On those days when the weather is good, and you’ve decided you’re washing your car, it’s safe to assume you’ll do a decent job, but to get that professional wash look, a little skill and technique is needed.
To help your car look more polished than usual, we will run through the best way to wash your car at home, with some helpful answers to frequently asked questions.
What you should have if you’re washing your car at home
No, not just a sponge and bucket. Try to gather as many of these as you can get before you start:
- A hose or pressure washer
- Two buckets (one for soapy water, one for rinsing)
- Car wash soap (using dish wash soap won’t cut it, try your local petrol station to find proper car wash soap)
- A good quality Sponge
- A Soft-bristle brush for wheel cleaning
- Wheel cleaner
- Glass cleaner
- Upholstery cleaner
- All-purpose cleaner for interior surfaces (wipes work well too)
- Cloth or towel to dry
Once you have everything ready, it’s time to get cleaning.
Step 1: Start with the Rims and Tyres
Start with the rims and tyres, as they tend to be the dirtiest parts of the car.
- Apply wheel cleaner (or car soap) to each wheel and let it sit for a few minutes to loosen dirt and brake dust.
- Use a soft-bristle brush to scrub the wheels, paying attention to hard-to-reach areas.
- Rinse thoroughly with the hose, ensuring all the cleaner is removed.
- Dry the wheels with the cloth or towel. If you don’t, you might end up with water spots like you get when glasses don’t dry properly on the kitchen rack.
Step 2: Take Time With The Bodywork
The bodywork takes up the bulk of cleaning, but you can whizz through it by doing the following:
- Fill one bucket with just water and the other with water and car wash soap.
- Start from the top and work your way down. Dip the sponge into the soapy water, then wash one section at a time, using gentle, straight motions.
- Rinse the sponge in the bucket of clean water after each section to prevent dirt from going back on the car's surface.
- Pay attention to those hard-to-reach areas, such as door handles and mirrors.
- Rinse the entire car with water with the hose, ensuring all the soap is removed.
- Give the car a quick rub over with the cloth or towel to prevent water spots.
We also recommend getting a decent-sized and quality sponge that will make it easier to lift the dirt.
Step 3: Finish with the Interior
Most of us don’t typically go for the full valet experience when getting the car washed. While the interior can be cumbersome, especially around the dash, if you follow these steps, you’ll whizz through cleaning:
- Remove and bin any rubbish in the car, like those sneaky crisp packets or half-empty bottles of water
- Remove the floor mats and any other items in the car
- If you have a duster you use around the house, get it and dust around the seat buckles and sides of the seats to pull dust and dirt out
- Use your hoover to thoroughly vacuum the seats, carpets, and floor mats
- For stubborn stains on fabric seats, use an upholstery cleaner
- Clean hard surfaces such as the dashboard, door panels, and console using an all-purpose cleaner.
- Use glass cleaner and a cloth to clean the windows and mirrors inside. If you often find you have glare when driving in low sun, it can sometimes be the interior side of your windscreen that needs a good wipe clean
Car Cleaning FAQs
Some of the most common car washing questions you shouldn’t be embarrassed to ask:
How often should I wash my car?
Ideally, It is generally recommended to wash your car every two weeks to keep it looking well. Unfortunately, it’s whenever we get a chance.
Can I use dish soap to wash my car?
No, dish soap like Fairy Liquid is not recommended, as it can strip away the car's wax and protective coatings. Most petrol stations will have the car washing supplies you need.
Should I wash my car in direct sunlight?
It's best to avoid washing your car in direct sunlight as it can cause water spots due to drying faster in the heat. Try to choose somewhere with shade or wait till the evening.
Keep your car in excellent condition
Got a hiccup with your car and need help? Give your car the care it deserves with AA Car Servicing. Using our expertise, you can book a vehicle repair & diagnostic appointment online.