dressing.

Unlike the Meguiar's Natrural Shine Protectant and Autoglym Vinyl & Rubber Care that come in thick milky white liquid, the Meguair's Ultimate Protectant is a cream. It can be used for both interior and exterior plastic and rubber trims but I do not use it for exterior. My experience of using exterior plastic dressings is that they tend to leave a dark trail after raining. That is why I prefer to use spray wax (read more here). I normally use this only for door panels as it is more durable. This is a little shinny compared to the other two. I do not fancy shining interior surfaces especially the dash as it will reflect on the windscreen and cause glaring. The reflections and glares make it difficult to see the road properly when driving. This product claim to last longer. That is why I mainly use it on door panels as these are the surfaces that come into contact with human the most. However in actual cases, all these dressings last very long especially on surfaces not normally touched. So you would not go wrong with any of them.

A Note on Petroleum Distillates

Some of these protectants contain petroleum distillates. I previously shared my thoughts on them in my earlier post on Tire Shine. If you are concerned about petroleum distillates you can read them in the post here (near the end of the post).

Cleaning Leather

Depending on the type of leather, some are more delicate than others. To be on the safe side, I used a dedicated cleaner and conditioner for my leather seats. There are other detailers who uses diluted all-purpose cleaner for leather and find it to be okay. So, you could try out which works best for you. Be sure to do a spot test before going full on.

Leather seats tend to soil easily and faster compared to other surfaces. Light colored leather will show this more obvious. So far, I have been using Autoglym Leather Cleaner and I am quite pleased with the results. Same thing. Spray on microfiber towel and wipe. Follow with another damped microfiber towel and wipe-rinse-wipe until there is no trace of foam. The cleaner is very effective in removing shinny oily stain.

To protect the leather, I used Autoglym Leather Care Balm. It has a cream-like consistency. 

I use applicator pad for this. First, I would make sure that the leather surfaces is dry. I then poured a little product on the applicator pad and butterfly it (fold in half and open back). I would use the pad and massage in the balm into the leather. Then I used a microfiber towel to gently wipe off the remaining balm. This balm goes on shinny and will stay shinny for up to 48 hours depending on the weather. Once it is fully absorbed and cured, the leather will turn matte. The leather will feel softer and smoother with no oily feel. Frankly, I feel that this is a great product because unlike some spray on leather care that will either feel oily or powdery, this balm does none of that. However it does take a long time to cure.

Cleaning Glass Surfaces

Basically, any good household glass cleaner can do the job but since glass cleaners are the least expensive interior car care stuff, I went for Meguiar's Perfect Clarity Glass Cleaner.

This can be used in both interior and exterior glass. Just use a different towel for each. Again, spray onto a microfiber towel and wipe. Use another clean towel to buff dry. For door windows, lowered them a little so that you could wipe near the edges too.

Cleaning Steering Wheel, Shifter, and Parking Brake Lever

These parts deserved some special attention. The most important thing to note is to NOT to use any dressings or protectants on these parts as they tend to become slippery. It will be dangerous to have a slippery steering wheel!

These parts could be cleaned with a very mild cleaner. I normally use Meguiar's Quik Interior Detailer (the cleaner I used for plastic surfaces as mentioned above). 

Odor Eliminator

We Malaysians love to "tabao" food (packed take-away). The can be from nasi lemak to pisang goreng (fried bananas) to even durians! Although I literary "banned" durians in my cars, some other food gets the pass.

In order to "neutralized" the odor, the natural way is to wind down all windows and "sun bake" the car. However, there are certain times and moments where this method is not feasible. In such cases, I will resort to odor eliminator. The one that I commonly used is from Meguiar's.

I would just normally spray onto floor mats and carpets. And for cars with fabric seats, I would spray onto the seats too. I would not say this odor eliminator is very effective but it works to a certain extent.

Another household item that can be used is Febreze. It has an edge in terms of anti-bacterial.

Air Conditioner

There are a few things that I normally DIY for air-cond. First thing is the cabin filter. I always make sure to use a carbon activated filter over a normal filter. The activated carbon helps to remove unwanted odor. Next is to clean the filter regularly. Remove filter from the designated compartment. Check your owner's manual to see where is the filter located. If you have access to compressed-air or blower, use them to blow-clean the filter. If you have not, just knock or tap on the filters.

To clean or disinfect the interior of the air-cond cooling coils and air passage. I sometimes use diluted IPA (isopropyl alcohol or isopropanol) in an atomizer spray. I would remove the cabin filter and spray some inside. For dilution, I used one part water to one part IPA (99.7%).

Once in a while (or when there is unwanted smell coming out from the air-cond), I would use typical household air-cond cleaner to clean the air-cond. I normally use MrMcKenic Air-Conditioner Cleaner (see here). Other self-rinse DIY air-cond cleaner should do the job too. Instead of the supplied straight nozzle, I would connect it to a tubing (something like fish aquarium air tube). For cleaning, I would insert the tubing all the way into the cooling coil from the front air-cond blower and spray liberally. I would let the cleaner soak for about 15-30 minutes before starting the car to turn on the air-cond for another 15-20 minutes. Be sure to wind down all windows before doing this.

I guess this pretty much covers all for interior care.

There is another useful tool for interior cleaning - steam. I guess I will be keeping them for another post. Till then, happy detailing.