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Everything You Need to Detail Your Car at Home – Review Geek

A hand wiping down the exterior of a car.
Bhakpong/Shutterstock

Nobody wants to drive a car that’s covered in coffee stains, paint streaks, and years worth of sneaker-dirt. If you’re ready to drive a car that feels brand new, then it’s time to detail that thing.

Detailing is tough, rewarding work. An occasional detailing job can protect your car from permanent stains and streaks, increase windshield and headlight visibility, and maintain your car’s trade-in value.

You could pay a professional $100-$200 to detail your car (it’s worth the money), but technically speaking, this is work that you can do on your own for peanuts. So let’s get right into it. We’re going to go over the cleaning products and tools that you’ll need to detail each part of your car, and we’re going to give some suggestions on how to use these products effectively.

Cleaning Kits

A bundle of cleaning supplies on the ground next to a car.
TakeroSun/Shutterstock

Before we get into the dirty details, let’s start with a few car cleaning kits. Some people refuse to take these kits seriously, but they’re a great budget option for people who don’t own any car cleaning products (after all, this article is a bit of a grocery list).

Anyway, here are some of our favorite car cleaning kits. Some of these are all-purpose cleaning kits, while others are focused on tools or specialized cleaning products:

  • Turtle Wax Ultimate Kit: A bargain cleaning kit for your car’s interior and exterior. The only thing that this kit is missing is a foaming cleaner for your carpet and upholstery.
  • Armor All Premier Kit: Another affordable cleaning kit for your car’s interior and exterior. Like the Turtle Wax kit, this kit has everything but a foaming cleaner for your carpet and upholstery.
  • Chemical Guys Car Wash Bucket Kit: A great kit full of cleaning products and wax for your car’s exterior. This kit doesn’t come with any products for the interior of your vehicle.
  • Mofeez 9-Piece Cleaning Tool Kit: This kit doesn’t come with any cleaning products. Instead, it’s loaded with cleaning tools like microfiber cloths, brushes, handled sponges, and squeegees.
  • Headlight Cleaning Kit: A cheap headlight cleaning kit can take the foggy film off of your headlights.

Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty. We’ll start with the hard interior surfaces of your car and then move on to upholstery, the car’s body, and the windows.

Start with Hard Interior Surfaces

A man wiping down the interior of his car.
Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Start by cleaning your car’s hard interior surfaces—the cup holders, the dashboard, etc. You want to do this before cleaning your car’s carpet or upholstery, as you’ll probably dislodge some unsavory crumbs and dust while wiping around the interior of the vehicle.

This part’s easy, it’s just like wiping down your kitchen or bathroom. Here are some of the cleaning products you’ll need to detail those hard surfaces:

  • All-Purpose Cleaner: Don’t clean your car’s interior with bleach, specialty cleaner, or vinegar. Instead, use a gentle all-purpose cleaner from CarGuys or Chemical Guys. Household brands will work fine (so long as they don’t contain bleach).
  • UV Protectant Spray: The plastic, rubber, and vinyl inside of your car can discolor due to UV exposure. It’s not necessary, but a UV protectant spray will keep your interior from discoloring over time (it’ll also give your interior a showroom finish). Some protectants double as all-purpose cleaners.

But you can’t just spray a bunch of all-purpose around your car and call it a day. You have to get into the cracks, wipe things down, and make sure that nothing is sticky. For that, you’ll need a few cleaning tools:

  • Compressed Air: Use compressed air to push dirt out of crevasses and buttons. Canless air will work too.
  • Toothbrushes or Detailing Brushes: Toothbrushes and detailing brushes are great for getting dirt and grime out of vents, buttons, and crevasses. You can even dab them with some all-purpose cleaner for tough stains.
  • Cloths or Sponges: Use microfiber cloths or sponges to clean the surfaces inside of your car. If you plan on using a UV protectant spray, then you’ll want to work it in with a microfiber cloth.

Again, cleaning the surfaces inside of your car is just like wiping down a kitchen or a bathroom. It’s not difficult at all (although it requires some acrobatics). Now that those surfaces are clean, it’s time to take care of those nasty seat stains.

Make Your Upholstery and Carpeting Look like New

A man vacuuming down the interior of his car.
bogdanhoda/Shutterstock

Car upholstery and carpeting can get pretty nasty, but they’re actually pretty easy to clean. You just need some special products (specifically for cloth or leather) and a bit of elbow grease. Just be sure to take the floormats out of your car so you can get things as clean as possible.

Here are some of the cleaning products for your car’s upholstery and carpeting:

  • Foaming Fabric Cleaner: Use a foaming cleaner to get the stains out of your upholstery and carpeting. Automotive brands like Chemical Guys or Turtle Wax are great, but common brands like Woolite will work too.
  • Leather Cleaner and Conditioner: Clean your leather seats with an all-purpose cleaner, then hit em’ with some leather conditioner so that they stay soft and crack-free. You could also stick with inexpensive household brands like Weiman.

And of course, you’ll need some tools to work those chemicals into your seats and carpeting:

  • A Vacuum: You’ll need to vacuum some of the dirt, dust, and crumbs out of your car. You could use your vacuum’s hand attachment, a cordless vacuum, a Shop-Vac, or the vacuum at your local car wash. If you live in an apartment, check if the complex has a car vacuum for tenants.
  • Scrub Brushes: You’ll need to scrub your cloth upholstery and carpeting with a brush (or a brush drill attachment). Leather upholstery should be cleaned and buffed with a soft leather brush.
  • Cloths or Sponges: You can use a cloth or sponge to spot-clean upholstery. You can also use them to wash the upholstery (with water) once you’ve got the stains out.
  • Towels: Once you’re done cleaning your upholstery and carpeting, dry it off and let it air out. Otherwise, you might end up with mildew.

Now that you’re done cleaning your upholstery and carpeting let’s clean the car’s exterior and wheels. After that, we’ll take care of the car’s windows. (You can clean the windows before the body if you want, but the windows will look cleaner if you do them last.)

Knock Out the Exterior Body and Wheels

A man wiping down the hood of his car.
REDPIXEL.PL/Shutterstock

Alright, it’s time to clean your car’s body and wheels. It’s easy—you start by washing the wheels, and then you clean the car’s exterior from the top down. After everything’s cleaned and dried, you apply a polish or wax.

Here are the cleaning products you’ll need, including some optional products for tough jobs:

  • Wash Soap: Don’t use dish soap on your car. It’s just too abrasive. Instead, stick with wash soap from an automotive brand like Meguiar’s, Chemical Guys, or Armor All.
  • Bug and Tar Remover: Hit trouble spots with some bug and tar remover. (Or use the all-purpose cleaner that you bought earlier.)
  • Polish and Wax: Once your car is cleaned, you’ll want to dry it off and hit it with some wax. This will protect your car’s paint job and prevent water spots. Use a popular brand like Meguiar’s, Turtle Wax, or Shine Armor.
  • Detailing Clay: A little detailing clay can take off pollutant stains and unwanted paint without scratching your car’s body.
  • Tire Cleaner: There are a ton of different tire cleaning products on the market. Cheap foaming detergents will get the job done just fine, but some specialized wheel cleaning products will also make your wheels shiny.
  • Black Trim Restorer: If the rubber or plastic trim on your car is looking a bit discolored, then hit it with some trim restorer.
  • A Headlight Cleaning Kit: A cheap headlight cleaning kit can take the foggy film off of your headlights.

And here are the cleaning tools you’ll need to detail your car’s exterior. The most important things to have are a hose, buckets, and a wash mitt (but you can be flexible if you want to save some money):

  • A Hose: Yeah, you need a hose or pressure washer to clean a car. If that’s not an option, then try using the hose at a self-service car wash, at a friend’s house, or at an apartment complex (preferably one that you live in).
  • Buckets: Use two buckets to wash your car. One bucket is for soapy water; the other is for clean water.
  • A Wheel Brush: Hit your wheels with some wheel cleaner and a long wheel brush. You could also use a typical hand brush or a drill attachment. Deal with the wheels before you start cleaning your car’s body (or you’ll end up with tire grime all over your freshly cleaned car).
  • Wash Mitt: Wash mitts are soft, easy to use, and they make exterior cleaning a breeze. Dunk it in your soapy water and start cleaning your car from the top down.
  • Microfiber Cloths and Sponges: Use a cloth or a sponge to work out the grime that’s too tough for your wash mitt. You’ll also need a microfiber cloth to apply wax or polish (you could also use a motorized waxer).
  • Drying Towels: Dry off your car with some microfiber towels. Then, use microfiber cloths to apply wax or polish.

You’re just about done with all this detailing work. Now it’s time to tidy up your windshield and windows.

Save the Glass for Last

A man cleaning a car's windshield.
Andrey_Popov

It can be tempting to clean your glass early on in the detailing process, but it’s best to save the glass for last. Otherwise, you can ruin all that glass cleaning work while hosing down your car’s exterior or spraying chemicals on your dashboard. Anyway, this should be the easiest part of the detailing process. It’s all downhill from here!

Here are some of the cleaning products that you’ll need to clean your windows:

  • Glass Cleaner: You can clean your car’s glass with an all-purpose cleaner, specialty glass cleaner, Windex, or soap and water.
  • Detailing Clay: Are your windows coated with an impossible layer of fog or film? It could be pollutants or paint stains. Some detailing clay will pull that crud off without hurting your windows. Detailing clay should also help with smoker stains.
  • Rain-X: This isn’t an absolute necessity, but Rain-X is a cheap, reliable product that increases visibility in the rain.

And of course, the tools you’ll need to get the job done:

  • Microfiber Cloths and Sponges: Microfiber cloths are great for cleaning glass. They’re durable, and they don’t leave streaks. But tough stains might require a little help from Mr. Sponge.
  • Interior Reaching Tool: The interior corners of your car’s windshield can make a cleaning job impossible. If you hate dealing with that dang windshield, then use one of these reaching tools.
  • A Squeegee: You can dry your windows with a cloth, but you’ll be thankful for a squeegee should you decide to hose down or power wash your car.

If anything, we suggest buying an interior reaching tool, but you could just clean your interior windows with a cloth.


There you have it. We’ve covered every product that you need to detail your car, including a few products that, while not necessary, can make the process easier and protect your car from future stains and damage. Again, this is a big grocery list, so we suggest sticking with the budget cleaning kits if you’re trying to save money.





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Wyze Smart Home Starter Pack Includes 8 Items For $99, Today Only – Review Geek

Wyze Message Alert Example
Wyze

Wyze has launched a Smart Home Starter Pack that comes with one regular camera, three smart bulbs, two smart plugs, one sensor kit, and an SD card for $109—$99 when you add a $10 gift card to your cart.

The starter kit’s price doesn’t necessarily position it to be a “deal” as much as the kit is meant to be a convenience for people who would rather not buy everything separately. That said, there is some money to be saved here depending on how you purchase the items.

There are a lot of moving parts involved with this “deal.” For starters, the $109 starter kit becomes $99 when you add a $10 Wyze Day Gift Card to your cart—the discount is applied during checkout. Then the shipping costs $2.99 but the company is offering free shipping today on purchases over $25 with the promo code WYZEDAY2019. All told, after taxes and both discounts are applied, the starter kit costs $106.23 for us to order.

As some folks around the web have noticed, you can technically add all the separate items to your cart on Wyze.com and they only cost around $90. However, purchasing the items separately costs $20 to ship from Wyze, and again, the Smart Home Starter Pack ships for $2.99. But because Wyze is offering free shipping today, if you’re willing to add all the items to your cart separately, you can get the total price down to around $96 shipped.

When that free shipping promotion ends, the starter kit will be a better deal, especially while Wyze is handing out a free $10 gift card with the kit. And if you think you can just order everything individually from Amazon and get free shipping from them for less cash, the items are priced higher there by about the same amount that Wyze charges for shipping.

Wyze Smart Home Starter Pack
Wyze

Wyze already sells its stuff at stiff prices so we aren’t too surprised that the kit doesn’t save you much money. It would be difficult for Wyze to go any cheaper when you can’t find a better plug, bulb, or camera at the prices the company has already set.

It may also be worth noting that this convenience bundle wasn’t necessarily supposed to be the star of this year’s “Wyze Day,” a day when Wyze celebrates the launch of the company by announcing new products, promotions, and so on.

This Wyze Day makes two years for the company and it was planning to reveal a new product, but that didn’t work, according to a Wyze post on Facebook. It’s unclear what that unannounced product is, though the company has many devices in development, including a doorbell, an outdoor camera, a scale, a smart thermostat, color bulbs, more bulb sizes, and a door lock.

Source: Wyze





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Spotify Users Can Now Get a Free Google Home Mini

Spotify is giving away a free Google Home Mini to all Premium subscribers in the US. This applies to both Individual users and Family account holders. However, there are some limitations on eligibility, and the offer only applies for a limited time “while supplies last”.

In October 2018, Spotify offered a free Google Home Mini


Spotify Family Users Can Get a Free Google Home Mini




Spotify Family Users Can Get a Free Google Home Mini

Spotify Premium for Family subscribers can get a free Google Home Mini speaker as part of their existing Spotify subscription.
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to Spotify Premium for Family subscribers. The promotion lasted for two months, with Spotify and Google teaming up to get more people using its products. Now, a year on, the offer has returned.

How to Get a Free Home Mini From Spotify

According to For the Record, the offer now applies to all Premium subscribers in the US, whether they pay for an Individual plan or a Family plan. If that describes you, you can get a free Google Home Mini between now and November 15, 2019. Or until supplies last.

There are some caveats. If you’re currently using Spotify Premium on a free trial, you’re not eligible. Subscribers to Spotify’s Premium Student plan are also not eligible. And if you nabbed a Google Home Mini in last year’s promotion you’re also not eligible.

To claim your free Google Home Mini from Spotify, do the following:

  1. Visit this website, and either sign into your account or sign up for an account.
  2. Once logged in, select the type of account you have to reserve your Home Mini.
  3. If you qualify for the offer, you’ll receive an email confirmation.
  4. A second email will arrive with a link to the Google Store and a discount code.
  5. Click on that link to claim your Google Home Mini with the discount applied.

Is It Worth Signing Up for Spotify Premium?

This is a fantastic offer for existing Spotify Premium subscribers. And if you have been sitting on the fence about whether to sign up for Spotify Premium, this could make it worth taking the plunge. If so, you should then check out our unofficial guide to Spotify


Spotify Music Streaming: The Unofficial Guide




Spotify Music Streaming: The Unofficial Guide

Spotify is the biggest music streaming service around. If you’re not sure how to use it, this guide will walk you through the service, as well as offer some crucial top tips.
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.





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Slack adds app home screen, better app discoverability

At its Spec developer conference, Slack today unveiled new features aimed at bolstering app discoverability and reducing the need to leave Slack for a variety of tasks. The changes include a new app home screen and redesigned app launcher, the addition of modal windows, and an extension of app “actions” across the platform. 

Accessing other apps from within Slack has long been key to the collaboration tool’s appeal; there are now more than 1,800 third-party apps available in the company’s App Directory.  Options include integrations with the likes of Microsoft, Salesforce, Workday and Google and for Slack-specific bots and services Polly and Troops.

Slack said 600,000 daily active registered developers are now building on the platform. That prompted the company to find ways to make it easier for developers to create new services – and for users to access those services.

One of the new features is the app home screen, which lets developers offer new functions for individual apps. The software, for instance, can now display information related to a user’s work (like upcoming tasks or pending expenses) and the ability to interact directly from the home screen. 

The Google Calendar app, for example, can display a user’s schedule for the current or future date and let users respond to meeting requests or join video calls directly.

Developers can customize home screens using the Block Kit UI framework launched last year. 

The Google Calendar app home in Slack Slack

Google Calendar is one of the first apps to make use of Slack’s app home screen.

App home screens are accessed by clicking on the new app launcher in the Slack sidebar that gives an overview of all installed and available apps. 

“Previously, a user had to hunt around or search for apps that they interacted with in the past. Now, we provide a single entry point to easily access that,” said Andy Pflaum, Slack director of product. “You can think of this like an app on your phone, where every time you open an app you’re taken to the same starting point – so it is a consistent experience and a user knows where to navigate from there.” 

App home is now available as an open beta.

Slack app launcher Slack

Slack’s app home screen is designed to make it easier for users to see what apps they can use, and how.

Slack has also extended the capabilities of its “actions” feature so it’s accessible from other parts  of the platform. Actions, unveiled last year at the company’s first Spec conference, let users interact with apps by clicking on a context menu placed on the right-hand corner of a Slack messages. 

App action menus can now be accessed from an icon in the sidebar, and users can pin actions to a Slack channel. Users can also search for app actions with the Slack Quick Switcher.  

“Slack is adding value through integrations, and [id] not just a chat application,” said Wayne Kurtzman, a research director at IDC. “Developers believe the new Slack app toolkit will make it easier to leverage much of their existing IT stack with low-code solutions.”

He added: “Enterprises have to realize, regardless of the collaboration platform they use, integrations are how the average employee will access IT stack applications.”

App windows

Another feature that developers can customize are multi-step modal “windows.” These offer another way to add detailed information into apps or display interactive choices, and offer an alternative method to conversational bot interactions for certain tasks. 

Qualtrics, which sells survey and employee experience software, is using windows to distribute more advanced surveys to users in Slack, while Bridge – a learning management system – offers a way for users to search and register for courses without switching apps.  

“Between the App Home and Windows we are giving developers a lot more surface area on  which they can build their interactive apps, and it means that users are doing less context switching and less jumping in and out of applications,” said Pflaum. 

The windows feature is now available.

Granular permissions narow data access

To encourage more organizations to deploy third-party integrations, Slack also introduced granular permissions that allow developers to request only the necessary information for an app to function.  

In the past, a “bot token” required a full range of permissions, something that could deter more security-minded admins from using a third-party app.

“That change is going to go a long way to make more enterprises be able to install more apps, because they’ll be able to see specifically what the app is going to do,” said Slack’s director of developer relations, Bear Douglas.

Granular permissions can now be accessed as an open beta.

Finally, Slack also said it has introduced a certification program to give admins and developers accreditation for expertise in deploying, managing and creating apps for the Slack platform.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.



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It’s Easy to Make Them at Home – LifeSavvy

woman dipping an apply in a bowl of melted caramel
Aquarius Studio/Shutterstock

Biting into a crisp, caramel-dipped apple is one of fall’s greatest pleasures. Learn how to make caramel apples following these easy steps.

There are many ways to make caramel apples right at home. To be clear, we’re talking about apples covered in buttery rich caramel that will cover your teeth with each bite—not the bright red and hard candy-coated apples that might send you to the dentist. For a rundown on the difference, check out this quick look at caramel and candy apples.

How to Make Caramel Apples

Making caramel apples is a fun fall tradition in many homes, but if you have yet to try it, we’ll walk you through the steps. From preparing your apples to choosing tasty Halloween toppings, we’ve got something yummy for you to try.

Making caramel apples isn’t a supply heavy task, but you do need a few things:

  • A candy thermometer: Depending on which recipe you choose, you may need a candy thermometer to ensure your caramel sauce is at the right temperature.
  • Lollipop or Popsicle sticks: You’ll need to pierce your apples after removing the stem to create a handle for this sweet treat. Sturdy skewers, chopsticks, or sticks from outside also do the trick. If you want your apples to look as professional as possible, you can always buy stout bamboo skewers made specifically for the task.

Supplies in hand, you’re ready to prep!

Prepare the Apples

Placing a skewer in an apple
Emilee Unterkoefler

Wash your apples thoroughly to remove all the wax from the skin and then dry your apples completely before dipping. Cortland, Empire, and Granny Smith apples are all popular for this yummy snack.

Remove the stems and use a Popsicle stick, lollipop stick, or skewer to pierce through the apple as a way to hold your delicious treat. You’ll want to pierce through the section of the apple where you just removed the stem.

Get the Cooling Station Ready

Generously buttering the parchment paper (apples in the background)
Emilee Unterkoefler

Place a piece of parchment paper on a large cookie sheet. Using room temperature butter, generously grease your parchment paper. The butter will help keep the caramel apples from sticking after being placed on the parchment paper.

Set Up the Yummy Decoration Station

Separate bowls of decorative ingredients including sprinkles, candy corn, chocolate chips, and M&M's
Emilee Unterkoefler

You can dazzle your apples in so many ways shortly after you coat them with caramel. You’ll want to choose which toppings you want to use beforehand, so they’re ready to go after your apples have been dipped and slightly cooled.

Once you’ve chosen your favorite tasty embellishments, prepare them by setting each aside in its own bowl. After you coat your apples, you’ll sprinkle or dip them with these yummy decorations.

Heat the Caramel Dipping Sauce

You can prepare caramel sauce in multiple ways, depending on which ingredients you have available or how much time you want to spend. We’ve included three recipes to show you the varieties of caramel sauces you can make.

Caramel Sauce Using Melted Caramel Candies: For a quick and easy caramel sauce using melted caramel candies, check out this recipe. Involve the kids by having them unwrap each individual piece. All you’ll need to do is add a couple of tablespoons of milk, warm it up in the microwave, and your dipping sauce will be ready to go.

Get the Recipe: All Recipes

Homemade Caramel Sauce: If you want to cook up your caramel sauce, you’ll love the flavor this popular recipe brings out in each bite. By combining butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and a few other ingredients, this sauce makes the perfect rich and delightful coating.

We used this recipe to create the images for this tutorial.

Get the Recipe: Food.com

Another Homemade Caramel Sauce: This caramel sauce uses a few different ingredients like heavy cream, sugar, and molasses, but the result tastes great, too.

Get the Recipe: Simply Recipes

While all three recipes are delicious, each is special in its own way.

Dip the Apples

Dipping apples in caramel sauce
Emilee Unterkoefler

After you’ve made your caramel sauce, transfer it to a room-temperature bowl. Placing the hot caramel into a separate bowl will help cool and thicken your sauce. This is also a cautionary step so that when you dip your apples, you don’t burn your hand.

Carefully dip one apple at a time in the caramel sauce. Swirl and turn your apple so that it becomes fully coated, but leave a little bit of apple near the stick showing.

Pull the apple up and allow the excess caramel to drip back into the bowl.

Cool the Apples, Then Decorate

After you dip an apple, transfer it to the cookie sheet with the generously greased parchment paper. Once all apples are coated and transferred, place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for about ten minutes.

This will help cool the caramel just enough so the embellishments and tasty decorations still stick well.

You can either roll your apple in a bowl filled with your choice of decoration or sprinkle them on. Grab your favorite candy bar and crush it up or choose chopped nuts as your coating. The possibilities are endless.





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