Fix-It Chick: How to wash a car
Washing a car may sound like child’s play, but here are a few pointers to help avoid telltale signs of a novice wash job.
- Start with a good-quality car wash mitt. Unlike old T-shirts, towels and rags, mitts hold lots of water and help pull dirt away from the car surface, reducing the risk of scratches and swirl marks.
- Dish soap is for dishes, not for cars. Dish soap will strip the vehicle’s wax finish and dry out rubber seals and plastic moldings. Splurge a little and buy a good quality car wash shampoo.
- Use a garden hose with a gentle spray or a free flow nozzle. High pressure nozzles tend to embed dirt into the car’s surface.
- Fill two 5-gallon buckets — one with just water and the other with a water/shampoo mixture. Use the bucket of clean water to rinse the car wash mitt between scrubbings.
- Wash the car in a shady spot on a day with little or no wind. Begin by washing the wheel wells and tires before proceeding to the vehicle body.
- Wet the entire surface of the car with a gentle spray to remove any loose dirt or grime.
- Start at the top of the car and work your way down to the bottom. Squeeze a full load of soapy water from the car wash mitt onto the area to be washed. Allow the suds to set for a minute before gently wiping them up in a straight sweeping motion. Overlap strokes to avoid streak marks.
- Rinse the mitt after the first pass and repeat the process as necessary, applying more pressure on the second and third scrubbing.
- Once an area is clean, rinse the soapy residue away with a free-flowing garden hose. Allow water to sheet off the surface with the full flow of the hose to reduce both water spots and drying time.
- Continue washing the vehicle in sections, working around the car several times. Rinse regularly and make sure all surfaces remain wet throughout the process.
- When finished, dry the car with microfiber towels or chamois. Wipe gently, in straight lines to avoid scratches. Wring towels out as they become soaked and use a secondary dry towel to pick up any remaining droplets.