August 15, 2022
Written by
Jenna Lutwin

How to hand wash a car: 5 tips to know

If you own a car, then there's a good chance that you've washed it before. However, if you don't have time to take your vehicle to the car wash, you can always do it yourself. It may seem daunting at first, but with the right tips and tricks in mind, washing your car at home can be easy! 

Here are five tips to help make sure that all surfaces of your vehicle are cleaned thoroughly:

Wash your car during the cool part of the day.

The best time to wash your car is when the weather is cooler and cloudy, preferably in the morning or evening when temperatures are ideal for washing your vehicle. If possible, also wash your car in the shade. Also, make sure your car is cooled down and the parking brake is on before you start.

Never wash your car in direct sunlight.

Never wash your car in direct sunlight. You might think that the heat from the sun will dry your car quickly, but what you're actually doing is drying out the wax and soap which will result in an uneven finish. When you're washing your car, you want to make sure that it's completely saturated with water before applying any soap or waxes. This will ensure a streak-free shine. If you have an extra person who can help you rinse while you wash your car, this can save you a bit of time and make things easier. 

Start with the top portion of your vehicle and work your way down to the bottom.

Start with the top portion of your vehicle and work your way down to the bottom. Work in sections, starting with the roof and moving to the hood, then fenders and finally wheels. 

If you start at the front of your vehicle and work your way back, you will have a much easier time when it comes time for drying. Be careful with used towels, both regular and microfiber. They might have dirt buried inside of them that could scratch your paint. Also make sure to separate your wheel-cleaning tools from your body-cleaning tools.

Rinse the entire outside of your car thoroughly after you've washed it.

Once you've finished washing the entire car, make sure to rinse it thoroughly. Your goal is to remove all of the soap and dirt from your vehicle. To do this, pour water over every inch of your car and use a car wash brush to get into crevices that may have been missed during your initial wash (such as between wheel wells). Once you've rinsed off all of the soap and dirt, use a microfiber cloth to dry out any remaining moisture on your vehicle's exterior.

Thoroughly dry your vehicle with a microfiber cloth.

To ensure your car is completely dry, use a microfiber cloth to wipe the vehicle. Microfiber cloths are designed to capture and hold water from the surface of your car; paper towels and cotton towels don’t work as well. If you use paper towels, it will leave lint residue on your paint job after drying. Cotton towels can leave behind dirt that may scratch your paint job or stain vinyl surfaces.

Clean your headlights

If your headlights look foggy and yellow, you might need to invest in a cleaning kit, which you can find on Amazon or at your local car shop. You’ll want to put masking tape around your headlights so that the cleaning solution doesn’t get on other parts of the car. If the kit comes with a protective finish, apply it after wiping the headlights off. 

Now that you know how to wash your car, it's time to get started. Make sure you have everything on hand and take your time as this process can be a bit overwhelming if you're not used to doing it yourself. Start with the top portion of your vehicle and work your way down to the bottom section in order to ensure each area is thoroughly cleaned before moving onto the next one (e.g., wheels and tires). After washing your car, pay special attention when drying off so there are no streaks left behind!