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How to Properly Wash Your Car

How to Properly Wash Your Car

As we’ve covered before, protecting your car’s exterior is important – and part of that protection means washing your car. Water stains, pollen, road grit, etc. are all waiting in the wings to muck up your vehicle. Luckily, though, a simple fix from the grime is to wash your car. But did you know there’s a right way to do it? Turns out, when you wash your car it’s both an art and a science to get it right.

Skip the costly car wash and do it yourself with these best practices.

Pick the Right Spot

Just like in real estate: it’s all about location, location, location. You should always wash your car in a shady spot. The shade is your friend, as it reduces the risk of of the car wash shampoo itself from drying onto the car before it can be rinsed off. Shampoo drying on the surface means smudges and spots. This is definitely not the result you’re aiming for when you wash your car.

You should also aim for a non-windy day. The last thing you want is a breeze blowing grime and debris back onto your car as you are trying to wash it off. The water and soap as you wash your car actually attracts and locks in particles, too. Then, when you rub with a cloth, instead of washing off the car you’re actually rubbing those particles into the paint.

The perfect spot can make all the difference.

Cool Down Your Car First

If you wash your car right after a drive, it’s not gonna turn out for the best. A hot engine means a hot body and your car should be fully cooled before a washing.This includes, too, if your car’s been parked but baking out in the sun. It’s like picking a shady spot means you’ll be protected from the sun drying up the suds too quickly. Any type of hot surface will evaporate your water too quickly and leave sudsy streaks behind.

Rinse Before You Wash Your Car

Don’t dive right into the soap when you wash your car! A water-only rinse as your first step is your best friend. The larger, looser particles of dirt and debris that are hanging out on your car need to be rinsed away. If you don’t, you run the risk of scratching your paint job. And that, while bad from an aesthetic point of view, also leaves your car wide open and susceptible to rust and damage.

Stick to Washes Made for Cars

It turns out, soaps and shampoos marketed specifically for cars are done so for a reason. You’re not just buying into an industry hype – car-specific soaps are designed to work best on car bodies. Things like dish soap you may have around the house can actually be too harsh for car paint. And, if you wash your car with them, they can strip the finish.

Direction Matters

When you wash your car, you should always go from top to bottom – never bottom to top. Since the dirtier parts of your car tend to be closer to the bottom (wheel wells, bumpers, etc.) you don’t want to wipe that grime up onto the cleaner areas of the vehicle.

Also, you should have your wash strokes be straight and overlapping rather than circles. You want to ensure you are wiping away and off the dirt, not rubbing it in more.

Dry it off the Right Way

Finally, when it comes to drying, you want to be gentle enough for the paint. Use a soft drying cloth or terry towel and lightly dry off the body. Do not let your car air dry, either, nor should you drive it around to wind dry. This will create streaks and watermarks.


If your car is looking its shiny best, call Orlando Auto Body at 480-351-2369 to make sure it stays that way.


Book your appointment now and get $5 discount.


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