The best method for a spic-and-span car wash

December 12, 2014

Avoid damaging your car's finish and have it looking it's best with this handy method for washing your car.

The best method for a spic-and-span car wash

Knowing the best way to wash your car can keep it looking fresh and clean, no matter what hazards the city can throw at it. However, many people use harsh abrasives, improper techniques, or overly-aggressive brushes and scrubs and risk damaging their car’s finish. Here are the most effective methods for washing your car to keep it looking good as new.

Stop and go

Bear in mind that even sitting idle, your car will fall prey to sun, pollution, bird droppings and city dust. Add in the wear and tear that happens when you drive around town and you’ll need to clean it regularly. Giving your car a hand wash approximately three times a month is a totally reasonable way to keep its finish shiny without too much effort.

Simple cleaning methods

Nobody can wash a car effectively if they rush through it. Take your time and you’ll both enjoy the process more and avoid the errors that come from a job done too quickly.

  1. For the most part, the best way to wash your car is to first clean areas with more dirt, then work in long, even strokes, from the top to the bottom of your car.
  2. Do not wash your car if it has been sitting in direct sunlight. A car that’s hot dries too fast and leaves soapy water deposits. Move it into the shade or wait for it to cool.
  3. Fill a bucket with clean, hot water and keep it dedicated for rinsing. Fill another bucket with warm water (not hot) and add a cleaning product designed for cars. It may be tempting to use dish detergent or another household cleaner, but these can have abrasives that scratch a car’s finish.
  4. Get a clean sponge and rinse it thoroughly, then work in long lines along the car's surface, from top to bottom. Going in circles can create swirl marks in your car’s finish.
  5. Remember to rinse and ring out the sponge often, using your rinsing bucket. Doing so lessens the chance that grit and dirt will be transferred into your soapy water and then score up your car’s finish. It’s very simple to keep the sponge clean.
  6. After soaping and washing the car, break out a hose and rinse the car from top to bottom in a wide, sweeping action. This fanning method creates a kind of sheeting effect that, when it dries, helps to preserve the car’s shine.
  7. When you're done rinsing, get a clean chamois and dry the car off. Allowing it to dry in the open air can lead to streaking, and driving a wet car can increase its chances of picking up dirt and debris.

Pulling up

If you take your time, avoid household cleaners and work in deliberate strokes, you will be using the most effective methods for washing your car and helping to preserve its finish for years to come.

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