I’m sure you’ve heard the old expression, “if you want something done right, do it yourself”. After detailing your car, there’s no better feeling than pulling out of the driveway knowing that your vehicle is perfectly reflecting the sun off its spotless surface. The assurance of having every square inch from your car’s roof to the tires being squeaky clean just elevates your emotions in all the best ways. In this week’s blog, we are going to detail how to wash your car like a professional. From prepping your cleaning area to the final protect/finishing stage and every step in between, you’ll be a car washing expert in no time!
Prepping Your Cleaning Materials: As you begin to plan the steps of washing your vehicle step-by-step, organize your cleaning materials such as your vehicle cleaners, towels, hose, and two buckets (one for soapy water and one for regular water). According to Napa Know-How, “Ideally, you should have two buckets at the ready — one for rinsing your mitt and one for getting a fresh batch of clean, sudsy soap on your mitt to use on the car”.You will want to organize all of your car cleaning supplies properly so as to reduce the amount of time you’ll allow the water to dry on your vehicle in between the steps of washing your vehicle. If your home has hard water, you definitely do not want this to dry as it can diminish the overall appearance of your car. One last piece of precautionary advice, make sure to remove accessories such as rings, belts, and bracelets to prevent possible damage from scraping against the paint before you begin your cleaning process.
Wheels & Tires: Now that you’re all organized, it’s time to start cleaning! We recommend starting off with cleaning the wheels first because the last thing you’d want is the water to dry on your car while you’re cleaning. A reliable car cleaner to use to kick off the cleaning process is our Wax-O-Wash One-Step Automotive Wash & Wax System Cleaner. Combine this powerful cleaner with a tool such as a wheel brush with a microfiber sleeve so you can rewash the sleeve in between wheels for a deeper clean on each wheel. Be sure to clean the face of the wheel as well as the inner barrel where dirt, brake dust, and other debris may be present. You’ll want to clean your wheel brush in the bucket or regular water before submerging your wheel brush in the soapy water bucket and continuing the cleaning. Be sure to rinse your wheels after cleaning and to dump both buckets of regular and soapy water out before proceeding to wash your car.
Pre-Washing: It’s imperative to remove any bulky dirt or debris from your vehicle to minimize the risk of scratching your paint. Begin by foaming the entire car with a product such as Clean Shot High Foaming Vehicle & Boat Wash with a foam gun. This process will soak the dirt and loosen its hold from your vehicle’s surface. Once the foam has sat for a few minutes, proceed to lightly pressure wash all the foam off with a 40-degree nozzle for a wide spray so you do not aggressively pressure wash the paint off.
Washing Your Car: Now that your car’s exterior surface is wet and free of all dirt, it’s time to get to washing! Using a wash mitt and the water from your soapy water bucket, clean your car using side-to-side motions. You’ll want to work your way down from the roof of your vehicle, then to your windshield and windows, then to the hood of your car, and then proceed to the bottom of your automobile. Once you completed cleaning each section or panel of your car, you’ll want to clean your wash mitt in the plain water bucket to remove any lingering dirt that your mitt may have captured. Make sure to squeeze all of the dirty water from the mitt before dunking it into the soapy water bucket and continuing your cleaning process. You’ll want to be diligent and efficient during this step so you don’t allow the water or soap sufficient time to dry on the paint.
Rinse Your Car: Now that your car has been completely washed, it’s time for the final rinse to be applied. Use your pressure washer once more and apply a final rinse to make sure any stubborn soap isn’t lingering on your car. Be sure to rinse your car from top to bottom so everything trickles down to the base of your vehicle.
Drying Your Car: There are numerous ways you can choose to dry your car, once you’ve reached this portion of the process. Using a leafblower works wonderfully in removing excess water from your car’s surface. If you don’t have a leafblower, using clean microfiber towels or shammies is another way to go. Using these can absorb significant amounts of water which can make the drying process fly by much faster. Lastly, make sure any hidden water that may have fallen in your car’s doors, gaskets, spoilers, or vehicle badging has been accounted for as well. You can use a handheld dryer to ensure these final surfaces are fully dry. The last thing you want is for these hidden water spots to dry and leave all your hard work cleaning your car looking less than perfect.
There you have it, your dirty four-wheeled beast should now be clean as a whistle. By being diligent and following each of these steps in order, you should be staring at a car you’d be proud to be caught driving down the street. We hope this article helped you realize just how easy it can be to take cleaning into your own hands and have a perfect wash every time!