How to clean a car – what is the best way?

Many people out there believe that cleaning a car is as easy as apple pie, but in reality, if you want to clean your car properly, you need to consider a few different factors. You can take your car to a professional detailer but it’s better to learn how to clean the car yourself so you can save money down the line.

First, you need to gather all the right tools for the job such as a hose, but you should invest in a high-quality pressure washer. You also need to buy specialized car wash soap and wash wax which means that you should never rely on regular house shampoo and soap.

Furthermore, a quality sponge/mitt or two are also welcomed, and so are specialized car drying cloths. After you’ve gathered all the necessary tools for the job you need to find a nice, quiet place where you can wash your car without making a huge mess.

To top it all off, you can also buy specialized ceramic coating solutions which are designed to protect your paint and make it easier to clean for future cleaning endeavors.

Step 1. – Spray the car down

The obvious first step towards a squeakily clean car is rinsing the entire car down in order to loosen up all the dirt and contaminants which have accumulated on the car’s paint. This is the moment where it’s best to rely on a pressure washer because a pressure washer will be able to soften even the hardest pieces of dirt from areas such as your wheel wells.

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You can also use special so-called “snow foam” coatings after you sprayed the car down which will further soften up all the contaminants. Snow foaming is designed to lift the dirt off the car’s surface which should minimize the risk of paint scratching while hand washing the car. You should also clean the wheels at this stage because they are typically the dirtiest component of every car.

Step 2. – Hand wash the car

This is the moment you need to mix the car soap with water into one bucket and fill the next bucket with pure water. Take your mitt/sponge and be sure to soak it up thoroughly with the soap and start softly gliding across the roof to remove the dirt.

Start from the top of the car and slowly work your way down one panel at a time. Be sure to constantly rinse the mitt/sponge in clear water and also replace the sponge/mitt altogether after you’ve successfully washed half of the car. Also, be sure to replace the clean water a few times during this process in order to minimize the risk of scratches.

Step 3. – Rinse it all down

While hand-washing the car, you need to make sure that the car is always wet by rinsing the car down one part at a time while hand-washing it. After you’ve successfully hand-washed the entire car, and you’ve gone through all the nooks and crannies, now it’s time to rinse the entire car down thoroughly for the last time.

By doing so you are ensuring that the drying process goes smoothly and evenly. Make sure to rinse down the inner wheel wells once again and the brake calipers to remove all remaining brake dust.

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Step 4. – Drying the car

After you’ve successfully rinsed the car down, it’s time to dry the car up. Use microfiber cloths by simply laying them down on the car without gliding across the panel. This is essential because you don’t want to scratch the paint if there are any remaining dirt particles on the panel.

You need to do this fast to minimize the risk of water spots forming on the panels. Also, finish up the door, and trunk jams are dry out the wheels are the very end.

Step 5. – Protecting the paint

Now it’s time to polish up the paint which is not something you should do if you are not experienced with it. This means that it’s best to either call a professional detail specialist to do it for you, or you can simply skip it if you are not trying to make your car 100% squeaky clean.

However, the final touch should be adding a specialized ceramic coating onto your car to protect the paint by not letting it oxidize which means that your paint will not fade away. Furthermore, ceramic coatings also make your car hydrophobic which means that water should simply glide away from the panels.

FAQ Section

How much does it cost to detail a car?

It depends on the size of the car and how thorough of a detail you want. For more basic treatment, you are looking at around $50, but if you want a more thorough detailing session, you will need to pay upwards of $100, especially if you own a large vehicle.

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Another thing to keep in mind is are you trying to detail the interior of your car or not, because if so, you are also going to have to pay a lot more money to do it. Either way, costs of detailing services vary greatly between multiple different detail specialists.

Should I wash the car myself or leave it to a professional?

You should wash your car regularly by following the steps listed in previous paragraphs, but it’s also a good idea to take your car to a trained professional from time to time in order to preserve the paint quality.

However, you need to make sure you are doing the correct job, otherwise, the chances of damaging your car while washing it are rather high.

What is the difference between cleaning a car and detailing it?

Cleaning a car means removing all the dirt from the car and making it look fresh while detailing is mostly associated with washing and protecting and nurturing the paint. This means that detailing usually includes processes such as polishing, swirl mark removal, interior conditioning, and so on.

Detailing a car only makes sense if you own a high-end car or you want to make your car shine for special occasions, or if you are trying to sell it.

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    Marko Mikulic

    Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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