With our hectic work and social lives, it’s little surprise that many car owners opt to take their vehicles to the nearest automated car wash, in preference to cleaning them themselves using traditional elbow grease to achieve a beautiful finish. While a car wash may be quicker and involve expending as much energy as is required to sit in comfort in the driver’s seat, surprisingly, a hand wash can achieve far more satisfactory results.
If you’re going to utilise a little of your spare time to give your car a thorough once over, it’s well worth investing in the correct tools and detergents designed for the purpose, in order to give you the best chance of achieving a perfect finish. You should also aim to use the correct techniques to give your car a most thorough clean, so the following tips will put you on the right road to having a sparkling vehicle:
1-Position your car in the shade
It may sound daft, but washing your car is more effective if carried out in the shade. This is because the surface, if heated by the sun, will cause the soap suds to dry quickly, leaving an unsightly stain behind that is hard to clean off when rinsing. Ideally you should aim to rinse the vehicle soon after applying soap, in order to remove any residue that will spoil the quality of the finish.
2-Use a professional detergent
It may be tempting, when you can’t find an alternative, to pour a capful of washing up liquid into a bucket, but you can actually cause significant damage to the paintwork of your car by doing so. Washing up detergents contain additional chemicals and degreasers that are essential for squeaky clean dishes but can remove the finish on your car’s paintwork, causing unsightly damage as well as invalidating any outstanding paint warranties. Instead, purchase a professional car detergent formulated for the purpose from your nearest auto parts store.
3-Wash the car in sections
Instead of diving in with your sponge and soapy water, it’s most effective to work around the car in sections, starting with the roof and working downwards. This is because washing the lower half of the vehicle first means dirty streaks will run over the clean section as you move upwards and you’ll have to repeat the wash again.
Work in one direction around the car, moving to the next section only when the previous one has been thoroughly washed. It’s better to replace the water when necessary instead of pressing on with semi-dirty water, as you’ll simply transfer the dirt around the car. Remember that the nearside of the car – the side closest to the kerb – is likely to be dirtiest and in need of the most intense clean.
4-Rinse thoroughly and repeatedly
Rinsing the car is the perfect opportunity to remove lingering soap suds and stubborn dirt and, if carried out properly, can make the difference between an eye-catching finish and a reasonable one. Rinse thoroughly using a hosepipe or jet wash if possible, remembering to angle the water stream to reach all the hidden parts where soap suds may remain. Rinsing several times will ensure the car is absolutely clean; by running your hand over the surface of the body you will be able to tell if there is any residual dirt as the paintwork won’t feel absolutely smooth.
Next, rub over the surface of the car with a chamois leather as soon as you have rinsed it.
5-Use wax to protect the surface
Finally, a layer of car wax, applied in two, will thoroughly protect the paintwork and help to maintain a shiny finish of which you can be proud.
Remember that if you took care of your car now, it will thank you later.