How to hand wash your car

Getting Started: essential car washing equipment

Cleaning cloths,

Whilst a sponge is fine, microfiber cloths are what the pros use. These help to better wash, rinse and dry the car without risking scratching the bodywork. You will need separate washing and drying cloths.

Car Shampoo,

A specialist car shampoo is a must. Do not use a household detergent as it is too harsh and will strip off any wax on the paintwork.

Grit Guard,

Having a grit guard for the bottom of your bucket will mean that your cloth or sponge won’t pick up any grit you’ve washed off and rub into the paintwork.

Glass Cleaner,

You will need a specialist car glass cleaner as household products contain ammonia, which can damage the car’s upholstery.


Don’t forget to invest in a car wax. You only need to wax your car three or four times a year, and this will help to protect your car’s paintwork.

Tyre Shine, Finally, keep you Tyres looking good with a tyre shine product.

The best way to wash your car

Choose the right time

It is important to choose the right conditions to wash your car in. Don’t do it in hot weather or direct sunlight, because water evaporates quickly and forms a residue before you are able to wipe it off. So if it is sunny out, consider washing your car earlier or later in the day when the light isn’t so direct.

Start with the interior

It is recommended that you start by cleaning the interior of your car.

Get a plastic bag to chuck all your rubbish in from the car floor, door packet, Centre console etc.

Take out your carpet mats, give them a shake before vacuuming them, and at this point hoover the car floors.

Don’t forget to clean your car seats, a vacuum will get rid of aby bits of dirt or rubbish, before you wipe them down.

Cleaning the bodywork

If your car is particularly dirty, rinse down the bodywork with some plain water, to get the worst of the dirt off. This will reduce the risk of rubbing dirt or grit into the paintwork.

Always start by washing your car from the roof and work your way down the car body, washing the sides then the front and back. Give the washing solution time to soak into the dirtiest, grimiest areas of the car near the bottom

It is suggested that if your car is very dirty and the water quickly turns murky, that you empty your bucket and add in fresh water and car shampoo. This will prevent you spreading old dirt across the car.

Wash your wheels last, with a different cloth or sponge. Sometimes brake dust can attach to wheels and you don’t want to contaminate your bodywork cloth or sponge. If you do it could scratch your car’s paintwork like fine sandpaper.

Drying the paintwork

It is best not to let the car air dry after you have washed it, you will get water marks on the bodywork.

The most effective method to dry the paintwork is to wipe the surfaces with a chamois. Start at the top of the car and work your way down. Don’t forget to keep wringing the cloth out to remove the excess water.

Waxing the bodywork

Ensure you apply the wax according to the manufacturers instructions and remember you only have to apply wax to the bodywork a few times a year.

Again, a microfibre is the best cloth for the job. It is best to apply the wax in straight lines and leave to dry before polishing off.

Shining the tyres

The final job is to apply type shine product to the tyre sidewalls.

You are ready to hit the road in your shiny car.