Washing Your Car

  • Park your  car out of direct sunlight. This prevents premature drying which can leave splotches on the paint.
  • Place everything you will need near the car.
  • Fill a bucket with water and add car wash soap in the quantity directed on its bottle. Do not use dish detergent.
  • Fill another bucket with plain water.
  • Hose off the car to loosen the dirt. Don't use a strong jet, as this can rub grit over the paint and scratch it.
  • Soak a large wash mitt or sponge in the soapy water, being certain to wash out any dirt in it, and begin applying it to the car. Do not use a brush on the car body -- this will leave little scratches.
  • Wash the car section by section, starting at the top. Circle around the car several times, washing lower areas with each round.
  • Rinse the dirt out of the wash mitt or sponge in the bucket with plain water frequently.
  • After one section is washed, rinse it with the hose before moving on. You don't want the soap to dry on the paint and stain it.
  • As you progress, keep the entire car wet, as this will prevent droplets from drying on the paint and leaving water-spots. You want to be able to dry the car with towels before it air-dries.
  • Scrub the lower body and the wheels last, as these are the dirtiest, grittiest parts. It's a good idea to use a seperate wash mitt or sponge on the bottom six or so inches of the car's body, as this can get especially gritty.
  • Use a long, skinny wheel-brush for cleaning the openings of the wheels. If the wheels are very glossy, use a sponge or a mitt to clean them just as you would the car body after hosing off as much of the excess grit. The clear or reflective coating can scratch.
  • Clean the tire sidewalls with a plastic brush to gently remove the excess plasticizer that (as is normal) oozes to the surface of the tire over time to protect the outer layers but can make it brownish.
  • At some point rinse the bottom of the car vigorously, from various angles, with a spray nozzle. This is particularly important when the car has been exposed to salt which, together with even normal atmospheric moisture, can rust the car quickly. It might be best not to do this before a long humid period in case it could speed rusting.
  • Dry the vehicle with fresh towels.

If bug, tar or sap residue remain, remove it using this procedure:

  • Spray bug and tar remover on stains and then scrub it off with a microfiber towel, following the directions on the container
  • Rinse the area thoroughly with a hose, so the water runs off your clean car in sheets.
  • Dry the wet area with a waffle-weave microfiber towel or chamois.

Always remove tar, bug stains, sap and bird droppings from your car as soon as you can. Left alone, they stain or etch themselves into your car's finish, and then the only way to remove them is with a professional buffing.