There’s more to looking after your car than a regular trip to the mechanic. Washing your car is an important part of vehicle maintenance and can help to maintain the value of your car. It removes contaminants from the surface of the car that, over time, can do damage to the paint job. Regular washing also removes debris like dirt and leaf matter that can build up and start to do damage, like clogging windscreen wipers.
Many people opt for a car wash when it comes to cleaning the car. However, an automatic car wash can actually damage your car. Washing your car by hand is the best way to ensure a thorough yet delicate clean. And, like anything, there are some steps to follow to ensure that you do the best job and don’t risk damaging your car.
- Get everything ready
As with any task, you can’t expect a good result if you don’t have the right equipment. so, here’s what you’ll need:
- Car shampoo
- Sponge or wash mitt
- Wheel brush
- Large microfibre towel
- Two large buckets
- Find the perfect spot
Before washing your car, make sure it’s parked in the shade. You don’t want the sun to dry your car mid-wash, otherwise you can end up with streaks rather than a seamless shine.
If you can’t park your car in the shade, ensure your car is cool to touch. You can also try washing your car during cooler parts of the day, like early morning or late afternoon, so it doesn’t dry as quickly.
You should also think about the environment when choosing a place to wash your car. Even if you’re using an eco-friendly detergent, it’s a good idea to try to minimise the amount of chemicals and detergents that get washed into the storm water drain. Try to find a spot on the lawn so that any excess water and detergents soak into your garden rather than getting washed down the drain. Since you’re watering your lawn while you’re washing your car, you have the added bonus of saving water.
- Fill your buckets
With your car in position, you can fill both buckets with clean water. Add the recommended amount of car shampoo to one and save the other for rinsing your sponge.
- Rinse your car
To shift as much dirt as possible, use a hose to thoroughly rinse your car. Work from top to bottom so any dirt or debris is washed away. Don’t forget the wheel rims and arches.
Your car should be thoroughly wet before you move onto the next step.
Remember to always turn off the hose when you’re not using it so you don’t waste water.
- Wash your car
Using a sponge or wash mitt, start applying the car shampoo and water solution to the car. Work from top to bottom again and one panel at a time.
Try not to scrub but instead you use smooth, gentle strokes so you don’t end up scratching your car.
Regularly rinse your sponge so you aren’t just spreading dirt around. If you drop your sponge, get a fresh one. It can easily have picked up particles of dirt or debris that will scratch your car if you continue to use it.
When you reach the wheel arches and tyres, switch your sponge for a wheel brush.
- Rinse your car again
Once you’ve washed your car, it’s time to rinse again. As before, use a hose and rinse from the top down. You don’t want to leave any shampoo behind. If not properly rinsed off, the car shampoo can damage your car’s paint.
- Dry your car
Use a large microfibre towel to dry your car completely. It can be tempting to skip this step and let the car air dry. However, this will lead to streaks and water marks, which will ruin all your hard work.
To protect the paint and get that extra sheen, you could also apply a car polish or wax. This is an optional step. If you love an extra glossy finish on your car, this may be the right choice for you. However, if you prefer to minimise unnecessary chemical usage, you may want to skip this step.
Washing your car is pretty straightforward, but it’s important to do it properly to avoid damaging your vehicle. Even a small scratch or paint chip can be expensive to fix and, if left untreated, can do serious damage to your vehicle.