How often do you wash your vehicle? Depending on time, convenience, and personal preference, you may handle the task yourself or choose to go through a car wash. Though paying to have the job done can be quick and easy, you may find using a little bit of elbow grease to be a soothing, rewarding experience. If you choose the “do-it-yourself” route, follow some of these basic steps:

  1. Have your supplies ready – Before you start the cleaning process, you want to make sure you have all of your materials gathered and ready to go. For instance, you may choose to have a bucket, soap, and (several) towels already handy. Once you start washing your vehicle, you don’t want to be chasing down supplies.
  2. Have your location scouted – Do you know where you’re going to clean your vehicle? When you park your car, truck, or SUV, it’s important to make sure the automobile isn’t in direct sunlight. The heat from the sun will lead to early drying, which will then lead to unwanted watermarks. It’s also a good idea to be on a flat, firm area. For example, you may choose to be in a garage or on a concrete surface. Avoid hills and dirt-covered tops to escape a muddy mess.
  3. Are the windows and doors shut? – Remember: you’re washing the outside of your vehicle, not the inside! It’s important to make sure all of the doors and windows are tightly closed. You don’t want to get the interior of your automobile wet and soapy. It’s a good idea to check and see if the trunk and hood are securely shut, too.After you’ve determined your vehicle is completely sealed, spray the entire automobile with water. Every surface should be hit; your car needs to be lightly damp.
  4. Start scrubbing – Add soap (specifically used for vehicles) and water to a clean bucket. Too much soap will cause your car to look greasy; follow the directions listed on the bottle. You also want to make sure the cloth or sponge you’re using is clean and smooth. What’s the point of washing your car with a dirty rag? And if the cleaning tool is jagged or rough, you stand the chance of scratching your vehicle.Next, you’ll want to wash your vehicle section-by-section. Start with one area of the car (i.e. the front fender or back bumper) and start scrubbing. Once the particular area is clean, you’ll want to rinse away the suds to prevent staining. Repeat until this procedure has been applied to all areas.
  5. Don’t forget to dry – Don’t forget to manually dry your vehicle. Sure, letting your car air dry is convenient, but you’ll be left with water splotches and streaks – it makes washing your car pointless! Use soft, clean towels (to avoid dirtying your recent wash job and scratching your car) to thoroughly mop up all water. Depending on the size of your vehicle, you may need more than one towel. Once the cloth becomes too wet, it will be useless to you.

So skip the automated car wash the next time your vehicle needs cleaning – washing your car the old-fashioned way may take a little longer, but you may find it to be a fun, relaxing process. Also, the results cannot be beat!