Daniel DiManna
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Tips on How to Hand Wash Your Car

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hand wash your car
Outdoor fun and saved cash await you!
Photo: pxfuel via CC

As a vehicle owner, keeping your ride squeaky clean is likely a priority. There’s nothing quite like the look of a freshly scrubbed, new-looking car sitting on your driveway. If you’re looking to avoid paying a large fee at a professional car wash, giving your car a good soapy once-over yourself is not only easy, but fun. Read on for a list of tips on how to hand wash your car for maximum shine.


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Hand wash your car in seven easy steps

Gather the Proper Materials: Before you begin scrubbing away at your car’s grime, it’s important to make sure you have the right tools and chemicals for the job. Avoid using dish soap, as it can have nasty effects on your car’s paint. Purchase some car wash soap and make sure you use a wash mitt that’s made of either sheepskin or microfiber. Have two buckets on hand, as well as a drying cloth.

Pre-treat Stains: If you have any particularly nasty bits you need to clean, hit those directly with the soap first. Spraying hard-to-clean stains like bird droppings or dead bugs will make sure you won’t have any trouble getting them off later.

Rinse and Wash: After giving your car a quick rinse with the hose, use your two buckets and mitt to begin cleaning. One bucket should contain your soapy, clean water, while the other should hold plain water to use for rinsing. This ensures that you’re not washing your car with dirty water. Make sure to wash, rinse, and repeat using both buckets.

Don’t Forget the Wheels: It’s easy to forget about your wheels, but these hard-working components are often the dirtiest part of a dirty car. First, spray them down with a hose to get them good and wet. After that, use a soft brush to scrub off all the dust, dirt, and grime.

Do a Once-Over: Rinse and reload your soap bucket one more time and use your soft mitt to give your car’s surface one more pass. This helps to make sure you didn’t miss any dirty spots, and adds a bit of extra shine to the surface.

The Final Rinse: After completing your once-over, remove the spray nozzle from your hose and use the gentle water stream to wash your car from top to bottom. This will wash any remaining dirt and soap off the surface.

Dry it Up: Use your drying cloth to quickly wipe down your car, picking up as much remaining water as possible. After the initial wipe down, give it another pass, this time focusing on all the spots you may have missed the first time. The end result should be a shiny, dirt-free car.


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By following these tips, you’ll avoid expensive car wash bills while simultaneously having some outdoor fun. Be sure to share any of your own hand-washing tips in the comments below!