Car Washing Tips and Tricks from the auto detail professionals at Shiney’s Detail
How to Wash Your Car
To keep your car looking is best it is important to wash your car properly. Washing is the single most important step to ensure you are safeguarding your vehicle. The wash process is the place where you will likely cause the most scratches in your paints surface, so a proper wash process is important.
Following these steps will ensure you are always washing your vehicle properly and reducing the risk of scratches and swirl marks.
Wash your vehicle in the shade and away from direct sunlight. Washing your vehicle in the sunlight increases the drying speed of soap and water. This makes the wash process more difficult and results in water spots and other deposits.
- Start by thoroughly rinsing the vehicle with water from top to bottom to ensure any loose dirt, soil, impediments are removed before using a microfiber wash mitt.
Note: For an efficient wash process, we recommend using a pressure washer that is rated for vehicle washing (typically below 2200 PSI). Equipped with a foam cannon, a pressure washer is the most efficient way to clean your vehicle – both rinsing and applying soaps.
If you do not have a pressure washer, this is fine – you will still be able to create a best in class wash and shine. Just make sure you lather the soap to create a thick foam across the vehicle to trap the dirt particles.
Washing the Vehicle
- When you wash your vehicle, clean the wheels and tires first. This will prevent overspray or grime from splashing on to clean panels. If you like to clean your wheels and tires with soap and water, use a separate wash and rinse bucket and soft bristle brush. Check out our tips & tricks for cleaning wheels.
- Using multiple microfiber wash mitts helps reduce the chance of swirl marks and other surface scratches.
- We recommending using a 1 bucket wash method with multiple wash mitts.
- Using 5 wash mitts for the vehicle and never entering them back into the soapy wash bucket will ensure you never have dirt entering the wash bucket. This allows for a fresh mitt to be used for every panel of the vehicle. Use one side of the wash mitt for 1-2 panels and then flip to the clean side. Once you have used both sides of the wash mitt, grab a new one from the soapy wash bucket and repeat. 5 mitts should be sufficient. Also remember to wash the top of the vehicle and then the bottom and back of the vehicle to ensure you keep the mitts as clean as possible. .
Note: To further reduce the chance of swirl marks and other surface scratches, do not wash in a circular motion. Instead, wash with the line of the vehicle from front to back.
Rinsing the vehicle
- Thoroughly rinse the vehicle from top to bottom. This creates a sheeting action with the water that allows for faster drying
- We recommend using a low pressure rinse to further create the sheeting action
Drying the Vehicle
- This step is very important to ensure you do not damage the vehicle with swirl marks and surface scratches. The steps you have taken so far should ensure there are not dirt particles on the vehicle but the towels are a hidden risk to your vehicle’s paint surface.
- Read more about Microfiber towels in our what is microfiber section.
- Don’t let the car air dry as this will cause water spots
- Using a twisted loop drying towel to dry the vehicle one section at a time
- It is best to blot the water into the towel rather than dragging the towel over the paint.
Car Wash Soaps
Do not use household cleaning agents like hand soap, dishwashing detergent, or glass cleaner on the paint. These aren't formulated for use on a car's paint and may strip off the protective wax.
Grease, rubber, and tar deposits accumulate around the wheel wells and along the lower part of the vehicle. A product such as a bug remover may be required to remove these deposits. Use a microfiber cloth to remove these deposits, as they can quickly dirty your wash mitt.