CAR STORIES > My Mom Started My Auto Detailing Career

My Mom Started My Auto Detailing Career

Brad's car pics 012The Birth of an Auto Detail Business

There I was, a senior in high school, and I bought my first car. I had saved for two years to buy a 1968 Ford Mustang. Now this was one cool car. It had a ton of miles on it, bad brakes and worn out tires, but it was mine!

The day I brought the car home my mom said we needed to clean it. It had been smoked in and had a very dingy white interior. She couldn’t stand it – I knew she wouldn’t ride in it the way it was.

Mom’s Basic Tools for Auto Detailing

Mom came out to the driveway with a bucket of soapy water, a bottle of 409 cleaner, some towels and a scrub brush. I think I got my OCD nature from her – things just had to be clean. The white interior wasn’t going to make this job any easier.

She started off by scrubbing down the vinyl headliner with the 409. The soap turned brown as she scrubbed. After she had gotten the whole roof I dried it with a towel. It turned dark brown. Gross. I couldn’t believe how clean it was – I was blown away.

Next, we tackled the seats. They were so dirty they hardly looked white. We must have scrubbed them three times. Mom just wouldn’t give up until they looked bright white.

After the seats were clean and dry it was time to get the rest of the interior clean. Mom had to take a Tab break. (If you remember that diet cola, then you know what generation I am from.) Once we had our rest, it was time to dive back in. Mom had me scrub down the door and carpets. The next thing she showed me was how to clean the dash. Man, this car was looking fantastic. I guess I didn’t buy as much of a beater as I thought.

No Car Cleaning Job is Complete Without Sparkling Windows

Next, Mom scrubbed the windows inside and out. She was a terror with the Windex – she cleaned everything with that stuff. If you remember that movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” then you know what I am talking about. To finish off the interior, Mom got in there with the old Hoover vacuum.

We stood back and admired our work. It didn’t look like the car I brought home. The inside looked almost new. Mom really had a clean streak in her – that’s probably why there wasn’t a speck of dust in the house. This was the birth of your favorite OCD car detailer!

My First Wax Job as a Budding Automotive Detailer

Once the interior was clean, Mom said we needed to wax the car. How did she know all this stuff? She got out a can of old-school Simmonize car wax dad had in the garage. She showed me how to wax the hood and then turned me loose. This was before the days of pre-softened wax or special microfiber towels. Back then you slopped the wax on and rubbed it in with as much elbow grease as you could. I waxed down the whole car and let it dry. It hardened on there like glue. It must have taken two hours to wipe all that wax off.

It was worth all the effort. The car shined like a diamond. Mom was amazing. I learned so much from her that day that I started doing this job for my family and friends – for a small fee. My career was born. It wasn’t even called detailing back in those days. It was just a scrub and wax.

The Show-Off

The next thing I did was drive the car around to show all of my friends. The guys were blown away – they couldn’t believe I could have bought such a nice car so cheaply. Just goes to show how a good detail job can help keep a car’s value up. I think I could have sold it for double what I paid for it.

Who knew I would put myself through college doing auto detailing. After I graduated I turned what she had started into a career. Dad wanted me to wear a suit and tie, but I liked shorts and a t-shirt, and my time was my own. What a way to get started.

What did your mom teach you?

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