Washing your car by hand will not improve the appearance of the vehicle, but frequent washing is the best way to help your car maintain a new-car finish. For many vehicle owners, this simple act is something that they take pride in doing, but there are some guidelines to follow so that your car isn’t accidently scratched during the process.

Rinsing Soap off Car


Poor washing techniques can cause unsightly swirls in the paint or degrade the finish over time requiring compounding to correct the problem. Save yourself the headache and extra work by learning the best way to wash a car using the few simple steps we have provided.

Washing Tools

It’s important to use tools that are dedicated car-wash products and gentle on the paint, yet effective at removing dirt and grime. Large, soft natural sponges or wool plush mitts have a deep nap for getting down to dirt unlike flat weave towels or dense sponges.

Natural fibers are perfect for the job because they will not scratch the paint and pull impurities into the sponge’s openings and away from the paint. Although natural wool sponges don’t last as long as microfiber mitts, you can’t beat the luxurious softness and texture of wool.

The tires and wheels may be coated with sand, brake dust, grease, rubber, road-tar deposits and other debris that could mar the car’s finish, so use a separate sponge to clean them. These types of contaminations can be stubborn to remove, so you’ll want to use a cleaner that is compatible with the type of finish used on the wheels. Wheels may require a stronger product and you should use a soft, nonabrasive cloth to remove these deposits because they will blacken your sponge.

Where to Wash

First, you want to wash your car in a shady spot, not in direct sunlight or immediately after driving it since heat speeds the drying of soap and water. This makes washing more difficult and increases the likelihood that spots will form on the car.

Where to Begin

Wash the wheels and tires first before you wash the car. It’s best to wash each wheel and tire separately then rinse thoroughly before moving on. Once the wheels and tires are done, empty and rinse all of your cleaning tools including your wash bucket.

In preparing to wash the car, start with clean water, a freshly rinsed container, and your sponge or mitt. Remember to use a car wash that is rich in lubricants to remove contaminants so that the dirt slides off the vehicle and doesn’t scratch the paint.

In order to prevent swirl marks, you should use two buckets, one filled with soapy water and the other filled with clean water. Before loading your sponge or mitt with the soapy water, rinse it in the clean water first to get rid of the dirt and grime you’ve just removed from your vehicle, and then begin.

Move your washing tool lengthwise across the hood and other body panels instead of using a swirling motion that can create marks on the car. If your sponge falls to the ground at any time, always rinse it thoroughly before continuing to wash because the sponge can pick up dirt particles that can scratch the paint. Rinse each section thoroughly as you move along to prevent soap from settling on the vehicle.

How to Dry the Car

The best method to dry your car is to use either a natural or synthetic chamois. You can also use soft terry towels. These will prevent water spots from occurring due to the mineral deposits found in all water. If you decide to go the soft terry towel route, you may need several to get the best results.

Whichever you use, you want to blot the water up instead of dragging it across the car’s paint. A soft squeegee can speed up the drying process but the rubber must be soft and pliable to prevent picking up dirt, causing scratches.

Once you’re finished, stand back and admire your beautifully washed car.

Washing the exterior of your car is important, but so is washing the interior. Unlike the exterior, the interior is more time consuming and required more tools and experience. Which is why most car owners trust their interior shampooing to the experts. For interior shampooing, rust proofing, paint repair, or other auto body services, contact Waterdown Collision today and our team of experts will be ready to help.