How to Wash Your Car

Step by step
How to Wash Your Car

Washing a car seems like an easy task, but there are a few tips and tricks worth knowing which really boost the result and help you to avoid water marks. Here is a quick guide on how to wash your car.

Pick Your Location

A hand holding a saturated sponge wiping soap over a black car

There are a few things to consider when selecting where you want wash your car, but first and foremost you should look for a shaded spot. If your car dries too quickly, it will gain small watermarks all over the paintwork, and washing it in the shade reduces this. If you are unable to find a shady spot, maybe wait for an overcast day. Other things worth considering are access to water and drainage. 

Choose the Right Equipment

Close up of a man holding a green hose spraying water

Make sure that you carefully read all the labels on your cleaning products to ensure you know which surfaces they should be used on. You may be able to find recommended products for your particular automobile online or using your car manual. Make sure you have some clean microfibre cloths, and for best results, use separate cloths for the paintwork, the wheels and the windows. 

Rinse and Wash Exterior

Close up of water droplets on a car exterior

It is a good idea to first rinse the outside of your car to remove any large and loose pieces of dirt. After this, apply a specific purpose car washing soap which will be friendly to the paintwork on your car. Be sure to rinse this thoroughly and to use clean microfibre cloths to avoid from scratching the surface. You can use a clay bar to remove any stubborn dirt, and a compound applied by pads to remove scratches below the surface, which should be wiped away soon after the application. 

Polish and Wax

Close up of a shiny red vintage car

Polishing will give your car a little extra shine, and waxing will add a layer of protection against harmful UV rays that can fade the paintwork. Apply these as per the labels on the products. 

Clean the Windows

Close up of water droplets on a car window and the cleaning sponge out of focus

For the best results, use a specific purpose car window cleaner which will protect the tint of the windows more than a household glass cleaner. Wiping up and down across the full height of the window and afterwards horizontally will effectively remove any streaks.

Cleaning the Wheels

Close up of a car wheel

Ensure that your cleaner is purpose made for the material that your wheels are made out of as acidic cleaners can damage aluminium wheels. Use a microfibre cloth to apply until you are satisfied with the result. 

Cleaning the Interior

Photo of a car interior

This will vary drastically depending on the material of your seats and other surfaces on the inside of your car. Make sure to use a gentle leather cleaner for leather seats, whereas a vacuum cleaner should remove dirt effectively from softer, less delicate materials and also the carpets. Ensure the products you use are suited to the surfaces so that you don’t damage anything. 

The result you end with when cleaning a car is very reflective of how much time you put into the task, and while it is cheap and easy to use a commercial car wash, the results are not as impressive as when you take the care to wash your car by hand.

Related articles