Contrary to popular belief, washing your car takes far more than just sponging it down with a bit of dish soap. Indeed, using dish soap to wash your car is not a good idea at all. If you want to get a great looking car that is free from spots and scratches, and that doesn't show tell-tale fingerprints, read on.
Use the Correct Materials
Before you even turn on your water hose, you will need to make sure you have the right tools and supplies. Start by getting two buckets. One full of soapy water, and one to rinse your sponge in. Use proper car washing detergent, not dish soap. Some types of dish soap contain chemicals that can damage your car's finish, making it more likely to scratch or rust. Use good sponges, and microfiber cloths or mitts. Get a hose that has a spray nozzle, and also get a chamois, squeegee, and ideally a lint-free towel. You can use these to dry and buff the finish.
Wash Your Car When it's Cool
If at all possible, wash your car either early in the day, or in the evening, when it's a bit cooler. Trying to wash your car when it's warm might lead to the suds drying before you've had a chance to rinse them off, which will lead to a poor looking finish. Park your car in a shady spot, too, so that you have a bit longer before the suds dry.
Start at the Top
Start with the roof of the car, and work your way down, cleaning the windshield, the hood, the fenders, the trunk deck and the bumpers. Hose the roof of the car from top to bottom, and then use your sponge or mitt to clean it one part at a time. Work in long, gentle strokes - don't use karate-kid like circular motions because they increase the risk of you scratching the paint.
When you've done one area, rinse it off with some fresh water. Rinse the sponge in the clean water bucket, then start working on the next part of the car.
Your car's wheels are probably going to be the dirtiest part of the car. It's a good idea to have a sponge just for the wheels. If your wheels are covered in tar, grim and asphalt that just won't come off, then you might need specialist cleaning products for that. You can clean the whitewalls of your tires with a brush (again, there are specialist products for this), and after the tires have been cleaned you can apply rubber conditioner to them to protect the tires from becoming cracked.
Dry Your Car Properly
If you allow your car to air dry then you will get spots on the paint surface, left behind from the minerals in the water. To prevent this, dry your car immediately after rinsing it. Microfiber cloths and chamois are good for removing excess water without damaging the surface.
Apply Wax For A Great Finish
Optionally, you can apply a coat of wax to the car once you've cleaned it, to protect the paint. Choose a carnauba-based wax for best results. Rub it on to the car using the applicator that came with the wax, and then rub it off using a microfiber towel.
Keep The Glass Clean
Once you have done the rest of the car, you can clean the glass. The front and rear windshield and the mirrors will all need cleaning. Use a good ammonia-free glass cleaner, and try to use clean, dry towels to get rid of any soap residue, fingerprint marks and stubborn dirt. Don't forget to clean the inside surfaces, and also the rear view mirror.
Vacuum The Interior
Vacuum the carpet and any cloth upholstery. If you have any leather surfaces in the car, wipe them down and then treat them with a thin layer of leather conditioner to keep them looking at their best.
Little and Often
Cleaning your car will make it much nicer to drive in, and will keep it looking good so that if you ever need to sell it, you will get a better price.
If you don't have the time to clean your own car, then hiring a good car detail company is a good idea. Our team takes a personalized approach to cleaning and detailing and will look after any kind of vehicle from sedans to SUVs, luxury cars, trucks, RVs and boats. Quality and attention to detail matter, and taking a patient and methodical approach to detailing cars is what makes us stand out from the competition. We work with car owners in your area to make their cars look the absolute best. If you want to make sure that you get the best treatment for your vehicle, just give us a call. We would be happy to help you to get the best detailing service for your pride and joy.