Why pay someone else to do it when you can spend a nice Saturday afternoon giving your ride a little TLC? You’ll save a few bucks, and there’s something satisfying about doing it yourself. At the end of it all, you can stand back, watch the soapy water stream down your driveway and admire your shiny, clean car. But it takes more than a quick rinse to give your car a top notch car wash. Here’s a quick guide that will have you washing like a pro in no time.
What you’ll need
- A hose with a spray nozzle
- Two buckets (one for soapy water and one for rinsing)
- Car washing sponge or mitt
- Tire brush
- Car washing soap (don’t use dish washing liquid)
- Wheel cleaner
- Microfiber towels
- A portable radio (it makes the whole process much more enjoyable)
A little shady
Move your car into the shade. Washing it in direct sunlight will cause the water to dry too quickly and you’ll just end up with yucky residue and streaks.
Top to bottom
Give the whole car a good rinse, then divide your car into five sections: Top, front, sides and back. If you have any "treats" from birds left on your car, you can pre-treat them with a bit of undiluted liquid car soap. It’s important to get rid of bird poop as soon as possible since it is highly acidic and can ruin your car’s paint.
Give the roof of your car a good scrubbing with soapy water. Rinse and repeat with each section of your car. You should scrub firmly, but don’t get carried away. If there’s a bit of sand or something gritty in the mix, you’ll just end up scratching your car.
Make sure you rinse your mitt often in the bucket of rinse water and replace the dirty water with some fresh water as needed.
Don’t forget to give the tires and wheel wells a scrub, too. Use a scrub brush to get in those hard-to-reach places. This is especially important if you live in a cold climate that uses salt on the roads.
Don’t let you car air dry. Get the excess water off with the chamois, and then dry it the rest of the way with your microfiber cloths. Use a unique "tire cloth" for the tires so you don’t get any residual grease on your nice clean car. Once the tires are clean and dry, you can give them a squirt of a tire shine product.
If you follow these easy tips, your car will look just as nice (or even better) than it would’ve if you had taken it to a professional car wash.