As most know by now, I tend to keep my car clean. Very clean. But I've never taken my car to a professional for any cleaning work - until now.
The primary reason I did this time, was because I had recently driven to a place where, I suspect enough pollen accumulated in my car so that, even with the recently installed A/C filter (and yes on recirculate), my hay fever was still triggered. I was sneezing so much, and my nose running so much, I had tissues stuffed up my nostrils...
So I had to figure out a way to clean the interior without suffering, and clean it such that there was a significant reduction in pollen.
Enter Kabe-san at RAPT. I've gone to him before in the past for some minor body work and for tinting my windows, but his true profession is auto detailing. So I was curious to see what methods he used as well, perhaps there would be some techniques I could use.
As you can see, pretty busy times for RAPT, right during the Golden Week holidays.
What bothered me most, was the amount of dust in the air ducts, like this, that I just couldn't seem to remove:
|See all that pollen, dust, etc. on the bottom of the vent?|
He was also nice enough, to post on the RAPT blog, the steps he took to clean my car. I've taken the following photos, and summarized the steps from the RAPT blog at: http://rapt.livedoor.biz/archives/1980827.html
First step, before he took the photos, was to clean the dashboard. Then...
|Remove front seats|
|Adding Steam to loosen up the embedded dirt in the carpet|
|Using a "rinser" he then vacuumed up all the dirt and grime|
Wow looks cleaner already!
|Here is the driver's seat before any work|
|Steam to break up the oils|
|The "rinser" again to vacuum it up...|
|The dirt just from the floor|
|Nice and clean after the steam cleaning... letting the seats and floor dry.|
|This looks clean|
|But using a special cleaning solution and sponge he rubbed this off...|
After the above, he finished off other sections of the car, including the trunk!
He also told me he used a special tool to clean the vents:
|You can see there is much less dust here!|
What the photos don't show, is how the cloth materials now feel cleaner - like brand new - and the car smells different. Before it had a slight industrial smell, but somewhat "manly." (a combination of smoke and engine blow-by... or so I thought)?? But now the car smells like new car...
Interestingly, Kabe-san told me that the previous (and first) owner of my car was a smoker (I'm not)! To me, everything looked very clean, but apparently when he steam cleaned the ashtray, there was some tell tale brownish runoff - Kabe-san surmises the previous owner must have smoked with the driver's side window open, arm resting on the armrest... And actually, this explains why my armrest shows some wear there (the cushioning is gone).
He was also kind enough to put an "after" photo up on his blog.
Anyway, given the pricing, which is very reasonable, this may be something I do once a year, as I do love the new car feel and smell.
PS - One thing we discussed afterwards - does anyone know of any makers of high quality automobile carpet? Would love to do such an upgrade...