Car Cleaning

How To Wash a Car the Right Way

Washing your car is pretty straightforward, but here are a few tips to get the job done right.

You’re probably wondering why we’ve made a how-to video about washing your car. Who could possibly need it right? Well there are actually a fair few common car washing mistakes that people make, and the most common one of all is using dishwashing liquid. Sure, it might leave your car looking clean and smelling lemon-fresh - but over time, using the wrong sort of detergent can actually harm your car’s paint. So, if you’ve ever washed your car using dishwashing liquid, or you’d just like to pick up a few helpful tricks, then this guide is for you.

This is the first part in a 3 part series, click the links below to learn more about the other parts.

Learn More: How To Bring Back That Showroom Shine - Click Here.

Learn More: How To Maintain a Glossy Showroom Shine - Click Here.

Tips and warnings

  • You should generally work from top to bottom on your car, avoiding washing the lower parts twice.
  • Only use a moderate amount of force to scrub the panels, as using too much pressure may scratch your paintwork.
  • Avoid dropping your sponge to the bottom of the bucket, there will be dirt and other contaminants there.
  • Refill your bucket with clean water and new car wash whenever necessary – dirty water doesn’t clean well and excess contaminants may damage the paint.
  • Re-wet the car’s surface regularly while you are cleaning the car to prevent any water stains as it dries.

Before You Start

Before You Start washing your car

Try to park your car in the shade when you wash it, or if that’s not possible, then at least ensure that it’s cool to the touch.

Step 1 - Hosing

Step 1 - Hosing

Pour the recommended amount of car wash into one of your buckets, and then fill both of them with water.

Working from the top down, you’ll need to hose or pressure wash your entire car off to thoroughly wet the surface, removing any loose dirt , grime and bird droppings. Make sure you include the wheel arches.

Step 2 - Washing

Step 2 - Washing

Again, starting from the top and working your way down, liberally apply your car wash with one of your sponges to one panel at a time, rinsing each one off as you go.

Step 2 - Washing

Try not to scrub too hard as contaminants and grit can get caught in your cleaning product and might scratch your paint.

As you wash each section, rinse your mitt or sponge off in the second bucket to ensure your soapy water stays free of any contaminants.

Step 3 - Wheels Last

Step 3 - Wheels Last

As you finish at the bottom of your paintwork, next on the list is the wheels and arches.

Using the wash water, switch to your wheel brush and start cleaning each wheel and arch.

Step 4 - Rinse

Step 4 - Rinse

Make sure you keep your car wet as you wash it, and once you’ve cleaned the whole thing, give it a final rinse with a steady stream of water. This allows the water to sheet off the panels, making the drying process easier and quicker.

When you reach the wheels and sills, use a second sponge to make sure the sponge you use for the body work stays as clean as possible.

Step 5 - Drying

Step 5 - Drying

Finally, using your chamois or sizeable microfibre drying towel, wipe down the all the panels from top to bottom to prevent water spots from forming as it all dries.

Be sure to wipe in and around your door jambs while you’re at it and finish up with the wheels.

Bask in the Glory

Bask in the Glory

And there you have it - you’ve cleaned your car.

And even though you’ve done a stellar job of it and have earned yourself a break, you aren’t quite finished yet.

Next, we’re going to polish and wax your pride and joy, to make sure it stays cleaner for longer, and to protect the paintwork against everything from sun damage, road grime and those pesky birds.

What's Next: How To Bring Back That Showroom Shine - Click Here.