It is always easy if you know certain techniques to wash your car. In fact, Car Washing Techniques are really required to be learn to save your time and to do a good job of washing your car.


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Maintaining the surface of your vehicle is as important as maintainning the vehicle's engine. A car that runs great and that looks good may actually bring in a higher resell value than a vehicle that runs great but has a poor appearance. A clean vehicle's paint will last longer and need less expensive repairs than paint that is allowed to become dull and thin due to oxidation.

In today's modern industrial environment the surface of a vehicle is subjected to daily abuse. The sun beats down on your car all day every day, pollutants and dirt deeply embeded themselves into your paint, and minute slivers of metal become lodged into your paint which eventually rust. If you have owned a white vehicle or have observed one then you may have noticed specks of rust. Those metal slivers are the cause.

Car washing techniques vary amongst individual vehicle owners. Car washing is an essential function of preventive maintenance. Keeping the exterior of a vehicle clean prevents rust and oxidation and also reduces the occurrence of fine scratches. This article attempts to relay the most common method and the significance of this pastime. Washing a vehicle with soap and a sponge is not the main body of work. In fact, this is only the preparation for the real cleaning. Soap and sponge will not remove all contaminants from a vehicle's surface. Other products will be required such as clay bars, cleaner wax, polish, etc.

In the next section we discuss the various equipment that you will need.


There are a number of items that aid in making car-washing an enjoyable and convenient practice. Old clothes and shoes are recommended in order to avoid soiling preferred clothing. If the weather feels hot then it is preferable to wait until later in the afternoon. The vehicle could also be relocated to a shaded area such as under a tree, but do not leave a clean vehicle under a tree overnight as a combination of tree sap, pollen, and fallen leaves may collect on it. If the weather is too cold, then the risk of contracting hypothermia (or simply experiencing discomfort) exists, and the water may freeze onto the car. Also, if rain is forecasted for when the vehicle is scheduled to be washed or for shortly after, then postpone until the threat of rain has passed. A fresh dose of rain can leave dirt and water spots — grayish circles that form on the vehicle after a rainstorm.

The most common car-washing equipment is:

  1. A clean bucket.
  2. A sponge or wash mitt made of thick soft foam (not a dishwashing sponge) or a brand new, lint-free dishwashing cloth (one out of the packet).
  3. Some car-washing soap. Never use dish detergents; they are far too harsh and will strip any applications of wax. Another reason to not use dish or laundry detergent is that they are harder to rinse off with cold water and may therefore leave soap scum behind.
  4. A water hose that is long enough to reach around the vehicle without having to be draped over the trunk or hood.
  5. A chamois, which is a super-absorbent cloth that does not leave lint on the vehicle.


After the proper equipment has been gathered the vehicle needs to be in a proper location. A flat, dry, and clean surface such as a driveway or parking lot is prime; a gravel lot that is relatively clean will suffice, though. If neither is accessible, surfaces such as grass or dirt will do; however, mud may splash onto the vehicle when the hose is aimed at the wheels. If the vehicle is washed on grass or dirt then the vehicle should be left until the ground and vehicle are both dry before the vehicle is moved.


Wash and Wax in the following order:

  1. Brush, vacuum & clean the interior
  2. Clean wheels and tires
  3. Wash exterior
  4. Apply tire dressing
  5. Polish wheels
  6. Clean & Treat exterior trim
  7. Polish and then wax exterior paint</s>

Washing the PaintworkEdit

In order to avoid deep scratches, the vehicle must be rinsed thoroughly before a sponge is applied. To do this, always begin at the top of the vehicle and rinse down. If the weather is particularly hot that day, the process will most likely require repeating, even after just a few minutes. Always make sure that the section of the vehicle that is being washed is wet.

Pour a liberal amount of soap into the bucket (making sure it is free of debris first) and then fill it up with water. Follow the manufacturers recommended instructions for which quantities of soap and water to use. Dip the sponge into the water and wait for it to absorb as much soapy water as it can. Squeeze the sponge repeatedly while swirling it around in the water. Squeeze excess water out of the sponge and then apply it to the roof of the vehicle. Always wipe the vehicle's surface in straight motions (to avoid making fine swirl marks), remember to begin with the roof and work down the sides to the bottom of the vehicle. If the weather is hot, then soap the vehicle in small sections (I.E. a panel at a time), and then rinse immediately. If not, the heat can dry the soap onto the vehicle's paint.

Washing the WheelsEdit

It is highly recommended to use a different set of equipment (sponge, bucket etc.) for the wheels. This will reduce the risk of scratching other parts of the paint work, as the wheels are usually the dirtiest part of a vehicle.

There are two common ways to clean the wheels of a vehicle.

The first way is to clean them with soap and a wheel brush. The choice of brush rests largely on the design of the hubcaps or wheels.

First, ensure that the wheels have been rinsed with water. Next, scrub them with the wheel brush being careful not scratch the hubcaps' paint. Note: hubcaps with grooves in them can contain a lot of brake dust, as can alloy wheels. These problem areas can require extra time and scrubbing.

The second way is spray on, rinse off chemicals; directions for these should be found on the bottle.

Rinsing and drying the vehicleEdit

An important step is rinsing all of the soap off of the vehicle. Begin at the top and spray downward to avoid splashing soap back up to the top of the vehicle.

Afterward, dry the vehicle with the chamois in small circular strokes. An alternative to a chamois is a pure cotton terry cloth towel. As much as possible, dry the vehicle thoroughly including the nooks and crannies (door jambs, under the hood, trunk lid, etc.) to prevent water spots and premature corrosion. It is not recommend to allow the vehicle to dry naturally as minerals in the water will be left behind as the water itself evaporates.

End resultEdit

Car-washing is an activity often referenced in movies, songs, and other media. Keeping a clean vehicle goes a long way toward improving the appearance of the vehicle, even if it is a few years old. Regular washing and waxing will prolong the shine of the vehicle's paint.

This page uses content from Wikibooks. The original article was at Car Washing Techniques. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with DIY Culture, the text of Wikinooks is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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