Look after your possessions and they usually function better for longer, which saves you money and hassle. Here's how to keep your car spick and span without over-exerting yourself
Handy tip: keep a plastic bag in the car for any rubbish, and remove it once a week- so much easier than having to scrat about on your hands and knees, picking up gungey sweet-wrappers before you can use the hoover without breaking it.
Monday: nitty gritty cleaning
This can change from week to week, depending on what needs doing. You could clean your dash, for example, vacuuming it first, then cleaning with a damp cloth and diluted multi-surface cleaner, before wiping first with a clean damp cloth, then a clean dry one. Cans of compressed air with nozzles help blast random detritus from air vents. Another week, you could clean the door seals, polish your headlamps, or clean your wheels and wheel arches. We've assigned this to Monday because it's best to brush bits off your dashboard before you vacuum on Tuesday.
Tuesday: carpets and seats
Much quicker if you keep a handheld vacuum cleaner in your boot. Invest in the best model you can afford. The cheaper ones tend to lose battery capacity and suction disappointingly fast, which leaves you (a) feeling like you've been had and (b) spending more money on a better machine. You'll be looking at somewhere between £30-£50, depending on current special offers. Ideally you'll buy one with a 12 volt adapter that plugs into your car's cigarette lighter, and a long cable that will reach through your car.
Take out the floor mats and your rubbish bag, then hoover the carpets (including under the seats), the seat surfaces, and in any empty pockets. This should take you ten minutes max. Shake and bang the floor mats to remove any loose grit, hoover them, and then wipe off any dirt with a clean damp cloth. Replace the mats.
Wednesday: body wash
Clean your car's exterior as usual, making sure you use car soap and not any other sort of soap, which can spoil your paintwork. Using a microfibre or sheepskin cloth, work in the shade and don't leave the car to dry by itself, as little spots will occur. Rinse the soap with clean water and use a chamoix leather cloth or buffing pad to polish off the moisture.
Thursday: when we're cleanin' windows
Usually best to follow the instructions on the window cleaning fluid, but be aware that if you've applied tint film to your windows, you should avoid fluids that contain vinegar or ammonia, since these can erode the finish. Factory tint shouldn't be a problem. Give the glass a final polish with a ball of old newspaper for extra sparkle.
Friday: beauty treatments
Perhaps your black trim is looking a bit sun-bleached, or your metalwork's all dull. Now's the time to restore them - various products are available to restore blackness to your faded trim or gleam to your dull chrome.
Saturday: check your tyres, radiator fluid and oil levels
Use a pressure gauge to check your tyre pressure, and refill if necessary. This should be done when the tyres are cold, since warmth increases air pressure and can give false reassurance. Also check the tread and book an appointment to replace any worn tyres as soon as possible. When your engine is cool enough, check the rad fluid and oil levels, refilling if necessary.
Sunday: repair and replace
Use this slot to replace your air filter, for example - a ten minute job - or changing worn windscreen wiper blades or broken light bulbs.