Washing a car – How you’ve been doing it wrong, all along

If you’ve been asking the domestic help to clean the car, and been wondering why your new car has started to look so old, there’s something that needs attention – and that’s your car. Getting it cleaned professionally is one way to do it, but surely not a very feasible one. We take a look at how you can wash your car like a pro, and also the common mistakes that could be avoided.

What you’ve been doing wrong all this while:

One bucket

Washing a car – How you’ve been doing it wrong, all along

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This one not just makes it terrible to get rid of dirt off the cleaning cloth, it means you make your car susceptible to scratches. Instead use two buckets – small ones, if carrying two big ones is an issue. That way you’ll be able to clean the cloth with one, while the second bucket can be used to rinse the cloth with clean water.

Old cloth

Leave those old tattered T-Shirts back at home. They might not be bad to clean your shoes (no one is going to use those on Tod’s, mind!), but they are terrible for cleaning cars. Use a cleaning mitt for the body, a specialised duster like Jopasu for taking the dirt off, and micro-fibre cloth for windows.

Occasional cleaning

Washing a car – How you’ve been doing it wrong, all along

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Once or twice a week is fine, as long as you’re giving some time to your car. Regular cleaning ensures that the car doesn’t get too dirty, which in turn means its paint stays better for longer. Also, the longer you wait to clean the car, the dirtier it’s going to be.

Superficial cleaning

It can be a little time consuming but if you’re washing your car, ensure that you don’t forget under the wheel arches, and other similar, slightly hard to reach areas. Dust and moisture if accumulated can prove to be a potential rust disaster, so check and clean these. The scuttle for example can accumulate leaves if parked under a tree.

It’s just the body that needs a wipe…

Washing a car – How you’ve been doing it wrong, all along

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While glass parts (windscreen and windows) are essential components, they can be forgotten while cleaning. Use a micro-fibre cloth to clean the glass, to ensure there’s no lint left over. One must also be careful to not use a dirty cloth/sponge on glass, because that could end up doing more harm than good.

Wheels and tyres might just need a quick splash of water to clean them up, but that’s certainly overlooking the innards and the details. Spend some time on wheels, use a brush, and clean them up as frequently as you clean the car. A set of badly maintained alloys can also reduce your car’s value.

What’s cleaning without a jet!

Water jet might help in forcing the dirt off your car, but nothing beats washing it by hand. That way not only you will be more careful with the surface of the car, you’ll require a lot less space to clean the car. Use a car shampoo to clean the car, while a concentrated solution should be used to clear the stains like bird droppings, etc.

Letting it dry all by itself

If you want a clear shine and no leftover water marks, then don’t let the car dry itself by leaving it in the sun – that leaves the unwanted and easily avoidable water marks. Once you’re done washing the car, take a clean microfibre (lint-free) cloth and wipe the water off.

What next?

Car owners often underestimate the importance of detailing and waxing their cars. Interior cleaning is another thing that goes unattended more often than not. We shall cover the importance of car detailing and interior cleaning in a future article while waxing can be done at home without expensive polishing equipment.