How Caked-on Mud Is Deep Cleaned From a Flooded Car

  •  This WS6 Firebird was in a flood in Kentucky.
  • Water reached the driver’s headrest, leaving the car completely covered in mud.
  • The detailers at WD Detailing were able to clean it so that it could run again.

The following is a transcript of the video.

I’m RJ. I’m one half of WD Detailing, and today we’re going to be showing you how we clean quite possibly the muddiest WS6 Firebird ever. It was involved in a really bad flood in Kentucky. The car was absolutely covered, basically head to toe, in caked-on mud, to the point to where the mud had dried and it was starting to crack, almost like a desert floor. Rock hard. I can only assume that it was involved in very fast-moving water, it picked up sediment from somewhere nearby, and then it dried out. So, the first step is removing pretty much anything except for the dashboard and the steering wheel and the steering column, because that was a little bit more involved than we really had time for. We’re using the vacuum to remove any residual water in the back of the trunk. Going into this detail, I knew a lot of this vehicle was going to be sold for parts. Because there was only X amount made and only a certain amount of parts available, it wouldn’t make sense to scrap that car, especially with so many parts still being functional. It changed some of the ways that we were going to be cleaning the vehicle and using some methods that we wouldn’t use in a normal detail. And we’ve never done this before, but we literally took a pressure washer and sprayed out the whole interior of the vehicle in order to remove all the mud. So, the reason why we wouldn’t do that in a normal detail job is it would definitely damage some of the electrical components of the vehicle if you didn’t give the car ample time to dry. So if this was a normal vehicle that we did that in, we would have to disconnect the battery and then make sure that it dried out for over five or six days. With a car in this condition, to clean the carpet was again different than most vehicles that we see on a daily basis. So we probably spent about 45 minutes just pressure washing gallons of water into the carpet in order to try and flush as much mud out of it as possible. Well, not only that; we had to flip it over and spray out mud on the other side. And then we actually had to let it drain overnight to try and dry out as much as we could before we put it back in the next day to then continue to clean it inside the car. So, once the carpet is dry, we then place it back into the vehicle and we use carpet soap. You spray it onto the carpet, and then I actually use the extractor to add more water in order to create a soapier solution, and then you agitate it using a brush that connects to a drill to release some of the dirt and grime or the stains that are contained within the carpet fibers, bring them to the top, so then you can suck it away with the extractor. In the extractor we only use water. If you spray the soap onto the carpet and if you only have water in your extractor, when you see through the head of the extractor that there’s no more foam, there’s no more bubbles or soap that’s coming out of the carpet, you know you’ve not only removed the contaminants that were in the carpet, but also any residue from leftover soap. When we were cleaning the leather, we had to pressure wash the majority of the mud away first in order to even reveal the leather to follow a normal type of detailing method. There was too much mud on the surface to really remove it in any other way. So that’s not typically how we would clean leather seats, but drastic cases call for drastic measures. We then used an all-purpose cleaner in a Tornador. It’s basically compressed air that feeds into a reservoir that holds an all-purpose cleaner, and then it uses that compressed air to pick up the solution and blast it into the material that you’re trying to clean. We’ll use it when we know that the leather has seen a lot of age and we don’t want to potentially damage it further. And then I went ahead and used a leather brush in order to agitate that further and to remove as much mud and sediment as possible. These would have to dry for another couple days in a heated storage facility. With the exterior, we went ahead and just did a pretty basic wash. So we had to make sure that we just blew out all the mud from all the cracks and crevices there. The foam cannon is my personal favorite part when it comes to washing the exterior of a vehicle. Foam and soap is the same thing. It’s actually like shaving cream. You spray it onto your hand, and as you lather it up, it becomes more foamy. It helps break down some of the grime, the grease, the sediment on the vehicle and then lifts it to the top, and that way as you’re washing, there’s both lubrication as well as cleaning properties that help you remove the dirt and grime as efficiently and safely as possible. Cleaning the windows, most people ask what solution you’re using, what window cleaner are you using, but in reality, it’s the type of towel that you use and how many towels you use and how clean they are. So, windows are very prone to streaking, especially when they’ve been splattered with mud, like they were in this vehicle. So to start out, we just use your standard shop towels in order to remove the bulk of the grime, and then we use another type of towel that’s called GSM. So it has a higher grams per square meter of microfiber, and all that means is that there’s more fibers on the towel, and the more grams per square meter, the fluffier the towel and the more microfiber strands there are to wipe away any of the streaks. They actually were able to get that car running again. So, it still functions, but with a good conscious, they can’t sell that car to another owner. When you finish it and you look back at the result, we laugh because it’s almost like, I don’t know how it came out so well, but somehow it does.

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