Fresh and Clean: Basic Car Washing Tips

Posted on by Defensive Driving Team | in Defensive Driving Online

If you find yourself looking for a cool activity to beat the heat (and let’s face it, who isn’t these days) and a great way to save some money on expensive drive through car washes, take to your driveway with some soap and water and give your car a good scrub. The appearance of your car can suffer by allowing debris such as dirt, bugs, bird droppings and chemicals from the environment build up on the surface and deteriorate the paint job, so enlist the help of your kids on their summer break or anyone looking for a reprieve from the heat wave. Consider investing in a few quality supplies that will make the whole easier and more effective while giving you the quality results that you get from a professional wash job.

 

What you need:

•         Car/vehicle specific soap – Although it may be tempting to grab a bottle of dish or hand soap from your kitchen, these products are not formulated to be used on cars, and their components can cause a breakdown of your vehicle’s paint job.

 

•         Lamb’s wool mitt or natural sponge – Using a soft applicator for scrubbing will help prevent any scratching and erosion of the car’s paint, especially if there is debris such as sand or dirt on the surface of the vehicle.

 

•         Water bucket and hose – Fill up a suds bucket with soap and water to create a good lather on your car and use a hose–with a spray attachment if possible–to wash away all of the soap. AOL Autos recommends using a second bucket of clean water to rinse dirt out of your sponge during the washing process to prevent cross-contamination in your suds bucket.

 

•         Terry cloth towel or chamois – Use a soft terry cloth towel (save old towels from your bathroom for this purpose) or a chamois (synthetic cloth specifically designed for absorption) to dry your vehicle thoroughly after washing. Do not allow your car to air dry as this can cause water spots.

 

What to Do:

 

Step 1

Park your vehicle in a shady spot where there is sufficient drainage and you have access to a water source. Consumer Reports advises against washing a hot car as this can accelerate the drying process and increase your chances of spotting and scratches, so allow the car to cool down after driving before you start your wash.

 

Step 2

Rinse the entire vehicle thoroughly with clean water to loosen and remove any debris. Pay special attention to the tires and wheel wells, as mud and dirt can easily accumulate in these areas.

 

Step 3

Wash the car with your soapy sponge starting at the top of the vehicle and working your way down. Avoid scrubbing the surface with excessive force or using repetitive patterns such as circles as this can wear down the paint job and increase the chance of scratches if there are any loose pieces of debris. Rinse your sponge frequently and get fresh suds to keep the vehicle lubricated.

 

Step 4

Rinse the car thoroughly using your hose and starting at the top of the car and moving down. Be sure to rinse under the car and in little nooks where soap could have pooled during the washing process.

 

Step 5

Dry your car immediately using a soft towel or chamois before the hot air has a chance to dry it naturally. This is the most important step to a great looking wash job as all of your hard work will be for naught if you allow your car to get splotchy with water marks caused by air drying.

 

Read about cleaning your car interior in “Keeping it Clean – Car Interiors”.

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