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Sunny days are here again. From road salt clinging to paint to crumbs stuck in the seat seams, it’s time to give your ride a little (okay a lot) of tender loving care. Pick an afternoon or a warm evening, turn on a “working at the car wash” playlist and get to work. Here are a few products and gadgets that will help you on your way.

Washing the car

SansZo Waterless Car Wash

Price: $14.99

Available at: Canadian Tire at the price listed. Other retailers such as and sell it as a kit with a microfibre cloth.

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SansZo Waterless High-Performance Car Wash not only saves you the trip to the car wash and roughly 200 litres of wasted water, it also leaves the car with a streak-free shine under a protective coating that claims to resist surface rust.

The ingredient list is short: water, biodegradable polymer emulsion, lemon-based solvent, preservatives and colourants. All words easy to say and easy on the environment and it’s a breeze to use. A few clean microfibre cloths are all you need. Spray the surface to be cleaned, including chrome and vinyl, and let the microfibre cloth pick up the grime, dirt and salts. The second cloth picks up any residue and leaves a shine.

Exfoliate your car

Mothers California Gold Clay Bar Kit

Price: $34.99

Available at: Canadian Tire and most auto-detailer suppliers.

Sure, the car looks clean, but run your fingers over the paint and you’ll feel a dull bumpy sheen of grime and embedded dust that a wash cannot remove.

Using a clay bar is like giving your paint a spa treatment. It may look like Silly Putty, but it’s actually a synthetic polyelastic resin material designed to gently remove dust and those embedded, dulling contaminants. Many brands market the yellow dough but Mothers products stand out.

Mothers California Gold Clay Bar Kit comes with two clay bars, the spray lubricant and a polish cloth. The directions are simple: Start with a cleaned car, flatten the putty, spray the lubricant and lightly glide the clay over the surface. Feel the little bumps smooth out, then wipe the area clean and repeat on the rest of the car. Run your hand over it again. It will be smooth and blemish free.

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Headlight covers need cleaning, too

Simonize Headlight Polish Restoration Kit

Price: $15.99

Available at: Canadian Tire

Proactive maintenance is a lot cheaper than replacing headlight covers.

Joanne Elves/The Globe and Mail

Take a look at plastic headlight covers. Road salt, sand and just everyday oxidization can cause the covers to become cloudy or yellow. Just like your teeth, the longer you leave the decay, the longer it will take to scrub the surface clean. A little proactive maintenance is a lot cheaper than replacing the covers.

The Simonize Headlight Polish Restoration Kit comes with everything you need except the water, and it’s suggested that you have a steady supply. Start by sticking the grittiest 2000 sandpaper to the yellow buffer tool. Depending on how tarnished your covers are, you may be scrubbing up, down and sideways for quite a while. Continue sanding, moving up through the sandpaper grit size to smooth out and polish the cover. When you are happy with the results, apply the polish cream with the microfibre cloth supplied in the box. Give it all a good rub and you will amazed at how much brighter your headlights are.

Wipe that windshield clean

Crystaltech Nano 2.0 – Liquid Glass Windshield Protector

Price: $29.99 (+10.00 flat shipping rate)

Available at:

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We tested this windshield protector throughout the winter on half of the windshield and were frankly amazed at how well it repelled water, snow and road grime.

The Crystaltech Nano comes in two pouches per application. The first envelope has the cleaning solution, while the second has the protectant. Applying the product is a five-minute, wipe-on-wipe-off procedure. It’s a natural product with no oils or harsh chemicals based on silicon dioxide, which means it is somewhat like applying another layer of glass. The silicon dioxide acts as a very thin layer of protection that works splendidly.

The application we did in the fall is still hanging on and is said to last a year.

Dusting the dash vents and sweeping the upholstery seams

Foam disposable paint brush and old toothbrushes

Price: $1.99

Available at any hardware store

A damp cloth will clean the dash, but what about the embedded spills on textured vinyl and dusty vents? Use a small disposable paintbrush to clean between the vent fins. A quick squirt of SansZo on the foam helps collect the dust. Wipe with a cloth. Use an old toothbrush to really reach those ground-in crumbs in the seams and crevasses of your seats. Have your vacuum ready to suck up the debris. When you are done the seams, dip the toothbrush in water and scrub the vinyl to get it ready for another summer season of spilled ice cream.

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Dog hair be gone using rubber gloves and fabric softener

Available in your laundry room

I wish I’d seen this dog hair removal hack when I had a furball in the back seat. All you need is liquid fabric softener added to a spray bottle of water at a proportion of seven parts water and one part fabric softener. Shake it up and spray a fine mist on the carpet. Put on rubber gloves like the doctors all use and pet the carpet. The fabric softener helps the hair slip from the rug. A dry porous sponge will help pull up that fur, too.

Shopping for a new car? Check out the new Globe Drive Build and Price Tool to see the latest discounts, rebates and rates on new cars, trucks and SUVs. Click here to get your price.

Stay on top of all our Drive stories. We have a Drive newsletter covering car reviews, innovative new cars and the ups and downs of everyday driving. Sign up for the weekly Drive newsletter, delivered to your inbox for free. Follow us on Instagram, @globedrive.

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