Tips for Washing Your Car At Home

Should you wash a car at home? There are good reasons to get a car cleaned professionally rather than doing it yourself. Car washes use less water than at-home washing. Runoff from a car wash is treated as wastewater. It’s cleaned at the sewage plant rather than streaming directly into a storm drain.

Still, many people enjoy the weekend ritual of washing a car at home. It’s a good way to keep a car sparkling between professional cleaning and detailing.

If you’re going to use your own elbow grease to get your car’s shine on, here’s what you need to know.

Arm Yourself With the Right Tools

hand washing a carUse soap formulated for cars. These products won’t harm the finish like household cleansers can. Apply the soap with a soft natural sponge or mitt. A lamb’s wool mitt is ideal.

Use a bug-and-tar remover to cleanse grease and tar from around wheel wells. Use a separate cloth to clean these areas. The black gunk that collects here can make a sticky mess on your mitt.

If car soap isn’t strong enough to get the wheels clean, try a product made for tires and wheels. Choose a product that’s labeled safe for all finishes.

Dry your car with terry cloth or microfiber towels or a chamois.

Getting In a Lather

The right washing techniques prevent scratches, swirls and water spots from marring your car’s finish.

Wash a car away from direct sunlight. Avoid working on a hot car. Soap and water dry quickly in hot conditions, leaving spots on the finish. Follow these general guidelines:

  • Rinse the entire car to remove loose dirt. Debris that’s rubbed with a mitt causes scratches
  • Work the soap into a lather. Use one bucket for soap and one for rinsing the mitt.
  • Wash and rinse one section of the car at a time. Work from the top of the vehicle down.
  • Move the mitt lengthwise across the car. Working in circles leaves visible swirls. Rinse the mitt often.
  • Use soft towels to blot dry your car. Don’t air dry a vehicle. Some areas of Clark County have hard water that leaves spots if left to evaporate.

Wash your car about once a week. Regular cleaning removes contaminants that damage the finish. Remove dead bugs, bird droppings or tree sap as soon as possible. If left on your car, the organic proteins and acids in these substances can eat into the finish.

When it’s time to deep clean your vehicle, visit our car wash in Battle Ground, Washington. We have the most complete car washing and car detailing services in Clark County.