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Beautiful spring weather is finally here. It’s time to clean your home and garden, but don’t forget about your car. Here are 10 simple tips that will make cleaning less of a chore. After all, upkeep is the best way to maintain the life of your vehicle.

Wash your tires first Wash your tires before tackling the body of your vehicle. Use a mitt, soap, and elbow grease to remove tough, caked-on brake dust that has accumulated in the wheels. And be sure to use a separate wash mitt – never use the same mitt you use on your bodywork. Finish with a shiner such as Turtle Wax ICE Premium Care Tire Shine or Wipe New Tires to keep tires looking new and to prevent them from cracking or discolouring.

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

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Use Two Buckets Wash your car using the 2-bucket method. Fill one bucket with soapy water; the other with clean water. Every time you wash, rinse your mitt in the clear water to keep debris from mixing with the clean wash soap. Use a hose to get lots of foam in the soapy water because foam suspends dirt from your vehicle. Never wash your car in direct sunlight; always wash it in the shade.

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

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Pre-soak your Vehicle Always pre-soak your vehicle before washing to remove loose, excess dirt. Start from the top and work your way down. Wash your vehicle in chunks so it’s easier to remove the soap in stages. Rinse immediately and never let the soap dry. Don’t forget to hose down the undercarriage, too. After drying, finish with a high-quality wax to protect the coating. Apply with a microfibre cloth for a deep shine without scratches, smears or streaks.

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

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No dishwashing soap Use proper cleaners to wash your car - dishwashing soap won’t cut it because it can attack wax and the protective layer on your vehicle. Keep household products like Palmolive or Dawn under the kitchen sink. Instead, use high-quality products such as Sonax Gloss Shampoo or AutoGlym Bodywork Shampoo Conditioner. Don’t use sponges from the kitchen sink, either. They’re abrasive and can damage delicate paint. Invest in high quality mitts made of microfibre, lamb, or sheep.

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

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Repair minor paint chips Do a walk-around to inspect your vehicle for any scratches, scuffs, and chips in the paint. Repair minor dings or scratches immediately. Use auto specific products such as Quixx High performance Paint Scratch Remover or Dupli-Color Scratch Seal sealer pen to permanently seal scratches and chips to prevent rust and flaking.

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

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Restore your headlights When headlights are yellow and cloudy it reduces the light output by nearly 50 per cent. As a result, you won’t see as well at night. From the factory, headlights are coated with a protective layer, but when they get foggy the protection is gone. Use a do-it-yourself kit like a Quixx Headlight Restoration Kit, which comes with polish, sandpaper, and a lens sealer, to remove residue and improve visibility.

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

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Dump the trash Clean out the trash in your cabin as well as the trunk. Remove heavy objects you’ve been hauling around in the trunk such as snow shovels and salt bags for winter emergencies. There’s no need for them now. Plus, ditching the extra weight will improve fuel economy. Vacuum, too. Get under the mats, between the seat crevices, and under child car seats. Don’t forget about vacuuming the trunk.

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

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Dust and disinfect the cabin Use a damp cloth or disinfectant wipes to remove germs and dust throughout the cabin. Clean the glove box, storage bins, and door panels. Wipe-away grimy fingerprints on LCD and navigation screens. Remove sticky coffee and pop stains in the cup holders, too. Finish with a vinyl or plastic protector such as vanilla-scented Sonax Cockpit Cleaner or citrus-scented AutoGlym Vinyl and Rubber Care Conditioner to leave the cabin looking and smelling good.

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

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Treat your leather If you have leather upholstery treat it properly. Leather is high maintenance especially in pale interior colours. Apply leather cleaner such as Mothers Leather Conditioner or Lexol Leather Care onto a soft bristle brush or a clean 100 per cent terry cloth towel and get into the grain to remove dirt from the leather. Afterwards, condition with a leather balm to hydrate and protect leather from further abuse. Leave it on for a few minutes and buff it to a dry finish.

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

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Don’t use Windex on car windows Skip the Windex. Use high-quality glass cleaners that are streak free, ammonia free and won’t damage car windows such as Armor All Extreme Glass Cleaner or Turtle Wax ICE Car Glass Cleaner. Household glass cleaners can scratch or damage the film on tinted windows. Use proper micro fibre clothes or even a newspaper to wipe. Fold a newspaper in four and wipe away dirt from the windows – you’ll get a clean, streak-free shine every time.

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

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If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

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