Washing your car at least twice per month during the summer and once per week during the winter should be a part of your regular maintenance. In order for your car to always show its best colors, you should wash your car even sooner.
However, there are many different ways how one can clean a car ranging from automated washing stations, hand-washing, or thorough detailing sessions. Between these three, a thorough detail is always going to be the best way to clean your car as far as cleaning quality is concerned, but it costs way too much for regular use.
Automated car washing stations are usually way too aggressive for modern-day cars which means that there is a great chance you might damage your car by taking it through a washing station. Hand-washing on the other hand is the best blend of both because it does not cost a lot of money while also being thorough enough.
As such, be sure to follow the tips listed in this article if you want to keep your car clean and tidy as easy and as affordable as possible. You should invest in certain products such as a power washer, microfiber towels, two buckets, and dedicated car soap and brushes.
Rinse the car down and focus on the wheels
You first need to find a suitable location to clean your car which means that you should find a quiet place in the shade because washing a car in the sun is a bad idea. Be sure to connect the power washer and rinse down the entire car thoroughly. Be sure not to exceed 2000PSI with the power washer and always keep the nozzle a safe distance away from the car.
After you’ve rinsed the entire car down and you went through all the nooks and crannies you need to focus on the wheels first. The wheels are usually the dirtiest part of the car and that’s why you should clean them up first. Be sure to use a brush to go through all the spokes individually and rinse it all down at the end.
It’s essential for you to also rinse the wheel wells, the roof of the car, and the bottom of your bumpers in order to loosen up all the large pieces of dirt and debris. This will enable you to locate any hard dirt spots which need a more thorough cleaning.
The two-bucket method
After you’ve rinsed the entire car down and cleaned the wheels, now it’s time to mix up the soap with water in one bucket and fill the other bucket with pure water. Take the microfiber mitt and soak it up in the soap/water mixture and go ahead and slowly glide the car panels starting from the roof and going downwards.
Whenever you finish up a specific panel, be sure to rinse the mitt in the clean water and soak it in the soap and water mixture again and repeat the entire process. Don’t press down on the panels because there might be lots of loose contaminants on the surface that could scratch your paint.
Try to keep the car wet at all times during this process and completely replace the pure water mixture a few times during this process. You must keep the mitt clean before you place it on a panel in order not to scratch the car.
Rinse and dry
After you’ve completed thoroughly cleaning your car with a mitt or a sponge, be sure to rinse the car down once again. Go over all the hard-to-reach panels and try to remove all the soap from the car. Start from the roof of the car and go downwards in order to remove the soap as efficiently as possible.
Now it’s time to dry out the car, and for this purpose, you will require a couple of microfiber towels. Place these towels on top of the car and don’t glide them over the surface to avoid scratching the car. Repeat this process until you’ve successfully dried out the entire car.
It’s important for you to do this in a shade. After all, you don’t want the car to dry out on itself because this commonly causes watermarks on the paint. If it’s necessary you can even spray down the car with water if you need additional time for the drying process.
Is it better to just take your car to a professional cleaner?
No matter if you are the one doing the cleaning or someone else, it’s important to clean the car up. However, washing a car might actually teach you a thing or two about proper car maintenance so it’s advisable for you to do it yourself from time to time.
However, you need to be aware that some states like California even prohibit you from washing your car on the driveway because this goes against strict California laws about water consumption. If that is the case, be sure to take your car to a professional cleaner because you can get fined for more than $500 if you try to do it yourself.
Do power washers damage car paint?
It depends on the type of washer and how powerful the washer is. For instance, most gas-powered power washers are way too powerful for car cleaning purposes because they easily exceed 2000PSI and can go over 5000PSI in some instances.
These are powerful enough to remove the paint from your car in a matter of seconds. On the other hand, an electric or battery-powered power washer is usually under 2000PSI which makes it perfect for household use. Finally, the type of nozzle is also important, so be sure not to use nozzles that shot straight from a single burst.
Is it worth it to take your car to a professional detailer?
From a quality clean standpoint, it makes sense to take your car to a professional detailer because they can make your car look better than the day it left the factory. However, thorough detailing sessions cost a lot of money which means that they only make sense for special occasions or when you want to sell the car.
It also depends on the car and how often you use it. If you own a valuable car you only take out on special occasions or during your holidays, it makes sense to clean such a car up thoroughly before you store it away for the season.