Back To School
Detailing For Parents


It’s back to school season, and with that means shopping for clothes and supplies, packing lunches, helping with homework, attending sports and extracurricular activities, and numerous other school-related responsibilities for many parents and guardians. This means even less time to clean and maintain your vehicle; however you should not use these things as a reason to skip out on cleaning your car. Leaving those snack wrappers, empty fountain drinks, fast food bags, and dirty sports uniforms inside of the car can look messy and eventually start to smell, as well as invite bugs and harmful bacteria. Rather than let garbage and other items build up, in this blog we’ll provide some quick tips and methods for detailing for parents, to keep the interior of your vehicle looking great, then we’ll cover some quick methods to clean and protect the exterior of your car, even during the most busy time of the year. 


Creating An Interior Maintenance Checklist

Once you’ve made it back home from school or practice in the afternoon or evening, there are a few things you can do very quickly and easily to help maintain cleanliness inside of your kid hauler before you head inside to start preparing dinner or help with homework assignments and other projects. We’ll provide our recommended checklist of just a few quick and easy items first, then we’ll go into an explanation of each item or task afterward. The checklist is as follows:

Interior Maintenance Checklist - Detailing for Parents

Daily Interior Tasks
There are two things that you should do on an almost-daily basis for the interior of your vehicle, which are removing garbage and clothes/equipment from the vehicle. No one likes sitting down into a dirty or smelly car, so keep a spare detailing bucket or garbage can right nearby in the garage. When you arrive home from the school day or practice, if the kids have an empty fast food drink, french fries or candy on the floor, snack wrappers, dirty napkins, and so on, give them the task of throwing those items away right as they get out of the vehicle before they go into the house. Place them into the bucket or garbage can, then take them to the main garbage can, and separate out recycle items as well. Make the kids a part of the cleaning team, too!
If you don’t have a garage, or if you park your car outside, take a spare detailing bucket or a garbage can outside to gather up any garbage in the vehicle, and then take that to the main garbage can or recycle bin at your home, apartment complex, etc. Once you have taken care of the garbage, the second task is to make sure to gather up any gym bags, dirty uniforms, sports equipment, wet shoes or socks, and anything else, and then take them into the house to clean and have them ready for the next game, practice, or event.

Weekly Interior Tasks
With everything out of the vehicle, you can then clean the interior of the vehicle if necessary. Set up a schedule, so that you can alternate tasks every few days or once a week on a particular day. Most quick interior cleanup tasks can usually be done in 5-10 minutes each, so if you choose only one task for each day, you should be able to work them into your schedule, or into the kids schedule - if they’re old enough to operate some machinery and help out:

  • Use the Air Cannon Jr. to blow out the vehicle’s interior. Blow out under the seats to remove any loose food items like french fries, chips, popcorn, etc. Then use a broom and dustpan to clean up the garage floor, or vacuum the items off of the floor.
  • Alternatively, use a vacuum to clean up crumbs, food, pet hair, and any other items from carpets, seat cushions, and cargo areas. Vacuuming can be a little more time-consuming, so you may want to save this for a weekend task.
  • Keep an 8-Bottle Bag in the trunk or cargo area with a bottle of Total Interior Cleaner, a bottle of Interior Detailer with Microban, and a few Edgeless Utility Towels and Glass Towels.
    • Use the Total Interior Cleaner with an Edgeless Utility Towel for heavier cleaning when necessary, such as stains on leather seats, scrubbing a dirty steering wheel, or getting a spill out of a carpet.
    • You can also use Total Interior Cleaner with a Glass Towel to clean dirty glass areas from a sneeze, dog slobber, and more. Make sure to clean the gauge cluster, side windows, windshield, and entertainment/navigation screen.
    • Use Interior Detailer with Microban to do a quick wipe-down of high-traffic areas such as arm rests, seat backs and seat bottoms, the center console touchscreen and buttons, portable tablets and other entertainment devices, and the dashboard - to keep dust to a minimum and protect these areas from harmful bacteria.

You may want to come up with a schedule to do a specific task on a specific day, such as Interior Detailer wipe-downs on Monday, Air Cannon Jr. blow-out on Wednesday, glass cleaning on Friday, and so on - whatever works best for you and your schedule!

Exterior Maintenance Checklist

When it comes to the exterior of the vehicle, let’s face it, there is very little time in the week for a parent to spend a few hours washing and cleaning the exterior of the vehicle. You may only have time to quickly run the car through a touchless car wash or a pay and spray self service car wash during the week to remove a majority of the dirt from the surface, but these can still leave water spots and areas that will need more care. The checklist below lists items for exterior maintenance that are easy and efficient, and small enough to fit into the 8 Bottle Bag with the other interior maintenance items discussed earlier:

If you take the vehicle through a touchless car wash, give it a quick once-over with Waterless Wash and a few Waterless Wash Towels when you arrive home. Just like our quick interior tasks, this should take around 5-10 minutes. Wipe up any areas on paint and glass that may have some light water spots from the drive home. You can also address areas where the touchless wash may have not removed all of the dirt, such as the lower parts of doors and rocker panels, the back of the trunk, tailgate, or liftgate, and the nooks and crannies of wheel spokes. Then you can re-up a nice dark satin finish and some protection on the tires with Graphene Tire Dressing and the Hex Grip Applicator.

Weekly Exterior Tasks
Throughout the week, you will want to address things like bird droppings, bug splatter, and tree sap so that they do not stain or compromise the clear coat of your car. Once you see any of these types of contamination appear on the vehicle, it is better to clean them off as soon as possible rather than wait several days. Not only will they be more difficult to remove the longer you wait, they are eating away at the clear coat, etching into the glass, or staining chrome more and more as the days go on. For bug guts, spray Waterless Wash generously on the front bumper, hood, headlights, windshield, side mirrors, and anywhere else that may have bug splatter. Allow it to soak for a few minutes to loosen the bugs, then carefully wipe them away with a Waterless Wash Towel.

For bird droppings, do not let these sit on the paint for days - remove them as quickly as possible. The acids in bird droppings can begin to damage finishes like paint, clear coat, chrome, plastic, and rubber in less than 48 hours. Set the Waterless Wash spray nozzle to the stream setting to try to blast as much of the bird bomb off of the paint without touching it with a towel - bird droppings can contain small pieces of rock and gravel that aid in their digestion of hard materials, which can then scratch the finish of your car. Alternatively, use a pressure washer or hose to safely blast the bird droppings off of the surface, then carefully wipe the area with Waterless Wash and a Waterless Wash Towel. Lastly, for tree sap, Waterless Wash can usually remove this as well if it is fresh. Allow the surface to cool down first, and then clean the area in the shade if possible. If the tree sap has been on the vehicle for several days, our Surface Prep can help to break it down more easily, due to the isopropyl alcohol content in the formula.

Bonus Topic: Safe Washing Plus Drying and Sealing Videos
When you do have some free time on a weekend or a day off, you should do a more thorough wash to safely remove dirt, bugs, road grime, brake dust, mud, and more that builds up from everyday driving. Adam explains the Two Bucket Wash and how to avoid scratching your vehicle during the wash process here:How To Wash Your Car Without Scratching Once you have finished washing, you can finish up the drying process by adding more shine and adding a month or more of protection onto the vehicle while drying with H2O Guard & Gloss, our water-activated spray sealant. You can walk through this process in a second video here:How To Dry And Seal Your Car At The Same Time


In this blog, we provided a few quick and easy tasks and tips for parents to maintain their vehicles more easily during the busy school year. Free time is at a premium for busy parents, so we offered some effective processes to spend 5-10 minutes or less a few days throughout the week to clean the interior of the vehicle, keeping it safe from smells and bacteria. Then we offered some fast and efficient weekly tasks to spot-clean the exterior of the vehicle in between full washes to prevent damaging conditions from bird droppings and bug guts. With just a few key chemicals, towels, and applicators, and a few minutes of time out of your busy day, you can maintain your vehicle so that it is safe for both your kids and yourself throughout the school year. If you are uncertain about any product, or have any questions in general, feel free to contact us at, or reach us on our online communities on, Instagram, and Facebook, as well.

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