Car Wash Middletown New Jersey
Aug 02, 2019

Do It Better: How to Wash Your Own Car

Joyce Venezia Suss

Car Wash Middletown New Jersey

When’s the last time you washed your car? Clarification: That’s actually washed your own car, using a hose, sponges and elbow grease.

Although drive-through car wash facilities are quick and relatively inexpensive (and convenient during winter months to remove road salt), washing your own car lets you focus on the details. It’s both physically and financially wise. Some say it’s therapeutic and makes you feel good. And if you have children, it can be downright fun to let them help.

Here are some basic recommendations to wash your own vehicle:

  1. Gather supplies:
    1. Large natural sponges or cleaning mitts. If the wheels and lower body are very dirty, use a separate sponge or mitt.
    2. Two buckets – one for soapy water and another for rinsing the sponge when it gets dirty. Make a clean bucket of soapy water after washing the wheels, which are typically the dirtiest part of a vehicle.
    3. A hose with a removable spray attachment.
    4. Car wash shampoo/soap. Avoid household products like dish detergent or hand soap, which can damage the paint or clear coat surface. You may also want to invest in a special cleaning product for the wheels.
    5. Clean lint-free microfiber towels for drying. Some people still like traditional leather chamois, although this is open to debate among car enthusiasts.
  2. Avoid washing your car on a hot day, when the heat will evaporate the water too quickly. Park the car in the shade, or wash it at dusk – and it must be near a running water spigot. If you’ve been out driving, let the car cool down.
  3. Hose down the car to loosen or remove surface dust, dirt and mud.
  4. Mix the soap bucket with the ratio of water and soap recommended on the car soap container.
  5. Wash wheels and rims first, using a separate sponge or cloth. Wheels can be contaminated by tiny bits of metallic brake dust that can scratch the car’s finish. Do not use the dirty sponge or cloth on the rest of the vehicle. You can also use a soft brush to scrub dirt off the wheels.
  6. Pretreat any tough stains on the painted surface. Use a bit of undiluted car wash soap to loosen sap, bird droppings or smashed bugs.
  7. Starting at the top of the vehicle, wash and rinse one section at a time, moving the sponge or mitt back and forth, not in circles, which can scratch the paint. Wring out the dirty sponge or cloth on the driveway, then rinse in the clean water bucket. If you drop the sponge on the ground, rinse it thoroughly to remove dirt, which can scratch the finish. If either bucket gets dark and dirty, replace with fresh soap and/or water.
  8. To rinse soap from the car, some experts recommend removing the hose nozzle and letting water flow over the car, to minimize pooling.
  9. Make sure all soap and foam are washed from the car before drying. Dry the car using soft towels, top to bottom. The lower panels and wheels should be dried last, to prevent scratches.
  10. Wash headlights, taillights and windows (inside and out) with glass cleaner and a clean towel.
  11. Clean the interior dashboard with a microfiber cloth to catch dust and dirt. Use a damp cloth to clean cup holders, door handles, seat belts, steering wheel and other surfaces that get especially dirty.
  12. Vacuum the interior floor, including car mats. Recline the seats and vacuum the upholstery and crevices.
  13. If your car is older, you may want to wax or polish the exterior finish when the vehicle is completely dry. A newer vehicle will likely still have a good clear coat surface.
  14. Launder and dry all cleaning clothes separately, not with your clothing.
  15. Finally, take your sparkling car out for a spin!