How to wash and detail your car like a pro.
The first thing you should do before washing your car is to sing a couple
verses of the “Car Wash” song:
You might not ever get rich
But let me tell ya it’s better than diggin’ a ditch
There ain’t no tellin’ who you might meet
A movie star or maybe even an Indian chief
At the car wash
Workin’ at the car wash, girl
Come on and sing it with me
Sing it with the feelin’ ya’all
(Car wash, girl)
– Rose Royce (1976)
1. Work in the shade to keep soap suds from drying and spotting the finish.
2. Start by hosing the car thoroughly.
3. Spray inside wheel wells and beneath the car to remove salt and other debris.
4. Fill a five-gallon bucket with the warmest water you can find. Warm water removes insects
and bird droppings better than cold.
5. Use a good-quality car-wash soap, never dishwashing liquid, which can damage the paint.
6. Do not use a sponge. It is too coarse and scrapes the dirt over the paint. Use a soft, absorbent
sheepskin mitt instead.
7. Start at the top and work down. Do one panel at a time, then rinse that section with a hose
so suds will not dry on the finish.
8. To prevent scratches when drying, use a soft, absorbent terry-cloth towel or a chamois.
9. Once the finish is clean, use a clearcoat-safe cleaner wax at least once a year to remove
old wax residue.
10. Use a paste wax, since liquids tend to get on plastic and rubber trim.
11. Wax your car whenever water stops beading and starts sheeting.
12. When it is too cold to hand-wash your car, use a coin-operated wand so only the water touches
13. As the weather gets warmer, months of road salt built up under your car may begin to rust
14. You can help keep rust at bay and protect the body of your car by regularly rinsing it early
in the spring with a hose that has a pressure nozzle.
15. Wash the underside of the car, and spray inside the fenders, around the trunk lid, and between
fender wells and door jambs.
16. Do not forget to wash inside the bumper.
17. Clean moldings using water and a mild dish detergent.
18. Treat any nicks or scratches with the manufacturer’s touch-up paint. Petroleum jelly applied
to a scratch will protect it from rust until you can buy the right paint.
19. Parking a salt-ridden car in a warm garage can hasten rust, so make sure that next winter
you wash your car regularly.