I Svended something!*

*not really, but I did take some advice and product recommendation from the man.

My big project over my vacation was to detail my mom’s 2005 Acura RL. I posted about driving it last year. This thing has been a good car, but it has been washed only infrequently, and the interior has been cleaned only once that I can document. Over it’s life, it has been used to transport little nephews and nieces, neighbors, groceries, rock salt, grain for the horses, stuff from the hardware store...and that’s only the stuff I know about. I can’t believe I didn’t take before pics, but it’s probably for the best so as not to scare the children or readers with pacemakers. The upholstery was covered in a layer of what I can only call grime. The exterior has plenty of dents and nicks, and the paint has swirls and scratches.


The only present my mom asked for her birthday was to have the car cleaned and washed. So, that’s what I and my sister decided to do.

The interior clean-out

After removing enough loose change, water bottles and soda cans, old papers, and miscellaneous flotsam to fill a small suitcase, we vacuumed the carpets and floor mats and then steam cleaned them with a Bissell cleaner. My sister then Scotchguarded them again future stains. I don’t know how much protection that will give, but we gave it a go. It completely removed some stains like the old Coke spill on the driver’s side, but other ones are there like a bad tattoo you regret the morning after.

For the upholstery and steering wheel, we started out trying recommended methods I’ve had from here, like Woolite, and also vinegar/linseed oil mixes the internet suggested. In the end, the thing that worked best was diluted Krud Kutter from Home Depot. Gasp in horror if you must, but it was the only thing that really cleaned off the grime with enough elbow grease. We spot tested it first for discoloration or damage to the leather. I sprayed it on, worked it in with a soft paint brush I bought for the purpose, and wiped before it dried with a microfiber towel. The transformation was near miraculous, but if you decide to try this, be conservative. Once the grime is gone, stop or you can start to cause discoloration. Similarly, don’t let it sit for long or dry in. Heeding the warnings I heard from Oppo, we didn’t put any conditioners on afterward.


The dash and plastics needed little more than a wipe down, and I used some Armor All we had for that.

The exterior

Working between rainy days, I managed to get the car washed, actually washed twice. The first time, my daughter and her cousin volunteered to wash Grandma’s car, so I let them. They went at it with all the vigor and precision of 12 year olds, doing small sections, rinsing as they went. I gave them some Armor All car wash liquid we had. That stuff turned out to be crap. The car was left with streaks all over it, even though it was towel dried. I later redid the whole thing myself with some Turtle Wax car wash liquid. My sister got the roof for me. After drying, it looked mice and clean. I then applied a coat of Adam’s Buttery Wax, per Svend’s recommendation. In addition to other sealants, it has carnauba to fill in scratches and swirls in the abused paint. It did a great job, and my sister wants to try it out on her little RSX (the search for which I’ve written about before, back in February). The windows got a once over with glass cleaner. Here are some poor pics after I did it, because I took them in the garage on a rainy day.


The result

The only result that matters. My mom was ecstatic. She never thought her car would look this good again, especially the interior. I know it wasn’t a real Svending. We didn’t even touch the engine bay. And we didn’t use any special wheel products, etc. But we done a good thing, my sister and I, with a little help from my kid and nephew. I am pleased.

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