How to wash your car like a pro in 7 steps

Here are some washing car tips that will help keep your car looking like new.

1. Start with the right supplies

In addition to ensuring you have a water source and some buckets, you’ll want to gather up the following:

Car wash detergent and car glass cleaner

Don’t use hand soap or dish-washing detergent; they weren’t designed for cars.


Avoid old towels or rags; you will want a microfibre cloth for best results (they are highly absorbent, won’t scratch your paint, and are good for washing and drying). You’ll need three or four.

Car wash mitt and scrubbing brush

To wash the car and the wheels.


A hand-held rechargeable vacuum is ideal.

2. Move your car into the shade

This is because, in hot, sunny weather, the water on your car will dry quickly, leaving water spots that are sometimes difficult to get out. Waxing should also not be carried out in direct sunlight.

3. Soap down the car

Use your hose to rinse the car, then fill a bucket with warm water and add the car wash detergent. Using a cloth or car wash mitt, start applying the soapy water. Work from top to bottom. Rinse the cloth or mitt often to get rid of the dirt (you will have to replace the soap and water in the bucket too). Don’t forget the wheels - that’s where the scrubbing brush comes in.

4. Spray it down

Use the hose and spray the undercarriage, too (this will get the dirt and salt off and slow down rust in areas you don’t normally see).

5. Dry

Do the drying right away to prevent spotting or streaks. Be thorough. This could take a few trips around the car.

6. Clean the Interior

Remove the floor mats first (which you can also spray down), and get under the seats with the vacuum nozzle. You can try equal parts vinegar and water to get rid of salt stains and use the microfibre cloth and some mild soap to clean the dash and any other vinyl or plastic areas. You can use car glass cleaner to clean the windows.

7. Wax it

Waxing is an extra layer of protection for your car. Add a coin-sized amount to a damp cloth, and apply it in gentle, circular motions. Once done, remove the wax with a microfibre cloth. Do this one section at a time.