Learn how to wash a car the right way. Remember: a clean, well-maintained old set of wheels beats a new, but dirty, ride any day of the week.
11 Easy Steps How to Wash a Car and Make It Shiny New Again
Step 1: Assess Your Car’s Condition
Before washing your car, you need to assess its external condition. Depending on how dirty or worn down it is, you might need to give it more than just a simple car wash.
For example, if you’ve just waxed it a few days before, then there’s really no need to polish and buff it all over again. On the other hand, a car with a lot of minor scratches might need a bit of a paint retouch and polishing to make it shine once again.
Either way, it’s always a good idea to wash your ride with regular car shampoo and water.
Step 2: Prepare Your Car-Washing Tools
The proper way how to wash your car is to first prepare the tools you need. The things you need to wash a car are:
- good water supply
- 2 large car wash sponges
- car-washing shampoo/soap
- car wax
- 2 microfiber towels
- tire black
- small sponge (for tire black application)
Step 3: Rinse Your Car
Next, rinse your car off with water to remove any large particles of dirt and grime that may scratch the paint. You can use a garden hose to spray your car down while scrubbing it with a clean sponge.
Tip: If you want to save up on water, opt to use a bucket instead. Fill the pail with water, submerge your sponge in it, and then rub it on your car’s surface. It might take a little more time and effort but it also saves a ton of water.
Step 4: Lather With Car-Washing Soap
Mix some car-washing soap into your bucket of water and rub it on the surface of your ride. Make sure to rub down every single crevice of your car.
Some guys use detergent or dishwashing liquid as an alternative to car soap. But the best way to wash a car is to specifically use car-washing soap/shampoo. Using detergent or dishwashing liquid strips the wax off the paint. With no extra layer of protection, this leaves it more prone to scratches and wear and tear.
Also, make sure to use a separate sponge/cloth to lather your car. Using the same cloth, again and again, might scratch the paint.
Step 5: Wash Off the Soap
The next step is to rinse the car off with water. Grab your garden hose or a clean bucket of water. Then scrub off the soap using another sponge.
Using the same sponge or cloth might leave traces of soap on your car’s surface. Unless you completely rinse off the soap, you won’t achieve the level of shine you’re looking for.
Step 6: Drying Your Car
The best way to dry a car is to use a clean microfiber towel. Make sure it’s free of any dirt or particles that may scratch your car’s paint. Keep rubbing the surface of your ride until you don’t see even a single drop of water.
RELATED: Must-Have Accessories For A Car
Step 7: Polishing the Vehicle
For extra gloss, especially on dark-colored vehicles, add in another step to your car-washing session: polishing. You can apply the car polish with a clean towel or with the help of a dual-action polishing machine.
This step isn’t really necessary, but it helps bring out that brand-new car shine you want to achieve. The oils add depth to the color which doubles the effects of waxing.
Step 8: Waxing the Car
Car wax is very similar to sunscreen. It creates an extra layer of protection against harmful UV rays. Contrary to popular belief, extreme heat can actually damage your paint in the long run.
To prevent ruining your precious ride’s paint, always apply a coat of wax after washing your car. Remember to use a clean piece of microfiber towel for this.
Note: Make sure to leave no trace of wax on the vehicle. Wax stains can make your car look foggy and dirty.
Step 9: Cleaning the Windows
Fingerprint marks look awful on car windows. That’s why you need to use high-quality auto window cleaners to remove these.
Spray some on a clean microfiber towel, wipe both sides of your windows, and then dry it off twice with a clean piece of towel to ensure you remove the cleaner. Make sure to rub your side and rear view mirrors as well.
Note: Do not use household glass cleaners such as Windex. They contain chemicals that don’t really go well with car tints.
Step 10: Cleaning the Wheels
Wipe your rims down with a clean piece of cloth, then use a designated sponge to apply the tire black on the wheels. When cleaning the rims, opt to use acid-free wheel cleaners that are safe for all types of metal.
Step 11: Vacuuming the Carpets
Knowing how to wash car exteriors is useless unless you keep the interior equally clean. Make sure to remove all your trash like empty bottles, receipts, paper bags, and candy wrappers, among others.
After that, use a vacuum to suck up all the dust and dirt on your carpet. If you have leather upholstery, wipe the seats with a clean piece of towel. Car owners with cotton-based upholstery can vacuum the seats and headrest as well.
Note: Not even the newest models with all the latest car accessories are appealing if they smell bad. To maintain a good-smelling ride, be careful not to spill any liquids with strong odors. In fact, try to refrain from eating or drinking anything inside the vehicle.
Also, avoid smoking while driving if you don’t want the stench to stick. If you do smoke, remember to drive a few minutes with the windows down to completely let the smoke out of the car.
Maintaining the Car
You don’t necessarily need to commit to these directions to wash your car every single day. Do this routine maybe once or twice a week.
For shine maintenance, use a spray detailer on your ride every other day. It easily removes any dirt, grime, and even bird poop off your vehicle.
Learn to properly wash and detail your car like a pro, watch this video from Chico’s Garage:
This is just a simple guide on how to properly wash a car. Feel free to add in a few steps depending on your ride’s specific needs. When washing your car, always use high-quality tools and cleaners.
Using cheap knock-offs might save you a few bucks, but it definitely leaves some irreversible damage on your car in the long run.
Did this guide help you learn how to wash a car properly? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section down below!