Protectant. Click image to enlarge

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Armor All car care products

Armor All Original Protectant

It seems like just a few short years ago that Armor All Protectant was the only product of this kind available for the automotive enthusiast. I remember spraying it on just about everything in and around the car

Rubber bumpers, trim, vinyl seats, rubber floors, dashes, tires and even the steering wheel — which we all found out afterwards was not such a good idea — liberally received the Armor All treatment. The directions said to spray on, let soak in and wipe off excess. The milky white liquid made my tires look like they were lactating, but it worked great.

There were all kinds of rumours flying around about how it would cause your tires and dash to crack, but I have been using it for over 20 years and never experienced any problems. There are other protectant type products around, but I still use the old faithful, and it’s less expensive than some of the boutique brands. Retails for $4.99.

Wash mitt
Ice scraper
Wash mitt (top); ice scraper. Click image to enlarge
Armor All Wash Mitt

This wash mitt reminds me of the orange shag carpet we had in our apartment in the 70’s.

One side has a special black surface for scrubbing grilles, bumpers etc., and the other side has a thick orange micro fibre surface for washing the rest of the car. My first problem was getting the mitt onto my hand, I take a size small for gloves and I struggled to get this thing on; it was even worse when wet. Second problem was the orange shag didn’t hold much water, requiring many trips to the wash bucket to reload. The black side did a good job of removing dirt and grime from bumpers and wheels. I think I will stick with my old sheepskin wash mitt. Retails for $8.99.

Ice Scraper

Winter is just around the corner and every car should have at least one of these. The small size makes it handy for scraping frost, ice and snow from rear and side windows. One side has a sharp edge and the other has ridges that can be helpful if it is necessary to break up a sheet of ice. The problem with most ice scrapers is the edge is not very sharp, and this leaves most of the ice behind. This one has a usefully sharp edge with a comfortable handle and seems well made. Retails for $4.99.

Cleaning Wipes

I have used these in the past and they work fine. Good for removing built up dust from dashboards, consoles and vents. The special formulation won’t dry out, damage or fade surfaces. I especially like the dispenser, which keeps the wipes from drying out. Retails for $8.99.

Cleaning wipes
Leather care
Carpet cleaner
Cleaning wipes (top); Leather care; Carpet cleaner. Click image to enlarge
Leather Care

According to Armor All this contains cleaning agents that will remove dirt, has conditioners that will enhance and restore the natural beauty of leather and has blocking agents to help protect against spills, stains, fading and cracking. It’s a thick gel formulation, and the directions state to apply a small amount to a soft cloth, spread evenly over the surface and use a dry cloth to absorb any excess.

The leather seats in my sports car are new, but I tried it and the results were good. It definitely removed some ground-in dirt, judging from the evidence on the towel, and it left the seats with a supple feel and a natural shine. The seats did seem to feel a bit greasy at first, but after a few hours the gel seemed to work its way deeper into the leather and all was good.

I did try it on an old leather briefcase I have and it did a wonderful job of restoring it to like new. Retails for $8.99.

Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

I have always been skeptical about these types of spray on carpet and fabric cleaners. Generally speaking if the carpets in your car are really dirty it requires the help of a professional.

This product contains Oximagic, which “magically” removes stains and brings fabrics back to life.

We have all seen the infomercials, but does it really work? The fabric seats in my SUV are a light cream colour and on a recent camping trip they picked up some grime that I thought would be impossible to remove. Seems like a job for Oximagic!

The directions state to test for colorfastness on a hidden area first. Spray directly onto stain, let sit for three to five minutes and then blot the stain with a clean absorbent cloth or vacuum the area when dry, and repeat if necessary. The stains on the fabric completely disappeared and it even removed the Tim’s Double-Double stains from the carpet. Works as claimed and I am now a believer in Oximagic. I wonder if it will remove salt stains… I’ll check next spring. Retails for $7.99.

All of these products are available at most autoparts stores.
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