From screens to carpets, a Lexus detailer offers professional cleaning advice.

Posted: Jan 10, 2018

To own a Lexus is to love a Lexus, and for many Lexus owners, that love certainly extends to periodic cleaning beyond a car wash. Lexus dealerships, of course, have skilled detailing teams who can spruce up your vehicle and tackle the effects of challenging situations, like a milk jug leaking from a grocery bag.

But for those of you who regularly give your Lexus some driveway TLC, there are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to deeper cleaning—or handling seemingly bad situations:

Removing fingerprints from screens: When cleaning your multi-display or Rear-Seat Entertainment System* screens, says Lexus detailing manager Paul Anguiano, avoid using ammonia-based cleaners, which can damage the surface: “Glass cleaners work well, but avoid any with ammonia.”

Also, use a soft, lint-free microfiber cloth, available at auto parts stores, and spray the cleaner onto the cloth with just one light squirt before wiping the screen. “Never squirt the cleaning spray on the screen directly,” says Anguiano, which risks the cleaner spraying or dripping into places it’s not supposed to enter, such as cracks and seams around nearby button controls.

Pro cleaners also follow this cardinal rule: never use a microfiber cloth that’s been dropped on the ground—it can pick up unseen particles that scratch the screen.

Cleaning interior trim and seats: The same principles apply to both the hard cabin surfaces, like wood trim, and soft materials, like seats, cloth-covered trim, and dashboards. For these areas, also lightly spray the cleaner onto a microfiber cloth to avoid getting cleaning liquids into vents, button seams, or speakers.

“For non-glass interior surfaces, both hard and soft, use a citrus-based all-purpose cleaner (non-concentrated), which is gentle on Lexus interiors,” says Anguiano.

Additional recommendations: avoid common car-interior cleaning products like Armor All, which can damage Lexus dash materials, and definitely avoid floor and furniture polishers, which are also potentially damaging.

Cleaning windows: To clean your windows like a pro, says Anguiano, follow these steps. First, heavily spray the glass cleaner onto a lint-free microfiber cloth or a “waffle cloth” (a soft, heavy-duty, waffle-patterned cloth available at auto parts stores). From there, lower the driver and passenger windows and clean the top edges, a place many drivers ignore but pro detailers generally clean first (grime gets trapped up there over time, says Anguiano).

After that, clean the inside and outside of windows with the cleaner-soaked cloth, wiping each surface dry with a separate lint-free microfiber cloth. Pro tip: never wash windows in direct sunlight, which often dries the cleaner too quickly, which in turn causes streaking.

Handling carpet spills: The number one rule with a Lexus carpet spill (or spills on carpet-material floor mats) is to avoid letting the liquid dry out—drying is what leads to staining. “Lexus detailing teams can often clean most liquid spills as long as you take some immediate steps,” says Anguiano.

First, gently blot the area with an absorbent cloth to get as much of the liquid out, then lightly work in dish soap with a soft dishtowel, and avoid bathroom cleaners or anything with ammonia. Then blot the area again with a wet cloth to remove the soap, and keep the area damp with a wet rag until you can get your vehicle to the Lexus dealership.

Sticky materials are a different challenge, says Anguiano. If something has hardened into the carpet or floor mat, you can often remove it by rubbing a credit card back and forth over the area, holding the card at a slight angle.

However, there’s a type of material that’s usually impossible to remove without leaving a trace. “High-fructose corn syrup damages carpet fibers, and you’ll find it in sports drinks, juices, and candy,” explains Anguiano. “Detailers recommend that you avoid bringing anything sugary, especially sports drinks, into your Lexus cabin.”

Cleaning wheels: While tires can be cleaned with soap and water, Lexus wheel spokes will look their best with some special TLC. In addition to road grime, brake dust often collects in crevices and small spaces, making these areas some of the toughest to clean.

Lexus detailers handle it by liberally spraying wheel cleaner directly onto the spokes, then inserting two fingers into a cleaning rag—waffle cloths work well, as do cleaning mitts, says Anguiano—then working each crevice with one or two fingers.

Once the area is wiped dry with a towel, detailers usually apply a brake dust barrier. Your Lexus dealership likely has a recommended brand for purchase, and you’ll also find good ones at automotive stores. “Meguiars is the brand many Lexus detailing teams use,” says Anguiano.

Sticky exterior materials: To remove sticky materials from your vehicle’s body, such as road tar or tree sap, you can use an auto-body solvent or lacquer based cleaner (available at auto parts stores). First, pour some cleaner onto a clean cloth and wipe the affected area gently until the residue has been fully removed, and repeat this step as needed.

Another option is a cleaning clay (also available at auto parts stores). Removal with clay is simple: gently rub the clay over the sticky material, which will help extract it without damaging the body. Some polishing may be needed afterward. A soft microfiber cloth—free of debris—can be used with some polishing wax to finish the affected area.

Of course, if you have any questions or concerns about Lexus cleaning, mention it to your Lexus Service Consultant, who can explain Lexus dealership cleaning and detailing options.

“Generally,“ says Anguiano, “we recommend a professional detailing session once a year, and we can also take care of anything more advanced, like sanding out headlamp scratches or polishing interior trim on older models.”

By Brian Gill/Photos by Danielle Lamp