Find out everything you need to know to self service car wash, including recommended frequency and best practices.
Whether you drive a classic sports car, a minivan or an imported sedan, you want your car to maintain a polished appearance. But are you inadvertently damaging it by washing it too often or using techniques that dull its shine?
You shouldn’t wash your car every day, as this increases your chances of marring the finish or accidentally scratching the surface. However, by taking the time to do it right and following a few simple rules, you can know all about the recommended washing frequency to maintain its shine.
Once a week
Washing your car by hand once a week is no problem. Even while parked, your car is subject to dirt, sun, bird droppings, pollution and even cats sleeping on the hood. If you use your car often, it is also exposed to salt, sand, dust and rocks. To maintain its shiny finish, it must therefore be washed regularly.
Take your time
First, give yourself plenty of time to self service car wash thoroughly. Many find that washing the car by hand is soothing and therapeutic, but you have to set aside more than half an hour for this activity. Taking your time allows you to work slowly and get the job done well.
How to do it
- Never wash your car if it is still hot or if it has been in the sun for some time. Let the car cool down: this will prevent the soapy water from leaving residues on your car by drying too quickly.
- Use two buckets. Fill a bucket with warm water and add a cleaner designed for cars, not dish soap or any other household cleaner. Fill the other bucket with clean warm water for rinsing.
- Use a clean chamois or sponge and work in long, gentle strokes along the surface of the car. Do not make circles, as this may mark your car’s finish.
- Wash the sponge frequently and thoroughly and rinse it in your rinse bucket to prevent dirt from getting lodged in the sponge. Dirt can easily scratch your car and leave scratches on it, so make sure your sponge is clean.
- When rinsing the car, use a garden hose and start at the top of the car for extra shine.
Let the car air dry. Avoid driving it until it is completely dry, as a still damp car attracts more dirt and debris.