How to Wash Your Car Like a Professional

April 14th, 2022 by

Owning a vehicle is a huge investment. One of the best ways to protect that investment is to keep up with maintenance, get repairs done as needed, and wash it like a professional, thoroughly and often. At Meadowland GMC, we believe there is a difference between running your car through an automated car wash and taking the time to wash it like a professional. Keep reading to find out why it’s important to wash your car properly, the supplies you’ll need, and the exact steps to follow for a clean, shiny vehicle.

Why You Should Properly Wash Your Car

Carmel, NY Car Washes

It’s no secret that washing your car has many benefits. Not only can it make you gleam with pride when you take that freshly washed vehicle out for a ride, but it also provides several practical advantages. A car that is professionally washed is far less likely to have scratches or swirl marks on the paint. This type of damage is often a result of using the wrong cleaning materials and techniques. Running your vehicle through an automatic car wash is also less desirable as these commercial machines can sometimes scrape or mar your vehicle.

Cleaning the exterior of your vehicle properly keeps debris like dirt, bugs, bird droppings, and salt from eating away at the paint. Eroding paint can lead to expensive and unsightly body rust repairs. Washing your car regularly can also extend the life of your vehicle. This results in getting more mileage out of your car, truck, or SUV. When it’s time to get a new vehicle, you can sell it or trade it in at a higher price.

Using the wrong materials can also cause damage to your vehicle by dulling the finish over time. We highly recommend using a microfiber cloth or mitt to wash your car rather than a sponge. Sponges are too abrasive and can cause tiny scratches in the vehicle’s paint. These cleaning tools tend to hold in the dirt and grime. As they are dragged over the paint, the dirt in the sponge can cause damage to your vehicle.

Supplies You Need To Wash Your Car

Now that you know why it’s important to wash your car using professional tools and techniques, let’s take a look at the various supplies you’ll need.

  • Two 5-gallon buckets.
  • Grit guard insert.
  • Wheel cleaner and brush.
  • Car wash shampoo.
  • Car wash mitt made of microfiber.
  • Hose and nozzle.
  • Foam gun or foam cannon.
  • Air blower and microfiber towel for drying.
  • High-quality protectant.

How To Wash Your Car Like a Professional

To wash your car like a professional, we recommend you begin with the wheels and then move on to washing, rinsing, and drying the body of the car. The last thing you’ll want to do is wipe it down with a high-quality protectant. For the best possible results, follow the steps below.

Prep Supplies

Before you begin washing your car, it’s best to have all supplies prepped and ready to go. Gather your choice of car wash shampoo, two 5-gallon buckets, foaming gun or cannon, washing mitts, hose with nozzle, microfiber towels for drying or air blower, and vehicle protectant. Fill one bucket with soapy water using the car wash shampoo. Fill the other bucket with water to be used as a dirty rinse bucket. You’ll want to place the grit guard insert in this bucket too.

Clean the Wheels

Cleaning the wheels first keeps the wheel cleaner from drying directly on the car’s paint. Apply the cleaner to the wheels. Take a wheel brush and clean both the front and inside of the wheel. In between cleaning each tire, thoroughly rinse all dirt and debris from the brush. Be sure to rinse each wheel after you’re done cleaning. Dump the water from both buckets and refill again with soapy water and clean water. Now you’re ready to begin washing the body of your car.

Pre-Clean Your Vehicle

You’ll want to pre-clean your vehicle to remove that top layer of dust and dirt. If you skip this step, you are increasing the chances of scratching your car. Begin by foaming the vehicle’s entire exterior. This will help to wet and loosen that top layer of dirt, dust, and grime. Rinse off the foam with the hose.

Wash Your Car

Now you’re ready to begin washing your car. Dunk the washing mitt into the bucket of soapy water and begin cleaning your vehicle using a side-to-side motion. Start at the roof, then move on to the windshield and the hood. Work your way around the vehicle, sticking to a side-to-side motion. Every so often, place the mitt into the dirty rinse bucket and move it around to get rid of all the dirt that has accumulated. Squeeze the mitt as much as you can and then get it wet and soapy by placing it in the soapy water bucket.

Repeat this pattern, washing the vehicle from top to bottom. The dirtiest part of most vehicles is the bottom third, so you may need to spend extra time on this portion.

Rinse Your Car

Now that you have washed your entire vehicle, including the wheels, it’s time for the rinse. Use your hose and nozzle to completely rinse all the soapy water off the car. Begin at the roof and work your way down to the bottom.

Dry Your Vehicle

Taking the time to dry your vehicle will prevent unsightly water spots from forming on the exterior paint. If you are using an air blower, begin drying by working your way from the top to the bottom. Once most of the water is gone, use a clean microfiber towel to dry the rest of the vehicle. Be sure to focus on the small nooks and crannies where water can remain, such as the door sills, spoilers, and grilles.

Apply a Protectant

While you can end your car washing job by simply drying it, you may want to consider applying a high-quality protectant. This product will not only improve your car’s shine but also protect the paint from dirt, bird droppings, tree sap, and other damaging materials. Use a clean microfiber towel to apply the protectant.

Are you going to take these steps to make your car clean, shiny, and free from dirt and debris? If you do, we’d love to hear about it. Contact us and let us know how this process worked for you.

Posted in Driving Tips