How to Wash Your Car


Some people might consider washing their cars as a burden, but the whole process can actually be relaxing if you take it slow and steady. The best part is completing the task and seeing your car all clean and shiny. Besides, washing your own car saves you money compared to letting a professional do it.

Another crucial reason why it is important to learn how to wash your car is that several car wash establishments use brushes that are not cleaned frequently. These brushes might be full of dirt and grime that can damage the paintwork of your vehicle through scratches.

The things you need for washing your car are accessible. Examples are buckets of water, a hose, and a flat concrete area under a large shade. You just have to reserve a couple of hours for the task. But, it may take more than two hours if your car is huge and too dirty. That’s why it is best to do this on a weekend. Finally, it is time for you to learn how to wash your car.


Make sure to follow these tips during preparation for an easier time and a more effective wash for your car.

  • Park your car in the right spot.

    Your car must not be placed under direct sunlight. Soap water marks will stain its paint when the liquid easily evaporates before you even finish your job.

  • Prepare your car.

    Close all the windows of your vehicle to block water from entering. Then, pull back the antenna to ensure that you will not snap it while washing the car. Another act of caution is propping the windshield wipers so you can clean the glass properly.

  • Place the required materials near your car.

    The complete list of the most important things you need for washing your car includes a large hard brush for the wheels, a big sponge or a pair of hand wash mitts, a hose, two buckets of water for washing, another bucket for rinsing, a detergent specially made for cars, and microfiber drying towels.

  • Wear the right outfit.

    It is impossible to keep yourself dry during the whole process. Whether you like or not, you will really get wet and even surrounded by soap foam. Wear clothes that are light and comfortable. Rubber sandals are recommended for your feet since these are perfect for wet surroundings. They keep you safe from slips and other accidents. During cold seasons, however, you should resort to rubber boots and work pants.

  • Add detergent to two buckets of water.

    Never use other types of detergent. Before you add car wash detergent into the water, check the manual first since manufacturers give the recommended ratio for each of their car models. You can also follow the product’s instructions regarding the ratio of detergent to the water. Just to be sure though, always regard the manufacturer’s tips.

  • Prepare two buckets of soapy water.

    We mentioned that three buckets are needed. Two are reserved for soapy water. The main reason behind this is to have a bucket for the car’s body and another one for the tires. The vehicle’s body is too wide, so it is only normal that water will get really dirty because of it. You cannot use dirty water for the tires; it will just add more dirt and grime.

How to Wash Your Car

After careful and meticulous preparation, you are ready to wash your car. Remember these tips for the most excellent result.

  • Use a hose for an initial wash.

    Do not get your hands dirty yet. The hose loosens stubborn dirt using force and moisture. It makes things easier for your hands. The flow of water does not have to be too strong. High pressure leads to scratches as grit harshly moves along the surface until it completely disappears. Also, the flow must be downwards. When you thoughtlessly let the water splash onto the windows with defective rubber seals, water may enter your car.

  • Start with the wheels.

    A lot of car owners are unsure about which part to wash first: the top or the wheels. Some of them prefer washing the top first to let soapy water dribble down the wheels. Once the wheels are all soapy already, it is easier to clean them. On the other hand, washing the wheels first ensure that no dirt will land on an already-clean surface.

    While both sides of the argument have good points, we recommend washing the wheels first. Starting from the top is a risk since splotches can develop from soapy water. Cleaning the wheels can be time-consuming, so leaving the body soapy for a while is not a good idea. You may rinse the body before cleaning the wheels, but that consumes a lot of time. Besides, clean water can still leave splotches if not dried properly.

    To clean the wheels, use the right brush for it. Wheel brushes are usually long and slim. They are perfect for cleaning the wheels’ openings. If the wheels are not too dirty, then you can simply use a mitt or a sponge for gentle cleaning. There are specific cleaning products for wheels and tires, so feel free to browse the store before washing your car.

    Washing the wheels thoroughly and later finding out that the tires are defective can be infuriating. So, always check the tires and change the damaged ones immediately. If you have no idea how to change a tire on a car, then better learn it now.

  • Wash your car’s body.

    Use a big sponge or a soft mitt with long strands for this. Before scrubbing the body, soak the sponge or mitt first in a bucket of soapy water. To give you choices of what cleaning agent to use, check out our list on the best car wash soaps.Never use a brush in cleaning the body. The paint is too fragile for that. After wiping the surface, rinse the sponge or mitt before dipping it again in soapy water. If the rinsing water is already dirty, then replace it with a fresh one.

    Sponges are guaranteed to be soft, but it can be impractical for the budget since you have to purchase a new one from time to time. Mitts are economic-friendly because they are usually machine-washable.

    Moving on, you have to wash the topmost part of the body first. Focus on one section before proceeding to another. Specifically, you have to move around the car as you proceed from one section to the next. As you start another round, go lower. Do not wipe the surface harshly since grit can follow your hand’s movement resulting in scratches.

    Lastly, always remember to rinse the section before washing the next part to prevent soap from creating splotches. Keep the car wet all the time. The best thing to do is to have a hose in one hand while the other does the wiping.

  • Wipe the surface dry.

    Microfiber towels will always be advisable for drying cars due to their softness and water absorption properties. Wipe each section dry in a straight line to ensure gentleness and absence of watermarks.


The only factors you have to be cautious about in cleaning your vehicle are scratches from harsh wiping and splotches from the dried soapy water. As long as you use the right detergent and focus well on each section, everything will be fine. Do not forget to keep the car wet all the time before using the microfiber drying towels. Learning how to wash your car effectively is surprisingly easy, right?

Emphasize how clean your car is after a good wash by putting a new car air freshener inside. To know more about improving your vehicle inside and out, learn how to make a car go faster.