How to wash your car – our top 5 tips

Washing your car can sometimes feel like a chore, but we all undertake the task at some time simply because it’s the best way to maintain your vehicle’s appearance. You would think it’s a fairly straightforward process but, actually, we may be doing it wrong!

There is a tried and trusted process and technique to ensure that you wash your car effectively, and with the best use of time and effort. From the actual washing process itself, to the car valeting products you use to do it with, here are our top 5 tips to consider when washing your car:

1. The two bucket wash method

It is essential that you involve two buckets when washing your car. Many of us fill a bucket with hot, soapy water and away we go – cloth in the water, apply liberally to the car – cloth back in the water and repeat the process till we’ve wiped the entire car surface.

However, from dunking the cloth into the bucket after the first wipe, we’ve then just applied the initial, and forever building, dirt on the cloth to the rest of the car! All this time you’re mixing your clean water with the dirt and grime you’ve just removed from the car – your cloth is progressively more dirty and contaminated and you’re just spreading that dirt more evenly over the entire car surface!

ALWAYS use two buckets – one with your initial soapy wash water, and the other with clean water to use as a rinse bucket.

2. Grit guards catch dirt particles

These days you can buy an insert, known as a grit guard, that is placed inside both your buckets and they extract dirt particles from you’re your car wash mitt or cloth. They allow the dirt to sink to the bottom of your bucket therefore providing a clean, smooth wash mitt for your next application to the car.

3. Choose the right car wash shop

It is important that you choose the right and appropriate soap with which to wash your car. NEVER use dish soap – it can often contain very strong detergents that will not only remove the dirt and grit from your car, but may also strip back any protective wax or sealant on your car’s surface, therefore leaving it vulnerable to the elements.

Use a specialised car wash soap that is PH-neutral and specifically formulated for maximum lubricity.

4. Use a quality car wash mitt

It is also important to employ a quality chenille wash mitt – these are extra-soft mitts that contain absorbent strands which help lift and trap dirt from the paint surface. These will wash your car effectively and also protect the sensitive paint surface at the same time.

5. A drying towel is not to be taken for granted

Many of us may just grab an old household towel to dry our car with, but they can often be made from materials that are damaging to a car surface, leaving behind swirls and scratches. Always use a microfiber towel – these provide a very absorbent solution as well as being extra-soft and gentle to  your car’s paint work.

The car wash process

Prepare your towel. Ideally, fold it into a format that affords you eight different surfaces.

Divide your vehicle into sections:- Roof, Side Glass, Horizontal Panels (Bonnet, Boot), Vertical Panels, Front and Back Skirts/Bumpers/Grills, Lower Panels and, finally, Wheels.

Start at the top of the vehicle – complete one section at a time.

Remember to wipe LIGHTLY and in ONE direction. Wiping in a circular motion is actually ineffective because you will be redistributing the dirt you’ve just wiped away back over the surface you’ve just cleaned.

When drying, it’s best to pat the water dry than actually wipe across the surface.


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