How To Wash Your Cars Exteriors

  • Written by: Amanda Myers

People are kind of stuck with the bucket or hand wash method simply because it's the most common, cheapest and simplest car washing method. Today, I will introduce other car washing methods that you might want to consider. Who knows? You might find out that another method is better for you.

1. Classic Wash

Bucket method

This is also known as the hand wash method. This is the most common and simplest method to wash a car. There are two ways to bucket or hand wash your car. You can either use one bucket or two buckets.

One bucket

This involves a bucket, water, car shampoo or soap, mitt or brush, and drying towel.

1. Mix a car wash shampoo in a bucket of water and agitate until the water becomes slippery or bubbly.
2. Dunk the mitt or brush in the soapy water bucket.
3. Use a mitt to wipe a section of a car.
4. Once the mitt becomes dirty, repeat steps 2-3 until you have cleaned the entire car.
5. Rinse with the car with water and wipe it with a drying towel.

If you want to save water, this is a great method for you. However, please note that there is a higher risk that your car will get swirls or scratches with this method because you are using the same bucket for soap and rinsing. The dirt from the car will likely get stuck on the mitt you are using to wipe the surface of your car.

Two bucket

This is the safest and cleanest method to wash a car by hand. With this method, there is a lower chance that your car will get swirls or scratches. You'll need water, car shampoo or soap, mitt or brush, drying towel and two buckets.

1. Prepare a bucket of soapy water and another bucket of rinsing water.
2. Dunk the mitt in the soapy water and wipe on a section of your car.
3. Once the mitt gets dirty, wring it out and rinse it in the bucket of plain water.
4. Repeat steps 2-3 until you've clean the entire car.
5. Rinse with the car with water and wipe it with a drying towel.

Foam gun with a garden hose

The foam gun easily sprays your car covering it with foam with little effort and in just a few minutes. You can leave the foam on the surface of your car for a few minutes to let it loosen or remove contaminants to the ground. You can use a mitt if there are any contaminants left on the car that the shampoo was not able to wash away. Rinse the car and dry with a towel.

This is the easiest car washing method to do and it has so many advantages. It can save your time and energy. Plus you will use a lesser amount of water and car shampoo. And it is a swirl-free and scratch-free method because you won't be rubbing the mitt against the surface of your car unless your car has dirt that was not removed by the shampoo. Thus, I highly recommend getting the best car shampoo.

Pressure washer with or without a foam cannon

This method is quite complicated for some people especially at first because it involves assembling, operating and maintaining a machine that was once operated by professionals only. Plus the machine is quite expensive. We call the machine the "pressure washer". The machine uses highly pressurized water to clean any surfaces which is the strongest cleaning method among all the methods that I listed here, it can remove years of dirt even without car shampoo. The good news is that car care companies have invented a smaller, compact, lightweight, easy to assemble and operate pressure washer.

2. Wash without water

If you cannot wash your car with water because you live in an apartment, or in a city, or in an area that has water restrictions, you can still clean your car. How? All you need to do is spray on using a waterless car wash cleaner and wipe dry with a microfiber mitt.

With this method, it is important that you select the best waterless car wash cleaner appropriate for your car's surface. We recommend the Meguiar's G3626 Ultimate Waterless Wash & Wax because it is scratch-free swirl-free with its highly-lubricated formula that leaves behind a synthetic wax coating making your car look glossy.

3. Wash car in winter

Should you wash your car during winter? My answer is a big YES. A lot of people are asking this question because first and foremost, car washing during winter is difficult. As much as possible, no one wants to deal with the freezing water during winter. Nevertheless, it is very important that you wash your car during winter because your car is more exposed to damages because of snow, sand, and salt depending on whether salt is spread in your area during winter to melt ice. Salt accelerates corrosion on a metal causing your car to rust. And if your car gets rusty, some parts of your car could start malfunctioning.

Salt usually collects underneath your car, behind the wheels, and front grille. It can also cause rust to the exhaust system, hydraulic brake system, and gas lines.

How to wash your car during winter:

  1. Because your car is exposed to more damaging elements during winter, we highly recommend that you wash your car as often as possible or every other week.
  2. But we do not recommend washing your car when the temperature is below freezing because the water will freeze the handles and locks of your car. Recommended temperature is at 31 degrees. If you want to wash your car when the temperature is below freezing, we recommend that you drive the car for a few minutes until the hood is warm. Note: You may want to turn on the heater to warm the inside of the car.
  3. Wear winter waterproof winter gloves and clothing to keep yourself warm while washing your car.
  4. Use warm water.
  5. To remove salt, snow and other contaminants underneath your car, drive your car over a lawn sprinkler or spray using a pressure washer.
  6. Dry the car immediately to prevent snow or salt from sticking.

Other tips:

  • If you do not want to wash your car, you can drive-through a "no touch" car wash that sprays under the vehicle to make sure that salt is not being rubbed against the surface of your car and to make sure that they are also taking care of the salt that accumulated underneath the car.
  • Replace your car mat into those that are made of rubber. Because when you get in and out of your car, salt can get in as well and cause rust on the metals inside your car.
  • Use deicing spray for cars usually made to remove ice and snow from windshields.

Preparing your car for winter:

  • Use a rust proofing spray to oil the surfaces of your car especially the parts underneath it which are most exposed to contaminants.
  • Wax your car before winter begins. Waxing provides a layer of coating on your car protecting it from scratches or rust caused by salt, snow or sand during winter. The wax layer also reduces the amount contaminants that sticks to your car.

4. Professional Car Wash Near Me

I like to personally wash my own car, it's sort of a hobby of mine. I particularly enjoy using do-it-yourself detailing kits, car care products, and power tools. But if you prefer letting professional car wash crews and detailers to take care of your car, click on the button below to get a list of car wash services and detailers near your area. We've come up with a comprehensive list of car wash services and detailers per city or area based on customer reviews.

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