How to wash your car: The dos and don’ts

Cleaning your car is a straightforward task, right? Soap, water, and a little elbow grease, and Bob’s your uncle! Well, not quite. If you want your car to look as good as possible there are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to cleaning it…


  • Use the right products: Use good quality cleaning products that are specially designed for cleaning cars. Some household cleaners can actually do more harm than good to your vehicle.
  • Use the right tools: You’ll need a bucket, sponges, brushes, mitts, and chamois leather. Make sure they’re stored properly in between use and used solely for cleaning your car. Using them for other cleaning tasks can cause them to pick up dirt and grit which could scratch your paintwork.
  • Take your time: If you rush when washing your car you could miss spots, which will spoil the overall finish. Make sure you wash your car when you know you’ll have enough time to do a proper job.
  • Follow the product instructions: Make sure you read the directions on the product packaging properly as incorrect usage could damage your paintwork and upholstery.
  • Check for damage: Whilst washing your car, use the opportunity to really inspect the tyres, headlamps, body etc for damage that you might not otherwise notice.
  • Be thorough: Clean the bits that you wouldn’t normally think to clean, such as under the wheel arch. Be sure to use a soft cloth and an appropriate cleaning product so that you don’t damage these hidden areas.
  • Wax after washing: After washing your car you should dry it off with a soft cloth, gently buffing the paintwork. Finish by applying wax to protect your paintwork until the next time you clean it.





  • Wash your car when it’s hot: If you wash your car when the sun is shining or when your vehicle is warm you may notice that it dries too quickly and leaves streaks. This defeats the object of washing it in the first place! Also, if you wax your car when it’s warm the wax will run, and you’ll have to work harder to polish it.
  • Wash with dirty water: Have one bucket of clean soapy water, and one bucket of water to rinse your cloth in. Avoid rinsing your cloth in the soapy water as you’ll end up washing your car with dirty water, and could potentially scratch the paintwork with any dirt that stays on the cloth.
  • Use washing up liquid: Using household cleaners like washing up liquid and detergent strips the wax from the paintwork, leaving it unprotected from the elements.
  • Wash your car without testing products first: If you’re using a new cleaning product on your car it’s a good idea to test it on an inconspicuous area first to make sure it doesn’t react adversely with your paintwork.
  • Leave your car unattended: Some people leave their car unattended or unlocked whilst they are cleaning it, but this can leave you open to thieves. Even if you’re just nipping back inside to get a fresh bucket of water, lock the doors and wind up the windows!