Don’t wait around for dirt to accumulate on your car. Instead, protect the finish by cleaning it often. However, it’s possible to do more harm than good if you have poor technique or the wrong materials. This can leave the clear-coat finish covered with micro-scratches that lessen the longevity of the paint job and resale value. Cleaning your car the right way doesn’t need to take a full afternoon of hard labor. It only requires that you work with the right equipment.
Supplies: Garden Hose and Nozzle, Scrub Brush, Car-Washing Soap Solution, Bucket, Microfiber Pad, Microfiber Towel
Park your car in a shady area of your driveway and begin cleaning once your car has cooled to the touch. Grab your garden hose and add a nozzle to the end to blast away loose dirt and debris from the roof down to the tires.
After rinsing your entire car, continue to the wheels which are often the dirtiest part. Water alone may not be enough to clean the nooks and crannies of your wheels, so you might need to grab a scrub brush. For maximum cleaning power, scrub while spraying the area with a steady stream of water.
Many people use dishwashing soap or other kitchen cleaning products, but these products strip away the protective wax coating on your car, leaving its finish vulnerable to nicks, scratches, and stains. It’s best to purchase a dedicated car-washing solution. Grab a bucket full of water and cover the car with soapy water from top to bottom.
Next, grab your microfiber pad. The pad makes the dirt and debris float away instead of driving it into the finish. Be careful to pause every now and then to inspect the microfiber for anything that might leave a scratch. Be sure to wipe vertical surfaces, such as doors, with a stiff-armed up-and-down motion and horizontal surfaces, such as the hood, with a left-to-right motion. Work in sections, and as you finish each area, rinse the soap off before it has the chance to dry.
You can let your car air-dry after a final rinse-off, but there’s risk of a spotty result. To avoid streaks, dry your car with a microfiber towel by blotting or dragging the material slowly across the surface. You can even treat the microfiber towel with spray wax or instant detailer first to help prevent the microfiber from ruining the perfect finish you’ve managed to restore through the earlier steps.