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Car Cleaning Tips: How to Wash a Car

Want a shimmering clean car without paying through the nose? Follow these handy tips to get your ride looking great inside and out.


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How to Wash a Car

When it comes to washing a car, don’t just settle for a quick hose-down. If you want to clean it like a pro, read on for some useful tips, including cleaning car windows.

Washing a car is best done in the shade, because if the exterior dries before you buff it, you’ll end up with a streaky finish.

How to Clean a Car Exterior

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Car wash soap
  • A large, non-abrasive sponge
  • 2 buckets
  • A chamois leather or microfiber drying towel
  1. Begin by prepping your car. Close all the windows and doors to avoid soggy seats, and hose off any major clumps of dirt. Lift the wipers so you can clean beneath them.
  2. Fill the first bucket with warm water and add the soap, following the label’s instructions. Don’t use dishwashing liquid because it can dry out the rubber fittings and cut through wax polish. Fill the second bucket with warm water.
  3. Soak the sponge thoroughly in the soapy bucket and apply the solution all over the car. Without scrubbing, use large circular motions from the top and work your way down. Rinse the sponge in the plain water bucket between applications.
  4. To rinse off any bubble and soap residue, use a hose or fresh bucket – and here’s the trick to avoiding streaks: don’t allow the soap to dry.
  5. Beginning from the roof, work your way down with the chamois to buff the car dry. Use a circular motion to prevent streaks and achieve maximum shine.
  6. Once the car is clean and dry, it’s time to apply a wax or specialised polish for protection and even more shine. Always follow the product instructions for best results.

How to Clean a Car Interior

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A vacuum cleaner with hose attachments
  • Paper towels or lint-free cloths
  • A car cleaning spray or wipes
  • A commercial glass cleaner, or a home-made solution of 1 part white vinegar and two parts water in a spray bottle
  1. First you’ll need to remove any rubbish out of the car and take out the floor mats to be vacuumed separately.
  2. Now vacuum the entire interior, making sure you get right between the seat crevices, door pockets and carpeted areas.
  3. Grab your car cleaning wipes or spray bottle and wipe down the dashboard, steering wheel, console and gear stick. Use a buffing motion to avoid streaks. Next, we’ll show you how to clean car windows.
  4. The best way to clean car windows is to lightly spray them with glass cleaner or the vinegar solution. Make sure you always read the product instructions and make sure it’s suitable if the windows are tinted. Use your cloth or paper towels to buff the glass clean and dry.
  5. Put the vacuumed mats back in, add an air freshener if you’d like, and hit the road in your beautifully clean car.
  • Grab everything you need: sponges, buckets, cloths and car-wash soap are your must-haves.
  • Don’t use abrasive cleaners on the exterior because you could damage the paintwork.
  • Wash the wheels last because they’re usually the dirtiest part of the car.
  • Originally published