Keeping Your Car Clean – The Proper Techniques

I used to think that cleaning a car involves grabbing some dishwashing liquid, pour it with a bucket of water then use it to scrub the car’s paint with a dirty sponge I found inside the garage.

As I found out later on, that could do much more harm than good. Yes, dishwashing liquid can remove dirt and grime on your car, but it also removes the protective wax coating that protects your car’s paint – exposing it to the elements. It can also dull the paint if used for an extended period taking away its shine.

I’ll share with you some techniques I learned over the years which you can use for your car to keep it looking new and shiny. 

Before you start you need to get the right tools to wash your car.

Buy a couple of wash mitts, a big microfiber towel, a gallon of car shampoo, a bucket (better if you can get the 5-gallon bucket), a 5 meter hose plus the nozzle attachment, wheel cleaner and a wheel brush and finally a Spray Wax – I’ll explain why you need this later in this article.

How to I wash my car the right way?

This is important! Make sure that the surface is cool before you start washing. You can only use on bucket, but I would suggest that you use two buckets. One bucket for the soapy water and the other for clean water.

Always start with the wheels so that if you splash dirt from the wheels to the body, you can just rinse it off when you wash the body itself.

Don’t wash the wheels when they are hot, you risk damaging the rotors when you do that.

Using a wheel cleaner, spray a liberal amount on the wheels and tires, allow a few minutes to soak and loosen up dirt. Then with your wheel brush, scrub the dirt out gently and rinse, after you finish move to the next wheel then repeat the process.

Wash your car under a covered area so it’s nice and cool.

Now it’s time to wash your car. Pour in some car shampoo in a bucket then mix with water. The ratio will depend on the brand of car shampoo so its best that you read the label for instructions.

Rinse the vehicle first before soaping the car so you’ll take off loose dirt and dust on the surface. Start from the roof then make your way down. Rinse off soon after cleaning the car so that the car shampoo does not dry on the paint.

After you finish on the entire vehicle, dry as soon as possible so water spots will not form on the paint. Dry the car with a microfiber towel, always start from the roof then work your way down. Don’t forget to dry the door jambs.

Finally dry the wheels – make sure you use a separate towel for this as you don’t want to cross contaminate dirt from the wheels on to the paint.

Can you possible wash without water?

Never in a million years I thought this can be done but detailing gurus have made a product for this. A no-rinse wash that you just mix with water which is great if you live in cold cities or places with water restrictions or even drought. Heck you can now wash your car in your condominium or apartment unit.

You also use a two bucket method here – one bucket for the no-rinse wash solution and the other for clean water.

Just like a regular local hand car wash you start with the wheels. Spray wheel cleaner on the wheels and tires, allow a few minutes for the cleaner to soak in to loosen up dirt and brake dust, then use the wheel brush to take off dirt then wipe with a microfiber towel. Always remember clean one wheel at a time.

After cleaning the wheels, move over to the car’s body.

Soak your wash mitt in the bucket with the no-rinse wash solution then start from the top working your way down. Gently rub the wash mitt on the section you are working on. After cleaning a section, dry it immediately with a microfiber towel before the solution dries up then move to the next section. Rinse the wash mitt well in a bucket of clean water after each section you clean so you don’t accumulate dirt on your wash mitt.

Work one section at a time until you clean the entire car.

Final Touches

After drying the car, squirt some spray wax on the paint then wipe off with a microfiber towel to a nice shine. Do this after each wash cycle to maintain that just waxed look. This will work well on regularly waxed cars.

I hope this gives you a basic idea on the proper techniques and tools you need to wash your car.