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Can Auto Detailing Rescue a Car from Messy Kids?

BY: Sean O'Toole | May 15, 2017

Kids aren't exactly known for their cleanliness, and nowhere is this truer than in the car. Not only are they tucked away out of reach in the backseat, they're also surrounded by nooks and crannies where dirt, food, and who-knows-what-else can get ground in until it becomes part of the interior.

All of which gave us an idea. We wanted to see if a professional auto detailer could handle a kid-grade mess, so we visited River North Hand Car Wash and Detailing in Chicago to issue a challenge to the auto detailing experts there: let us simulate a big-time, family-style mess, and see if you can make it look like it never happened. Here's how it went.

Dashboard

 

Removing the crumbs and garbage seemed like it would be easy enough, but restoring the dashboard's like-new shine was truly dazzling.

Backseat

Again the garbage was a gimme, but we were impressed by how effectively the upholstery treatment removed all traces of spills and food stains.

Passenger Seat

This was a test of thoroughness: certainly the detailers would catch the crumbs and dirt on the seat itself, but would they dig into hard-to-reach areas like the space between the seat and the door or that maddening car-door pocket? As you can see, they aced it.

Floor

This poor floor absorbed quite the muddy mess before we handed it off to the pros. But after a vacuuming and floormat wash, the remnants of our simulated soccer practice were no more.

Overall

We gave the detailers a fair challenge, and they more than delivered on their promise to restore sanity to our chaotic car. In a real-world situation we would be thrilled if we brought in a car looking like this...

...and left with one looking like this:

And although the focus of our experiment was on interior car detailing, the exterior didn't look half-bad either: