Getting a perfectly clean car is a tough achievement, yet very satisfying. If you simply go to your local carwash every time you wash your car, there’s no way it’s going to be back as new. The worst part is the coarse brushes they use and cheap soap will end up scratching your car all over and damaging the paint finish.
That’s why, washing your car, despite taking a bit more time and money, is your best option if you want to actually wash it properly. Here are X easy steps in order to wash your car by yourself:
- Look around
No, not around you, but the car in itself. Check out its overall condition: does it have a little dirt or is it covered in mud? This step is crucial in order to know how you’ll be washing your car, and what products you’ll need.
If your car needs only a quick sweep to make it shine again, don’t start bringing out the buckets, towels, arsenal of products, wax etc… However, if it does need a full cleaning session, get yourself prepared, because it isn’t an easy task.
- Always read the labels
Before applying anything to your car, always check whether its safe to apply on your car. Double-check every time right before starting too, so you make sure you’re actually using the right product.
Some products will ruin your car, or could be made for removing paint in the first place for example. Anything could happen when you put random liquids on your car, so just don’t try your luck.
Finally, since you read the label, might as well read the instructions. At least you’ll know what you’re doing and you’ll be saving quite the amount of time.
- The golden three-bucket system
This may sound like a joke, but it’s great to not get your water dirty. When you remove dirt, feces or whatever from your car, you want to use clean water and not reuse the same one every time. That would jus end up being gross and useless.
The three-bucket system is super easy to put in place:
- One bucket with clean soapy water.
- One water bucket serving as a middleman sort of
- One bucket used exclusively for cleaning the tires and wheels
The second bucket is often misused: all you do with it is put back the sponge in it before putting it back into the clean bucket. If you don’t do that, you’ll simply end up transferring all the dirt from your car into the water you use to clean it; which, I think we all agree on that one; doesn’t make really any sense.
- Washing the car
Now we’re getting into the real stuff. Use water only at first coming from a hose if you can, for extra pressure. This’ll remove the loose contaminants that can be removed easily. Take it like washing the dishes: by putting water beforehand, you’ll be humidifying all nasty pieces of dirt that could have dried up on your car.
You can then proceed to use soapy water, but no liquid detergents or anything like that! Soap and water, period. Nothing more, or you’ll be deteriorating your car’s paint.
- Preparing the surface
After washing your car, you’ll start to notice a bunch of swirls, scratches or patches of damaged paint. It’s time to use a clay bar, to remove anything that could have been left from the washing. As for the scratches, a compound shall be used to fully hide it, and sometimes, a paint touchup might even be needed.
- Polish for perfection
This is an optional step, but is necessary if you really want that perfect, shiny car. It will give the paint a mirror-like look, which is great when taking pictures. You can apply it by hand by hand or with a polisher if you want to be quicker.
- Wax for the long run
There’s a common myth that wax adds shine to the car but no, only a little bit. So little that it’s in fact unnoticeable from a quick glance. Car wax is in fact used as a protection for your paint on the long term.
The wax prevents car paint from fading because of UV rays, and will protect it from corrosive substances (bird droppings for example). Then comes a tough decision: carnauba or polymer wax? Honestly, there isn’t much of a difference, but polymer is easier to apply so you might as well fo for that.
- More shine and protection
Now your car is washed, looking stunning and shiny, but you need to maintain that. Wax is good, but doesn’t last forever, so you need a spray detailer and a microfiber cloth. Now, you might be wondering what the hell are those: basically, the all-you-need kit to quickly remove dust, bird dropping or anything that could damage/dirty your car.
You don’t necessarily have to do it every time you use your car, but having a monthly maintenance routine would be great to preserve your vehicle’s condition.
- Clean the windows
This really comes to personal preference as to how you want to wash them:
- Soap and water. The basic stuff, paired with a sponge and some dry clot
- Special car window cleaning products and a cloth.
To be fair, both are good but window cleaning products do the job a bit better. However, you don’t really see the difference so why not save a bit of money?
- Wash the wheels
Now that the hard part’s been done, getting absolutely perfect wheels isn’t really necessary since they get dirty in less than a week. Just go to a car wash, and focus on the wheels. They usually have a bit of products that you can use, and you don’t really risk damaging paint since there isn’t any in the first place. Try to not get any product on the tires, or make sure to wash everything off properly, or the tire could spray it on the paint.
There we go, truly all you need in order to wash your car like a boss! Now get ready and buy whatever you need so your car will seem brand new!