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Car Washing: A Complete Guide To Cleaning Your Car At Home

You can save money and take better care of your car by cleaning it at home. Heres our complete guide.

While there are several commercial car washes where you can take your car for a wash, no one can give your car better care than you. The attention you pay to the maintenance of your car can really pay-off in the long-run. Also, cleaning your car at home has the added benefit of cost savings. Furthermore, commercial car washes sometimes use chemicals that can damage the paint of your car and remove the wax over time.

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So, if you’re up for saving some money and ensuring that your car gets the special attention it deserves, here are some tips that’ll help keep your car shining and in pristine condition.

7 Choosing the location

Where you wash your car is important. While some of the factors such as the need for ample space to move around and water drainage are quite obvious others aren’t. For instance, it is recommended not to wash your car in direct sunlight because this will cause the soap to dry prematurely before you get the chance to rinse it off.

Additionally, it's a good idea to steer clear of trees because falling leaves or bird droppings aren’t what you want on a freshly cleaned car.

Also, it's important to ensure that there is a hose that is equipped with a nozzle that has enough pressure to spray the water properly.

6 Getting started

Before getting started it’s a good idea to make sure that all the cleaning equipment including buckets, car cleaning solution, hose, cloth or towels, cleaning mitts, and sponge is placed near the car.

Picking out the right cleaner is important. Don’t use an all-purpose household cleaner for washing the car as it can result in water spots or even spoil the finish of the car. Also, carefully read the instructions on the professional cleaning solution you pick, such as the water-to-detergent ratio, to achieve the desired results.

Lastly, in addition to having a high-pressure hose, it is recommended to have two buckets at hand as well; one that is filled with plain water and another one with soapy water.

5 Rinsing and cleaning

Start with rinsing your car with the hose to soften and remove dirt. The best way to start washing the car is to start with the roof first and then work your way downwards. Clean the back of the car at the end as this area has the most dirt.

Cars should always be cleaned in sections. Don’t use the sponge in circles as this can create light scratches; swipe the sponge horizontally, rinse that section, and then move on to the next section. While cleaning your car, make sure to rinse the sponge in the bucket with plain water so that dirt does not get mixed up with the soapy water being used to clean the car.

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No matter how dirty you feel the car is, avoid scrubbing the car excessively as this can damage the paint. Let soap and water work their magic. 

After the car’s surfaces have been washed make sure to use the hose to rinse the bottom of the car in order to avoid rust from developing.

4 Clean those wheels

Washing the tires is the next step and probably the most time consuming and difficult part because most of the dust and dirt accumulate on the wheels. When cleaning the wheels, always use a different sponge and cleaning mitt than the ones used on the surface of the car.

If the wheels have not been cleaned for quite some time then it is recommended to use a separate wheel cleaning product to clean the wheels properly. Though, it is really important to read the instructions on the cleaning product to ensure that it is compatible with the type of finish used on the wheels. This information can be easily found in the car’s manual. Lastly, if needed clean the openings of the wheel with a wheel brush.

In the end, when you are ready to give your car one final rinse, it is advisable to use a hose without a nozzle as this will ensure that water flows down gently without leaving any spots.

3 Drying the car

Drying your car properly is as important as washing it because when the water evaporates after the wash, water spots can be left behind.

To dry your car, use a microfiber cloth or a dry chamois to gently dry the car. Household towels are not recommended for drying the car because they are not as absorbent as microfiber cloths.

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Keep squeezing water from the cloth as you dry the car in order to prevent the formation of water spots. Once you have dried the car if you want you can also use a car polisher for an added high-gloss look. Another optional item is wax, which can also be used to provide shine to your car.

2 Fixing up the interior

Some car owners just focus on keeping the exterior of the car clean and do not focus on cleaning the car interior. Paying attention to the interior is equally important because if you do not clean your car inside then rubbish, dirt, and dust will keep accumulating with time without you noticing it.

These simple steps can be helpful in cleaning the interior of your car. Firstly, remove any rubbish and smaller personal items by hand before you start vacuuming the interior. This will ensure that no loose items get stuck in the vacuum.

The next step is vacuuming. When vacuuming ensure that you don’t miss out less visible spots such as underneath the seats or in the crannies of your kid’s car seat.

After vacuuming, use an electrostatic cloth and clean all the hard surfaces of the car like the dashboard. This cloth is also very good for cleaning the air vents. Additionally, you can also use disposable car cleaning wipes to deal with any stains or spots.

1 Aftercare

Cars can get dirty quite easily because of external factors such as dust storms, muddy roads or just general accumulation of dust.

While these tips won’t really protect your car from getting dirty, they can help ensure that the effort you put in washing your car does not go to waste immediately.

For instance, being careful about where to park your car, such as staying away from trees (to avoid bird droppings) or parking underground if you’re expecting heavy rain (to prevent water spots) can help keep your car clean. Additionally, you can keep a car spray cleaner and microfiber cloth in the trunk for spot cleaning. This way your car stays cleaner and you don’t have to do full-washes as often!

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