How to wash your car

Washing your car is more than dish soap, a sunny day and some great tunes. Dish soap is actually not a good idea. We'll explain a few simple techniques and tools can help you wash your car the right way, and avoid those spots, scratches or fingerprints when you create your at-home car wash.

1. Gather the Proper Materials Before you grab your hose you'll wanna make sure you have the proper supplies. First thin you'll need is two buckets. One for soapy water, and one with water to rinse out your sponge with. It's important to use soap specifically made for washing vehicles. Dish soap isn't a great idea for you car because it may contain chemicals that could strip the top coating of your car's finish. You can also find sponges and mitts(often microfiber) that are made specifically for vehicles. Last, of course you’ll need a hose with a spray nozzle and a towel, and a squeegee or chamois for drying.

2. Timing It's better to wash your car earlier in the morning, or later in the afternoon when it's less hot out. This helps to stop the suds from drying before you're able to rinse your vehicle. Also, instead of washing your car in the sun, it better to use a shady spot. Direct sunlight causes the soap to dry too quickly, resulting in spots that can be hard to remove.

3. Start at the top It's best to start first by hosing the car off from the top down, and then using your soapy sponge or mitt. You will want to start with the roof, then work your way down to the windshield, hood, trunk deck, fenders, and bumpers one area at a time. It's best to work in long strokes as opposed to circles, which can scratch the top layer of paint. As you're going and it's a better to do one area at a time so the soap does not dry, and then hose it off with fresh water. Then, rinse the sponge in the fresh-water bucket to remove dirt and soap, and move to the next section.

Since wheels tend to be the dirtiest part of a car, it's best to use a separate sponge. There are specialized wheel cleaning products that can be used to remove tar, asphalt, and other stubborn grime, available in the Finch Service department. After the tires are properly cleaned, you can also apply a rubber conditioner to protect against cracks.

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4. Don't let it air dry Letting the water dry after washing your car will leave spots. It's best to dry your car as soon as possible after rinsing. The best tools are a clean and dry towel, a microfiber cloth, squeegee or chamois.

5. Wax on After your car is clean and dry, it's a good idea to apply a coat of wax to deepen the finish and protect the paint with a good quality carnauba-based wax. Then, make sure the car is out of the sunlight and rub the wax on using the sponge applicator that comes it. After the it dries, rub it off with a clean micro fiber towel folded into quarters. When the towel starts to drag, it's time to switch sides.

6. Don't forget that glass! Cleaning both windshields and mirrors should be done last. It's best to use an ammonia-free glass cleaner and clean, dry, towel to remove fingerprints, soap residue, and dirt from the glass surfaces. Once you’re finished with the outside, do the inside surfaces of all your windows as well, and don't forget the rear-view mirror!

7. The Interior A shop vac or heading to a coin-operated vacuum is a great way to quickly clean your car’s carpet. The dashboard, seats and instrument panel should also get a wipe down, and finally, if your seats are leather, apply a layer of automotive leather conditioner.

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The Bottom Line

Properly washing your car regularly won’t make it go faster or perform better, but it will look better and smell better. It also, perhaps most importantly, be in better condition when you’re ready to sell it. Check out the Finch service department for a great deal on a car wash kit. We know everyone is on the go as well, so with the free vehicle pick-up and drop-off available at Finch locations across London, getting your vehicle serviced and washed has never been this convenient!