You want your car to look clean and spotless, but the act of cleaning it may feel like an overwhelming task. You’re not sure where to start or how to start. Washing your vehicle can be easy and even enjoyable once you properly know how to do it.
Follow these eight steps on how to clean the car exterior:
1. Have your car cleaning supplies ready
Make sure your cleaning supplies are the right ones for washing your car’s exterior. Be wary of using household cleaning agents that are not meant for cars.
Using the wrong cleaning materials could damage the paint and some surfaces on your car’s exterior. Make sure to carefully read the labels and instructions on the products you plan to use before applying it to your vehicle. Use high-quality car cleaning supplies for better and noticeable results.
You will need the necessary supplies:
- Three buckets (one filled with water, one filled with car soap, one dedicated for your wheels and tires)
- Car wash soap
- Car wash sponge and wash mitten
- Soft bristle brush
- Microfiber towels
- Clay bar kit
- Car wax
- Applicator pads
- Wheel cleaner
- Tire cleaner
- Hose (with a spray nozzle)
- Car polish
2. Prepare your car exterior for cleaning
When you are planning to clean your car exterior, make sure to park it in a shaded and cool area. Do not wash a hot car, let it cool down first. A hot surface will cause your cleaning products to evaporate and increase the likelihood of water spotting and soap stains.
3. Give your car a good rinse
Rinse the entire surface of your vehicle with your nozzle hose before applying any car soap. You will want to rinse thoroughly to remove any surface dirt. The nozzle is great for helping you be gentle on your paint and your lighting fixtures, such as the taillights in your car. Remember to be cautious if you don’t have an attachment nozzle. The pressure being too high from your hose can remove your car’s wax or paint.
4. Wash your wheels and tires
The wheels and tires are typically known for being the dirtiest part of your vehicle. You do not want to spread that dirt and grime to other areas of your car.
After you rinsed your car, start by cleaning one wheel and tire at a time. Apply your wheel and tire cleaning solution and follow the instructions. Use your sponge and soft bristle brush to get in there and clean thoroughly. Once you are done scrubbing, thoroughly rinse. Dry with a microfibre towel. Repeat the process for each wheel and tire.
5. Wash the body of your car
To clean the body of your car, dip your wash mitten into the bucket with the car soap. To make sure your car exterior gets a good cleaning, wash in sections. Start at the top of your car and work your way to the bottom. Use the second bucket that’s filled with water to frequently dip and rinse out the mitten. Use the soap bucket to load your wash mitten up again to ensure proper cleanliness.
Make sure to scrub in a straight, up and down motion. Do not clean in a circular motion as this can cause swirl marks. Rinse off each section (ie: roof, hood, etc.) before moving on to the next one. After washing and rinsing all the sections of your car, dry the sections from top to bottom with a clean microfiber towel.
6. Clay your car
Clay bars are used to remove embedded contaminants from your car’s exterior surfaces. Cut your clay bar into three equal sections. Squeeze and flatten it in your hands until it’s like a patty. Apply the lubricating spray from that clay kit onto the face of your clay and a small section of your car.
Gently begin to rub the clay in a back and forth motion over the sprayed area. Once it begins to glide smoothly over that area, move onto another section. Make sure you are using a clean clay surface for new sections. Fold your clay in half and re-knead when contaminants are found.
7. Polish your car
Car polish helps smooth out the paint. It removes and minimizes the appearance of small scratches and scrapes on your vehicle. To polish your car, get an applicator pad and pour a small amount of polish on to the center of the pad.
Work in small sections. Apply the polish to the car’s exterior in a straight-line motion to avoid chances of swirls. When the section dries, use a clean microfiber towel and buff off the remaining polish. Repeat this process, section by section.
8. Wax your car
The final step is to protect your car’s exterior. Waxing enhances your car’s paint coating and adds an extra shine and gloss. Grab a new applicator pad and apply a thin layer of wax in the center. Work in small sections and in a straight back and forth motion. Once the wax dries, buff off with a clean microfiber towel.