Automatic car washes can leave swirl marks and water spotting. Wider, low profile cars can also be scratched.
By washing your car at home, you can protect it. You can also touch up the paintwork, if needed, and apply wax. The best carwash is the one you do yourself.
Follow these simple and easy tips to detail your vehicle perfectly.
You will need:
- 2 buckets
- water hose
- wash mitt
- microfiber towels
- absorbent waffle-weave cloth
- brushes (for cleaning tires and wheels)
- car wash liquid (do not use dish soap, as this strips off car wax)
- wheel cleaner spray
- clay bar
If you can, park in the shade. Washing your car in direct sunlight could dry the soap and leave spots. And don’t forget to close the windows.
Dead bugs, tree sap, and bird droppings can stain paintwork. These stains are easier to clean if you spray car wash liquid directly onto them.
Rinse the whole car with a light spray on your hose. Do not use a strong jet as this could scratch grit over your car and damage the paint. Raise the windshield wipers removing accumulated bugs, dirt, and leaves.
Be certain to rinse off any mud or salt from under the care and the wheel arches.
Fill a bucket with car wash liquid soap, and keep a second bucket for rinsing. Dip your wash mitt in the soapy water, wash a section of the car, then rinse the mitt. This helps keep the soapy water clean. Work from the top down. Keep your car wet, as you do not want the soap to dry. Keep rinsing the mitt, and change the rinse water whenever it gets too soapy.
Rinse with the hose, from the top down.
Dry quickly to avoid water spots, using the absorbent waffle-weave cloth.
Now use the microfiber towels to dry the details, round the doors and hood, for example. Check for water droplets.
Don’t wash hot wheels, as the heat dries the cleaner and will leaves spots.
Spray the wheels with the hose. Clean the tire sidewalls with a plastic brush. Then spray wheel cleaner on. Use a soft brush to clean. An old toothbrush will reach those awkward small spots.
Spray a small area with clay detailer, then rub the clay over the paint. Keep folding the clay so you’re using a clean surface. This picks up the minute bits of dirt even washing leaves behind, in preparation for waxing.
Don’t drop the clay! If large particles get attached, the clay can potentially scratch your vehicle.
You can use synthetic, polymer wax, or traditional wax. Polymer products wear longer. Apply the wax with an applicator, working on small areas.
Polish the wax off gently using a microfiber towel.
This routine will also be quicker than driving to and returning from the carwash and will definitely maintain the value of your vehicle.
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