How to Wash a Car: A Complete Car Wash Guide for Detailers & Car Owners

Do you know what a proper car wash really is, or are you damaging the car paint? So, how to wash a car?

How to wash a car

Most swirl marks that ruin your car’s appearance are probably the result of improper washing techniques. 

Thus, the greatest care you can give your car is thorough weekly washing and thorough hand drying.

Inappropriate methods will result in ugly swirls and scratches in the paint that need to be fixed by compounding or polishing.

Using this comprehensive guide, you can solve these issues and spare yourself more labor.

Why is Regular Car Washing Necessary?

The optimum cleaning schedule is once a week since, if left unattended, some contaminants can cause substantial, long-lasting damage to the paint. 

Bird droppings and insect leftovers are two examples of organic substances. If not immediately removed, these biohazards can chip away at your clear coat because they contain complex proteins that bind to the surface and organic acids that eat away at the surface. 

Your car is more prone to corrosion and discoloration if the clear coat has weak places.

Brake dust is yet another problematic pollutant. 

Brake dust includes adhesives used in the manufacture of brake pads as well as metal shavings from the rotors. 

Imagine the filthy cloud of road contaminants and brake dust that follows a moving car. The lowest part of your car is covered in a clinging, almost invisible mist from this chemical fog. 

The actual brake dust is exceedingly caustic and sticky. Weekly car washing will get rid of these impurities before they can cause unattractive permanent harm.

Car Wash Tools

car wash tools

  • Sponges
  • Car wash mitt

First, never wash your car under the sun. Choose a shaded area. Second, it’s crucial to pick equipment that is kind to the paint while still being powerful in eradicating pollution.

As a general rule, plush or deep-napped sponges and mitts perform better than flat-weave towels or dense sponges. When washing, always utilize the sponge’s softer side. Properly rinse new sponges before using them to get rid of any sand or shell fragments.

Pick wash mitts that won’t damage your paint. They shouldn’t scrape or swirl the paint and should be delicate. Wash mitts prevent grit and debris from sticking to your vehicle’s surface by trapping it within the fibers while you wash. To get rid of these impurities, make sure to rinse the mitt frequently.

How to Wash a Car: A Proper Car Washing Guide

The correct order to wash a car

Correct order to wash a car


Here are step-by-step instructions for adequately washing an automobile without harming the paint.

1. Clean the tires and wheels first

a man washing car tires

Simply wash it off when you wash your car if you accidentally splash wheel cleaner or dirt on the car body.

Utilize a cleaner that is safe for wheels. Use a wheel brush to scrub wheels without causing damage. Before moving on to the next one, wash and thoroughly rinse each wheel and tire individually.

Now remove all cleaning supplies, including your sponge and washer bucket, and rinse them.

2. It’s time to wash with a car wash mitt

Let’s begin with clean water, a container that has just been rinsed, and a washing mitt.

Utilizing a lubricant-rich car wash is essential. The goal of a car wash is to get rid of impurities and lubricate them, so they slide off the automobile’s paint without scratching it.

Due to the removal of protective coatings, dish detergents are not recommended.

How can swirl marks be avoided? Use two-bucket method

Use two buckets method: Put clean water in one bucket and soapy water in the other.

2 bucket method for washing car

Every time you’re prepared to refill your sponge or mitt with soapy water, rinse the grit and contamination off of it by dipping it into the clean water first. After that, wash it once more by dipping it in soapy water.

Always thoroughly rinse your car before washing it to get rid of any loose dirt.

Then start cleaning the vehicle’s top front, then move to the back.

a man washing the front top of a car

Always keep in mind that the lower panels are the dirtiest. Therefore, to avoid spreading grit to the vehicle’s top half, you should clean the windows and upper panels before cleaning the lower half.

In order to avoid cross-contamination, frequently rinse and reload your sponge.

As you work, rinse your car periodically, especially if it’s hot outside.

To lubricate the sponge, always use soapy water.

If you decide to use a spot cleaning, spray it on before washing the car and then reapply wax to the treated area once the car has dried.

Note: You don’t have to use the water hose to completely rinse your automobile. Your car will rinse more thoroughly if the water flows freely (without a nozzle).

3. Drying the vehicle

Do not omit to dry the car! Never let a car air dry!

To avoid water spots, you must dry your car after washing.

Mineral buildups that carve the outer edge of a water drop into your car’s paint produce water spots. 

All water contains minerals, whether from the hose or the sky. The minerals stay on the surface when the water evaporates, and they will unavoidably result in water spots.

While you gather your drying equipment, let the car drip dry for a moment. For your reference, consider the following methods:

Use drying towels and a squeegee

car drying towel

Use a paint-safe squeegee on the windows first if you have one. A synthetic chamois or a microfiber drying towel should be used after the squeegee.

To finish drying the automobile:

  1. Use a fresh drying towel.
  2. Work from the top down. If you’re using a large drying towel, spread it out over the flat sections of the car’s surface and slowly bring the cloth toward you.
  3. Frequently shake and rotate your drying towel.
  4. Fold your towel into a square before wiping to avoid staining.
  5. Open the doors when the exterior has largely dried, and clean the jambs, sills, and seal areas.
  6. Dry the area under the doors before closing them to prevent wet sills.

Use a car dryer

A car dryer can swiftly dry the paint, glass, and wheels of your automobile, as well as the areas under and around the emblems, in the grille, and between the doors.


How to wash a car is simple, but many neglect it. Regular washing is essential for car detailing. Using high-quality tools and cleaning supplies to complete the task properly makes life simpler and reduces scratching.

Washing is merely the first cleaning procedure for a complete detailing task. Washing gets rid of loose dirt, but it won’t get rid of contamination that is bonded. We must do a complete exterior detailing job if we want a deep clean, shining appearance.

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