• Home
  • How to Wash Your Car By Hand | Pro Tips for Car Washing by Hand & Best Tools for Car Washing - Ralph Brothers

Before You Start Washing a Car

The best way to wash a car is to find a location that's not in direct sunlight, because the sun can dry your car too quickly, leaving spots and streaks. Make sure the car is cool to the touch because a hot surface can also dry the car too quickly. When washing your own car, you want the best conditions to ensure a sleek, streak-free finish.

What Do You Need to Wash a Car?

If you're wondering what to wash a car with, the first thing to know is what not to use. Household soap, bath towels, and dirty sponges are all on the do-not-use list. For the best results when performing a car wash manually, a good supply list should include the right car wash products.

At the top of the list of things you need when washing your own car is a reliable car shampoo that's engineered to gently but thoroughly clean your car without damaging the finish. Besides a car-specific cleaner, you also need to have on hand:

A great way to get started on washing your own car is to use a car wash kit, which contains all the essential tools for getting the job done. With all the necessary products in hand, you're ready to execute these pro car wash steps.

How to Wash a Car Properly

Among your first car wash steps will be to spray bugs and tar with the remover, allowing them to soften for a few minutes.

Filling Your Buckets

Before you start to wash your car, place a grate in each of your buckets. This will allow dirt and grit to sink to the bottom, keeping your wash mitt cleaner. Fill one bucket with water and your car shampoo of choice, making sure to follow the instructions to ensure the correct water-to-shampoo ratio. Fill the second bucket with clear water. You'll rinse your wash mitt in this bucket each time before you put the mitt back in the shampoo bucket. This will keep as much grit as possible from sticking in your mitt and scratching your car's finish.

The third bucket is to specifically wash your tires, which can be the dirtiest part of your car. This will help prevent dirt and grit from commingling with the clean water you'll use to wash your car.

Washing Your Tires

The next step to washing your own car is to rinse each tire down with water and then clean with a good brush. A long, thin brush is great for cleaning tire rims and getting in between spokes. For intricate work, consider using a lug nut brush. Rinse each tire again after washing.

As an alternative to washing your tires with water, you can use a good-quality wheel cleaner, which is specially formulated for tires.

Rinsing Your Car

The following step to washing your car is to spray it thoroughly with water, making sure to point the water spray downwards to help wash away the dirt. You'll want to occasionally spray your car down during the entire washing process — you don't want to accidentally wash a dry part of your car, which can damage the finish.

Washing Your Car

One of the most crucial tips for washing a car is to start at the top and work your way down. This will ensure that dirt and grime don't cover a part of the car that's already been cleaned.

Wash one panel at a time. Don't scrub or apply heavy pressure, which is a sure-fire way to scratch your car's paint — just move the wash mitt smoothly over the car's surface.

Spray down each panel as you finish washing your car, and remember to rinse your wash mitt in the clear bucket of water before dunking it back in the shampoo bucket.

Save the bottom panels and the back of your car for last, because these are usually the dirtiest sections.

Drying the Car

After washing your car body, apply a drying agent to a microfiber cloth or chamois to provide some lubrication between the cloth and the paint to help minimize the chances of scratching the finish. Working quickly, use the cloth or chamois to dry the car, starting at the top. Again, you don't want to use heavy pressure — simply wipe the cloth along the car. Wring the cloth out frequently so that it's as dry as possible as you move across the car's surface.

Washing Your Car Windows

Household window cleaners won't cut it when it comes to washing your car windshield and windows. You'll want to use a specially formulated glass cleaner to wash away the kind of residue you get while driving.

Final Thoughts on Washing Your Car By Hand

It can be dangerous to wash your car by hand in the winter. Water left on the driveway can freeze, creating icy spots that are simply accidents waiting to happen. Instead, consider using a waterless car wash solution, which is engineered to clear your car without damaging the paint or wax.

Order Products for Washing A Car from Ralph Brothers Today!

Following these tips for car washing will ensure you get a scratch-free, shiny finish every time. Now that you know how to wash your car, you're ready to purchase the products that will help make your venture a success. Ralph Brothers is the trusted source for exterior car care products that keep your car looking like new. Order the products you need now or contact us with any questions you may have.

Shop Exterior Care Products