Who doesn’t love the fresh smell and good appearance of a properly washed car? Knowing how to wash a car helps you to maintain it and increase its resale value. You’ll also get to feel comfortable and relaxed each time you drive the vehicle.
Washing your car yourself may not sound interesting, but by the time you begin, you’ll find out it’s a rewarding exercise that leaves the car shiny and make you happy and satisfied. It saves you money while allowing you to pay attention to the dirty parts of your vehicle.
Before you begin the actual washing of your car, you need to put some things in place to avoid distractions while washing the car. The steps to the preparation include:
Remove the car from direct sunlight: Parking your car in the shade is necessary to avoid premature drying due to direct sunlight, which may leave irregular spots on the car paint.
Direct sunlight can also cause the car to dry off quickly while still washing the car and making it difficult to clean. Other things include dragging the windshield wipers to their positions, retracting the antenna, and closing all windows.
Place everything you need close to the car: Place the materials and equipment you’ll need while washing and place them close to the car. The things to bring close include three buckets of water, one or two buckets for washing, and the third one for rinsing.
You’ll also bring out your soap for washing the car. It could be store-bought or DIY car wash soap which you can easily make at home. Then, bring out microfiber towels, a good water supply, a hose, a scrubbing brush, and wash mitts.
Also, remember to wear the right work clothes depending on the weather because you are about to get wet and soapy.
Fill the buckets: Fill one bucket with water and car wash soap, and it’ll be your washing bucket. You can fill the second bucket with soap and water too and use it to wash your car wheels if your car is very dirty, but if not, you can use just one bucket for washing.
Then, fill the other bucket with only water without adding the car wash soap because the water will be for rinsing the car after washing.
How to Wash a Car
Your car will certainly look better after giving it a good wash, and the exercise can be fun, mainly when you focus on the result of having a shiny-looking car. Remember not to wash the car under direct sunlight as it will affect your washing and the car paint.
Washing your car earlier in the day or later in the evening is the best so that the weather will be friendly when you wash it. Ensure to use a hose that lets you control the flow of water when necessary, and also, try not to wash the car in a dusty area as the dust can stick to it and make the washing difficult.
Let’s look at how to wash a car step by step:
Step One Pre-Clean: The first step on how to wash your car is to pre-clean it to get rid of loose dirt and debris. Gently use water from a hose to make the dirt soft and loose. Ensure to aim downwards on every surface to avoid water dribbling into the car.
Step Two Begin from the Wheels: It is best to start washing your car from the wheels because it is usually the dirtiest part of a car, and it can splash dirt on other parts of the vehicle if you wash them before the wheels.
Clean the wheel openings with a long, thin wheel brush if the wheels appear so dirty. However, if they look clean and sleek, use a washing mitt or sponge to clean them like the other car parts. Using a brush that has stiff bristles will enable you to wash the tire sidewalls effectively.
Step Three Wash the Car’s Surface: After washing the wheel, soak a clean sponge or a wash mitt in soapy water and use it to wash the car. Scrub gently to remove dirt and stains and avoid using a brush on the car surface because it could lead to scratches.
Step Four Wash the Car in Sections: The best way to wash a car is to wash it in different sections beginning from the top to let the soap drip over the car’s lower areas as you wash its higher sections because if the dirty water drips over the sections you’ve already passed, you’ll have to rewash them.
Look out for bug splatters and bird droppings, and make sure you scrub them off as you wash the car as they may harm the car paint. You can use a damp rag to soften it and then scrub it off after some time if the wash mitt doesn’t do the job well.
You may also use a bug remover if it’s necessary, especially if you need to remove bugs that have dried up on the car’s surface. Do not try to remove any dirt on the car’s surface through scrapping or using a brush because it’ll scrape the paint.
Also, remember always to rinse the sponge or wash mitt as you wash because a build-up of grime and grit may cause scratches on the car’s paint. Rinse it often with your rinsing water and change the water when it becomes dirty.
Step Five Rinse the Car in Sections: Rinse each section of the car you wash with a hose before washing another section. Doing this will prevent the soap from staining the paint as it won’t be able to dry. Ensure also to rinse the washed area from the top just the same way you washed it.
Always try to keep the whole car surface wet as you wash each section to avoid water spots that’ll form from dried water droplets.
Step Six Dry the Car: Use fresh and clean microfiber towels to dry the car, ensuring you wipe down the entire washed surface. Dry it well to avoid rust or anything that’ll ruin the paint. After drying with the towel, still allow the car some time to air dry completely.
Avoid using other towels or materials to dry the car as they can scratch its surface. Always squeeze out water from a microfiber towel as you dry the vehicle until you have covered every area.
Step Seven Wax the Car: Next thing is to wax the car. When the car has adequately dried, apply wax on it and gently spread it to the entire car surface. Waxing stops the car paint from fading because of the sun and also protects the finish against scratches.
How to Wash a Car Using a Pressure Washer
Some people love to wash their car often, but they have a busy schedule, so they need a quicker option and equally efficient way to wash their car. Washing the car with a pressure washer helps save them the little time they can spare from their busy schedule.
Steps on how to wash a car with a pressure washer include:
Select the right pressure washer: An essential step in washing your car with a pressure washer is to select the best one for your vehicle. Ensure to choose an electric pressure washer with about 1200-1900 PSI and a GPM that ranges between 1.4 and 1.6.
Pre-wash: Begin with rinsing the car with plain water to loosen bugs, mud, and dirt using a 25-degree green or 40-degree white nozzle. Hold the nozzle about one foot from the vehicle and spray on all the surfaces.
You may move a little farther when spraying delicate objects such as brake lights, side mirrors, and headlights but move a little closer when spraying the wheel to remove every grime.
Apply the Soap: Choose a detergent that matches the car and the pressure washer. Fill the cleaning detergent in its section on the pressure washer following its manual. Then, fix the soap nozzle to the spray wand and spray it on the car, positioning it about 2 feet away from the vehicle.
You can also attach a brush or wash mitt to the pressure washer to remove bugs from the car grill or windshield.
Leave the Soap for Some Minutes: Allow the soap to sit for about five minutes or more depending on the instructions that came with it. Ensure always to spray more soap on the car while letting it sit to stop it from drying on the paint.
Rinse the Car: To rinse the car, remove the soap nozzle and fix the 40-degree nozzle. Ensure to direct the wand to the ground while rinsing off the soap from the vehicle and spray from the top to the down area.
Dry the Car: Dry the car with chamois by laying it flat on a section of the vehicle and pulling it towards you in a slow manner. Repeat the process for other sections as you wring out excess water when it’s soaked until you’ve covered all the car surfaces.
You can use the same Chamois many times before discarding it. They are gentle on the car’s paint and highly absorbent, making them great for cleaning cars after washing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Can I use hair shampoo for a car wash?
Yes, you may use hair shampoo to wash your car but don’t allow them to stay on your car’s surface for long. Apply it fast and quickly rinse off with plain water because letting it stay long on your car’s surface will lead to fading of the car paint.
Also, keep in mind that hair shampoos are not made for car wash, so they may not give the best results when using them to wash your car.
Q: Can I just wash my car with water?
You may wash your car with just water if the car is a little dusty, as the water can wash off the dust and save you time. However, if the vehicle has grease, dirt, and mud, using just water will be insufficient.
The reason is that only the water cannot wash off the dirt. So, you need to add car wash detergents and other necessary things to achieve a clean wash.
Q: Can I wash a car that’s hot?
Most detailers advise against washing your car while it is hot. The reason is that the hot car surface causes the soap and water to dry out too fast while you’re still washing the car, leading to water spots and streaks that ruin the car’s paint job.
Q: Can you use laundry detergent to wash a car?
No, it is not right to wash your car with laundry detergent because it may have degreasers and some other chemicals in them. Such chemicals in the laundry detergent are there to help remove oil and grease from clothes.
They may not be safe to use on a car’s surface as they can leak into the car’s coating and cause it to lose the shine that keeps it protected.
Q: What household products can I use to wash my car?
Baking soda is an excellent household product for cleaning cars because it has a great cleaning ability. Soap, vinegar, and others are great too. To use baking soda to wash your vehicle, combine a cup of baking soda and a gallon of hot water and apply it to the car’s surface.
Combine 1/4 soap and a gallon of hot water to use to wash your car at home. For vinegar, combine 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of vinegar in a spray bottle and use it to wash your car.
Q: Can I wash my car with vinegar?
Yes, you can use it because of its qualities. It is excellent for cleaning dirt off vehicles, but you’ll have to use it in a diluted form because using it without diluting will lead to damages such as the eating away of your car’s topcoat.
The best way to use vinegar to wash a car is to combine an equal quantity of vinegar and water in a spray bottle and use it to wash your car.
Q: How often should a car be washed?
It is best to wash your car once in two weeks. Some people suggest washing it weekly, while others feel it could go for up to three weeks. But, where you live and how you use your car will determine.
However, some professional detailers suggest that it is best to wash your car after two weeks as it would have gathered enough dust and grime that needs to be washed off the vehicle’s surface.
Q: What happens if you never wash your car?
Your car will have various problems if you don’t wash it. Dirt will accumulate and begin to eat off the car’s coating with its abrasiveness, making the car look dull and unattractive in a short while.
Other problems resulting from not washing your car include pitting, rusting, fading, and lots more. Always make out time to wash your car because not washing it has lots of disadvantages.
Knowing how to wash a car helps you to keep your car looking flashy for a long time. Washing a car may feel challenging, but following these steps we’ve listed above will make it easy for you to give your car its long-needed shine and fresh smell.