Are you a do-it-yourself car washer? I am and for one main reason which would find most of you chuckling. Are you ready? I find gas station car washes intimidating and somewhat claustrophobic. Sure it’s super simple, sure it’s super quick, and yes your car comes out “presentable”. But it’s never as pretty and sparkly as your neighbor’s since he’s always in his driveway on Sunday’s pre-soaking, washing, drying and polishing.
Well, I too was out last Sunday washing my car. Normally I’d pop in my ear buds, but since my neighbor was out, I set out our Bose, popped in my iPhone, queued up my summer playlist, and asked if he had any special requests. I must have been nuts; apparently washing your car is serious work that requires the utmost focus. So me, my tunes, and my trusty little bucket and sponge, went to work.
Afterwards, I stood back and admired my handiwork and looked over at my neighbor for an approving look that says, “Job well done”! Instead I received a smile, which bordered on a smirk, which told me I know nothing about washing cars. Later my husband came home and gave me a kiss, and a thank you that had a tone of “at least she tried”, so I decided it was time to do some investigating on how to properly wash your car.
I will tell you this…
There are tons of articles and too-many-to-count YouTube tutorials, so I’m going to break it down in a short list of Do’s & Don’ts. Hopefully this will save YOU from the smirks and the somewhat claustrophobic trips through the subpar gas station car wash, and your CAR from self inflicted scratches and unattractive water spots.
- Do rinse all surfaces thoroughly with water prior to sudsing up. This helps remove loose dirt and debris that could cause scratching.
- Do use a soap formulated specifically for car washing. That’s right. Put down your Dawn Dish Soap. It may be tough on grease, but household cleaners can strip the protective wax.
- Do rinse your sponge often and use a separate one to wash your tires. Sponges can retain dirt particles which can scratch the car’s surface. This also helps prevent washing your car with dirty soapy water, which totally defeats the purpose of washing a dirty car.
- Don’t wait for your car to get filthy before you wash it. If you can write, “wash me” in the layer of dirt on your car – you’ve waited too long. Environmental debris, acidic rain, even the evidence birds leave behind saying, “I’ve been here”, can eventually eat into automotive paint.
- Don’t wash your car if it’s been parked in direct sunlight or if you’ve been driving it. Heat speeds up the drying of soap and water, which makes your job of washing more difficult. Wait for an overcast day or make sure it’s parked in a shady area.
- Don’t let your car air dry. Tap water contains minerals that can leave spots, so immediately dry your car using a chamois (natural or synthetic), or a soft towel made from highly-absorbent microfiber. This saves you from emptying your closet of every towel.
If you too have a neighbor who washes his car every weekend, he isn’t as neurotic as you think. A weekly car wash will keep the finish in the best shape and will save you the embarrassment of one day walking outside and seeing, “wash me” written on the side of your family vehicle by said neighbor.
Want to wash your car like a pro? We are giving away a Microfiber Long Pile Wash Mitt and Microfiber Soft Waffle Weave Drying Towel to 3 lucky winners!
To enter the giveaway, answer the following question in the Comments section of this post:
What was your first car?
One entry per person, please.
Winners will be selected at random and announced on Thursday Aug. 20th