How To Properly Wash a Car: Tips and Tricks

How To Properly Wash a Car

Washing the car by hand can be a pleasant and enjoyable activity. This way, you will save money on car wash services. In addition, you can pay attention to particularly dirty areas of the automobile. According to, normal car washes use abrasive tools and means that can damage the paint, so washing it yourself will allow you to prolong the life of the paint coating of your car. To wash your car by hand, you will need a flat, asphalted section of road in the shade, as well as access to water and a general garden hose like one of these. You will need to wash the entire car at once, and this can take one to two hours (depending on the size of the car and how dirty it is).


1. Park the car in the shade

If the vehicle dries in the sun, there may be stains on the surface. In addition, the car will become hot under the sun, making the water evaporate faster, and the washing process will become more complicated.

  • Make sure all the windows are closed so that no water can enter the car during the washing process and retract the antenna so that you don’t accidentally break it off.
  • Pull the wipers away from the windshield and secure them in this position.

2. Put everything you will need by the car

The car wash detergent, plenty of water (depends on the size of the vehicle), three buckets (two for washing, one for rinsing), a hose, microfiber cloths or towels for drying. You will also need a couple of wash mitts, a large sponge, a stiff brush, and another tire brush.

  • Be prepared to get wet and dirty in the foam. Wear suitable work clothing: shorts and flip-flops if it’s hot, or long pants and rubber boots if it’s cold.
  • You can get a special detergent for car washing. Dilute the product in a bucket according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

3. Fill a bucket with water

Pour the amount of detergent specified by the manufacturer into the water. This bucket will be used for washing. If the car is very dirty or you need a separate bucket for its body and a separate one for the wheels, fill two buckets with water.

4. Pour clean water into a separate bucket

You will need this bucket for rinsing sponges and wash mitts. One bucket is enough to rinse, even if you use two buckets to wash your car.

Washing the car

1. Hose off your car to soften the dirt.

The jet shouldn’t be too strong, otherwise, the sand will rub against the paint and damage it. Try to pour water on the car from top to bottom on all sides. If the water is directed upwards in the area of the windows, the water may seep into the gaps between the body and the rubber seals.

2. Wash the car with a large wash mitt.

Before washing, soak a large mitt in soapy water to wash off any dirt that may have gotten on it. Don’t brush the vehicle body so as not to leave a scratch.

  • Mitts with long pile-like strands don’t rub abrasive particles into the lacquer. It’s better to use them as they won’t scratch the surface. Mitts will need to be washed regularly and put back into soapy water.
  • To get rid of the dirt on the mitts, simply wash them in the washing machine.

3. Wash the car part by part starting from the top.

Walk around the car several times, washing lower and lower parts with each new circle. If you wash the vehicle from above, the water and soap will run down and stay in the lower parts. This prevents you from having to wash the same areas several times.

  • If the car is dirty, don’t rub it too hard, let the foam “eat” the dirt. Make multiple passes, but don’t wipe off the dirt, as this can damage the paint.

4. Scrub off bird droppings and insects.

Dirt and insect marks on the body can damage the paint and should be removed carefully. If the mitts can’t remove this dirt, rub the areas with a damp cloth. To remove the insect marks easier, pour warm water on the sponge, wet the dirty area, let the water soak the dirt, and remove the stain.

  • Use an insect and bitumen remover to remove dried-on traces of insects and bitumen. Don’t rub the surface too hard or use a brush, as this can damage the lacquer. A few persistent stains of dirt will be less visible than scratches on the paint.

5. Keep the wash mitts clean.

Wash off the dirt from the mitts in a bucket with clean water. If you don’t do it, the mitts will have dirt and sand on their surface and begin to scratch the car. Rinse the mittens in a bucket of clean water, and when the water becomes gritty, pour it out and refill with clean water.

6. Rinse the foam off of every section.

After washing one area, rinse it with the water from the hose. Don’t allow the foam to dry as it will leave traces on the surface. Wash the foam the same way as the car, i.e. from top to bottom.

  • Remember to wash the door shuts and the lower parts of the doors. If you don’t, you may be surprised to find dirt on the doorsteps.

7. Make sure that the whole car remains wet while washing.

Moving from one section to the next, use the hose so that the water doesn’t dry out. This means that there will be no watermarks on the body. In the end, you will need to wipe all the water with a towel, so it is important that the car doesn’t dry out prematurely.

8. Wash the bottom of the car last.

The lower part of the body and wheels should be washed last because there is most dirt there. You can use a separate wash mitt or sponge for the lower part, because the sponge will be covered with dirt more than in other areas.

9. Clean the tires with a plastic brush.

If the tires are clogged with sand or dirt from the roads you have driven on, it’s possible that the mitts or sponge won’t be able to wipe it off. Wipe the tires with a hard-pile plastic brush.

  • You can also buy a special cleaner to remove dirt from your tires.
  • You can use a conditioner for vinyl, rubber, and plastic surfaces to dark plastic parts and tires.

10. Spray the bottom of the car with water from the hose.

When you have finished washing the car body, point the hose at the bottom of the vehicle from different sides and different angles.

  • This is especially important if there is salt on the bottom of the car. Salt damages the metal and causes corrosion.

Drying and waxing

1. Dry the water from the car surface with clean towels.

Don’t be afraid to use several towels. Wipe all surfaces that you have washed to prevent rusting. Don’t leave water on any part, it may damage the paint or cause rusting.

  • It’s best to wipe the car with microfiber cloths. When finished, wash the clothes in the washing machine. Don’t use a fabric softener for laundry. It may remain in the fibers of the fabric, and the cloth will then leave residue on the car.

2. Apply wax to the dry car.

Wax or any other polish should only be applied to a clean and dry car. You may need to wax your automobile in several layers. If after you have applied the first coat, the water doesn’t collect in droplets on the surface of the car, you should apply another layer of wax. You shouldn’t use abrasive polishes on modern cars, as they can damage the lacquer.

  • Wax or any similar polymeric product protects the paintwork from the sun so that the paint doesn’t fade. In addition, wax creates a barrier between the car coating and the dirt that flies from under the wheels of other machines. Polymeric agents stay on the surface of the vehicle longer. It’s not necessary to buy an expensive product.

3. Treat rusty or chipped areas.

Remove the rust and paint coarse chips if necessary. Fine scratches and rust spots can be treated with rust remover. Rinse off the dirt and other chemicals used to treat the surface to prepare it for rust removal and apply it. Let it dry and cure. Don’t apply wax to the fresh-painted area.

  • Any accessories that need to be glued to the body, including door and bumper covers and retroreflective stickers, are most securely attached to a clean, dry surface with a moderate amount of wax. Paint damaged areas and glue accessories before waxing.
  • Polymeric waxes are easier to clean than wax, even if they are completely dry.

4. Apply a water repellent to the windows.

Treat the windows with a water repellent to prevent water from collecting and to give you a better view of the road. This product can only be applied to clean and dry glass. If the water stops forming droplets, apply the product again. Treat the side and rear windows once every few months and the windshield on average once a month, as the water-repellent coating is the most needed and the brushes are the quickest to wipe it.

  • A special glass cleaner can clean your windows better than a regular car wash soap, but you need to wipe them thoroughly with microfiber towels anyway. Clean the windows both inside and outside.
  • Wipe the windscreen with baby wipes to remove debris and dirt.

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