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How to wash your car and clean headlights: a Father's Day treat

Want a clean car without paying someone else to do it? Discover tips & advice on how to wash your car & its headlights – a great idea for Father’s Day!


By Cleanipedia Team

car keys on a blue background for getting into and washing a car

Key steps 

  1. Read labels carefully and make sure all the products you’ll be using are suitable for cars.
  2. This also goes for the car interior! Before cleaning, read the labels of car mats and safety information for any accessories.
  3.  Cleaning your car is a good opportunity to check that everything is in working order and perform a little bit of maintenance. Incorporate checking lights and tyre pressures into your routine. 

In order to keep any car in good condition, it’s important to clean it on a regular basis. But don’t just take a drive through the car wash. As well as the possibility of a mediocre result, you’ll be missing out on the sheer satisfaction of making your own car spotless again.

Similarly, if you’d like to do something nice for a friend or family member – perhaps to show your Dad how much you care this Father’s Day – going to the effort of washing a car can be a great gesture.

A cool, slightly cloudy day is the best weather for washing a car. If you wash your car on an excessively hot or sunny day then the water will evaporate too quickly leaving unsightly watermarks.

How concerned are you about disinfecting while cleaning?

How to wash your car

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to wash your car – remember to read labels carefully and make sure any products are safe for use on your vehicle before getting started.

  • Hose down the car with water to remove any excess dirt or debris.
  • Fill two buckets with warm, soapy water – use one for cleaning, and one for rinsing out the sponge as you go.
  • Clean by concentrating on the car’s various parts in a set order. Start with the roof before working your way down the windows and around the chassis or car body.
  • Use a separate brush for the tyres. There are specific products you can buy to clean wheels if they’re particularly dirty.
  • Rinse again with fresh water to remove excess soap and dirt. Using a hose will make light work of this task but you can also fill buckets and throw the water over the car’s roof, allowing it to drain down the body and remove soapy residue. Be careful when filling the buckets and don’t overfill them. Take care not to hurt yourself, or get too wet, if rinsing your car with this method.
  • Dry off with a towel then finish by rubbing the car with a chamois leather cloth to get rid of smears.

If it’s still not as squeaky clean as you’d like, check out our article on how to polish and wax your car for a really professional finish.

How to clean headlights

Now that your car is spotlessly clean, what about its accessories and instruments? The headlights on a car can become yellow and cloudy over time, but they’re easy to brighten up with a bit of elbow grease. Follow these steps when cleaning car headlights for a top finish:

  • Don’t have access to a headlight-restoring product? Did you know toothpaste can be just as effective? Rub it on the surface using a microfiber cloth and let the mild abrasive polish away the surface oxidation which causes foggy headlights.
  • Check for cracks or deterioration in the lens. You’ll probably need to get your headlights resurfaced or replaced if this is the case.
  • Check your headlights, and other lights, work. When you clean your car it is a good opportunity to do a little maintenance and check everything is in working order, so have a walk around your vehicle and make sure everything is as it should be.

So, there you have it. A quick and easy guide on how to wash your car and keep those headlights bright and shiny. If you want to go all out, remember to follow our advice on polishing and waxing vehicles and give the interior a good scrub too. Remove any mats and seat covers and wash them separately (checking their care labels for instructions) and use upholstery cleaners and multi-surface cleaners to give the seats, dashboard and accessories a quick spruce up. Always read the label to check for safety when washing car accessories and interiors.

Originally published