Car Wash DIY Tips That Will Leave Your Ride Sparkling

Your garage protects your vehicle from the elements, but inevitably with use it’s going to get caked with a layer of dirt and other debris from the road. You can stop by your local car wash to rejuvenate your vehicle’s exterior, but regularly forking over for a professional clean can start to add up quickly. With the average conveyor belt car wash running a staggering $15 a pop, a bi-monthly car wash can cost you well over $350 annually.


Car washing is an important routine of maintenance beyond aesthetics. Accumulated dirt on your car can permanently mar your paint job and reduce your car’s aerodynamic qualities. According to Mythbusters, a filthy car exterior can damage fuel efficiency by as much as 10%. A grungy windshield also dramatically reduces driver visibility and increases your chances of being involved in a collision.


Getting your hands dirty with a DIY car wash can save you major cash in the long run, but you don’t need to sacrifice quality. Enlist these pro tips to make your at-home job sparkle.


8 Tips to Wash Your Car Like a Pro


  1. Remember to Rinse Your Ride


Don’t dive in at full force and begin sponging soap on to your car. Before you even think about touching your car with any cleaner solution, give the vehicle a thorough rinse to remove any excess debris. Some particles on the exterior of your car could cause scratches if you rub them into your car when applying the soap. Once you rinse the full body of the vehicle, tackle washing with soap section by section.


  1. Start and End With Your Rims


The rims of your car is dirt and dusts’ favorite hiding place. The grime that accumulates inside your tires is drastically more stubborn compared to the dirt on your car’s body. Give your rims a good scrub with wheel cleaner BEFORE you scrub down the rest of the ride so the formula has a chance to activate. Let the cleaner sit as you wash the body of the car, letting the sudsy water trickle into the rims. When you finish washing the car, wipe the nooks of the rims with a cloth.


  1. Keep It Separate


When you begin washing, it is wise to keep two water buckets on hand – one with the car wash solution and another with clean water to rinse the sponge. If you feel the sponge getting grimey, bring in the reinforcements! Multiple sponges ensures that you aren’t just rubbing old dirt on to the surface of your car. Start from the top and work your way down, tackling your car in sections makes the process more manageable.


  1. Drop the Dish Soap During a Car Wash


Dish soap is the tried and true car wash solution, right? Wrong. Dish soap has been perpetuated as a household solution for a car wash, but this is a total myth. The chemicals in dish soap are specialized for removing stained-on food, but when it comes to your ride, it can strip off the wax layer and dull the exterior color. Executing a proper job is all about the proper tools. Elevate your car wash by purchasing specialized soap for your vehicle, which cleanses without destroying the finish of your ride.


  1. Lose the Bling While Washing Your Car


The last thing you want to do while washing your car is unintentionally scratch the paint job. Opt for comfortable, loose-fitting clothes while washing your car. Preferably, clothes that you don’t mind getting stained or damaged. Avoid having any metal on your person. If you wear clothing with zippers or metal jewelry, you may end up nicking your vehicle as you scrub it down.


  1. It’s All About Balance

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Finding the perfect soap and water balance is crucial to a car wash. Too little water and too much soap, and your soap won’t be able to activate as it should and break down the dirt. Too much water, and the soap will wash away before any of the magic happens. The perfect balance should look like a light lather.


  1. Use a Gentle Approach with Drying


The wax on/wax off technique does not apply to drying your car. Rubbing around the soap will just leave streaks on your vehicle, effectively ruining your hard work. Instead, enlist a pat-down method. Use an absorbent material, such as a microfiber cloth, to soak up the excess liquid. Most likely, it will take several cloths to properly execute the pat-down method, so be prepared with enough material. If you don’t have the patience to wipe down your car, you could consider investing in an electric car dryer, which essentially is an appliance version of the drying portion of a professional car wash. These devices retail anywhere from $30-60.


  1. It’s In the Details

Once a month, consider adding a deep interior clean into the mix. Using a vacuum, carpet cleaner, scrub brush, and a cloth, you can get your interior looking good as new. Extract dirt from the crevices of your interior using the vacuum at a high power. Once you have removed the particles from the upholstery and carpet, scrub in the carpet cleaning solution in a circular motion. Let the cleaner soak before patting the carpet with a cloth, preferably microfiber. Use another cloth to wipe down surfaces. 


If your garage is stocked with proper equipment, it’s easy to make car washing an at-home ritual. The right technique and tools make cleaning your car a breeze and will save you hundreds down the road! Make your hard work last longer by storing your car in your garage. If you are in need of garage door repairs, AR-BE has you covered! Mention this article to receive $50 off your services!*


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