Get the Best Results when Hand Washing your Car


Washing your car by hand can usually result in a better finish and involves a few extra steps and different products to get it right. While it may be quicker to use an automated car wash or pay a professional car valeting company, you can also get a great finish at home, washing your car by hand. In this article, we’ll take a look at some factors to consider when washing your car by hand. 

Essential Tools and Products

Firstly, you’ll need a supply of clean water. You’ll need automotive soap, chemicals to use with the water. While there are hundreds of products on the market for cleaning cars, it’s worth sticking with known brands. Spending that little bit more on quality and reputable products will result in a better finish and increase the longevity of the vehicle paint and lacquer. Brands such as Autoglym offer a fantastic range of products designed specifically for automotive use. 

You can use microfibre towels or cloths to dry the surface of the car after washing it. This will avoid damaging the paint and leave a flawless finish. Regular sponges or cloths can often leave very fine marks or swirls in the paint, which can become more obvious in bright sunlight. 

Products for Wheels and Arches

Scrub brushes and wheel brushes are helpful for tough dirt. Wheels and wheel arches need less care, and often a tougher option is needed to remove stubborn dirt or grime from the road. Whether alloy or steel, Wheels attract the majority of dirt as they are close to the road surface and any mud on the road. For these reasons, it’s common practice to use a special traffic film remover which acts as a degreaser, removing greasy residues from the alloy wheels painted surface. There are also more aggressive wheel acids that can loosen dirt before washing with a wheel brush or sponge. 

Often mud or dirt collected under the wheel arches is tricky to remove, and the best solution is to use a high-pressure washer to loosen and remove this. This solution is also ideal for cleaning the underside of most vehicles. 

The Two Bucket Technique

When cleaning your car by hand, it’s always a good idea to use the two-bucket technique. This involved using one bucket for washing and another for rinsing your sponge or cloth. Why? This keeps the two processes separate, allowing any dirt, grime, or small stones to be rinsed off your sponge before washing the next section. It keeps the soapy solution free of dirt from the last section you have cleaned. 

Rinsing your Car 

You can also use a standard garden hose to rinse your car after washing it. Always start from the top of the vehicle, working your way down, ensuring any remaining dirt or dirty water is completely removed as it runs down the sides. It’s also ok to use a jet wash or high-pressure washer, making sure that you keep the lance a safe distance from the paint at a reasonable temperature that isn’t too hot. 

Drying and Final Touches 

Drying your car after rising should be done as quickly as possible. Leaving a car to dry naturally can result in streaks on the paint. Use a high-quality cloth to remove excess water, and repeat until dry, always ensuring the cloth is kept clean and free of dirt. 

From here, it’s recommended to use a high-quality polish or paint protection treatment for a showroom finish. This will also help to protect the paint and shield it from dirt and grease as much as possible before the next wash. 

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