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How to Wash Your Car

Updated on November 14, 2014

Tips for Washing Your Car the Right Way!

This lens is designed to give you tips on the correct ways to wash your car. If you have ever had a little trouble getting your car to look clean, this lens is for you. Washing your car is easy. Doing it right is the hard part. If you wash your car the right way, you will get a sparkling looking car, with very little water spots.

Washing Your Car - Step One

Don't skip this step.

Using a good hose with a strong stream, completely soak down your car. You want to loosen as much dirt as possible. Do not skimp on this step. The more heavy dirt you leave on your car, the harder it will be to wash and get really clean. Plus, dirt particles can scratch your car's finish even while washing it. Do the same to the wheels and tires. It will probably take more than one pass to do it right.

Washing Your Car - Step Two

Get the soap ready.

Get a large bucket with a handle. It will make moving it easier. Many people even get a small dolly to place the bucket on. Washing your car is going to be strenuous enough. Place a capfull of car washing soap in the bucket. You MUST use soap specifically for washing cars. Soap is soap is soap, true, but some soaps will strip the wax and dull the finish off your car. You also want one that will make the maximum amount of suds. These suds will do the work. Use a combination wash/wax soap if you wish. After putting the capfull in the bottom of the bucket, squirt the water with a strong stream and put as close to the bottom of the bucket as you can and create the suds. Fill bucket until suds overflow. You are now ready to wash your car.

Washing Your Car - Step Three

Use the right cleaning tools!

Do not use a sponge. Do not use anything that is abrasive like steel wool, sink, or dish scrubbers. They must be soft. They must be fluffy. A wash mitt is the best. It will trap dirt instead of scraping it along your cars finish. A sponge could scratch your car. For tall cars, vans, and trucks, you can use a pole mitt. Make sure you buy a pole with a head that is specifically designed to wash a car. Many will scratch your cars finish. Remember, the fluffier the better. A wash mitt designed for car washing will hold the most suds as well. Suds is what will clean your car.

Washing Your Car - Step Four

You do not need to park in the shade. If you keep everything damp, you will have no problem. If you can, park under cover, out of the sun. Avoid parking under trees as they shed leaves, bugs, seeds, and other debris that can ruin a good car wash!

Wash your car from the bottom up. That's right. From the bottom up. Many people will tell you to do it from the top down. The reason you want to wash your car from the bottom up, is so you can see what you have washed. Don't worry about dirty soapy water running down from the top to your clean sides. This will wash right down. It is very important for you to have a clear view of what you have washed.

Use a scrub brush to scrub the tires using a soapy bucket as described above. Don't use this brush on the wheels as it may scratch. Use a special soft wheel brush, or the same wash mitt as described below as well. It may be a good idea to have a special mitt set aside for wheels and one for the car. Wheels get certain dust and grime that can stay on a mitt. Be careful not to hit or damage the valve stems. I do not advise using wheel cleaner unless it says it is safe for car finishes. Wheel cleaners can contain chemicals that can damage your car's paint. Car was suds is very safe and effective on wheels.

Dump the dirty water after the tires and start with a new bucket of suds.

**Dump the bucket of suds and change it after each section and even more often if the suds no longer are present. Don't wash your car with dirty water. This will scratch it!

Now you can get to the rest of your car.

Start off by washing one side, move to the back, wash the other side, wash the front and hood, then the top and windows. Save the wheels and tires for last.

After washing one of the sections mentioned above, rinse it down immediately. This will help to avoid the soap drying and leaving spots. Also, after each section run the hose over the previous washed sections as well. Keep them damp until the final rinse. Hosing them down in between will wash down any debris that has landed on your car since the last section. Be sure and spray the wheels each time as well.

Keep a spray bottle handy of bug and tar remover. Read the label to get a safe, gentle one. If you see bugs or tar, spray this one just before washing and scrubbing with the wash mitt. This stuff will remove bugs and tar effortlessly. Remember to use it before you use the suds.

Wash the top and windows last. Hose down the areas as well as all other areas that have been washed. Remember to keep them damp and clean.

Car Washing Tip! What is the first thing you should do after you wash your car? Wash it again! The first wash gets about 95% of the dirt off, leaving 5%. As crazy as this sounds, it is good advice! But, this step is indeed optional!

Washing Your Car - Step Five

The Final Rinse.

After washing the wheels and all sections, spray the car down completely. After spraying it down, now comes an important tip on the final rinse. DO NOT SPRAY THE CAR DOWN ON THE FINAL RINSE! Let the water flow out of the hose gently, over the top and down the sides. Create sheets of water, cascading over your car. This will avoid water spots! If you have ever had trouble with water spots, this will do the trick. Beading water makes water spots. Spraying with a fine mist creates beads! Also, rinsing all sections after washing one section will also avoid spots. Another tip: The better your car is waxed, the less likely the water will bead. In fact, if you do the water cascading technique above, some parts of your car will be dry without even wiping down!

Washing Your Car - Step Six

Drying Your Car.

After the final cascading rinse, pull your car into the garage, under a carport, or other shady spot. If you need to park under a tree, do so, but trees drop leaves, bugs, and other debris. If you dry your car under a tree, blow off particles that have fallen or you will scratch the car.

Use plain white cotton bath towels, the thirstier the better. Use white, as other colors will leave colored lint behind. Make sure these towels have been run through a dryer to remove excess lint. Have 4 to 5 of these towels handy.

Don't fold them up. Keep them open and walk with the towel spread over the car. Do the hood and top first, and get the windows. The sides will practically dry themselves. Change towels when needed. A damp towel is actually better, as it will spread the remaining water evenly and avoid water spots. Don't over dry. If your car is clean and waxed often, letting some water dry naturally. This will avoid water swirl marks.

Look for hidden spots for water to collect and drip. This is in window sills, and the spot between the bumper and license plate. Run the edge of your towel in these nooks and crannies. Blowing air into them helps the water come out. Same is often true around your side view mirrors. This was cause a litter water splatter that you can easily wipe up. If you do not do this, as you drive, this collected water can drip down and cause spots.

Do the same for the wheels. But do not dry the tires. Your towel will turn black and be ruined. If your tires are clean, they will not need to be sprayed to look better. Spraying your tires with the shiny stuff will actually collect dust. And contrary to popular belief, rubber is very durable in all types of conditions. Tires can dry naturally. They repel water on their own.

A chamois or the Sham-Wow towels work great as well. They hold a lot of water. Ring them out often, but keep them damp. A damp chamois or Sham-Wow works wonders! Again, avoid touching the tires with these as they will turn black and get tire junk on them.

Drying Tip! Many people will rinse their cars, then immediately take a spin around the block. The rush of air will help air dry the car, as well as blow out the little nook and crannies. This leads to less towel time. The danger is getting bugs and debris on your just washed car!

Car Wash Products - Cleaing Solutions - Car Wash Soap, bug, tar remover.

Try these great car wash soap products to get your car really clean!

Car Wash Products - cleaning utensils - Car wash mitts, brushes, scrubbers.

Use these car wash products that are specially made to not scratch, hold a lot of suds, and get that car grime going.

Car Wash Accessories - Other items that making washing a car easy.

If you are going to wash your own car, invest in these items. They will last a long time, and make washing your car easier than ever. Dedicate the bucket for only car wash use. Do not use it as a mop bucket as some of those products may ruin your car's finish.

Car Wash Cleaning Kits - All in One

These bundles of car washing cleaning and detailing products make for one stop shopping. These kits come with everything you need to keep your car sparkling clean. Plus, buying a kit save money. Items are priced more if you buy them individually.

Reader Feedback

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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Just bought a new Jeep. Learned a lot here. Bottom up, who knew. Thanks

    • RoadMonkey profile image


      4 years ago

      My favourite tip is to get someone to do it for me! LOL But when I need to wash the car, these are good tips, thanks.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Nice lens

    • RetroMom profile image


      5 years ago

      You have helped some people with this lens. Great tips. Good work!!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      thanks for sharing. i don't have a car but plan to buy a new one. this tips would be help

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Stopping back by to re-read this page full of excellent tips on washing your car.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I always enjoy washing my own car. You know how to do it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow, there is certainly an optimum way to wash a car. Very useful and practical tips.

    • JuneNash profile image

      June Nash 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for the tips! Now I need an easy way to learn how to clean the insides. Especially the upholstery. Any tips for removing stains on the seats?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I like washing cars, always have. Nice tips!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Very good tips. Now I need a few tips on 'waxing' my car. :)

    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 

      6 years ago

      Great lens. I learned some important tips is washing car properly.

    • PropheticBlogge1 profile image


      6 years ago

      It all seems so easy to wash your car, but I'm so so very bad at it. I end up getting more wet than the car!! Great lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens, I have one lens on 'how to wash your car too'!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I still love to wash my Vehicles ever since I was a Child!!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for your recent visit. I'm adding this to my Liberty lens...its also a very important part of any vehicle maintainence routine.

    • mrsjordanjr profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens, added to my car washing lens. :)

    • monstarfitness profile image


      6 years ago

      great lens!

    • teristazko profile image


      6 years ago

      Great car washing tips...I especially like the "washing bottom up" tip. I never thought about it that way.

    • Rangoon House profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I really love those drive through numbers!

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      Very clear instructions on washing a car. Should be required reading for teens before they start this job.

    • sorana lm profile image

      sorana lm 

      6 years ago

      Very funny. Can you see me smile? :)

    • JK Sterling profile image

      Jim Sterling 

      7 years ago from Franklin, Tennessee

      Sometimes the basics are so needed. Thank you for this lens. My son is just learning to wash his car.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      fun lens to have browsed upon, glad I spent some time on it. If you like to browse lens as I do, mine has a great educational topic with poll questions for my readers to enjoy.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Good lens and helpful, i used to wash my car with dishwashing liquid

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      good lens

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the great tips! naughty little helpers, love em! I so miss the time when I washed my car like that... did not have a kid then but now do but no time these days :( Though knowing my car is receiving an organic cleaning relieves some of the pain.

    • stylingparts profile image


      7 years ago

      great lens mate good detail thanks

    • ColorPetGifts profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice car wash page and I really enjoyed the pics :)

    • leonlow profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi Stephen, well written article on car washing steps. Thanks for sharing.

      And should you be coming for any Singapore posting drop me an email.

    • bensen32 lm profile image

      bensen32 lm 

      7 years ago

      nice lens and details in the writing. now if I could only figure out how to shorten this whole process :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I hope it's ok to say this here.... I learned so much about writing by reading this article! Thank you!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the great tips! Where can I get the expert helpers you had?

    • kerastasehaircare profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens, you have wrote some great information keep on writing.

      Young Car Drivers Insurance


    • VladimirCat profile image


      9 years ago from Australia

      What an interesting concept! In all of my eighteen and a half years I have never seen a car being washed. Thank you for explaining this strange custom to me. High Paw!

    • TNTbefree profile image

      Loren Gross 

      9 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida

      Very nice lens. I see that the products you listed are Amazon products. Did you know that you can link to Amazon within your story or topic, to products, keywords, and images, with your own Amazon affiliate links? This will give you full credit for any sales. Kind of blend it into the story. If you would like help with this, visit my lens for full details at, I gave you 5 and a fan. PS found you on linkreferral. TNTbefree.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I like your Lens. Found you from Link Referrals.

      Stock Market Today.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      the common thing but you've covered by unique lens..5 stars to you..hope you visit my lens about hydroponic garden. best regards

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice job with this lens. Found it on Link Referral. Best wishes for your success. Hope you will visit my lens about emotional healing. Sincerely: Gary Eby, author and therapist.


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