Okay, so most car owners have probably washed a car before, but do most car owners know the right way to wash a car? When you wash your car do you really give it a really good wash, or did you just get rid of the finger prints?
Though washing a car might seem like a menial task, it is actually pretty important. If you don’t wash it properly or use the right products, you could actually damage your car’s exterior, and that can really hurt the attractiveness and resale value of a car. Check out what you really need to do to properly wash your car.
The first part of every clean up job is having the right gear and resources. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Car washing soap; something good that is safe for rubber components and won’t remove car wax. That means actually shop for this stuff, don’t just pull out something from under the kitchen sink. In fact, dish soap is one of the worst items you could use.
- Wheel/Tire cleaner
- Streak-free window cleaner that is safe to use on tinted windows — again you may need to do some shopping. If the windows just need a wipe down, the best choice would be a damp microfiber cloth with no cleanser at all.
- A strong sponge or wash mitt for picking up dirt and scrubbing the car. A scrub brush for the wheels.
- Two or three buckets. Some say two, some say three. It’ll make sense soon.
- A couple of drying cloths/soft towels and a rubber squeegee
- A hose attached to a water source
- Car wax
- If you have a foam gun, this will all become a lot easier and a lot more fun, but it’s not required.
Before we get to washing, check the atmosphere and your surroundings. Is the sun out? Is it hot? Don’t wash your car on a hot, sunny day. The soap will dry up before you can wash it off and it’ll just look horrible in the end. If you don’t have a choice, wash one side at a time, starting with the top of the vehicle and then whichever side is getting hit by the sun the most.
Now it’s time to start.
- For stains that have been cooked on there, i.e. bug splats, bird droppings, and other nasty stuff, apply some car wash soap to it and let it sit for a bit to work through the grime and grit.
- Rinse the car with a spray hose. Just like taking a bath, the initial rinse will help loosen up dirt and you rinse from top to bottom. Water is the universal solvent, meaning it can clean most things that aren’t grease or oil based, so it’s always a good start.
- Two buckets, or three? Well, we fill one with water and car wash soap (follow the instructions on the bottle), one with just water, and in case we used a bucket while washing the wheels, well, we don’t want that third bucket anymore.
- Dip the sponge or wash mitt into the soap bucket, wash a bit of the car (also starting with the top), then rinse the sponge/wash mitt in the water bucket. Dip it back into the soap bucket and repeat often.
- While washing, you want to scrub. Don’t scrub too hard though; if there is coarse dirt, you’ll be scrubbing it into the paint of the car. Think, bathing with steel wool. Ow. If you can, keep the car wet until you’re done washing that section with some gentle misting. Get into any exposed crevices as well, get all the dirt out.
- After washing a section, go over it again with a super sudsy wash (really get that sponge or wash mitt coated in soap). This is just a quick once over, not the whole shebang.
- After each section, give it another rinse. Not with a spray hose; take the nozzle off and let the water just flow down onto the car. You can fill another bucket with water and slowly pour it on as well. Rinse the ground around the car too so you don’t track the dirt back in.
- Clean the wheels last. Rinse the wheels first if they’re hot. Then, spray on the wheel and tire cleaner, scrub it all down, and rinse thoroughly.
- After rinsing, take a squeegee to get rid of most of the water quickly. Then, blot dry with the towel to avoid streaking. Follow up with a smaller towel for small parts and details I.e. the trunk, hood, door handles, mirrors, etc.
- Clean the inside of the windows with a spray on cleaner and another small towel. If the windows just need a wipe down, the best choice would be a damp microfiber cloth with no cleanser at all.
- Use car wax after cleaning the entire car, this is the last part. Apply as directed.
That’s about it. This is how you really wash a car. Got any other tips for us? Let us know on our social media.