Remember how fun washing your mom or dad’s car as a kid was? Using the sponges, spraying your brother or sister with the hose, it was a picture perfect way to spend a summer day. Now it might not be as magical as it was when you were a kid, but washing your own car can be a great, cost effective way to get your vehicle sparkling again. Read on for our tips on giving your car the best hand wash possible.
- Use soap made for your vehicle: First off, make sure you’re using soap made specifically for washing cars. Dish soap and other surface cleaners can damage the paint of your car. Then, make sure you read the label on your soap for specific instructions on application, and certain surfaces that it should not be applied on. If your vehicle has a unique paint or surfaces, you may need to buy a special soap for your type of vehicle.
- Move the sponge lengthwise: Washing your car using circles can leave ugly soap marks once it’s done, and potentially can scratch your car. Ew. Instead, use long sweeps across the hood and body of your car to get that streak-free shine. Also, make sure there’s no dirt or debris on the sponge that could cause scratches when lathering. If you drop in on the driveway by accident, rinse thoroughly before using it again.
- Rinse regularly: Few things look worse on your vehicle than dried soap, plus it can damage your fancy paint job. Don’t lather up your entire vehicle with soap right away, break it into sections. Lather up one section, then rinse, then move on to the next. This ensures that you won’t end up having to give your car a second wash to remove dried soap. Gross.
- Take care of your wheels: Use a separate sponge to clean your wheels than the one you used to clean the body of your car to prevent picking up debris from the wheel and then scratching your paint with it. You should also use a wheel cleaner to gently wash up built dirt, grease, and tar. Best to use a wheel cleaner specific to your vehicle, or just play it safe and use a cleaner that’s safe for all types of wheels. You don’t want to be cleaning the wheels of your sedan with cleaner made for monster trucks.
- Dry the right way: Don’t let your car air dry (or try to dry it by flooring it down the street), it can result in watermarks, thus ruining all the work you just did. Gently dry the vehicle using several, soft terry towels. Blot the car dry instead of dragging the towel along the vehicle, which can leave streaks or scratches if any dirt gets on to the towel. Once finished, you can leave for your commute knowing your vehicle is looking squeaky clean.