How to Wash Your Car Like a pro
You take great pride in your ride and do what you can to keep it looking good. But maintaining that shine can take a toll on your pocketbook. If you want to save some hard-earned cash and still drive the cleanest car on the block, skip the high-priced detail shop and grab a hose. With these DIY tips, and a little TLC, you’ll have everything you need to keep your dream car looking like new, without paying the pros big bucks.
Wash weekly. If you wait for your car to get dirty, you’ve waited too long. A good washing once a week will help keep your car’s finish at its finest. Bugs, bird droppings and tree sap should come off right away. They can strip away wax and eat at your car’s paint.
But not if it’s hot. If the body of your car is hot from driving or sitting in the sun, move it to the shade and let it cool down for a while. Heat speeds up drying and can increase the changes of spots.
A note about soap. You might think a little dab of dish detergent will do just fine. Not really. Dish soap might make your car look clean, but it strips protective coatings and can expose your vehicle to nicks and scratches. A dedicated car wash solution is highly recommended. A quick Google search will bring up several great brands.
First rinse. A good thorough rinse before the wash will rid your car of loose dirt that could cause scratching. Start at the top, and work your way down.
The two-bucket approach. When it comes to washing like a pro, two buckets are always better than one. Why two? One for soapy water and one for rinsing the sponge. Because a rinsed sponge is a cleaner, scratch-free car.
Clean the wheels. Grab a separate sponge and wash the wheels before the rest of the car. Car wash soap works well, but a good quality wheel cleaner will make those round-rubber beauties sparkle!
Lather and scrub. Work that wash solution into a good lather with plenty of suds. Scrub in sections to ensure a detailed clean. And be sure to move your sponge lengthwise, not in circles. Scrubbing in circles can cause light scratches in swirly patterns.
Final rinse. Once the whole car has been thoroughly scrubbed, it’s time for one last rinse. Use your hose without the spray nozzle and start from the top with a gentle stream.
Dry, dry again. To avoid spots, dry your car as quickly as possible. A waffle-weave drying towel does an excellent job. For that extra-special touch, give your car a final wipe with a microfiber towel. This added step will eliminate any pesky spots.
Glass, last. You’re almost done. But to finalize the lustrous look, your windows need to shimmer. Use an ammonia-free glass cleaner — it’s better for vinyl upholstery. Go the extra mile by buffing the glass with a microfiber cloth. It’ll get rid of that foggy residue on the inside.
The final step: lose yourself in the luster. Not only is a DIY car wash good for your car and your wallet, it’ll be good for you too. Because there’s no feeling like the peace of mind that comes with a job well done. Shine on!