There’s a lot more science when it comes to figuring how to wash your car effectively. But for starters, you should always be washing your car in the correct order. You don’t have to be a full-fledged car enthusiast to learn how to take great care of your car. In fact, cleaning the car and keeping it looking mint should be a priority in everyone’s life, much like how you clean your toilet, house and so on. As they say, the car is literally like an extension of your home, so keeping it clean needs to be a must do for all car owners and not just people looking to sell their car.
But we understand that detailing your car can be quite a mission and let’s face it, can really seem like a chore at times. Well, to help you get back to what you really want to do and make quick work of detailing your car, we will breakdown a quick guide on how you can wash your car efficiently and just as effectively. Stay tuned!
Always wash the vehicle from the Top – Down.
Why you ask?
Because nature will work against us, gravity will make cleaning a lot more repetitive and difficult than intended for those who wish to oppose against physics.
Guess what will happen if you decide to wash the bonnet before the roof, it will get dirty again once you wash the roof! When all the gunk that was baked on to the rooftop surface gets rinsed off, it will trickle its way back down across all sides of the vehicle. Guess what happens when you wash the bumper/number plate area before the side panels… you guessed it, the same thing. So, always wash from the top down, so that means every time you rinse or shampoo the car by hand as to avoid cross-contamination between panels.
Order is very important everywhere you go and when it comes to cleaning the car, a slight change of order can cost your a great deal of time wasted, effort and cleaning products ($).
Clean your wheels and tyres early – any later you will experience dirty back splash!
It may also be worth cleaning the Tyres/Wheels first, depending on how heavily soiled they are in the first place. By cleaning, we mean spraying and applying brake dust cleaning degreaser on the rims to allow it some time for it to work its magic. Degreaser does take time to work and if the grime is heavy, time will assist later on when you decide to scrub them with a brush or etc. If you can see that your degreaser is barely eaten through the dust and that a lot is still left behind after rinsing, it may require two things. One being agitation, the way you can do this is by using a wheel brush to loosen the brake dust before rinsing. On the other hand, it may indicate that your degreaser is not strong enough. There are certain degreasers that are of a professional grade, containing a small percentage of acid to boost its cleaning power. If, you do follow through with this, be cautious and use the right dilutions as it can eat through your paint if not applied properly. Also note, never apply degreaser or brake dust wheel cleaners on to the rims when it is hot. Best to allow the car to cool down right after it has been driven, heat and degreaser can spell a recipe for disaster if not considered as it can leave white stains and damage the rims.
Be sure to take your time the first few washes until you get the hang of it, this way you can develop a good cleaning habit while working in a timely manner. But wait it doesn’t stop here, we’ve just scraped the tip of the iceberg, if you want to read more into how you should be washing the car both inside and outside completely, have a look at our other articles.
Always start with cleaning the interior first. You will notice if that you take the opposite approach of cleaning the outside first that you may dirty the outside again while cleaning the interior. It is less likely to happen and cross contaminate should had you tackled the interior first and begin with washing the car exterior prior to that. Unless you require enough sunlight and need to do the exterior first, then that is excusable.
When it comes to cleaning your windows, we always recommend cleaning the interior from side to side so from left to right and vice versa (horizontally). As for the outside, clean the windows in a vertical pattern from bottom to top and vice versa. This will help you distinguish between smear marks and whether they exist in the inside or outside. This will save you many trips from going in and out of the car trying to clean these annoying smears.
Ultimately, other than skill and experience (which can develop through practice over time), the other big factor to determine the success of your cleans, is your equipment and supplies. Should you have lower grade equipment, eg using a hose instead of a pressure washer to clean, you will notice a significant difference in cleaning power. This concept applies to everything including the products you use as not all brands are made equal. Speaking of products, car wash shampoo is another good example where using the correct dilution is important, eg. you wouldn’t want to use boat detailing agents for cleaning a car as they can be harsher. Always read the product label for instructions so that you can use the right dilution, you don’t want to risk using too less of the concentration and need to spend extra time cleaning.
If you happen to have a car that has been through a ceramic coating Sydney application, then cleaning your car will be even easier to clean. Ceramic coating is a form of paint protection, typically applied by a professional car detailer.
Hidden hack: If you’ve read this far, congratulations and here’s a tip! If you notice that your windows are always dirty no matter how much you spray and wipe, then listen in. Use a lint-free microfibre towel and use water mixed with Isopropyl Alcohol (1:1), this will make easy work of foggy windows in no time, car window tints will not pose an issue either for this method.
Before you dive in to ‘How To Wash A Car Guides’ here are some pointers that you should take note of. A nice sunny day is what many would deem a great time to wash the car, but is actually not so ideal. In fact, a cool cloudy day with minimal wind is what you would consider as perfect conditions. Simply put, washing the car in cool calm conditions just makes car care services the car a whole lot easier, quicker and well cleaner.
Here are some tips on ‘how to wash a car’ safely and effectively
1) Try to service your wash in the shade and not under direct sunlight
Especially on hotter days, the last thing you want is for the shampoo you’ve just applied lavishly, to dry. Failing to clean the dried shampoo well enough, will defeat the purpose of the entire wash as using products such as waxes will have a lesser effect. If you can, try to wash the car in a shady area or choose a cooler time of the day to wash, such as early mornings or later in the afternoon.
2) Do not wash the car while the surface is still hot
Like the reasons above, washing the car while the surface is still hot can cause the shampoo to dry at a quicker rate in comparison to a cooler surface. You don’t want shampoo to bake on to your surface, that’s an extra chore you don’t want to worry about. Even with a graphene coating, which is well known for its ability to regulate the heat on the car’s paintwork as one of the best forms of paint protection, damage can still be done. If you are one of the clever ones who have invested in a ceramic or graphene coating as a new car paint protection, do not take it for granted and neglect your paintwork. Yes, your car is well protected, but you can increase the wear and tear rate by exposing it to the sun, especially when you have harsh contaminants like tree sap and bird droppings, which are very acidic, sitting on your car.
3) Avoid washing the car on windy days
Cleaning the car on a windy day can drag the procedure even further, what you’ll get is flying dust particles and other environmental contaminants getting blown back on to the surface. Being careless about this can be both a timely and expensive mistake. If not taken seriously, it’s almost like cleaning the car with sandpaper with all the etched-on particles. Cleaning this contaminated surface can lead to a barrage of scratch marks, which will need a proper polish/paint correction to be done.
4) Wash the vehicle panel by panel
Washing panel by panel and regularly rinsing the car helps to remove excess shampoo and dust particles by lubricating the surface and giving very little time for the shampoo to dry.
How to wash a car if it is hot/sunny/windy?
For those who are based in Melbourne, we really do feel for you. Experiencing all four seasons in the one day can be a real headache for any car owner, driver and us car detailing Melbourne specialists. One minute your car is nice and shiny and by the next, it is raining cats and dogs, your hard work simply dissolving away before your eyes. Well, what you need to do is just take greater caution during the process. If it is rain or storm, not much you can do unless you are in an underground car park, under a car port or working in an empty double car garage.
Although, for all other external conditions such as wind and os on, more care needs to be taken. Even though it can add more time to the cleaning process, you can still get tremendous results. Just remember to rinse more frequently to avoid any drying of cleaning agents and remembering to close the doors/windows as sometimes dust, dirt, leaves and etc can get blown right back in – it happens.
All good things take time…
Now, if you’re like the millions of Australians who’d much prefer to have someone clean their car. Whether it’d be because you don’t have the time or just prefer it to be washed properly by a professional car detailing mobile service, then Schmicko may be the best option for you. You can simply refer to some of the many packages to suit your needs with the button below. We also service many areas such as Parramatta, Hills District, Sydney, Blacktown, Hornsby, The Shire and much more.
Car Care Advice For The Everyday Driver & Enthusiast
As a seasoned author on our team, Chester also known as ‘Gadget’, for his love for all things mechanical, brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the table, particularly when it comes to automotive topics.